EU PRO Programme funded by the European Union and the Republic of Serbia
  • Republic of Serbia
  • UNOPS

Užice, 26 May 2019

Detailed Regulation Plan of the "Old Town" in Užice - the First Steps in the Reconstruction of the Užice Fortress

Situated on a high ridge and surrounded by the Đetinja river from three sides, the Old Town medieval fortress in Užice constitutes a symbol of the city and possesses the real potential to become a tourist destination. The first information on this fortification dates back to the 14th century when merchant caravans were traveling the roads along the Gorge of the Đetinja, as were numerous Hungarian and Turkish military troops trying to conquer the then almost unconquerable fortress connected with defensive walls and towers. The fortress itself consists of three parts - a citadel on the top with the main tower, the Middle Town and the Lower Town with the Water Tower, which supplied the town with water at the times of sieges.

Situated on a high ridge and surrounded by the Đetinja River from three sides, the medieval 14th century fortress Stari Grad (Old Town), is a symbol of the Užice region. This three part fort, connects the citadel and the main tower with the Middle and the Lower town, and the city’s water supply at the time of the siege, the Water tower. Fortified by its stone walls the town resisted the advances of numerous Hungarian and Turkish armies before it fell at the mercy of weather and time.

After decades of neglect, the City of Užice showed resolve to reconstruct the fort and protect it from falling into ruin. In the past few years, the City and the Ministry of Culture have funded the works on the art-conservation and reconstruction of the fortress with the aim of preserving the walls of the Old Town and making them safe for visitors.

In order to boost further development, with the support of the European Union, through the EU PRO Programme, a detailed regulation plan (DRP) will be prepared for the area of the Old Town covering 28 ha, in order to provide the basis of future development, protection and promotion of this natural and cultural heritage.

Namely, the planning documents will contribute to the revitalisation, protection and economic valorisation of this cultural heritage. The fortress will be linked to other important sites including an old hydroelectric power plant, the first of its kind built according to Tesla's principles of polyphaser currents in Europe, the Gorge of the river Đetinja and nearby tourist sites such as Mokra Gora, Tara and Zlatibor. As a result Užice tourist offer as well as that of the entire Zlatibor region will develop and also attract new investments.

In line with EU PRO requirement for participatory approach to project development, Užice City organised a meeting with investors and other stakeholders during the early public insight into the Detailed Regulation Plan of the Užice Old Town.[1] Besides representatives of the Užice City and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Kraljevo, the meeting also brought together a large number of citizens and potential investors who actively participated in the debate.

According to the Užice Deputy Mayor, Nemanja Nešić, the high-quality planning document will create opportunities for further threefold site development – establishment of a communication link between the state road and the fortress by constructing a pedestrian bridge, art-conservation and reconstruction of the fortification and the development of a wider area of the site itself through the planning and later, construction of commercial facilities.

This project for the development of the planning document, which will pay special attention to environmental protection, is crucial not just for Užice but for the entire region of the Đetinja Gorge and its surroundings. The City has already started to work on a project for the development of the Stapari Spa, upstream from the Old Town, while the European Union will support the construction of a replica of the Neolithic settlement, Staparska gradina, through a cross-border cooperation project worth almost 600,000 euros. This will be the second archaeological park of this kind in Serbia, and the City of Užice will implement the project in the partnership with the City of Tuzla, the Municipality of Milići and the Art School from Užice.

 

[1] A separate web page dedicated to the development of the Detailed Regulation Plan for the Old Town on the official web site of the city