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Lepenski vir is one of the biggest and most important Mesolithic and Neolithic archaeological sites. It is located on the right bank of Danube river in the Djerdap gorge in Serbia. This locality, named after the Danube pool, used to be the headquarters of one of the most prominent and complex prehistorical cultures. It consists of one large settlement with around ten satellite villages. According to the facts, the first human presence in the locality was around the 7000 B.C., whose culture reached its summit between 5300 B.C. and 4800 B.C.
Complex Trayanov bridge – Pontes
Pontes, a Roman castrum, is an archaeological site of great significance that is located near the village of Kostol, at 5 km downwards from Kladovo. It was entered in the central register in 1983. It is believed that the construction period was between 103 - 105. The stronghold was built for protecting the bridge above Danube river. Drobeta was located on the left river bank facing Pontes. Archaeological excavations were initiated in 1979 on the occasion of constructing water power plant in the framework of the project Djerdap II. In order to protect themselves against the increase of the waters of Danube river, people provided access to the protected territories of the Trayanov bridge. Underground archaeological research works of the bridge remnants were initiated in 2003.
At the location where Trayanov road gets out of the gorge, at some 2,5 km on the West from Tekie, Trayanova tabla was placed at 1,5 meter height above the Roman road. In order to save it from sinking when constructing a water tank, it was cut and lifted at 30 meters. The engraved inscription in Latin certifies that the hardest section of the Roman road through the gorge rocks was constructed by emperor Trajan. The inscription consisted of six rows, but nowadays the legible ones are the first three and the middle of the fourth, while the fifth and the sixth were fully destroyed. There are various ornaments around the inscription. At the top we have the line with width of around 60 cm and six rosettes, with eagle in the centre, on the left and on the right we have basso relievo figures of genius with wings carrying a tray, and a dolphin above each of them. According to a written ancient information there was one more figure kneeling below the tray and holding it.
Negotino district, a complex of wineries
Wineries are the only sites where grapes is processed and wine is made. In the Negotino villages they have been organized in the pattern of housing complexes. In the past they used to be predominantly in the housing complexes around the Timok river, but now the only ones preserved are in the villages of Rayats, Rogljevo, Smedovats and Shtubik. Most of them were built in the ХIХ century and the beginning of the ХХ century, but it is believed that they existed as early as in the XVIII century. They were built of carved stone and wooden material and were covered with tiles. In almost every cellar of winery, situated in Rayats, you could try a variety of wines or visit an exhibition of handmade goods and traditional crafts, but do not forget to try the famous red wine from the Negotino vineyards, produced of local grapes and matured along the closely situated and always sunny slopes of Rayats.
The house of Stevan Mokranjac
The house of the prominent composer Stevan Mokranjac in Negotin was built in the middle of the XIX century. The house is featured with the modest traits of the Balkan Varos residential buildings. In 1964 the house was adapted to the needs of the memorial museum so the first floor is convenient for holding small music concerts. The rooms on the upper floor are equipped as a museum and contain the greater part of his heritage such as musical instruments and other belongings of Stevan Mokranjac.
Monasteries and churches
Bukovo monastery is located at three kilometres on the West of Negotin, surrounded by a forest. It is believed it was built during the ruling of king Milutin in the end of the XIII century or in the beginning of the XIV century and it was built by archbishop Nikodim. In view of its architectural and stylistic features, the church “Saint Nikola” resembles the Moravian construction style that is featured for the period of the Serbian Despotate (XV century). The oldest and most precious wall-paintings are: Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ – wall-painting at the vault and the wall-painting with archangel Michael at the church entrance. The bell was donated to the monastery by Knyaz Milos Obrenovic during the thirties of the XIX century.
