Serbia unearths major new tourist attraction

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Serbia is currently excavating the archaeological ruins of the major Roman city and military camp of Moesia (now Serbia) dating back to the First century AD. Already attracting in excess of 60,000 visitors a year, Viminacium located 90 miles south-east of Belgrade is already making its mark with tourists. 

Viminacium [Credit: Sirona]

Covering an expanse of over 450 hectares, the site contains the remains of temples, streets, squares, amphitheatres, palaces, hippodromes and Roman baths and lies on the Roman Road, via Milatris. Having excavated only 2 per cent of the city and military camp, archaeologists have already unearthed roman baths which clearly demonstrate the advance thinking of the Romans with ancient under floor heating and flushing toilets. 

The Mausoleum has already various graves and visitors can explore under tunnel 4th Century frescoes which have already been revealed. The amphitheatre, which can hold up to 12,000 people and is one of the largest to be found in the Balkans and is still undergoing excavation work, but there is already plenty to see. Next year, in conjunction with the Rome opera House there will be a production of Aida – the first in a series of concerts planned for the Viminacium amphitheatre. 

Two years ago, Viminacium discovered a mamouth skeleton dating back some 5 million years and this should be on public view soon. 

Viminacium has also recently built a new science and research visitor centre, complete with a library and a restaurant which will, when it opens later this year, serve Roman inspired dishes. There is also a new 15 room hotel for visitors wishing to explore the site for more than a fleeting tour, and accommodation is also being built for archaeology students or visitors who are interested in working with one of the excavation teams on site. 

The centre will also accommodate a spa centre with two pools for swimming and hydro-massage and a convention hall. The latest development will all be open for business at the end of the summer and will provide the backbone to Viminacium’s financial sustainability. 

The excavation is ongoing but Viminacium needs further funds to unveil more of the hidden city however, tourism and site entrance fees are going some way to finance the development of the site. Government grants and even a small donation from a nearby power station have gone some way to help finance the teams. However, Viminacium also hopes to receive further funding from the EU in the future, to speed up the painstaking work of the excavation team. 

Staying at Viminacium and working with the on-site team of archaeologists will be available from September from 150-200 Euros per day to include accommodation and all meals. Students will also be able to participate in excavations from 35 Euros a day to include hostel accommodation and all meals. 

Source: Easier Travel [July 07, 2011]

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