Once a separate town, Zemun has since 1945 been a municipality within the city of Belgrade. As far back as the Neolithic Age, men built settlements here, taking advantage of its favourable position on the banks of the Danube and Sava. During the 3rd century BC this area was settled by a Celtic tribe known as the Scordisci who called it Taurunum. With the arrival of the Slavs the name of Zemun first appears, after the sunken earth houses (zemunice) that the first inhabitants of this settlement lived in.
The history of Zemun as a town in the modern sense of the word begins in 1717 with the arrival of the Austrians and its inclusion in the Hapsburg Monarchy. It became an important defence against the Turks and developed as an economic and trading centre at the border of the empire. This strengthened the position of Zemun as a cultural centre, and had an especially favourable influence on the Serbs who were then under Turkish rule.
By 1910 the town numbered 17,000 inhabitants. The majority were involved in agriculture, while a quarter were employed as craftsmen and factory workers. Around 1920, Zemun had a population in excess of 30,000, of varying nationalities. Just under half were Serbs, almost one third Germans, and one fifth Croats.
The Fortress is the oldest building in Zemun and is mentioned as early as the 9th and 11th centuries. The remains that can be seen today date from the 15th century. In the centre of the fortifications is the Millennium Tower, which was erected by the Hungarian authorities in 1896 and restored in 1962. It is also known as the Tower of Sibinjanin Janko (Kula Sibinjanina Janka).
The House with the Sundial (Kuća sa sunčanim satom)
This was built at the beginning of the 19th century in the Classical style with Baroque elements. Jovan Subotić, a famous Serbian writer and public servant, spent the last years of his life here.
The House of the Karamata Family (Kuća porodice Karamata)
(Matije Gupca 17)
This was built in 1764 by the wealthy merchant Kuzman Jovanović, and was purchased in 1772 by Dimitrije Karamata whose descendants still live in it. The house has a well-preserved interior with furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as family portraits, the work of well-known painters Georgije Tenecki and Pavel Đurković.
Ičko's House (Ičkova kuća)
(corner of Bežanijska and Svetosavska streets)
This was built in 1793 in a style typical of the transition from the Baroque to the Classical. The well-known merchant and diplomat of the Serbian Uprising, Petar Ičko, lived here.
Spirta's House (Spirtina kuća)
This rare example of a residential house from 1855-1856 was built to the design of a Viennese architect in the Neo-Gothic style, for use by the Cincar Spirta family. This building now houses the Zemun Home Museum, which was founded in 1955.
The House of Dimitrije Davidović (Kuća Dimitrija Davidovića)
This was built in the second half of the 18th century in the Classical spirit, as a single-storey town house. Dimitrije Davidović, the founder of Serbian newspapers, and secretary to Prince Miloš, statesman and diplomat was born there.