“Stol” is the highest part of the mountainous region Goli Krs that is located between Veliki Krs and Deli Jovan. This is one of the most beautiful surveillance points in this part of Serbia. It is located 10 km North-East of Bor, with which it is connected via the local road. The mountainous massif “Stol” built-up of thick limestone layers belongs to the well-known group in the Eastern part of Serbia. “Stol” is divided by unevenness and could be considered as horst with faults facing South-West and up to 40°, being a challenge when climbing. At the surface karst relief patterns have been preserved, while there are no hydrogeographic equipments. They are located in the foot of the mountain – powerful springs and lakes.
Gorges and canyons
National park “Djerdap”
National park “Djerdap” was created in 1974. It spans the municipalities of Golubac, Kladovo and Majdanpek, being the most spacious national park in Serbia. Park’s length is around 100 km, and territory’s width is from 2 to 8 km along the flow of Danube river.
The opportunities for active relax in Djerdap are almost unlimited. If you like walking in nature and climbing, as you orient towards the well-arranged skiing tracks passing through the most interesting parts of the natural park, accompanied by a guide as a rule. If you like bird surveillance, at the places Mali Strbac and Mali Kazan surveillance towers have been constructed. There are also very beautiful points along the route between Mali Strbac and the locality Ploca could be used for bird surveillance. The abundance and diversity of game provide you real experience for sports hunting in almost virgin natural environment of the National hunting park, because hunting in this district is featured with all elements of real experience and requires good physical condition and significant hunting skills. The beautiful gorge together with all its secret and complicated places would prove a real challenge for you, if you are a fishing fan. Djerdap is national park at the bank of Danube river so here you can find a boat and with the help of a professional guide to get to know park’s treasures.
In spite of its length that is only 20 kilometres, Vratna river is one of a kind and its gorge is one of the best in Serbia. Along its pathway it passes through three turns – natural stone bridges of 50 meter height each. They also call them the Vratna gates. Tourists usually visit the first two because one can get to them for about ten minutes, along the pedestrian pathway with signs from the female monastery in Vratna. In the forest that looks more like a jungle, birds’ song and river’s chanting are heard. The third gate is at a distance of 3 km and one could get to it through a narrow canyon that is passed only by experienced mountaineers or along the pathway through the forest, being the less attractive option.
Caves and holes
Raykova cave and Zlotska cave (Lazareva cave)
Lazareva cave is located in the Eastern foot of Kučaj, at 3 km from the village of Zlot and 18 km from Bor. It was a frequent case of mixing some notions thus Lazareva cave was also called Zlotska. Nevertheless the term “Zlotska cave” should encompass all caves in this area: Lazareva, Vernikitsa, Mandina, Vodena, Hajduchitsa etc. Nowadays paying visits in caves is one of the most important tourism aspects. For the fans of caving we could offer classical, sporting and scientific-research tours. For paying tourist visits the suitable ones are the Zlotski caves (Lazareva and Verkinitsa) in proximity to Bor, as well as the Raykova cave near Majdanpek. There are many interesting cave halls in the Raykova cave where draperies and other items in the cave are of purely white crystal calcite. The permanent temperature is 8 degrees Celsius, and air moisture is 100% meaning that in order to visit the mountain, one needs to be well-dressed even during the summer. Tours are always featured with tension and they require the usage of special equipment that is different depending on the location; guide’s presence is mandatory.
At a distance of ten kilometres from Boljevac towards Zaječar, on the territory in proximity to Gamzigrad, Felix Romuliana is located, surrounded by the mountains of Eastern Serbia, namely the Roman Emperor’s Palace of Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, built in the III and IV centuries A.C. Galerius was born in this area in the second half of the III century and is one of the sixteen emperors of the Roman empire that was born on the territory of modern Serbia. Galerius started with the construction of the palace in the end of the III century. He didn’t live up to accommodating in it because of his untimely death on the territory of Bulgaria, nowadays Sofia. His body was brought in the king palace and was buried in the tomb next to his mother Romula; the palace was named after her. The royal palace is the best preserved pattern of the Roman architecture. The sites are richly decorated with wall-paintings, floor mosaics with figure and geometric motives, vestibules, decorated with green and red porphyry and many more. In 2007 Felix Romuliana was included in the list of the world cultural heritage. The site is open for visits from the 1st of April until the 30th of November and organized visits could be arranged via People’s Museum in Zaječar.
