WDEC 2019 at the New Cemetery in Belgrade, Serbia

2019 WDEC at the New Cemetery in Belgrade, Serbia, was honored by series of preliminary and main events, held thorough May and the beginning of June. 

Pre-WDEC Events

The New Cemetery in Belgrade continues to participate in the Week of Discovering European Cemeteries (WDEC), launched and managed by the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe.  Traditionally each May, the New Cemetery in Belgrade hosts two international pre-WDEC events.

Belgrade International Architecture Week

The New Cemetery in Belgrade is traditionally a part of guided walks through the City of Belgrade, within the Belgrade International Architecture Week (BINA). This year’s 14th Belgrade Architecture week was held under the slogan „Positive and Active“. Following the initiative of the organizers, the walk was dedicated to the Great War Cemeteries located within the New Cemetery of Belgrade. This first specialized walk through the New Cemetery devoted exclusively to the Memorials of the Great War, has aroused significant interest among the citizens of Belgrade, so this year’s group was filled in record time. The New Cemetery in Belgrade is one of the rare urban, civilian cemeteries comprising five foreign military cemeteries from WWI and WWII: Austro-Hungarian, French, Italian, British, Bulgarian and Russian. Among the other attractions, the visitors were able to enter the crypt of the WWI Serbian Ossuary of Belgrade Defenders and the Memorial Chapel at the Austro-Hungarian Military Cemetery. At the Italian WWI Memorial Cemetery, our guests heard the interesting and at times heart-breaking stories of the Italian WWI volunteers, the symbolism of the massive iron gate around the cemetery and had a chance to record their impressions into the Guestbook. 

Museum Night

With the idea to provide an authentic experience, the New Cemetery took part in the Museum Night for the seventh time in a row, with the intriguing guided tours. This 16th Museum Night in Belgrade was held on May 18, 2019 under the slogan „Freedom“, and was dedicated to Surrealism, as an art and socially engaged movement. In the course this unique journey through the night entitled “The Night with Inexhaustible Sources”, the visitors heard the stories on surrealists and other artists, who inspired by the freedom of taught and expression, had devoted their lifework to breaking the boundaries of  „Reality“. The guests enjoyed expressive stories told by volunteer guides, i.e., Belgrade University Students who managed to keep visitors’ interest with great success. Through their emotionally engaging stories, at times on the edge of visual and dramatic performance, the guides introduced the visitors to the unpredictable and shocking spheres of Surrealism and Dadaism, as well as their battle for artistic and other forms of freedom. This year’s Museum Night was unfortunately cut short due to heavy spring rains, however, it didn’t stop our young guides to provide an unparalleled experience to the citizens of Belgrade and our dear guests.

Main Event

This year’s BINA and Museum Night prompted us to listen carefully to our visitors who suggested the theme for the main event marking WDEC 2019 at the New Cemetery in Belgrade, and was therefore decided to mark this occasion with one of the most popular thematic guided walks through the New Cemetery in Belgrade - Embodied from Soul and Mind – The Story of Extraordinary Ladies.  Embodied from Soul and Mind is a thematic stroll devoted to all those fascinating ladies, who in spite of disturbing patriarchal social settings, managed to find the way to - graciously and with a smile - move the world in direction of progress and make it better place to live. In addition to sometimes grim reminders on the difficult social position of the local women at the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century, the visitors were fascinated by the tales of these heroines of spirit, their fatal loves, not to mention the women who were active as in and around the front lines, controversial free thinkers, but also the victims of malicious gossips and ruthless entrapment. The visitors were able to see the last resting place of the  „Serbian Sarah Bernard”, talented local actress who was a cause of duels between the Royal Ministers and to whom many emotional verses were written by romantic poets, in addition to the first female librarian and journalist of the „Politika " Daily News, who elegantly defied the strict believes of her time and later became originator of the local modern dance movement, not to mention the bright and highly disputed Serbian lady, who managed to acquire the PhD title and become the first regular female professor of the Belgrade University. This tour was filled with the inspiring life stories of the educated, free-spirited women struggled to overcome the limitations imposed by the society and the period they lived in.