European experts’ report highlights the urgent need for rehabilitation of the Watermills of Bistrica, Serbia

In a technical report released today, experts from Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute emphasise the urgent need for the rehabilitation of the Watermills of Bistrica in Serbia, listed among the 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe for 2023. According to the report, with proper restoration, interpretation and a sustainable cultural tourism plan, the Watermills of Bistrica could become a great example of successful heritage revitalisation bringing multiple benefits to the local community and economy.

Watermills of Bistrica, Petrovac na Mlavi, SERBIA

This is a worthwhile and necessary rehabilitation of a distinguished architectural heritage ensemble which is long overdue. It would enhance this location in the rural area of Bistrica and provide a venue for cultural and social events to the benefit of all, including actual expectations on the creation of several new local jobs”, the report emphasises.

The most urgent intervention requires the stabilisation and consolidation of the riverbanks next to Velika watermill. This mill is on the left bank and the pedestrian wooden bridge that gives access from the main road to the village is about to collapse. (…) Along the Bistrica stream, there are other sections that require action, especially at the entrance of the village. In general, the mills need to be cleaned and restored in order to be displayed as a tourist attraction,” read the report.

Watermills of Bistrica, Petrovac na Mlavi, SERBIA

The Watermills of Bistrica are a unique complex of historic mills for grinding grain and rolling cloth created between the 19th century and the mid-20th century. The architecture of these watermills showcases the folk characteristics of Balkan rural structures, characterised by small-scale and wooden constructions. The watermills are under the threat of destruction due to their long-term abandonment and exposure to harsh weather conditions.

The Watermills of Bistrica were nominated to the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2023 by the local community – with the support of the local “Native Museum” and the Assembly of Millers of the Region, in collaboration with the Tourism Organisation of the Municipality of Petrovac na Mlavi – and with the endorsement of Europa Nostra Serbia.

Watermills of Bistrica, Petrovac na Mlavi, SERBIA

The report was formulated on the basis of the outcomes of the mission in Serbia undertaken by experts from Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute between 6 and 9 November 2023. During the mission, the experts went on a scholarly site visit accompanied by the nominator and representatives from Europa Nostra Serbia, and held meetings with the Municipal Council of Petrovac na Mlavi, the Regional Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Smederevo, the Bistrica Water Miller Association, and the Tourism Organisation of the Municipality of Petrovac na Mlavi.

The report was compiled by Mario Aymerich and Lourdes Llorens, Technical Consultant provided by the European Investment Bank Institute, with the support of Charles Pictet, Board member of Europa Nostra.

Latest articles about 7 Most Endangered

Europa Nostra and EIB Institute announce Europe’s 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites 2024

Message by Executive President and Secretary General

Europa Nostra’s Secretary General joins Tourism and Sustainability Conference held in Athens

More Articles +