The Old Town of Bar (Stari Bar) is the largest and the most important medieval archaeological site in the Balkans. It covers the area of 4.5 hectares, where the remains of around 600 public and private edifices are the proof of the existence of various construction phases present in different epochs of the Mediterranean history.

The visual identity of the Old Town of Bar is formed by the ramparts, bastions, towers, a citadel, numerous squares and churches.  On the western and northern side, in the immediate surroundings of the ramparts of the Old Town of Bar there is an incompatible ambient whole consisting of the settlement and the suburban area of the Old Bar, while on the southern and eastern side there is a preserved natural setting of the slopes of Mount Rumija.

It is in the historical sources from the 10th century that the Old Town of Bar is mentioned for the first time, however it is assumed that it had existed even in the 6th century in the form of the rehabilitated Roman castrum. It was established in a naturally protected place and surrounded by strong walls with towers and bastions. The residential architecture of the town is characterized by Late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and oriental elements.

The Old Town of Bar has been deserted since the end of the 19th century. After the 1979 earthquake, technical specifications and project design documents were made, along with the research programmes and the plans for the protection and presentation of the Town core. The most significant structures of the upper part of the town were being explored, conserved and presented during the first and the second round of the works. Yet another drafted and fully implemented project included infrastructural works on the route leading from the main gate to St. George's Cathedral. This clearly shows the unambiguous interest in rehabilitation of certain structures and in reestablishing corresponding functions of the same, all in line with the programmes relative to their purpose. The electrical supply network enabled the installation of public lighting, the illumination of certain monuments and communications. Thanks to the regular investments and technical maintenance related to the cleaning of vegetation, the upper part of the town is accessible to public.

The lower, southern part of the town with the suburban rampart has not been treated and it is rather dilapidated. Ample vegetation endangers the remains of the architecture and makes them invisible.

In the area of the Old Town of Bar there is rich cultural-historic heritage of outstanding significance. The most important single structures in the Old Town of Bar are Main Gate (14th-16th century), Saint Nicola's Church (13th century), Tatarovica Citadel (10th to 19th century) with the military chapel, Aqueduct at Tatarovica and Saint George's Cathedral (11th-15th century) among others.

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Rick Williams said 12 months ago
Having lived in a totally modern house for the past 10 years, I now simply love older buildings...older the better in my opinion! I simply love the fact that Stari Bar is steeped in history and dates back to medievel times with its history and architecture. Each building and "newer" layer, will have a story to tell. I now love the history of old buildings so much, that we now live in a 400 year old property!


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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.