Ravna – Timacum Minus
Ancient Timacum is located on the left bank of Bel Timok, North-East of the nowadays village of Ravna. The stronghold with rectangular foundation was created in the first century. Via renovation and modernization in the III-IV century, the stronghold got towers in whose walls monuments of the nearby necropolis dating back to the early period were inbuilt. Nowadays there is an ethnographic-archaeological park in Ravna with multiple monuments and epitaphs from Roman times with engraved grapes. There is also a museum of winery and vine-growing.
Turkish bath – Amam, Sokobanja
The Turkish bath – Amam is located in the centre of Sokobanja and dates back to the XV century. It is the only original bath that is used in this region. It was built by the Turks on the foundations of Roman thermae as it is evidenced by the old foundations and fragments of Roman bricks, as well as the Roman mosaic of the pool in the female bath. The small baths that are currently located in the complex date back to the Ottoman empire. The bath was repaired several times in order to keep it essential historical value, tourist activity and healthcare-entertainment function. The first repair works were performed in 1834 during the ruling of Knyaz Milos Obrenovic. The written information that the bath is under the protection of the state and being of museum value dates back to the same period. It was renovated for the last time in 2005.
Strongholds and fortifications
The crystal clear Moravitsa river flows through the Sokoban hollow and Sokograd rises at its Northern slope, a military stronghold from the beginning of the new era. Nowadays Sokograd is cultural monument of national significance. The first and inevitable experience of the tourists visiting the site Sokograd, is the view from the tower of the ancient town of the stronghold that stretches from the gorge of Moravitsa river. This picture has such a visual and dimensional value that every visitor loses his or her speech facing the unusual scene. The green belt of Sokoban locates the natural public health station Banica; from there, along the health pathway, through the Moravitsa canyon you arrive to the resort of Lepteria and Sokograd. The interesting places in the region are most of all the waterfall Ripalka, the Rtan mountain, the Ozren mountain, the village of Vrmdja that remembers the unusual legends, the spring of Moravitsa river, the village of Josanica with the numerous healing springs and water-mills that grind wheat and corn in the traditional manner.
Monasteries and churches
Virgin Mary Monastery – Dolna Kamenitsa
The Virgin Mary Monastery is located at 15 km East of Knjaževac. It was built on the left lifted bank of Trgoviški Timok. It was built in the 14th century by unknown patron. Wall-paintings have been preserved to a great degree. The majority of the mural paintings in Dolna Kamenitsa are part of significant artistic value. The first line is for the patron and his family, then comes Virgin Mary, as well as the extraordinary figures of two horsemen embracing each other, sacred warriors, Teodor Tiron and Theodore Stratelates, South of the entrance.
Stara planina spreads partially in Serbia, but predominantly in Bulgaria. In the region of Stara planina there are four Serbian municipalities: Zaječar, Knjaževac, Pirot and Dimitrovgrad.
The region of Stara planina was categorized as protected territory and it was also assigned with the status of priority area for the tourism development in the Republic of Serbia. Stara planina was declared for natural park in 1997. The highest peak of Stara planina is also the highest peak in Serbia – Midžor (2169 m). The highest waterfall in Serbia is located in Stara planina – Pil 64 meters, in the region next to the village of Topli dol. This is an area of significant value in view of the variety of the flora and fauna, as well as geological and hydrological features. The ski resort Babini zub has tracks in the locality Konjarik, Sunchana Dolina and Markova livada. New four-seat ski-lift was built at the ski tracks of Babin zub. Stara planina is snow-covered for almost five months but nevertheless an artificial snowing system was developed so that you could enjoy the winter sports in a season with insufficient snowfalls. Stara planina is a challenge if you like conquering mountain tops. Climbing Midžor, the highest peak, will prove a difficult and yet interesting experience. Your days will be full of variety of numerous pathways and ski tracks with signs and labels. With the lens of your camera you will capture beautiful landscapes and you will record rare birds and mountainous herbs. The tracks for mountain biking provide excellent opportunities for an exciting holiday on the go.
