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The old Smedovac bell from 1872, a gift from Prince Milan Obrenović to the locals, as well as the bell tower, are currently being reconstructed thanks to the funds of the European Union, through the EU for cultural heritage and tourism project, and after more than two decades they will be returned to the locals to inform them of important events. While the work on the bell tower continues, the bell is exhibited in the National Museum in Belgrade.

Smedovac is one of the famous wine villages of Negotinska Krajina, which preserves the tradition of winemaking, viticulture and authentic Serbian folk architecture.

At the official opening of the exhibition, Bojana Borić Brešković, director of the National Museum, welcomed the guests: “For more than 150 years, this small bell hung at the very end of Serbia, near the border with Bulgaria, and this is its first visit to the capital. On behalf of the National Museum, we are proud to be its host.”

Martin Claucke, head of Operations II at the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, then addressed the audience with the words:

“When the people leave, the villages die and with the villages dies the culture. Therefore, if we want to protect cultures, we must help people to stay there. Tourism and Agriculture, especially wine production plays an important role there and I’m happy to see that there are young people in these villages who want to stay, want to continue the family tradition of wine making. And I’m happy to see that some of them are here today and we can try their wine. We very much hope that the EU investment will help to develop tourism and wine growing in the region, will create new jobs and will make it easier for families to live there.”

In addition to EU funds, German Development Cooperation participates in the co-financing of the project. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Serbia, Anke Konrad, said on this occasion: “The restoration of this small bell with a bell tower in a small village, perhaps even more clearly than the restoration of Fetislam Fortress, shows that we follow the logic of friends, not the logic of investors. In Germany we have a saying ‘small joys keep friendship’. And the fact that we managed to restore this small bell tower before it collapses is such a ‘small’ joy.”

The project, together with partners, is implemented by the GIZ. The EU for cultural heritage and tourism project leader, Alexander Beetz, emphasized the importance of implementing such interventions for the preservation of the cultural heritage of Eastern Serbia: “Culture does not live only in large monuments, it also lives in small objects, which are important for local communities. I am very grateful for the close cooperation with the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and the Ministry of Tourism and Youth, with whom we are successfully implementing another in a series of projects for the restoration and preservation of Serbian cultural heritage. I also owe a debt of special gratitude to the management of the National Museum, for recognizing the importance and curiosity of exhibiting the Smedovac bell for a wider audience.”

The exhibition will be open to visitors until October 20.

The EU for cultural heritage and tourism project is funded by the European Union and co-financed by the German Government. So far, the project has successfully carried out the restoration of the Fetislam fortress in Kladovo and is currently carrying out archaeological excavations at the Golubac fortress, works on the restoration of houses and wine cellars in Negotinska Krajina, as well as the introduction of communal infrastructure in Rajačke pivnice. The construction of the Visitor Center at Felix Romuliana is underway, and the renovation of the King’s Winery in Topola is under preparation.

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