Valorization of Medieval Tombstone Cultural Heritage in the Western Balkans
Program: Preparatory actions for preserving and restoring cultural heritage in conflict areas in the Western Balkans for the year 2010 EUROPEAID/131266/C/ACT/MULTI
Lead partner: Regional Development Agency Dubrovnik-Neretva county DUNEA
Duration: 11/2011 – 11/2014
Budget: € 346,116.76
The basic goal of the HER.CUL project was the preservation of the extremely valuable and unique cultural and historical heritage of tombstones in the area of the four countries - Valorization of Medieval Tombstone Cultural Heritage in the Western Balkans
Stećci, or tombstones, are valuable remains of late medieval heritage and silent witnesses of burial customs of the inhabitants of the wider western Balkans. Their preservation, through various forms of research, protection and documentation, and their popularization and presentation, will further contribute to the enrichment of our tourist potential.
The HER.CUL project includes four countries, with expert activities performed on one location in each country. In Croatia it included the location of Novakovo Greblje in Čepikuće in the Dubrovačko Primorje area, where archaeological research and excavations were performed on the larger part of the location, accompanied by the documentation, conservation and restoration of all of the tombstones, including a description of the location. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the Bijača location near Ljubuški was selected. Here the tombstones were also conserved, restored and documented. Documentation activities were carried out in Serbia at the location of Grčko Groblje in the village of Hrta near Prijepolje and in Montenegro at the location of Marina Šuma near Pljevlje.
The HER.CUL project also includes a Strategy for the Preservation of Tombstones, whose primary goal is to integrate current knowledge about stećci and their condition in the four regions included in the project. Based on this knowledge, a variety of analyses were made that defined the actual methods and goals for the further management of locations with stećci tombstones on the basis of an action plan for the implementation of activities. The Strategy for the Preservation of Stećci includes 190 locations with a total of 3,321 stećci tombstones in the four areas included in the project.
The entire area is connected by the Trail of Medieval Tombstones Stećci, a newly established tourist route with 32 locations, among which are those that have been nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List. This joint cultural attraction allows tourists to travel for several days through the four countries and visit archaeological sites with stećci tombstones, as well as other cultural, natural, oenological and gastronomic attractions.
Other ways to present stećci tombstones and other tasks under the HER.CUL project are an international exhibition of photographs of stećci tombstones, roundtable discussions to evaluate the value of tombstones as a tourist attraction, a promotional film about tombstones in the four countries, and promotion in the media.
- Medieval Tombstones in Dubrovnik Neretva Region
Photograph: Zoran Marinovic