Rtan planina is located in the Eastern part of Serbia, next to one of the most important spa centres in Serbia – Sokobanja and in proximity to Borovets. This mountain is famous for its numerous underground springs, caves, pits, healing plants and other curious phenomena thus attracting great number of adventurers. The shape of the pyramid approximating perfection makes Rtan unique. There is no water at the peak of Rtan, and its lower parts locate strong springs. Climbing up to the peak of Rtan is great challenge (Silyak 1560 m), from there on the tourist has a view even to the flowing of the Sava and Danube rivers. Rtan is famous for its endemic plants that grow only in the mountains and are protected by law, and among them the most famous is the Rtan tea. Every year as part of the holiday “Saint Yovan Bilyober” an excursion is organized in Sokobanja to Rtan, where visitors, accompanied by expert guides, collect healing plants from the Rtan slopes. Additionally we include the Christmas climbing that gathers around one thousand participants from all around Serbia, as well as climbing the Vidovdan slope of Rtan, one of the most beautiful night climbing that gathers hundreds of mountaineers, tourists and enthusiasts from all around Serbia, and in both cases the starting point is Boljevac.
Because of its exceptional terrain, Ozren is suitable for various types of movement in nature – tourism, walks, mountain biking, hiking, paraplanerism, orientation cross. Ozren could offer you many picnic locations and interesting environment – Ochno, Ostra chuka, Ozrenski livadi, the stone of love. You could decide on your own whether to go for paraplanerism, at the spring Shopur and Ostra chuka or in the resort of Ochno, Kalinovitsa or Ozrenski livadi. Even though it is very long, walking on foot to the stone of love won’t prove difficult where according to the legends Hayduk Velko and Chuchuk Stana demonstrated their love. At Kalinovitsa the special attractions are two sequoias and an ice-cold water spring. The waterfall Ripalka is located near “Grudno” with a height of 40 meters. The waterfall should be visited in spring when the water flow is strongest. During the summer months the water quantity significantly decreases.
Tupižnica mountain is located at 15 km from Knjaževac. It stretches between Knjaževac and Boljevac, between the exquisite neighbours Rtan mountain and Stara planina. Tupižnica is surrounded by a plain on all sides. In the Western end it is finalized by a high rocky section, and on East it faces the slightly inclined plateau. The highest peak of the mountain is “Tupižnica” going up to a height of 1160 meters. One should also pay a visit to the Lesovachki stone – which is of interest for extreme hiking and Tupužnichka ledenitsa (cave), as well as the Davidova abyss, a pit with depth of one hundred meters.
Climbing Tupižnica peak starts from the village of Buchie, to which one can get along the asphalt road from Boljevac (26 km) or in the direction of Knjaževac (18 km). It is suitable for practising extreme sports such as paraplanerism and caving, tourism and hunting. There are pathways with signs in the mountain for pedestrian tourism, but climbing is recommended for experienced mountaineers only.
Bogovinska cave is located on the territory of municipality Boljevac from the South-Eastern end of South Kučaj on the territory of the village of Bogovina. It is at a distance of 12 km from Boljeva. It is a protected natural resource of III category. It is one of the longest caves in Serbia with length of the explored channels of around 6 km. It stands out with its beauty and abundance of the cave decorations. A very interesting fauna of cavernous arthropods lives in the Bogovinska mountain. Among them we could mention pseudo-Scorpios, terrestrial endemic crabs and insects.
