Vinca - A witness to history
Less than 15 km from the center of Belgrade, you will find Vinča, a small suburban town with two sites and institutions that have marked the history of mankind.
On the territory of the municipality of Grocka, east of the center of our capital, and next to the Belgrade – Smederevo main road, downstream from the confluence of the Sava and the Danube on the very bank of the Danube, Vinča is located, today considered as one of the most interesting and increasingly popular picnic areas in Belgrade. Vinča is much more than just a regular weekend getaway. In this small suburban settlement, you will find two iconic institutions and sites that, each in their own way, marked the history of mankind. This may sound a bit dramatic, however the events that took place at these two locations did indeed have a major impact on human development and the influence is still felt today.
What Vinča is widely known for is certainly the famous archaeological site, whose oldest excavated artifacts are more than 7,000 years old. These are the excavations from the Neolithic period, from the settlement which surpasses all others from that and even later periods, when it comes to size and number of inhabitants.
The Vinča prehistoric site Belo Brdo is located on the right bank of the Danube, stretching across the area of 10 hectares, where excavations started already early in the 20th century, and the works were intensified at the end of the 1970s. The remains of dugouts and items that tell us about the way of life in the period from 4500 to 3200 BC were found on this very site. The peak of the development of the famous "Vinca Culture" took place in the period around 3800 BC, as confirmed by the numerous artifacts that were found here, and which are now exhibited at the National Museum in Belgrade, the Museum of the City of Belgrade, as well as at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.
In addition to the characteristic anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines found at this location, there are numerous items made of ceramic, ceramic dishes and other items for home use, tools made of animal bones, stone, expensive jewelry, objects that were created at this place or were bought and brought from more distant regions of Europe. The excavations also showed that the "Vinča culture" more than 7,000 years ago revealed the secret of finding ores and melting the metals and resulted in perhaps the greatest technological revolution of our mankind. The Vinca residents at the time used money from shells and engaged in trading from the Aegean area to the Black Sea. At the time it seemed entirely unbelievable that such kind of international trade could have been established in such a large area.
Also, the members of this ancient culture used specific symbols for communication, which some scientists today consider as the early form of alphabet.
Another famous institution that we are mentioning today, thanks to Dragan Bjelogrlić's latest film, is certainly the Institute of Nuclear Sciences "Vinča", the place where the infamous accident happened which inadvertently, though, contributed to one of the most important discoveries in medicine - the first bone marrow transplant! As a result of failures and deficiencies in the operation of the experimental nuclear reactor that occurred in Vinca in 1958, the six scientists were exposed to lethal doses of radiation for which there was no adequate medical treatment at the time. With a bit of luck and a lot of humanity, five scientists were saved in Paris at the "Kiri" Institute, where for the first time in history they were subject to bone marrow transplantation from voluntary donors, just ordinary citizens of Paris who wanted to selflessly help their Serbian friends and give them a new chance for life. But not only to them, but also to numerous patients all over the planet whose lives were saved by the same intervention in the decades to come.
In the immediate vicinity of Vinča there are also other interesting localities that tourists can enjoy. It is definitely worth mentioning the "Mali Dunav", a charming, little picnic area in Belgrade, suitable for people of all ages. All of them can enjoy numerous lakes and ponds. Mali Dunav offers so many lakes and ponds - starting with experimental ones, also the lakes for the selection of the best quality fish, all the way to fishing lakes where you can enjoy this popular hobby for a small fee.
Of course, there is also the "Rančić's house", one of the first authentic houses in this area, which dates back to the early 19th century. It was built by the Rančić’s family as a two-part low Kosovo style "ground floor house", easily heated due to a very low ceiling that could be reached by hand. It originally had two, and subsequently four rooms and a porch along the entire length of the house towards the courtyard resembling the Kosovo-Moravian style of construction. Like most of the old houses in the Belgrade area, it was built with chatma filling (between the wooden beams a net made of wicker or branches is woven and glued with mud). The wooden roof structure is covered with tile. Today, Rančić's house is used by the Grocka Culture Center, and in this beautiful yard you can find several wooden tables and benches, a neatly maintained and a beautifully reconstructed old well, as well as a bust of Dr. Aleksandar Kostić, who was originally during the 1980s interested in this, then-abandoned house, which is why he carried out a minor reconstruction.
Vinča certainly deserves to be on the list of every Belgrade visitor who would like to learn more about the historical facts first hand. We at Novi apartmani recommend that you definitely join one of the organized tours with the curator of the archaeological museum, who will introduce you to so many facts and stories about this ancient culture of which the people of Belgrade are very proud, in a very fun and interactive way.
And when you have rested after visiting all the locations in Vinča in your comfortable accommodation that you have picked in the Center section, head to one of the nearby cinemas and watch the new movie "Guardians of the Formula" and complete the whole story about this very important location, not only for Belgrade, but for all of humanity, as well.