Editor-in-chief: Branka Prpa, PhD
Authors: Branka Branković, Jovanka Veselinović, Sonja Jerković, Olga Latinčić, Evica Micković
Graphic design: Dragana Lacmanović
Issue: 2003

The first and last characteristic of the history of Belgrade is; that not a single cultural matrix remained sufficiently sacred, nor was it so deep-rooted as to avoid a violent or peaceful problematic outcome. The most valuable result of that historical maelstrom was cultural dialogue, as the key principle of Europe's universalism. After all, European culture is nothing other than continual retraction, criticism and rebellion.

"Belgrade Through the Centuries," the permanent exhibition of the Historical Archives of Belgrade, shall illustrate how one city on the crossroads of two worlds having never experienced European renaissance, built a constructive principle of its existence out of historical negations. It is no coincidence that the oldest document kept in the Archive is the "Dialogue of the Turks and the Christians," written in the Turkish language, which dates back to the second half of the 16th century.
For the history of Belgrade, the prevailing ideas of European civilization such as Christianity or humanism are of significance together with their opposites. Each chapter starting from the first, Between a Crescent and a Cross and the last, Between a Sickle and a Hammer present an illustrative picture of such an historical dichotomy; an encounter with antagonism and conflicts, or perhaps the dialogue of plurality.

The Historical Archives of Belgrade shall present those until now invisible links of history, which have lasted for the last four centuries, for the first time to the general public. From the 2.613 historical materialson file at the archive, 12.5 km of material, the most valuable or most attractive of those documents will be presented. All aresystemized into a theme/problem and time reference category. Still, the basic concept shall leave each visitor the possibility to individually research the history of Belgrade. The principle behind the exhibition, being a labyrinth in time, shall require engagement and opinions. After all, that is the task of every archive. One enters it in order to research, instead of to automatically receive an answer to all of the questions of a complicated history.

The ordinary man or woman, immersed in historic oblivion, shall remind us that we are a part of history as well. All that we do now and in the future shall also become a part of that unbroken chain of continuous human existence, of an individual city, which we have unfortunately still not uncovered.
The Historical Archives of Belgrade invites you to join the adventure and make use of the privileges, which were until now only, reserved for professional historians. Discover your city!
(Branka Prpa, PhD, text from Preface)