Rivers and lakes
Bovansko lake is located along the road for Sokobanja whose length is 10 kilometres. The total length of the lake is around 7 km and it stretches in immediate proximity to the highway. It consists of more than 450 hectares and in its greatest part the average depth is from 6 to 10 m, and in the first part of the lake, the mouth of Moravitsa river, is much shallower. It is rich on fish and is a real pleasure for fishermen. It is a real heaven for sailing, rowing and pedalo. Two times each year – in April and September, the yachting competition “Bovan” is held. There are many places in the lake that are suitable for swimming, as well as improvised spaces for camping. During the summer months, the beaches of the lake gather thousands of swimmers, fishermen and camping fans. The basic designation of the lake is water-supply, but nowadays it is real tourist attraction for the fans of water and water sports.
The archaeological site Mediana is located along the old Roman road “Via Militaris”, nowadays Е-80 (Niš-Sofia). At an area of 40 hectares, as much as the place itself, one could see the remnants of a barn, craftsman centre, villas, mineral springs and villas with peristyle being decorated with mosaic floors. The majority of the mosaics are of geometric and floral designs, while two mosaics are of figural motives on the head of Medusa and the semi-lying figure of a water god (probably Neptune). In the museum building that is located next to the site itself you could see some of the stone sculptures and items that were used for everyday use, as well as the remnants of lead pipes through which warm, healing water was transferred from Niš bath. Some of the Roman stone sculptures – portraits of Roman gods, jewels, coins and other useful items that were found in Mediana you could only see in the Archaeological hall in the National Museum of Niš.
Strongholds and fortifications
Niš stronghold, located at the bank of Nišava river, is in the town centre and one of the most beautiful and preserved buildings of the Turkish military architecture in the central Balkan. On behalf of Romans, through Byzantines, Slovenians, Bulgarians and Serbians it was demolished and restored several times, only to get its final appearance in 1723 when it was erected by the Turks in the end of their ruling in the region. Over 40 stone-carvers were hired from Tsarigrad for its construction and around 400 constructors from the town of Niš and its surroundings. It was built over an area exceeding 22 hectares with 2100 meter long and 8 meter high walls of average width of 3 meters. From the external side, the stronghold was surrounded by a ditch full of water, as the Northern part has been preserved until today.
This unique monument on global scale results from the great battle at Chegar. When Hurshid pasha from Niš realized that despite winning the position at the Chegar hill, in addition to the 3000 Serbs in the battle and the explosion, at least twice as many Turks were killed, so he ordered for the heads of the killed Serbian soldiers to be collected at Chegar, so that their skin could be taken off and their skulls to be put in the tower. This scary monument was built on the road for Tsarigrad as a warning for the ones that rise against the Ottoman Empire. Since the middle of the nineteenth century there is a written information that the tower was rectangular with a height of 4.5 meters, width and length of 4 m and that in each of the four walls of the towers there are 56 rows, each containing 17 skulls, amounting to the total of 952 skulls. Throughout time, the greater part of the skulls have disappeared or were damaged so nowadays there were only 58 skulls remaining in the tower.
Monument of Chegar
The monument if Chegar is located at the Chegar hill, near Niš, at the place where the famous battle of the Serbian uprising was held, it was erected in memoriam of the brave soldiers and their commander Stevan Sindjelic and where the Chegar battle took place, in the pattern of small granite pyramids. The monument was opened in 1878 and is the first monument built up in freed Niš. Nowadays monument in the pattern of a tower symbolizing the military fortification, was built for the 50th anniversary from the liberation of Niš, and was opened in 1927.
Monasteries and churches
The monastery Saint Petka Iverica
The monastery “Saint Petka Iverica” is located in the Sichevachka gorge on the international road Niš-Sofia. This is another proof for the existence of «monks' colony» in this region. It is believed that in the end of the fourteenth century after the intrusion of the Ottoman empire, many monks of the then occupied territories found their shelter in this beautiful gorge where they founded their monks' colony to which the monastery «Saint Petka Iverica» belongs.
