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The oldest urban settlement in Europe

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If you are conversing with the local people about the oldest urban settlement in Europe, the debate will definitely raise many questions and many eyebrows. Somehow, everyone has just a perfect candidate for this title. The most common candidates are Plovdiv in Bulgaria, Athens in Greece and Cadiz in Spain.

In order to bring the light to one of the oldest and the least famous civilizations of Europe, this article will focus on Lepenski Vir settlement, located in Djerdap National Park in Serbia.

How old is “the oldest city of Europe”

The oldest findings of a modern human in Lepenski Vir archaeological site date back to 9.500 years BC. This impressive number is still subject to the research and often a topic of debate between archaeologists as some suggest that the settlement started around 7.000 years BC.

Lepenski Vir site consists of one large settlement with around ten satellite villages. The surroundings of Danube were the optimal place for the early settlements as they offered natural protection from the river and very fertile land. The importance of Lepenski Vir settlement may not be so much in the years, as it is in the specifics, the architecture, monumental sculptures, and art.

The specific findings

Lepenski Vir archaeological site is a good example of the importance of harmony between architecture and nature even in the ancient times. Unfortunately, only the original floors and the bases of the houses, are still preserved. It’s open to interpretation how the houses actually looked, but scientists agree that they were of a distinctive trapezoidal shape.

Another curious thing discovered in this site are piscine-like figures, which can be seen as part of the exhibition. Quite captivating when looked at, these sculptures are not entirely demystified in the scientific circles.

What to expect at Lepenski Vir Museum

Nowadays, Lepenski Vir is displaced in the museum and open for visitors. The museum preserves the site from devastation due to climate and outdoor effects.

Visiting the settlement

Needless to say, the visit is a must for all history buffs and people interested in the shadowed European history. A stop at the archaeological site and the museum also makes a good half-day excursion for those who already happen to be in the area of Djerdap National Park.

And although the Golubac Fortress is stealing most of the visitors, Lepenski Vir reminds us of the alternative civilizations and the diversity that was present in Europe, long before the countries and nations were created.

Special thanks to Lepenski Vir Museum for providing the photos.

Lepenski Vir
Lepenski Vir
Boljetin bb, Lepenski vir, Donji Milanovac 19220, Serbia
Djerdap National Park
Djerdap National Park

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The author

Milena Mihajlovic

Milena Mihajlovic

I am Milena, and enjoy traveling, hiking and everything coffee-related. Through my writing, I want to inspire fellow travelers about Serbia, my dear country.

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