Historic Warship That Fired the First WWI Shots Restored as a Floating Museum

It’s a great moment when a ship that’s not only a war veteran, but also one with an essential part in World War I, gets a second life. Even though the future is about new and improved vessels and aircraft, we should never forget the ones that were major players in battles of the past, and honor their heritage throughout generations.
SMS Bodrog/Sava is now a floating museum on the Danube, in Belgrade, Serbia 8 photos
Photo: Warships, Hadihajok/Facebook
SMS Bodrog/Sava before RestorationSMS Bodrog/Sava before RestorationSMS Bodrog/Sava before RestorationSMS Bodrog/Sava before RestorationSMS Bodrog/Sava before RestorationSMS Bodrog/Sava before RestorationSMS Bodrog/Sava before Restoration
On the night of July 28, 1914, the shells fired from the Austro-Hungarian SMS Bodrog’s canons, at the Serbian defenses in Belgrade, would mark the beginning of the Great War, which would end up killing 20 million people. The gunboat that fired the first shots in WWI would also serve in World War II. Under a new name (Sava), it would be part of the former Yugoslavia’s navy, until 1962.

Despite its glorious past, SMS Bodrog/Sava had a downward trajectory. After being retired from military use in 1959, it was sold to a private company as a common gravel barge, and then simply abandoned near Belgrade. It would take years before Sava was finally declared a cultural monument, in 2006. That is when the restoration process, supervised by Serbia’s Ministry of Defense and the Military Museum, began.

Finally, the famous warship is starting a new life as a floating museum. Reuters reports that Sava has now been officially recalled to service, floating on the Danube, near the center of Belgrade. The restored warship will be admired as a museum from now on, as a “living” testimony of the previous wars.

The 189-foot (57.7 meters) vessel was built in Budapest, in 1903, as a Temes-class river monitor. Part of the Austro-Hungarian river flotilla, it would be the first to fire at Serbia, when WWI broke out. SMS Bodrog/Sava is one of the only two remaining Austro-Hungarian monitors that served during WWI. The other one, SMS Leitha, can be visited in Budapest, Hungary.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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