The monastery of Virgin Mary
The monastery of Virgin Mary is located in the picturesque region of Sichevachka gorge in the foot of the rocky hill Kusacha. The monastery complexes comprises a church, devoted to the Presentation of Mary, monk rooms, fountain, a bell tower with two bells and guest house. According to the legend, at the hill on the right bank of Nišava there was an older monastery for the Presentation of Mary that was destroyed by the Turks and from the remaining material they built the modern church of the monastery.
The cathedral in Niš
The cathedral in Niš with its architecture and iconostasis occupies important place in the Serbian art history. The construction of the church was started on the 18th of October 1856 and continued until 1872. The walls of the temple were constructed in various styles, from Serbian-Byzantine, Islamic, Renaissance to elements of the Western Baroque. Undoubtedly its beauty and peculiarity played a significant role in the development of the contemporary Serbian architecture and are milestone of its history. Unfortunately, in 2001 the cathedral was destroyed in a huge fire. Thanks to the donations and efforts of the Niš citizens, the cathedral was architecturally renovated and restored.
Suva planina is located in the South-Eastern part of Serbia with a length of 45 km and width of 15 km. It starts from East of Niš and ends South-West of Babushnitsa in the Luzhnichka valley, where Luzhnitsa river passes. After you head for the peaks of Suva planina, you should bring with you water as a rule. The mountain is called Suva because there are no springs along its slopes. The peaks that could be climbed , are called Trem – the highest point of the mountain and Devoyachki grob. Along tourist pathways with signs you could get to the Sokolov kamen, where the resort Boyanina voda is located and as its name suggests, there is a spring. During the winter in this ski resort you could slide along the ski tracks; there are two tracks for children.
Gorges and canyons
Sichevachka gorge is the narrow part of the Nišava valley between the villages of Prosek and Ravni to the 14th km upwards of Niš. Its length is around 15,9 km and it is part of the Niš valley together with the Bela Palanka valley. The gorge was divided into two parts – upper and lower, or Tsarnchansko – Gradishtanska and Ostrovichka gorge. The upper part is narrower and looks more like a canyon, while the lower part is with wide slopes that are not so steep. The gorge is surrounded by the Svarlishki mountains on the North and the slopes of Suva mountain on the South. The gorge offers good conditions for tourism and paraplanerism. The ideal time for visits because of the almost Mediterranean climate is the spring and autumn and even winter when there are not so much rain- and snowfalls.
Jelasnicka gorge is located at some 15 km from Niš and at 3 km from Niška bath. Even if small, it was announced for special natural reserve and there are some pleasant places for camping and picnic. One of them is located at the gorge exit and it is equipped with benches, facing the pathways with signs for pedestrian tourism. A narrow road passes though the Jelasnicka gorge leading to the Boyanina Voda, the resort of Suva mountain. The climbing club from Niš provided the opportunity for climbing up in a natural rock with certified equipment, where everybody could go hiking under the surveillance of the club members. In addition to the beautiful rocks, the waterfall Ripalka is also interesting, as well as remnants of Roman fortifications. It is located between the villages of Jelasnica and Cuklenik connected with the town via bus lines.
Via Militaris and Goinsko kale, village of Goin dol, Dimitrovgrad
In ancient times one of the stations for recreation and exchange of horses along the military road – Via Militaris was located in the region of Dimitrovgrad. The presence of the old Romans and the existence of ancient villages in the region were certified by the numerous remnants of buildings, the various items, relieves etc. Amongst the most interesting relieves we could mention Hekata, Jupiter and Mitra and the almost fully preserved segments of Via Militaris. This road was used by Romans, Byzantines and Turks and some parts of the route were used even in the middle of the 19th century. Goindolsko kale also dates back to ancient times, a late ancient and early Byzantine fortification on whose peak the marvellously preserved stronghold of several entrances is located; it was built in the fourth and renovated in the sixth century during the ruling of Justinian. It is located on the right bank of Nišava at the beautiful hill above the village of Goin dol. Obviously the stronghold was a shelter for the local population in the cases of military dangers.
