Project Description

Vinča Belo Brdo – The First Modern Age

A renovation project for the neolithic archaeological site Belo Brdo, near Belgrade, which lends its name to the entire Vinča civilization.

Project Description

The Belo Brdo archaeological site is one of the most significant localities of the neolithic culture known as the birthplace of urban community life, creativity and artistic craft. This is also the place of technological revolution – the first location where metal smelting took place. The Government of the Republic of Serbia will be investing more than three million euros to ensure this site becomes a must-see destination for culture and tourism, as well as a center of excellence for studying neolithic European cultures.

The project is implemented by the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, in close cooperation with the national platform Serbia Creates within the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the Ministry of Culture and Information, Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, City of Belgrade and the Belgrade City Museum.

For the past two decades, landslide and erosion activity has caused irreparable damage to a few hundred cubic meters of the site’s most valuable area. With the support of the US Ambassadors Fund, a project was launched in 2020 that includes construction of supporting piers on the revetment and reinforced counterweights. On top of that, it will initiate protective archaeological digging to improve the stability and relieve pressure on the most endangered parts of the coast through cascaded excavation of the site. An analysis and project documentation preparation is underway to address the issue of atmospheric and waste waters, which have been outlined as the main cause of the landslide. The technical realization of the project will be monitored by The Jaroslav Černi Institute for the Development of Water Resources, while the effect on the cultural heritage site will be controlled with cooperation from UNESCO.
Sustainable development of Belo Brdo is closely tied to the development of cultural tourism services, which includes protection of the local cultural heritage as well as improving the on-site research and development capacities. In this respect, a Strategic Master Plan and Tourist Area Feasibility Study are currently being prepared. These works will define the borders of the tourist area, present the best management model, and suggest an investment plan for necessary infrastructure improvements. A unique tourist offer is the possibility of accessing the archaeological site via the Danube. With this in mind, the plan is to utilize the waterway as part of the tourist infrastructure. On top of that, Belo Brdo will be enriched with a green corridor featuring a cycling and walking trail starting on the local Bolečica river and following the Danube stream all the way to the site. The infrastructural improvements will be complemented by the creation of a tourist offer that will enable travellers to begin their Vinča neolithic adventure on the Danube coast in the Belgrade city center.

In March 2022, public international urban-planning and architectural competition for the development of Vinča Belo Brdo archaeological park with preliminary designs for the visitor centre and the scientific and research centre was opened, and the winning solutions are expected to be announced by September 15th. Along with the visitor museum center and its accompanying tourism infrastructure as defined by the Strategic Master Plan, the Belo Brdo site is envisioned to become an open-air museum in itself. The ongoing archeological excavations will be open for observation and participation by the visitors, thus forming a standing exhibition of new findings. On top of that, the area will feature an archaeological park for family activities, as well as green areas for rest and recreation. The project documentation is expected to be ready by 2022, while the construction will begin by 2023.

The vision of Belo Brdo is not only as a presentation of Neolithic cultural heritage, but also as a driver of growth in related research activities. The future Research and Development Center is expected to become a research hotspot, where interdisciplinary methods will be developed to connect archaeology with other sciences such as chemistry, physics, IT, and genetics. The focus of the Center’s activities will be innovative techniques that utilize digital technology in the service of archaeology and related sciences. Apart from research, the R&D Center will be involved in other projects as well as the service industry, ensuring its sustainability and positioning it as a leader in the region, Europe and the rest of the world. The Center will collaborate with educational institutions, NGOs and the local population to popularize science and education, thus allowing the Belo Brdo site to become a hub of development, innovation, and inspiration.
As the civilization that has laid the foundation of modern society as we know it, the Vinča culture is a pillar of European and world cultural heritage. Apart from its international significance, the Belo Brdo archeological site, which is the Vinča civilization type site, holds a key place in the lives of the local population that has inhabited it for years. In that respect, the key activities of the Belo Brdo project are aimed at the involvement and empowerment of its community – from educational institutions to individual citizens. The goal of these activities is awareness-raising among the population about the importance of the site, their inclusion in its further development and the decision-making process, as well as empowerment through economic and cultural opportunities that the renovation project will ultimately bring.

About the Vinča Culture

Vinča Culture is a term that applies to the period of unprecedented explosion of creativity, technological advancement and population growth that took place during the Late Stone Age (5300 – 4500 BC) on the territory of today’s Serbia, as well as parts of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia and Montenegro. The culture is named after the Vinča site, a Belgrade settlement where, back in 1908, professor Miloje Vasić found the first archeological traces of this extraordinary civilization. Soon afterwards, Vinča was globally recognized as one of the most important archaeological cultures and identified as a key event in modern society development. Its significance lies in the fact that Vinča was one of the first places to attract migration and hence was the first instance of community formation. The formation of communities was the revolutionary act that transformed the global development path of our planet’s population.

First Multi-Story Buildings

Around 2.500 years before the Pyramids of Giza, Vinča settlers introduced multi-story buildings in their settlements, for the first time in global history.

Creativity and Exquisite Craftsmanship

Aesthetics is an integral part of the Vinča civilization. Mundane objects such as food plates, jewelry, even weapons, were transformed by their skilled hands into works of extraordinary art and functionality combined.

First Metal Smelters

The course of the entire world civilization was transformed in Vinča. By melting a few drops of metal in the fire, Vinča settlers set forth a revolutionary path that set the course of global development for millennia to come.

From new Ideas to Modern Europe

Constant migration, knowledge and skill accumulation and a complex social structure are what allowed Vinča to reach heights previously unheard of in the entire world. Vinča’s highly developed trade network and its geographic position near major rivers made it the Frankfurt Airport of neolithic Europe. The dynamic exchange of not only goods, but also ideas that found their way into the rest of Europe and the world, established Vinča as the first modern age, as we see it today.

Vinča Belo Brdo in Pictures


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