International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property


N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State. * Uploaded: 06/2020

General Country data

The main cultural assets of Serbia

The value of immovable, movable and intangible cultural heritage in the Republic of Serbia lies in its diversity, abundance and continuity from the earliest sites from the Paleolithic and Neolithic period to the modern times.

The earliest archaeological findings in Serbia are related to Neanderthals setting in cave Balanica, in the Eastern part of Serbia which dates back to deep prehistory (ca. 200 000 BC). Besides this representative finding of human evolution, Serbia has spread traces of many prehistoric archaeological cultures, starting with one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe – the Lepenski vir, followed by the Starčevo culture and the largest Neolithic culture areal in Europe – the Vinča culture, with its most renowned site Vinča – Belo Brdo.

On the Serbian territory there is great number of examples of Roman presence, architecture and art. Mediana, Felix Romuliana and Sirmium are all testimonies of imperial splendor and greatness of the Roman Empire in these areas. Serbia is probably best known for its medieval monuments; aside from being examples of a unique style, Orthodox monasteries and churches are actively entwined in people’s everyday lives. The representative examples are inscribed on the World Heritage List (Stari Ras and Sopoćani, Studenica Monastery, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo, Gamzigrad Romuliana – Palace of Galerius, Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards). Many of the medieval fortresses are being restored (Golubac, Ram, Novo Brdo etc.), bringing their exciting stories back to life.

Visual artists also play an important role in overall cultural heritage assets of Serbia and their works play an active role in museum collections and art legacies.

The protection of cultural heritage in the Republic of Serbia is managed at three different levels: state, provincial and local level. At the state level, the Ministry of Culture and Media is in charge of preparing regulations, and carrying out the policy on the protection of immovable, movable, and intangible heritage at a national level. The Sector for Cultural Heritage Protection, within the ministry, is responsible for analyzing and monitoring the situation in the field of cultural goods protection and it proposes strategies and measures aimed at its improvement.

In addition to the Ministry of Culture and Media, 14 different institutes for the protection of cultural monuments (IPCMs) exist in the territory of Serbia: one at national level, two at provincial level, two at city level and nine at regional level. In addition to the IPCM network, in 2009, the Government of Serbia established the Central Institute for Conservation. In accordance with the Law on Cultural Property (RS Official Gazette No 71/94) currently in force in Serbia, the ICPMs are responsible for research on immovable cultural goods; drafting studies and projects for undertaking works in addition to providing insights into the implementation of measures for protection and utilization of immovable cultural properties; participating in the procedure of preparing spatial plans; and publishing studies on the work undertaken on immovable cultural assets.

As a national institution, the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia (IPCMS) is responsible for a competent assessment of the condition of immovable cultural goods of great and exceptional significance; for undertaking measures regarding their protection and utilization, as well as for cultural property inscribed on the World Heritage List and it undertakes measures regarding their protection and utilization.

Cultural property is entered in the cultural property register by type, and cultural property registers are public. Central registers are kept/maintained for each type of cultural property. The Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia (IPCMS) is in charge of the central registry of cultural goods and is responsible for the initiation of the process to declare immovable properties as cultural goods and to establish immovable cultural goods of great and exceptional significance.

Central registers of movable cultural property are kept by: the National Museum in Belgrade (protects Work of art and history), Serbian Archives (protect Archival material), National Library of Serbia (protect Old and rare book), Yugoslav Film Archive (protect Film and Audio-visual material). The National Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is kept by the Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage. Central registers of protected natural areas are kept by Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

Law on Culture (Official Gazette of RS, No. 72/09, 13/16, 30/16 - correction, 6/20)
This Law regulates the general interest in culture, the ways of fulfilling the general interest in culture and performing cultural activities as well as the rights, obligations and responsibilities of the Republic of Serbia, autonomous provinces and municipalities, towns and the City of Belgrade (hereinafter referred to as: local self-government units) in culture and the conditions for the functioning of all cultural operators.

The Republic of Serbia ensures the fulfilment of general interest in culture and the implementation of cultural policy as a set of goals and stimulates measures for cultural development. The general interest in culture and the measures which also refers to the field of cultural heritage: creation of possibilities for intensive and harmonised cultural development; creation of conditions for the stimulation of cultural creation; research, protection and use of cultural goods; securing conditions for public availability of cultural heritage; implementation of measures for the protection of cultural goods, keeping registers of cultural goods, keeping a general inventory of the cultural heritage of the Republic of Serbia; stimulating the use of new technologies in culture, in particular of information technologies and digitalisation; creating a single library-information system and register function in the library activity; creating a single information system in the field of protection of cultural goods; stimulation of cultural creation and preservation of cultural and historical heritage; encouragement of sustainable development of cultural environment as an integral part of environment.

In the field of protection of cultural goods, the Government shall establish central protection institutions. An autonomous province or local self-government unit shall establish protection institutions for the respective territory of autonomous province or local self-government unit. The Government can establish an institution for the protection of cultural goods covering the territory of several local self-government units.

Law on Cultural Property (Official Gazette of RS, No. 71/94)
This Law regulates the system of the protection and use of cultural property and defines conditions for the implementation of activities relating to the protection of cultural property. Central cultural property protection institutions are: the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, the Serbian Archives, the National Museum in Belgrade, the National Library of Serbia and the Yugoslav Film Archive. The main activities of the Central protection institutions are: to examine the state of cultural property and take measures relating to its protection and use; to provide expert assistance and promote the work relating to cultural property protection, particularly in regard to contemporary methods of professional work; to ensure professional training of staff engaged in activities relating to cultural property protection, to maintain central registers by type of cultural property and documentation on such property; and to set up and maintain a computerized information centre by type of cultural property.