Pirotski or Momchilov grad is a town stronghold around Nišava in nowadays Pirot. It was built during the ruling of Knyaz Lazar in these areas. The Ottoman empire managed to conquer it, but in 1386 it was returned on behalf of voivode Dimitrie being one of the occasions for the Kosovo battle in 1389. During the first half of the ХV century it was located at the place of the Serbian-Ottoman conflicts and that is the reason for being owned by the Serbian depots Stefan Lazarevic and Jurja Brankovic; afterwards it was firmly attached to the Ottoman empire. The stronghold was used for military purposes until the first half of the XX century. Nowadays it is preserved in its most significant part and from 1970 to 1986 archaeological surveys were performed and accompanied by activities for restoration and preservation. This Serbian medieval stronghold is of relatively small dimensions and had an internal fortification for protecting the region in front of the stronghold.
Crypt Monument - Dimitrovgrad
Common crypt of Serbian and Bulgarian soldiers that were killed in the fratricide battle in 1885. It is located at the Neshkov hill offering the most beautiful view to the town. This is the biggest anti-military monument on the Balkan peninsula. In November 1885, after the unification of the Principality of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia, Serbia started a war with Bulgaria. Serbia lost this fratricide war and one of the most dramatic battles was held at the Neshkov hill around Tsaribrod. In this battle captain Katanic, suffering heavy wounds, because of the extraordinary bravery demonstrated in his efforts to get back the kidnapped Serbian flag, was rescued by Alexander Battenberg, Knyaz of Bulgaria. Katanic was transferred in Sofia for treatment in Sofia and was pointed to the Bulgarian soldiers as an example of bravery. Upon the order of the commander of Tsaribrod, kernel Pachev, the inhabitants elevated a crypt – monument in which the remains of the 300 victims of the parties to the conflict were buried on the 5th of November 1885. Equal-footed in death, the victors and the vanquished remained laying together thus witnessing the senseless fratricide war.
Monasteries and churches
Monastery of Virgin Mary – Sukovski monastery
The construction of the monastery lasted fro the period of 1857-1858, but there are also grounds to consider that the monastery existed as early as in Roman times. In Greek documents dating back to 1000 years it is mentioned that the headquarters of the Sukovska eparchy was located there. The Turkish cadastre entries from 1595 contain information that the church of the Assumption in the Sukovski monastery was drawn in 1606. For the art connoisseurs the narthex facing the Old testament and frescos that are not traditional for these regions would be of the greatest interest. It is a rare case seeing the devil’s face in the frescos of the Orthodox monasteries.
The Poganovski monastery – Saint John the Apostle, is located in the beautiful valley of Jerma river, around the village of Poganovo between the Odorovachki and Vlashki gorge. Because of its magnificent beauty throughout centuries it is of interest not only for the believers but also for many fans of the cultural and historical monuments, fans of nature and tourists in our region and outside it. It was built in the end of the XIV century, and drawn in the end of the XV century. Thanks to its inaccessible location (until 1927 the valley of Jerma river was totally impossible to pass) remains relatively virgin throughout the centuries from the hands of the various invaders. Thirty years ago full reconstruction and restoration were performed. The Poganovski monastery was put under the state protection in 1949 onwards, it was also included in the UNESCO list for world cultural heritage in 1979 in its capacity of cultural heritage of great value.
Monastery of Saint Kirik and Yulita
The monastery of Saint Kirik and Yulita in the village of Smilovtsi, known as the monastery “Saint Chirik”, was built in 1839 over the foundations of the church that existed before that. The monastery was built with ordinary and carved stone with a vault and was covered with tiles. The monastery looks like a Catholic cathedral. It is at a distance of about 16 km from Dimitrovgrad.
