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Gamzigrad-Romuliana, The Palace of Galerius
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On the territory of modern Serbia several Roman emperors were born and there were many Roman settlements and fortifications. One of them is the site of Gamzigrad-Romuliana, Palace of Galerius, which is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list since 2007.
Gamzigrad-Romuliana is located in 'Dacia Ripensis', today Eastern Serbia. It represents the Late Roman palace built in the late 3rd and early 4th century by Emperor Caius Valerius Galerius Maximianus. The site is known as Felix Romuliana, so named after the emperor's mother. The site testifies to the tradition of Roman construction derived from the ideology of one period in Roman history known as Second Tetrarchy. Following the model of Emperor Diocletian, Galerius wanted to build a palace in the place of his origin to spend here the last days of his life. The site is unique in linking the ceremonial and memorial functions, because it includes palace, but also the mausoleum of the emperor and his mother. In addition to the palace and memorial complex, the site consists of the remains of fortifications, basilicas, temples, Roman baths and tetrapylon, and there are some preserved and valuable mosaics as well.
Figure 2. Mosaic representing Dionysos. Source: www.dodaj.rs Figure 3. Atrium with fountaine. Source: www.visitserbia.org Figure 4. Portrait of the Emperor Galerius. Source: www.politika.rs
Governmental institutions responsible for this site are Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia, which is taking care about conservation and restoration, and, to some extent, national Archeological Institute, responsible for the archeological research and appropriate documentation. Regional institution responsible for the management and presentation of the site is the Museum of the city of Zajecar (Periodic reporting, 2014).
After being placed under the protection of UNESCO, as well as through an active attitude towards visitors, there was a continual growth of the visits in Gamzigrad-Romuliana. However, this has not led to any significant increase in visits to the central exhibition of a museum in the town of Zajecar which manages the site (Krivosejev, 2014). Thus, possibilities of spreading the positive effects on the surrounding attractions are not properly used.
There is great potential to include this site into a thematic tourist itinerary of Serbia, called The routes of Roman Emperors, which connects all major Roman localities in the country, but the route has not yet come into effect, although there is a national master plan for its development (Master plan for The Routes of Roman Emperors, 2007).
About 80% of the funds are obtained from government funds, while 15% comes from the non-governmental sector, and only 5% of the funding comes through visitor spending, which may jeopardize long-term financing (Periodic reporting, 2014).
Due to natural factors (rain, snow, frost) there is a risk of damage to the mosaics, which are often covered, making these valuable parts of the site not always available to the public. The site is located in less developed and peripheral part of Serbia, away from the main tourist markets and large cities, while in the vicinity there are no additional facilities that would keep visitors and increase their tourist spending (author's personal observation). This is particularly challenge for the local DMO - Centre for Tourism and Culture, responsible for promoting tourism within the municipality of Zajecar to which this site belongs.
Figure 5. The map of The Routes of Roman Emperors in Serbia, including Gamzigrad-Romuliana (Felix Romuliana). Source: www.gamzigrad.com
Author: Vladimir Sustersic
Krivosejev, V. (2014). Heritage Management and Sustainable Tourism. Valjevo-Belgrade: Valjevo Museum. (In Serbian)
UNESCO. (n.d.) Gamzigrad-Romuliana, The Palace of Galerius. [Online] Available from: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1253. [Accessed in 13th November.2014]
Periodic Reporting. (2014). (Cycle 2) Section II. UNESCO. Available from: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1253/documents
Master plan for The Routes of Roman Emperors. (2007) Belgrade: Faculty of Economics - University of Belgrade.
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