If you didn`t know…

At the recently held International Tourism Fair in Milan, Serbia presented a new project entitled In the Footsteps of Roman Emperors. The visitors showed considerable interest in such a project, which explains the historical fact that in Serbia, 1700 years ago and as many as 16 Roman emperors were born, which would be a new, and interesting route, according to local tourist workers, and could determine the future direction of development of Serbian tourism.

Of all the present day countries that made up the Roman Empire, only more emperors were born in Italy than in Serbia. It is believed that such a large number of Roman emperors in late Antiquity were born in Serbia, an unusual part of the empire, because this is where the old idea about virtues of individuals who acquire glory and from peasants became great soldiers was affirmed. This was achieved at a dozen sites in Serbia, which today, experts assess, are an interesting tourist offer, which testify to the period of Roman emperors.

The project In the Footsteps of Roman Emperors is 600km long, from Sirmium to Sarkamen. Sirmium, today’s Sremska Mitrovica, is one of the four Roman capitals, known for a magnificent race track, and in order to completely excavate it, two city blocks would need to be leveled. The Roman emperors Trajan, Decius, Aurelian, Probus, Maximinus, Constantine II were all born in Sirmium. These are the so-called Pannonian emperors. They all lived short lives, but Aurelian and Probus left deep marks: the first minted money with symbols of architecture of Sirmium, while Probus is mentioned still today as the founder of vine growing. It is owing to him, that the first vines were planted outside of Italy, on the slopes of Fruska Gora, near Sirmium.

On the tourist route of localities in Serbia, the most famous places are Viminacium, near Kostolac and Felix Romuliana near Zajecar.

Viminacium was the capital of the Roman province of Upper Moesia and the legionary camp which recruited the most elite Roman troops. Tourists that visit this site are welcomed by soldiers dressed as Ancient Romans, wine is drunk from replicas of Roman goblets and children are introduced to a video game entitled The Secret of the Emperor’s Death. Trajan passed through here, and Hadrian bestowed the status of a city on Viminacium.

Felix Romuliana is one of the biggest and most preserved Roman structures in Europe, under UNESCO protection. This Roman town in eastern Serbia, in which the Roman Emperor Galerius was born in the 3 century AD, dedicated the imperial palace to his mother Romula.
There are traces of Roman emperors at several locations along the Danube. In Kladovo, there is Diana, the most important Roman fortification built by Trajan, at the same time when canals were being dug to provide the security of navigation on the Danube. There are also the remains of Trajan’s bridge, a wonder of stone from the beginning of the 2 century AD, which represents the first victory of man over water in history.

The suburb of Roman Naissus, present day Nis, was Mediana which still has remains of the residence of Constantine the Great, the emperor that considered having it as his capital. In any case, this is where the emperor had signed a dozen important laws. Constantine III and Claudius II Gothicus were both born in Naissus.

A ruler who had come to the throne by chance and not his own doing was Maximinus Daia, son of Galerius’s sister. Born near the site known to archeologists as Sarkamen, he was remembered as an unsuccessful military strategist. And the only Roman emperor from Belgrade was the Emperor Jovian, who left nothing behind but metal coins.

The project of the Ministry of Culture, In the Footsteps of Roman Emperors through Serbia is aimed at informing tourists about the history of Ancient Rome, as well as their everyday life.







  1. It is interesting article, and i have only one question. Is the territory when all those emperors were born called Serbia, or else. As i know The Serb tribe came much later and named the new conquered territory Serbia. The Footsteps of Roman Emperors entitle is very correct, in spite of many of our citizenship likes to say that Constantine was Serb or so…

    1. The territories were called Moesia Superior, the part of modern day Southern Serbia. The name of the region comes from Moesi, Thraco-Dacian peoples who lived there before the Roman conquest. You are absolutely right Alex. Serbian tribes came later, in 6th century AD.

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