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It is situated in the south-eastern corner of the city and provides a great panoramic view of Belgrade, Vojvodina and Sumadja. It stands at 511 metres. In the Middle Ages, the town of Zrnov or "Avalski Grad" (Avala town) was located on top of Avala. In 1442 it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, which built a new town in Zrnov's place, and renamed it "havale", which originally comes from Arabic and means "obstacle" or "shelter". The mountain has been protected since 1859 as a "monument of nature", or, by the modern standards, "sight of the exquisite values". Despite being officially protected for almost 150 years, it was only in 2007 that preservation plans for the mountain were made. That way, Avala entered a circle of protected green areas of Belgrade.

The mountain was declared a national park, in 1936. In 1946, by the edict (ukaz in Serbian) of the Presidium of the National Assembly of Serbia, Avala was reduced to the status of the "public property of general benefit" and placed under direct management of the Government of Serbia. In 1965, a 202 m high Avala TV Tower was constructed, one of the tallest structures in the Balkans. The tower was destroyed during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. Its total reconstruction began in 2006 and was officially opened at a ceremony on 21 April 2010. Avala is a traditional picnic resort for Belgraders.

On Avala there are: Monument to the Unknown Hero, Monument to the Soviet war veterans, Memorial Park, Monument to Vasa Carapic.