Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe

Diagonal Road

Diagonal Road

The Diagonal Road passes through South East Europe, connecting Europe to Asia. This cultural corridor is one of the most ancient arteries, of trans-continental, even world importance. Entering from Central Europe into Slovenia, it passes successively through Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria and Turkey, to continue to the Far East.
Bearing various names – Via Diagonalis, Via Militaris, Carigradski drum (road, Greek), Via de Ragusi or Via Ragusina in the region of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro – the Diagonal Road, since the period of the Roman Empire until nowadays is the most important axis between the East and West. The corridor is the strongest direction in South East Europe and plays important role of peculiar “catching”, collective vector of all other cultural axes in the region. Its numerous branches are on one hand geographically determined – since ancient times people have selected for passing the valleys of big rivers, the lowlands between the mountain chains, the convenient passages, striving to the Bosporus strait – the meeting point of the two big dry lands. On the other hand, these “sleeves” of the Diagonal Road are historically determined – by the roads of movement of Homo Sapiens in the course of 100 thousand years, the numerous trade roads, established in prehistoric times until the present communication lines. A special strong influence on the corridor has the Silk Road – a strong trade road in Eurasia from China to the British Isles. Many of its branches cross the territory of present Turkey towards Europe. Along with the trade activity, in east-west direction, a continuous political, cultural and religious exchange took place. Right here, through Asia Minor, was spreading Christianity and monkshood, and later on Islam culture in Europe. During the Middle Ages from Western Europe to the East along the Diagonal Road entered influences of Catholicism. The Diagonal Road is closely related to the pilgrims’ roads in Europe - The Santiago De Compostela Pilgrim Routes, The Via Francigena, Saint Martin de Tours. Via Diagonalis is the actual route also of some branches of these pilgrim roads directed to Jerusalem, as well as the Crusades. The Diagonal Road, conducting throughout the centuries the intercultural exchange has been an eternal bridge of mutual acquaintance and co-existence of cultures and people that were and are still living along.
Today, one may discover big historical centres with extremely rich history. It is a cultural axis of ancient Thracian kingdoms, seats of Roman provinces, of empires (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman), of principalities and states (Serbian, Bulgarian, Latin, Lydian, Hattian). The capitals of all the five countries through which the Diagonal Road passes are lying on it – Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Sofia, Ankara – significant centres since ancient times, majestic witnesses of historical processes and exchange along the cultural corridor.

Expert network

Bosnia and Herzegovina