Reconnecting With My Roots, A Trip To Serbia - Felix Romuliana

Continuing from my previous blog post regarding one of Serbia’s most historical monasteries, later that same day my son and I drove right beside one of the countries largest archeological site’s I had seen in my life.

As an armchair enthusiast of Roman History, I spent a good couple of years dedicated to reading almost everything that I could during that period of time, so when I had a chance to drop by and visit the famous Felix Rumuliana, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

If you look on Wikipedia, the entire archeological site is called Gamzigrad, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is the location of a series of ancient Roman palaces and temples called Felix Rumuliana, which was built by Emperor Galerius.

Early explorers first thought that site was a military camp, but later found out that it was an Imperial palace for a Roman emperor himself. In case you’re wondering, the place was named in memory of Galerius’s mother, Romula. The palace continued to exist until the Huns plundered it in the mid 5th century, and over the next few hundred years faded into obscurity until it was found again, much to the delight of history and archeology enthusiasts across the globe.

“Gamzigrad is one of the most magnificent monuments of the past…one of the largest and best-preserved monuments of Roman architecture in Europe.”

-F. Kanitz, according to Discover Southeast Serbia

With armed with some of the historical knowledge in mind, here are some of the pictures I took of the site. I had more luck this time then I did with Ravanica, as I was allowed to photograph the insides of the surviving ruins, although there wasn’t that much to picture in the first place – the most interest parts of the site was outside.

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I also have to quickly mention that the weather for the trip was excellent, especially when we were traveling throughout the countryside.

This is one of my favorite pictures, although it doesn’t show off to much of the site itself. With the spectacular scenery of the countryside, clouds, and blue sky in-between the two walls, it’s a beautiful shot.

 

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Here’s another picture showing off more of the surrounding countryside, along with more of the peripheral ruins. If you look closely, you will notice some of the walls has been refurbished. An interesting fact is that the same stone used to build this complex thousand of years ago was mined from the hills in the surrounding region, so when archaeologists came to fix up the wall, they used the same rock that was right nearby to preserve historical accuracy.

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Now here is a beautiful, classic picture of the heart of the ruins itself. These pillars are some of the oldest surviving columns in ancient architectural history. Aside from the beautiful Serbian sky and clouds, this picture has excellent composition. Even looking at the tops of the pillars, we can draw a diagonal line leading up to the largest and most complete pillar. This little aspect of visual geometry helps make the pillars, the central aspect of the shot, stand out even more.

It’s paralleled by the bottom of the courtyard, which has another long diagonal line running in the opposite angle from the top of the pillars. If you follow the lines from the center outward, it almost looks like it’s trailing off in the distance. These lines help guide our eyes to the most essential part of the picture. Although in many ways you can’t control the angle of the buildings itself, you can control the angle that you shoot, which allows you to setup these critical factors in your pictures.

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I still took most of my pictures with a black and white lens, and here we have one of my favorite examples from the session. This closeup picture of the ruined tower allows us to see a lot of the detail of the millennia-old bricks, which lends some aspect of the character to the picture.

Ravanica and Felix Romuliana are two of the most notable tourist sites in the Serbian countryside, and although I was there once when I was younger, it was nice to be able to see it all again, especially with my son alongside me.

Until next time,

Goran Prvulovic