Conference: In Situ Presentation of Historic Monuments

25th May 2016


The conference “In Situ Presentation of Historic Monuments” was held on Monday, May 23rd in Kolarac Center (Studentski Trg 5), Belgrade, from 10 AM to 3 PM. It was organized by Danube Competence Centre and gathered many distinguished experts and guests. 

The event is part of activities promoting “Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route” – cultural route which gathers 20 Roman archaeological sites and 12 vine regions in Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. It started in 2012. and after three years was officially certified as an European Cultural Route, by the European Institute for Cultural Routes in Luxembourg.

A lot of different activities were organized in order to promote both the Route, as well as its individual locations. Although the project ended in 2015, DCC still supports its partners in the efforts to maintain high standards of the Route and preserving potentials of common cultural heritage of the region.

In his opening speech, Mr. Michael Werner, president of the Scientific board of the Route and professor of Roman archeology at the New York State University, pointed out the importance of cultural monuments protection, as well as in situ presentation – where historic buildings and archaeological sites are presented at the place they were found, together with the original artifacts. “It is important to keep on to such a form of interpretation, not only because it is a part of international trend, but also because it is the most authentic way of presenting cultural and historical heritage”, said Mr. Werner.

After Mr. Werner, the guests were also greeted by Ms Aleksandra Fulgosi from Serbian Ministry of Culture, who pointed out the importance of in situ presentation for the overall tourism development.

The participants of the conference also had the opportunity to hear form Ms. Käthe Brakhan, Project Leader of the Regional programme to strengthen the cross border tourism at the Middle and Lower Danube through DCC, which is part of the activities of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Serbia. She pointed out that GIZ is supporting the development of cross-border tourism along the middle and lower Danube since 2009, in close cooperation with the Danube Competence Center, which was established by GIZ.

“We are promoting and developing the Danube region as unique tourism destination.

Tourism needs culture to be offered to visitors, and the treasure of culture and history, presented through historic monuments and places, increases its value when people explore and experience them. Thus, promotion of cross border tourism and promotion of cultural routes have the same goal.

We are happy we were part of the development of the Roman emperors Route and the Danube Wine Route as a combined touristic product, created under the lead of the DCC”, said Ms. Brakhan. “We, GIZ, will be involved and will support further development of this route. Ideas and energy are never lacking, so already next month we will have new interpretation panels in Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica)”.

“The U.S. Embassy is proud to support the conservation of historical sites in Serbia. This is an opportunity to show our respect for other cultures by protecting their traditions”, said Ms. Erika Kuenne, cultural attaché in the US Embassy in Belgrade. “We sincerely hope that our collaboration, through the generosity of the American people and the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, will strengthen the ties between our two peoples, preserve the amazing cultural heritage in this country, and help Serbia to develop economic opportunities through tourism, while sharing your story with the world”.

Keynote speaker was Mr. John Bonafide, Director of the Technical Preservation Services Bureau for the New York State Division of Historic Preservation, who presented in situ presentations and preservation of cultural-historical landmarks in New York State. Mr Bonafide focused on the examples of in situ presentations: from XVIII century attractions from the American War of Independence, to the monument dedicated to 9/11 victims. He also presented a short timeline of Cultural Property Protection Law, and analyzed the differences between the way cultural and historical heritage is evaluated in Serbia and in USA.

Mr. Toni Glučina, the representative of Narona Archaeological Museum in Croatia presented the remains of the Roman temple and statues found in 1995 and 1996. This is the first in situ museum in Croatia, which attracts large number of organized and individual tours.

Announcing a new project funded by the EU, Mr. Bora Dimitrijević, director of Gamzigrad Romuliana, Serbia, pointed out that this undertaking “foresees improvement of the overall tourist experience at the site, by utilizing cutting-edge technologies in interpretation of the cultural heritage, which will create conditions for Gamzigrad to meet the expectations of foreign and domestic tourists with entirely new content”. All of this is, as he pointed out, part of the international project for the presentation of the cultural heritage of the Adriatic region – HERA.

Mr. Dimitrijević said that tourists will have the opportunity to enjoy a system of holographic projections, interactive panels and computer animations, and that way learn a lot about Roman court architecture in the most attractive way.

Mr. Nikolai Nenov, director of Regional Historic Museum in Rousse, Bulgaria, presented the latest project of digital reconstruction. The theme focuses on research and digitalization of 16 Roman fortresses on the Lower Danube, using a drone and 3D scanner. As he announced, Museums in Rousse, Bulgaria and Constanta, Romania, together with Rousse University, will capture Roman fortresses and create their models printed on a 3D printer. For the first time, researchers and the public will see images of fortresses that are an integral part of the local cultural landscape, feel their atmosphere and get to know a lot about roman way of life, which a specific form of presentation in situ.

Mr. Constantin Inel, the director of the Unification Museum in Alba Iulia, Romania, showed real effects of in situ presentation combined with reviving the history through attractive events organized on historical sites: in 2011, the city of Alba Iulia with its 60 thousand inhabitants, had 80 thousand tourists; after combining these methods, the number of tourists increased to 400.000 in 2014.

The complete audio recording of the conference may be heard here.

The Conference was supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Embassy of the United States in Belgrade and the RS Ministry of Culture and Information.

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