Sirmium, one of the most important towns of the late Roman Empire, was located by the river Sava, on the site of modern-day Sremska Mitrovica. Founded in the 1st century, Sirmium reached its zenith in 294 when it was pronounced one of the four capitals of the Roman Empire.
The network of roads, aqueducts and military fortifications, the remains of the imperial palace, baths, theatre and hippodrome suggest that this town was the centre – as a legionary fort, imperial city and episcopal centre – of the entire region, the Roman province of Pannonia. At the time it was one of the major trading and transit centres of the Empire. Six Roman emperors were born in and around the town.
Constantine the Great spent an extended period of time in Sirmium with his family, celebrating the fifteenth jubilee of his rule. His son Constantius II was born in the privileged surroundings of the imperial palace, and his eldest son Crispus celebrated his marriage there. At one time, Constantine the Great was planning to make Sirmium the new capital of the Roman Empire, before he began building Byzantium (Constantinople).
Later, Sirmium was to become one of the centres of early Christianity, but also a place of Christian martyrdom. Well-preserved remains of a Christian basilica in the very centre of the town bear witness to this. Every June on the Žitni Trg square, on the remains of the Roman era craftsmen’s quarter, an Oratory Festival is held as a reminder of the ancient glory of this city. At the end of the 4th century Sirmium met the fate shared by the whole Empire – with the invasion of Huns, Goths and Gepids the town was destroyed and the population scattered.
The visitors’ centre at the Imperial Palace complex in Sremska Mitrovica is open from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.
INFORMATIONMuseum of Srem Trg Svetog Stefana 15, 22000 Sremska Mitrovica tel: +381 (0)22 623-245 www.muzejsrema.org.rs