Bloggers trip along TRANSROMANICA and Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route

7th September 2016

The 3rd edition of the bloggers’ trip project was organized under the Joint Programme between the Council of Europe and the European Commission for the promotion of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.

As in 2015, the project was supported by European Travel Commission and from 25-30th of August, 5 international bloggers from Italy, Canada, Brazil, China and India had an opportunity to discover cultural attractions along the two European cultural routes: TRANSROMANICA and Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route. The organization of the trip was supported by Danube Competence Center and National Tourist Organisation of Serbia.

The trip started in Austria, where by visiting Millstatt Abbey, Maria Woerth, and Friesach bloggers experienced and learned more about the Romanesque heritage, key theme of TRANSROMANICA cultural route. The tour then continued to Serbian capital Belgrade from where early in the morning of 28th August group started the trip along Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route.

Around the noon group arrived to Donji Milanovac, city located on the Danube in Eastern Serbia and embarked on the cruiser Aqua Star Maxim.  Four hours of cruising trough the Iron Gate under the clear sky was enough for the bloggers to create many beautiful photos and videos, and listen to the interesting stories about the Roman culture, especially about the Traian’s Table, Traian’s Bridge, Sculpture of the Dacian King Decebalus, Roman war campaign against the Dacians and Diana Fortification near Kladovo.

After passing through the ship lock of Iron Gate I Hydro Electric Power Plant, group continued the trip from Kladovo to Zaječar, where during the dinner they experienced local wine products and enjoyed in magical tastes of Valach cheese and local food specialties such as veal and lamb meat prepared “under the bell” and traditional deserts: baklava and orasnice (cake made of walnut).

One night in Zaječar hotel was enough for the group to relax and get ready for the next morning during which the visit to the National Museum in Zaječar was planned. Tour was led by director of the Museum Mr. Bora Dimitrijević, and after visiting the ground floor, group had a chance to see mosaic of Dionysius from 4 century AD, discovered on the locality of Felix Romuliana together with the head of Galerius, Roman Emperor who built complex of villas on the mentioned location near Zaječar. On the upper floor of the museum, group saw the models and images of Felix Romuliana and Magura site – place where last emperor was ascended to Gods, and also important objects that witness modern history of Zaječar.

Visit to the National Museum was excellent preparation for the direct experience of the Felix Romuliana site. Important to mention is that the locality is the UNESCO World Heritage site in Serbia. Before guided tour throughout the locality, Mr. Dimitrijević presented recently developed project of augmented reality trough which visiting tourists can now see how the site originally looked like. After the guided tour, bloggers received presents and started their trip to southern city of Nish, birthplace of Roman Emperor Constantine.

During the short tour on archaeological site Mediana, bloggers saw recently discovered mosaics that are around 1.700 years old. On the locality that once functioned as a summer villa of Emperor Constantine, remains of the 800 square meters are now available for the public.

Visit of the Mediana site was also at the same time last stop on the Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route in Serbia after which group had a traditional lunch (Serbian grill) right next to the Nišava river.

After Roman Emperors Route “intermezzo” trip continued along the TRANSROMANICA sites in Serbia. Next stop was monastery Studenica, largest and richest of Serbian Orthodox monasteries, located 57 km from Kraljevo, that is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Group had an opportunity to overnight in the residence (konak) of the monastery, while some of the participants also took part in early morning service. During the round tour, bloggers learned that the monastery was founded at the end of XII century by Serbian Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja, who was also a founder of Serbian medieval state. Today, the monastery is best known for  the collection of 13th and 14th century Byzantine-style fresco paintings.

After Studenica, bloggers visited one more locality that is also the part of TRANSROMANICA cultural route – Monastery Žiča. This important Serbian Orthodox Monastery was founded in 1219 by Serbian king Stefan Prvovenčani and his younger brother Rastko Nemanjić (Saint Sava) and it is the place of coronation of seven Serbian kings.

This was at the same time last stop during the five-days study tour. In line with the overall proposa, of the Council of Europe’s European Institute for Cultural Routes that the routes should establish stronger cooperation between each other, the complete project was a good practice example how this type of promotional activity can be organized between two routes. Even though that themes covered during the trip belong to different epochs in the development of European history and culture, point of geographical and historical interference created a suitable ground to tell one, unified story that connect Roman and Romanesque heritage – main themes of TRANSROMANICA and Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route.

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