Roman Heritage

The Roman Emperors Route is a route spanning roughly 600 km with several Ancient Roman sites, among which are notable cities, estates and birthplaces. The project’s name is derived from the fact that 18 emperors were born within the current borders of Serbia, second only to Italy itself. Regarded as one of the national brands of Serbia, the Route includes the important archeological sites of Sirmium, Singidunum, Viminatium, Felix Romuliana  (UNESCO World Heritage), Naissus with Mediana, Iustiniana Prima, as well as Ulpiana

Far from Rome, along the unpredictable Danube, the Roman Empire established its eastern border, the Limes. A series of military fortifications was set up along the road marched by the Roman legions in their campaigns against the barbarian tribes across the river.

The troops were followed by traders and craftsmen, and soon towns sprang up along all the major roads. Upper Moesia and Lower Pannonia roughly match Serbia’s territory today. Beginning in the 3rd century, over a period of some 200 years, these went from being marginal border provinces to occupying a place at the center of events in the Roman Empire. This cultural route of the Roman Emperors reveals ancient Roman towns, roads, ruins, and artifacts on what was the eastern border of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire, one of the biggest in history, which in its peak spread across the three continents, flourished in the Balkans between the 2nd and the 4th centuries A.D. In that span of time, as many as eighteen Roman emperors were born in the territory of Serbia, and left behind themselves cities, military fortifications, luxurious palaces…

In today’s Sremska Mitrovica – Sirmium, which was one of the four capital cities of the Empire, the largest number of the Roman Emperors were born. In this town, you can take a tour of the edifice of the former Imperial Palace of magnificent beauty, whose floors are decorated with mosaics. At the Museum of Syrmium, several exceptional archaeological findings are exhibited: a precious collection of gold coins, 85 altars with the inscriptions dedicated to Jupiter, the sepulchral ara of Titus Cominius Severus’, 12 slabs depicting the cult of the Danubian Horseman and collection of Porphyry figures of emperors and priests. The Christian Basilica can be viewed in the very center of the town.

Singidunum is the name for the ancient city which became Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The Roman Empire conquered the area in 75 BC and later garrisoned the Roman Legio IV Flavia Felix in 86 AD. The Belgrade Fortress was built as a defensive structure on a ridge overlooking the confluence of the Sava and the Danube rivers during the period from the 2nd to the 18th Century. Today the fortress is a unique museum of the history of Belgrade. It was the birthplace to the Roman Emperor Jovian. Belgrade has arisen from its own ashes 38 times!

The Viminatium Archaeological Park nearby Kostolac offers a variety of attractions and a modern manner of interpretation: the mausoleum in which the Roman Emperor Hostilian was most probably buried, the main gate of the legion’s camp, the center of crafts with the furnaces for the production of ceramics and bricks, the Paleochristian memories, the thermae, as well as the reconstructed amphitheater made of wood. After touring the locality, in order for you to have a more complete picture, we recommend that you should visit the Museum in Požarevac, where the objects made of gold, the Emperor Carinus’ head, a bronze sculpture of a boy with a lamp, a numismatic collection, the hoard of silver jewelry are kept.

 Felix Romuliana, the grandiose imperial palace was built on the orders of Galerius Maximianus, located near the today’s city of Zaječar. Galerius, who was born in this area, raised the palace in the 3rd and 4th centuries in honour of himself and his mother Romula, after whom he named it.The floor mosaics, the remains of the two temples, the lapidarium in one of the towers, as well as the most contemporary presentation in holograms and 3D technique wait for visitors to come. Not far away from the Palace, on Magura Hill, you can see the remains of mausoleum and two giant tumuli where the Emperor Galerius and his mother Romula were buried.

 Naissus, today’s Niš, is the birthplace of one of the greatest and the most popular Roman Emperors – Constantine the Great. The Mediana, the residential complex which has recently been covered by a protective construction, offers you a possibility of enjoying walking about the space decorated with the original floor mosaics. Apart from the villa with a peristyle, there are also the thermae, the granary and the whole water supply system with an aqueduct. In the archaeological collection of the Museum of Niš with the Porphyry figures of Hygeia and Aesculapius, the unique bronze fence, Emperor Licinius’ silver plate, the bronze portrait of the Empress Theodora, the wife of Constantine the Great, and a replica of Constantine’s bronze head (original is kept at the National Museum of Belgrade), is also worth visiting.

The road along the Danube leads you from Požarevac to the famous Traian’s Board, the unique monument testifying to the great construction undertaken by the Emperor Traian – one of the most powerful rulers. The board can be accessed only from the river, so we recommend one of the sailing tours from the nearby settlements. On the river tour along the right bank of the Danube towards Negotin, you should also see the two military fortifications – the Diana and the Pontes, as well as the remains of the legendary Traian’s Bridge.

 Iustiniana Prima was one of the most important Byzantine towns in the interior of the Balkan Peninsula. It was built in Greco-Roman manner and situated to the West of today’s town Leskovac. Emperor Justinian, wth his trone in Constantinople, made an attempt to reunite the Roman Empire at the half of the 6th century, but got as far as Ravenna in Italy and eventually failed. By origin from Southern Serbia, he decided to raise a city in his area of birth in honor of his own name.The ruins of a fortification, streets with porticos, basilicas, public and private structures, walls, a water supply system with aqueduct and floor mosaics are a reflection of the achievements of early Byzantine civilization. After frequent incursions by the Avars and the Slavs around 615, the town was abandoned by its native population.

Ulpiana is an archeological site of an ancient Roman city located in what is today the valley of Kosovo. Ulpiana played an important role in the development of the most important cities in the Roman province of Dardania. Ulpiana is mentioned in ancient sources from the second decade of the 2nd century AD. Since then it played an important role during the invasive expeditions when the emperor could stop during his travels. Ulpiana became an important episcopal center. According to chronicles and writings of the period, a devastating earthquake destroyed several towns in Dardania in the year 518. The city of Ulpiana suffered extensive damage. Emperor Justinian rebuilt the city and its fortifications, naming it Iustiniana Secunda.