FOUNDING OF THE INSTITUTE AND ITS DEVELOPMENT
Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments Sremska Mitrovica, in line with its regional jurisdiction is in charge of exceptionally valuable cultural and historical heritage of Srem and of the northern part Mačva, which can continuously be traced from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. The Institute was founded by Sremska Mitrovica District in December 1961. In time, it organized itself as intermunicipal service for the region of Srem. The main activity of the Institute is the protection of immovable cultural heritage – cultural monuments, cultural and historical sites, archaeological sites and places of interest and properties under previous protection status from the territory of seven municipalities: Indjija, Irig, Pećinci, Ruma, Sremska Mitrovica, Stara Pazova and Šid.
The circumstances in which this institution was founded, did not favor the preservation of cultural heritage. Intensive urbanization was threatening to destroy the historic core and old city sites, given that there was a tendency to place new building complexes within the city centers. At that time, research of Sirmium reached its culmination. Then, the conditions for the presentation of the first archaeological sites in the city were created. The establishment of the Institute in these circumstances was supposed to reconcile the two extremes – the need of urban planners to transform cities and towns into a modern industrial centers and the desire of guardians to preserve the monumental heritage. Also in this period, most of the monasteries of Fruška Gora had been destroyed, as well as several tens of Orthodox churches that were damaged in the Second World War. The emigration of rural population to cities has caused the shutdown of many rural households which led to a threat to rural architecture. Several fortresses and ancient historical towns (Stari Slankamen, Kupinik, Berkasovo, Vrdnik) were in ruins, exposed to the ravages of time.
In the past the Institute’s work has preserved from the ravages of time the most valuable architectural core of the old towns of Srem and many individual buildings of the city, sacred and rural architecture, as well as capital architectural units such as the monasteries of Fruška Gora. Special attention was dedicated to the protection, maintenance and construction of monuments and memorials in places of significance for the period of World War II and the national-liberation struggle. One of the major projects of the Institute was the formation of ethno-park in Kupinovo. Also, extremely important is the realization of protective archaeological excavations in Sirmium at the locations of future buildings, as well as excavation of site Gradina on Bosut which gathered a large number of institutions and experts. In parallel we worked on reshaping the minds of individuals and urban planning institutions in order to more easily accept new cultural forms and develop a sense of respect for the heritage of past times.
The last decade represents a new milestone in the protection of cultural heritage. Extensive and valuable textual, technical and photographic documentation, which, thanks to the efforts of several generations of experts, was collected and stored at the Institute, is now the starting point for the study and restoration of the monumental fund in this area. Modern multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of monumental heritage, exchange of experiences with foreign experts in this field, the use of new methods and materials, promote new standards in the protection of monuments fund and contribute to examine the problem of its preservation comprehensively and with a clear understanding of its future appearance, purpose and the manner of presentation. In accordance with current European standards, the Institute is increasingly directed towards propagating the role of cultural heritage and its interpretation in the context of economic activities (development of cultural tourism). One of the most important projects of the institution, which is present in the final period, is the covering and presentation of the Imperial Palace Sirmium in today’s Sremska Mitrovica.