Negotinske Pivnice


Negotinske Pivnice is part of the Tentative list of Serbia in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Negotinske Pivnice comprises a group of settlements dedicated to wine making. Wine cellars are connected by underground tunnels. The area is surrounded by vineyards, used since Roman times.

Map of Negotinske Pivnice

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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France - 16-Apr-23 -

Negotinske Pivnice (T) by Argo

It seems the tradition of growing vine and making wine around Negotin, a small town in the East of Serbia bordering Bulgaria and Romania, dates back from Roman times. This led to the development of wine cellars, but mots of these settlements are now lost or were destroyed. The most remarkable of the few remaining ones (from 19th and 20th centuries) is in Rajac – a village which gives its name to one of the Serbian wines. We made a stop there in summer 2022.

The wine cellars, or “Pivnice”, form a distinct, geographically separated settlement : the village is in the valley from where a small winding road leads to the cellars on top of the hill, overlooking the valley. When arriving, you would believe to have reached the next village but actually all the buildings are wine cellars only.  They have square or rectangular plan, with one level only (although a handful for them have two levels), partly dug into the ground, probably to keep a more stable temperature inside, which is best for wine storage. Wine is still made here and can be tasted and purchased in a few of them. From the heat and sun outside, a few seconds were needed to adapt to the rather dark, tempered cellars when going in, and to safely walk down the few steps. Whether you like or dislike a food or a wine is a very personal thing as usual ; these wines were quite unusual and pleasant. Some of the cellars owners were offering food as well and we had a delicious lunch from local and fresh food. Just outside of this “village of cellars”, we went to the cemetery, with richly carved tomb stones, most of them with a ”cap stone”. These high stones had partly been cleared from the grass and bushes around, and the different leaning stones made for very nice pictures – a feeling of “recently discovered archaeological site” rather than a cemetery as you would figure it. According the Unesco website, the proximity of the cemetery with the cellars, not with the village and church, shows the importance of wine in the life of people here, which they associate with the important steps in life, in particular burial ceremonies.

I believe traditions as well as vernacular architecture are always of interest when visiting a country, but not everything can become a WHS. We understood this tradition of wine making got almost totally lost and the country put great efforts to preserve it some 15 or 20 years ago. In other occasions, I already noticed these efforts may include placing the site on the tentative list of the country, probably with the idea of drawing the public attention to that place rather than achieving inscription. This may have very well been the case with the “Pivnice from Negotin region”. Still, there were very few visitors on that day (people from Central and Eastern Europe) in this “off the beaten tracks” area of Serbia.

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Full Name
Negotinske Pivnice
Human activity - Agriculture
2010 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: Negotinske Pivnice

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Negotinske Pivnice (T)
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