On February 22, 1844, AleksandarKaradjordjevic, Prince of Serbia, passed the Regulation on the Prohibition of Demolishing of Old Cities and Remainsat the proposal of Jovan SterijaPopovic and with the consent of the National Assembly. The Regulation on the Protection of Monuments of Ancient Heritage was the first general act on the protection of cultural heritage in Serbia and it is among the first modern general legal acts on cultural heritage adopted in European countries in the 19th century.

In 1947, the Government of Serbia established the Institute for the Protection and Scientific Research of Cultural Monuments of the People’s Republic of Serbia, with the official seat in Belgrade, owing in particular to the enthusiasm of Milorad Panic Surepa (a Serbian writer who was later on to become the first Director of the Institute). In 1960, the Institute was renamed to “Republic Institute for the Protection of Monuments of Cultural Heritage – Belgrade”; in 1971, the Yugoslav Institute for the Protection of Monuments of Cultural Heritage was merged with it, and soon a network of protection institutions was set up in the territory of Serbia.

The Republic Institute for the Protection of Monuments of Cultural Heritage – Belgrade is tasked with recording, examining, protecting and presenting of cultural heritage that includes the oldest prehistoric and antique monuments, works of medieval sacral and fortification architecture, traditional architecture and monuments created in the recent history and contemporary works, which are now comprising significant cultural and historical, artistic, educational and aesthetical value for Serbia and Serbian people.

Among the categorised immovable cultural resources, the serial property of StariRas and Sopocani was the first to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List of cultural and natural heritage sites in 1979, followed by the Studenica Monastery in 1986, the Decani Monastery in 2004, the Monastery of Gracanica and the Patriarchate of Pec and the Church of Holy Virgin of Ljevisa in Prizren in 2006, along with the archaeological site of Gamzigrad – Romuliana in 2007.

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