The “Dossier Petrovaradin: Managing Historic Urban Landscape” book is out!

The “Dossier Petrovaradin: Managing Historic Urban Landscapes” book is a result of a collaborative attempt to rethink the valorization, use and protection of the Petrovaradin Fortress, a neglected yet outstanding historical site in the city of Novi Sad, Serbia. Over 40 authors -from 30 countries and diverse backgrounds- offer in the numerous themes of this book a rich and dynamic look on how heritage sites and historic urban landscapes can be understood, managed and used, in ways which go beyond heritagization, profit-making, strict disciplinary boundaries and nostalgic relation to the past.

The Petrovaradin Fortress is positioned on a high solid rock overlooking the city of Novi Sad and the Danube River which curves around it. Humans have inhabited this space since Neolithic times and have built fortified structures in six different historic periods. Most of these traces are invisible today, and the Petrovaradin Fortress is a synonym for the visible fortified structures and urban architecture which are the result of 18th-century military and civic planning efforts undertaken within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. 

After Petrovaradin Fortress was demilitarised in 1951, artists, explorers, planners, and enthusiasts started to discuss about its potential civic use.  However, after the first wave of enthusiasm, policymakers and planners lost their interest. Through the years, the Fortress has attracted a somewhat contradictory range of grandiose ambitions and visions, together with a serious lack of proper maintenance and slow but steady privatisation of its spaces. Today in 2019, one can clearly experience a new wave of interest. As an upcoming (2021) European Capital of Culture, the city of Novi Sad and the national government have invested an unprecedented amount of money for the restoration of the Lower Fortress and a new wave of tourists show their interest in the monument once again. 

But is this future sustainable? How to balance protection of valuable historic layers with development and change? How to enable multiple uses of this place, such as culture, recreation, commerce, tourism and living? Diverse desires, interests, and dreams shape the Fortress, many of which are in conflict with the strict regimes of protection and conservation of built heritage and their reliance on institutional and professional authority. It is an urbanistic challenge of how to organise multiple uses and users and their interactions.

In the encounter with Petrovaradin Fortress, more than 40 authors  have used their knowledge and expertise to offer between the pages of the Dossier Petrovaradin book possible answers to numerous issues which deter the sustainable, responsible, equitable and economic use of this historic urban landscape. Many of the authors conversed with the UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape approach, applying it, reshaping it and introducing new perspectives, underpinnings and questions. 

In the book, Petrovaradin Fortress plays a role as a place where complex issues of heritage protection and socioeconomic development meet,  as well as a trigger for discussing the future of historic urban landscapes across the world. As the Secretary-General of Europa Nostra Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović noted in the foreword of the book, “the Fortress reflects the true spirit of Europe’s heritage: diverse, open, and inspiring”. “The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 is an opportunity to strengthen the capacity of cultural heritage actors and stimulate peer-learning and exchanges of good practices at a global level”.

The project has been implemented by Europa Nostra Serbia, Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments Novi Sad and Faculty of Sport and Tourism Novi Sad, in partnership with Edinburgh World Heritage, Europa Nostra, Global Observatory on Historic Urban Landscapes and ENCATC, within the framework of the Novi Sad 2021 European Capital of Culture and European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. The project has been financially supported by the Headley Trust and Foundation Novi Sad European Capital of Culture 2021 and Ministry of Culture and Information of Serbia.

You can download Dossier Petrovaradin, or read it in high resolution on Issuu.

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