The name of Požarevac was first mentioned in Turkish records dating back to 1467 and is linked to a legend about despot Fiery Dragon Wolf (Vuk Branković), who ruled Slankamen, being attacked by Turkish hero Ali-Bey (an historical figure known by the people as Đerzelez Ali).
The Turkish hero was allegedly wounded in the duel and barely managed to crawl to the fen located between the rivers Morava and Danube.
In order to destroy his enemy, Despot Vuk set fire to the reeds and they burned for days. The marsh was burned to oblivion along with Ali-Bey. The place was named the burned fen, Požarevac [Požar means wildfire in Serbia].
The second capital city of Prince Miloš in the 19th century, Požarevac is today the seat of the Braničevo District and Braničevo eparchy. Surrounded by the rivers Danube, Morava and Mlava, it is also known as the home of the oldest stud farm in Serbia, Ljubičevo, the Požarevac Peace Treaty, Viminacium, the District Building, the monument to Prince Miloš, the National Museum, Milena Pavlović-Barili Gallery etc. Požarevac also celebrates its famous former residents, such as Miloš Obrenović, Đura Jakšić, Milena Pavlović-Barilli, Petar Dobrnjac, Serbian Patriarch Dimitrije et al.
One of the oldest horse farms in Serbia, founded in 1860 by Prince Miloš Obrenović on the estate of the Morava Farm near the Great Morava river, it is situated five kilometres from the city and was created with the aim of improving horsemanship for the best horse races. Prince Miloš’s son Mihailo later named this 300-hectare estate “Ljubičevo”, after his mother, Princess Ljubica.
The Ljubičin residence was erected at Ljubičevo, as well as several stables where the prince kept his horses. During the early 20th century this stud farm grew into an institution at the European level, boasting around 500 horses. It was made famous by champion steeds Ljubičevac, Kastor, Ramoz and Hajdžan. A monument erected to Ljubičevac, who won the “triple crown” (as an undefeated galloper), is located at the centre of this oasis of peace and tranquility, where numerous walking trails culminate. The activities of the stud farm are connected to the annual Ljubičevo Equestrian Games tourism and sporting event.
MILENA’S HOME FOUNDATION – GALLERY OF PAINTER MILENA PAVLOVIĆ-BARILI
The Gallery of Milena Pavlović-Barili is located next to the building of the National Museum in the heart of the city. It is housed in the birth home of the painter, which her mother Danica donated to the City in 1962 and which was subsequently used to establish this memorial gallery. Its exhibition collection includes the majority of her artistic opus. Milena lived and worked during the period between the two world wars. Born back in 1909 as the only child of Danica and Bruno, an Italian composer, she lived between Požarevac and Rome, because her parents were separated, and this had a major impact on Milena herself and her later work.
Guided by a restless spirit, she travelled to Spain, London, Paris, Venice and America, where she died in 1945. Milena was engaged is in the United States as an illustrator of the most respected fashion journals and magazines, including Vogue, Charm and Glamor, as well as a creator of costumes for ballet performances.
Visitors to the gallery can view the permanent exhibition paintings (oils on canvas, watercolours, tempera and pastels), her personal items, furniture and Milena’s personal library.
The gallery is not only the biggest meeting place for visual artists, but also tourists, who tour this vast collection in large numbers each year. Today this gallery honouring the life and works of Pavlović-Barili organises the Biennial “Light of Milena” event, which is a kind of festival of Serbian painted art.
MUSEUM OF CULTURAL HISTORY
The building of the Museum of Cultural History at No.9 Nemanjina Street is a typical example of a house of a rich merchant family. The urban elite of Požarevac began building expansive and comfortable family homes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, using solid construction materials and beautify the interiors with massive antique furniture, art objects, products, craft activities and domestic and foreign productions, reflecting their prestige, power and grandeur. Antique furniture was purchased in Budapest, Vienna and Belgrade and modelled on the European styles of the time – Biedermeier, historical eclecticism, Altdeutsche etc.
As the most valuable part of the house used as the museum of cultural history, we recommend the ceiling of unknown Viennese masters. There are items from glass services sporting a gilded coat of arms, a gift from Miloš Obrenović to Stojan Ribarci – a liberal champion and minister who was born in Požarevac, then items of silver dishes and stained-glass dishes. Public and private presentations include photos in the format of business cards that receive a prominent place in family albums.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK VIMINACIUM
Viminacium is an archaeological site near Stari Kostolac, 12 km from Požarevac. Built as a Roman military camp in the 1st century AD, it lasted until the beginning of the 7th century. It had tens of thousands of residents, while the camp around which it was built and the city itself where the headquarters of the Legion VII Claudius.
It experienced its ultimate destruction in 441AD, when the Huns razed the area to the ground. It was reconstructed during the time of Justinian I in 535 as a frontier military fort, marking the end of its former existence.
Excavations at the site of the Roman town and legionnaire camp have so far revealed 14,000 graves and discovered 50,000 caskets, a thousand of which are gold.
All artefacts able to be moved – marble sculptures, tombstones and sarcophagi, jewellery and vessels – are kept in the National Museums in Belgrade and Požarevac.
The special charm of this site cam with the discovery of a mammoth over a million years old, popularly called Vika. Vika the Mammoth is among the oldest specimens in the world (dating back to the prehistoric Miocene period).
The curiosity of this discovery is that its skeleton is preserved at the site, located some 270 metres east of the Viminacium Imperial Mausoleum.
A paleontological park opened there in June 2014. Known as “Mamut Park”, it covers an area of 1,500 square metres and includes an underground cave which houses the skeleton of Vika, found in 2009, and the remains of four other mammoths excavated two years later that are 180,000 years old and have been named Socks, Trbuško, Đomla and Lenka.
“VIMINACIUM FEST – MYTHS OLD AND NEW”
The new theatre festival “Viminacium Fest – myths old and new”, (3rd to 9th September, Kostolac) will take place on the area of the Viminacium Archaeological Park as a competitive event between professional theatres from Serbia and the region.
The festival includes the participation of theatres from Zagreb, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Belgrade and Novi Sad, which will perform the plays Richard III, The Phoenician, The Odyssey – dream of return, Electra and Hasanaginica.
The finale of the festival, on 9th September, will feature a concert in honour of the winners performed by the Novi Sad Big Band. This theatre festival will take place in the Viminacium amphitheatre. The co-organisers of the event are the Viminacium Archaeological Park, the Požarevac Culture Centre and the local government.