Protection institutions adopt the professional guidance on conditions and manner of keeping, using and maintaining a particular type of movable cultural property and shall ensure the implementation of such guidance and secure cultural property against fire, physical, chemical and biological disintegration and unauthorized alienation.

Law on on Archive Material and Archive Activities (Official Gazette of RS, No. 6/20).
This Law regulates the system of protection of archival material and documentary material, conditions and measures for using the archival material; organization, jurisdiction and activity of Archives in the Republic of Serbia. The preservation and restoration of the archival material is carried out only in conservation laboratories and ateliers in the Archives.

Law on Old and Rare Library Material (Official Gazette of RS, No. 52/11)
This Law regulates the general interest in the activity for the protection of old and rare library material as part of cultural heritage, their keeping, preservation, and processing, as well as the conditions and terms of their use.

Law on Nature Conservation (Official Gazette of RS, No. 36/2009, 88/2010, 91/2010, 14/2016 and 95/2018 - another law)
This Law shall govern protection and conservation of nature and biological, geological and landscape diversity as part of the environment. The nature, as an asset of general interest for the Republic of Serbia, shall enjoy special protection in accordance with this Law and special laws.

The Republic of Serbia has ratified the following conventions on cultural heritage:

  • Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict (The Hague, 1954) (ratified in 1956)
  • Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property, 1970 (ratified in 1973)
  • Convention concerning the protection of world cultural and natural heritage, 1972 (ratified in 1974)
  • Convention on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage (Paris, 2003) (ratified in 2010)
  • Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions (Paris 2005) (ratified in 2009)

Council of Europe

  • European convention on the protection of architectural heritage (Granada, 1985) (ratified in 2001)
  • European convention on the protection of archaeological heritage (revised) (Valletta, 1992) (ratified in 2008)
  • Council of Europe framework convention on the value of cultural heritage for society (Faro, 2005) (ratified in 2010)
  • European landscape convention (Florence, 2000) (ratified in 2011)

The cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List

The Republic of Serbia has inscribed five monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Stari Ras and Sopoćani (1979), Studenica Monastery (1986), Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (2006), Gamzigrad Romuliana – Palace of Galerius (2007), Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards (2016). Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Dečani Monastery, Patriarchate of Peć of Monastery, Church of the Virgin of Ljeviša, Gračanica Monastery) are inscribed on the World Heritage List in Danger (2006).

There are also five cultural sites on the Tentative List: Caričin Grad - Iustiniana Prima, archeological site; Fortified Manasija Monastery; Negotinske Pivnice; Smederevo Fortress; Frontiers the Roman Empire; and seven natural sites: Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe - extension (Serbia); Cultural landscape of Bač and its surrounding; Djerdap National park; Mt Sara National Park; The Deliblato Sands Special Natural Reserve; The Djavolja Varod (Devile Town) Natural Landmark;The Tara National Park with the Drina River Canyon.

The process of the implementation of the 2003 Convention on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage in Serbia gained an international visibility after the inscription of the Family Slava (2014), Kolo, traditional folk dance (2017) and Singing to the accompaniment of the gusle (2018) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Significant reputation in the National museum's collection has the Miroslav's Gospel, an illuminated gospel book commissioned in the 12th century. A masterpiece of illumination and calligraphy, it is one of the oldest surviving documents written in the Serbian recension of Church Slavonic. In recognition of its historical value in 2005, the Miroslav Gospel was inscribed in Memory of the World Register.

From diverse but well-structured collection we would like to point out the jawbone of Homo Heidelbergensis (500 000 BC), Lepenski Vir (7th millennium BC), the numerous Vinča figurines (6th-5th millennium BC), the Dupljaja Chariot (16th-13th century BC), golden masks from Trebenište (6th century BC), silver household sets from Jabučje (1st century A.D.), the Belgrade Cameo (4th century), the Miroslav's Gospel (12th century), King Radoslav's coins (13th century), medieval frescoes and icons, enamel plaques from Hilandar (15th century), numerous Serbian and Yugoslav works of art, created by artist such as Uroš Predić, Paja Jovanović (19th century), Nadežda Petrović, Sava Šumanović or Ivan Meštrović (20th century), as well as striking masterpieces of Carpaccio, Rubens, Degas, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso or Mondrian.

Adhesion to ICCROM

Serbia is a Member State of ICCROM since 17/06/1959


Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

No mandates in ICCROM Council

ICCROM Staff since 1959: - None -

Involvement of Serbian Nationals

Activities in/with Serbia since 2002

Activities details

Activities details

  • 2002 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2003 - 2 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2004 - 2 Course(s), 3 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2005 - 1 Course(s), 1 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2006 - 1 Course(s), 5 Mission(s)
  • 2007 - 1 Course(s), 3 Mission(s), 2 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2009 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 1 Course(s), 1 Mission(s), 2 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2011 - 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2013 - 1 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2014 - 1 Course(s), 1 Partnership(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2017 - 2 Course(s)
  • 2018 - 1 Course(s), 1 Mission(s)
  • 2019 - 3 Course(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2021 - 1 Course(s)

External links

* ICCROM reserves the right to moderate the content provided by Member States for country profiles to ensure that they remain within the scope of ICCROM’s mission and pertinent to cultural heritage. However, ICCROM does not take responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the content supplied. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the Member States.