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Documentary heritage is a legacy of humankind, through which we can look back into the past, enrich our present lives, and look into the future with the boldness forged by enduring memories.  UNESCO ‘s Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to guard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world and ensuring their wide dissemination. Among numerous collections, archives, manuscripts and documents from all over the world, UNESCO’s Memory of the World register lists documentary heritage found in Serbia’s museums and archives which corresponds to the strict selection criteria regarding world significance and outstanding universal value – The Miroslav Gospel, a manuscript from the 12th century, the Nikola Tesla’s Archive, and the Telegram of Austria-Hungary`s declaration of war on Serbia.

Photo: Slava

Miroslav Gospel

The Miroslav Gospel, a manuscript dating from around 1180 with miniatures of outstanding beauty, is the representative of a group of illuminated manuscripts of specific style and iconography resulting from fusion of elements of the West (Italy) and the East (Byzantium). This Serbian script that the concept of book decoration shares with other Orthodox Slavs and the style with the miniatures originating from mid-Italian scriptoria, is actually one of the most important testimonies of the artistic influences paths made from the West to the East and back. The Miroslav Gospel documents the liturgic structure of the evangelistary and an important stage of development of the Rascian orthography, the importance of which goes beyond the mediaeval Serbia boundaries. The valuable material - parchment and gilding - has been preserved almost completely and documents well the endowment power of Christian princes in the Balkans by the end of the 12th C. By its style which is the mixture of the influences from the West and the East, the Miroslav Gospel is the unique manuscript of its kind in the region, as well as in the world. By its beauty and uniqueness the Miroslav Gospel will influence later other manuscripts of the region, as well as of the Medieval Europe. This manuscript represents the most precious and significant document in cultural heritage in Serbia.

Nikola Tesla's Archive

Nikola Tesla’s Archive is a unique collection of manuscripts – scientific documents that are irreplaceable in the study of the most important period in the history of the development of the modern age.

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), an American scientist of Serbian origin, made his greatest contribution to science and the technological advance of mankind as the discovering or inventing the rotating magnetic field, the induction motor, multi-phase alternating current, the generator and a complete system for the production and distribution of electrical energy. The international SI unit for the measurement of magnetic induction, the tesla, was named after him. Tesla constructed a high frequency and current electrical generator, today known as the Tesla transformer or the Tesla coil.

The Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade is a unique scientific and cultural institution, both in Serbia and worldwide. It is the only museum preserving the authentic and personal artifacts of Nikola Tesla, an exceptionally valuable collection.

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Photo: Ansambl Kolo
Photo: WWI Poster Archive

Telegram of Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia

On July 28th 1914, Austria Hungary sent a telegram to Serbia declaring war. This event marked the beginning of the First World War – one of the world's most tragic conflicts in the history of human race and initiated the era of unprecedented suffering. The Telegram was sent from Vienna on July 28, 1914 at 11:10, and was received in Niš on July 28, 1914 at 12:30. It was written in French language. The content of the Telegram is as follows: 

„The Royal Government of Serbia has not satisfactorily responded to the Royal Minister of Foreign Affairs in Niš at the note dated 23rd of July in 1914 which was handed in by the Austria-Hungarian minister in Belgrade, wherefore the Imperial Government and the Royal Government are constrained to rely on armed forces in order to save their rights and interest. From this moment forward, Austria-Hungary considers to be at war with Serbia. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria-Hungary, Count Berchtold“.


The telegram is the unique testimony of the world's diplomacy and an internationally important document. The original Telegram is being kept in the Archives of Serbia.

"It is that from the past which affects the present but also conditions the future.” – Ivo Andrić


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