Slavonski Brod Fortress
Slavonski Brod, Croatia

Constructed: 1715-1780
Used by: Austria, Yugoslavia
Conflicts in which it participated:

At the beginning of the 18th century, the wicked Ottoman tide was slowly receding from the landlocked shores of Central Europe. Turkey's bands of impressively moustachioed, curved-saber swinging soldiers were being hacked back in the direction of Turkey, and the Habsburgs were happily stepping into the void.

Which wasn't really a void. Croatia had allied itself with the Habsburg Monarchy in order to get rid of the Ottomans, but the essentially Austrian Habsburgs weren't going anywhere once the Turks had been scoured from Croatia.

In 1715, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740) took a break from frantically interbreeding for just long enough to order the construction of a fort at the town of Brod on the Sava River. Brod was an important crossroads of the age, and at the border of Christianity, with only the Muslim horde beyond. The fort was designed by Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), an Austrian military commander who had studied the modern fortification concepts of the Dutch.

An absolutely gorgeous model of Slavonski Brod Fortress at the fort museum: Any attacking force would be so overwhelmed by the dazzling array of overlapping geometric shapes that their heads would explode.
Designed to hold a garrison of up to 4,000 and mount 150 cannon, Brod Fortress was conveniently built with slave labor: This section of Croatia was under Austrian military rule, which made for cheap fort building resources.

In order to take away any advantage that an attacking Turkish army might enjoy by getting into Brod, the only building material permitted for the town's structures was wood. This way, at the first hint of an attack, the town could be instantly FLATTENED, giving the fort a clear field of fire! This defensive strategy (which was surely popular with the townspeople) remained in effect through the 18th and most of the 19th centuries.

Brod Fortress was never called upon to defend Croatia in a final Christianity vs. Islam showdown. In fact, the fort pretty much served as a place for soldiers to hang out, doing soldiery things. By the middle of the 19th century, Brod Fortress was no longer considered defensible, thanks to the ever-developing technology of warfare.

The international mess that followed the First World War (1914-1918) eventually solidified Croatia into part of Yugoslavia in 1931. In 1934, the Brod of our interest was renamed Slavonski Brod, in order to differentiate it from the Brod directly across the Sava River, which is known as Bosanski Brod. That Brod is, today, in the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but back then it was all part of Yugoslavia.

Slavonski Brod was hit hard by the Second World War (1939-1945), with over 80% of its buildings damaged by Allied bombing: Somehow, Slavonski Brod Fortress was not considered a military threat by the Allies, and was virtually untouched by the war.

The National Army of Yugoslavia occupied Slavonski Brod Fortress from 1945 until the Croatian War of Independence in 1990's. Today the fort's buildings house a couple of schools and the Gallery Ruzic, an art gallery featuring the works of "internationally famous" Croatian sculptor and native son of Slavonski Brod, Branko Ruzic (1919-1997).