Archaeological sites in the country reveal that Serbia was once the home of ancient civilizations, the birthplace of 16 roman emperors, and briefly even hosted the capital of the Roman Empire. Here are listed the most significant.
Cultural center of prehistoric world was right here in what today is Serbia. The culture of Lepenski Vir is around 8,5 millennia old and it is a cradle of archaeological discoveries that have changed our knowledge about the early Stone Age in Europe. Lepenski Vir is one of the largest and most significant prehistoric archeological sites from the Stone Age. It is located on the right bank of the Danube in the Đerdap gorge (The Iron gates of the Danube).
The remains of the oldest Neolithic civilization in Europe lies in Vinča, on the right bank of the Danube, not far from downtown Belgrade. When the mighty Danube returned to its river bed a century ago, it revealed a great treasure. An old man named Panta from Vinča found a strange clay figurine at the river bank. This curious old man had never seen anything like it, so he took his figurine to the National Museum in Belgrade in order to find the explanation. He couldn’t have even imagined that in his hands he was holding a figurine that had been made by an early man in the late Stone Age.
Sirmium, which was on the same territory where Sremska Mitrovica is today, was one of the capitals of the Roman Empire and one of the greatest metropolises of the time. Sirmium, as a settlement, originates from the ancient Celtic period, and some of its remains are 7,000 years old. At the time of the Flavian dynasty Sirmium was assigned the highest rank, it became Colonia Flavia Sirmiensium. The greatest urban expansion began at the end of the 3rd century and lasted throughout the 4th and partially 5th century. The well-known Roman writer of the 4th century, Ammianus Marcellinus, called it the glorious and populous mother of all the cities. The city also had an Imperial palace, a horse-racing arena, a mint, an arena theatre, and a theatre, as well as many workshops, public baths, temples, public palaces and luxury villas.
Viminacium was a Roman military camp, with the headquarters of the Claudius' Seventh Legion, and city built in the 1st century and lasted until the beginning of the 7th century. It never recovered from the destruction in 441 when the Huns destroyed it to the ground. During the reign of Justinian I in 535 it gets rebuilt as a frontier military fort that ended with the arrival of Slave tribes, that built their own settlement Braničevo on the city's ruins. In the necropolis around the city so far 14,000 graves were dug and 50,000 cases were discovered, of which 1,000 are gold. The discovery of a million year old mammoth, popularly called Vika, brought a special charm to this site. Mamutica Vika is among the oldest in the world (dates back to the prehistoric period, the Miocene).
Felix Romuliana was an imperial palace built on the orders of Galerius Maximianus on the spacious plateau of Gamzigrad, near the 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. It belongs to a special category of Roman court architecture associated only with the period of the Tetrarchy and is the best-preserved example of this style.
Mediana was built built between III and the beginning of IV century on the left bank of the Nišava River, beside one of the most important roads, Via militaris. The central place in Mediana is taken by a villa with a peristyle, the most sumptuous building of residential character. The villa was probably built by order of Emperor Constantine The Great so that he, members of his family and numerous high imperial officials would have a place to stay during their visits to Naissus. The entire complex was enclosed with high walls and was spread over the area of 4.7 hectares, and a seventh of the entire area was tiled with mosaic. Most mosaics had decorative, geometric motifs, and most of them can be still seen in Mediana today. Two mosaics that are best preserved and that draw special attention are mosaics with figural mythological representations of the river god Flavius and the head of Medusa.