Church Virgin Mary - Dimitrovgrad
The church Birth of Virgin Mary was built in 1882 upon the initiative of the citizens of Tsaribrod and it was restored in the beginning of 1997. The church is located in the very centre of Dimitrovgrad. The item of highest value in the church is the iconostasis. It was made of box-tree with the “lace” technique that is unique in this area, made by the famous masters of the prominent Debar school.
The church Saint Archangel - Boljevdol
One of the oldest preserved churches in Dimitrovgrad municipality is located at 1 km North of the village of Boljevdol. The church is small and of rectangular shape. It was built of “sea” stone and was covered with stone plates. At the Eastern and Southern side of the internal wall with preserved wall-paintings, under which old wall-painting dating back to the ХVII and ХVIII century was discovered. The church was never destroyed during the Ottoman times, it was damaged as a result of flooding and it was restored in 1978.
Gorges and canyons
The gorge of Gradashnichka River
The quite attractive gorge of this river stretches over 1 km with sharp turns in the canyon that are almost inaccessible. The main feature of this gorge is that it is located at 4 km from the town, not far from the village of Gradashnitsa, where you can get by a car; then you should continue on foot.
In the gorge itself there is a spring of very warm water that assists in healing wounds according to the local inhabitants of Pirot. For now the gorge and the warm water are used to a small degree.
For sure the most attractive gorge in this part of the Pirot municipality is Temachka gorge or the way people call it, “The small Colorado”, which is true for sure. A river, called Temshitsa, flows through Temachka gorge creating turns and sharp rocks that at some places go up to a height of 200m and more. If you would like to walk on foot, we recommend you the night tracking including the arrival in the archaic village of Topli in Stara planina and heading towards a real adventurous circular tracking round to both the Pilski waterfalls, with picnic in the wonderful nature, at the meadow under the attractive rocks of Pil peak. Part of the tracking return could be done during the night being the special attraction for the participants.
The canyon of Visochitsa river
This is one of the most impressive canyons in this part of Serbia through which Visochitsa river runs, being one of the rivers with the greatest waterfall in Serbia. The canyon is very attractive and colourful, it is very hard to describe it in few words, so you really need to visit and experience it. At some places the canyon is featured with very steep rocks that are inaccessible and height of several hundred meters. This canyon is a place for relax of the soul and eyes of every traveller.
The canyon of Jerma river – Odorovsko and Vlashko gorges
The picturesque gorge of Jerma river is located in one of the most beautiful regions in Serbia. Jerma springs near the Vlasinsko lake, flows in Bulgaria where it creates impressive canyon, and then returns to Serbia. The river gorge at this place is also known as Vlashka gorge; it is featured with its huge orifices and the surrounding landscapes that will impress everybody heading in the direction of Zvonachka bath. In this case at the very entrance of the village of Vlas, where rocks rise over 200 m. Along its path between the Derekulska and Burelska mountains – Vlashka and Greben mountain – Jerma river had created two gorges – Odorovsko and Vlashko gorges that have exquisite beauty. The Odorovsko gorge has all qualities of a real canyon with a sequence of geomorphologic phenomena, including pits and caves. The most interesting cave is Vetrena dupka, but even the ones that have been researched to a lesser degree attract our attention.
Caves and pits
The Petarlashka cave is actually a system of caves at the Southern end of the Odorovachko field in the region of Zabardzha on the territory of Dimitrovgrad municipality. It is located at 12 km North of the town, the road consists of 10 km asphalt and 2 km earth. Odorovachko pole is the largest Karst area of Serbia. Odorovachka river flows at the field bottom. At the Southern end of Odorovachko pole there are underground Karst shapes. Petarlashka mountain is among the most famous and important ones. This is nature’s pearl rich in cave decorations but unfortunately it had not been researched and utilized in sufficient degree. With the aid of small investments we could turn this place into a location for gatherings of the caving fans and the ones of natural beauty.
Rivers and lakes
Smilovski lakes, and namely Savat I lake (Gorno lake and Partopopinsko lake) and Savat II (also known as Dolno lake) are artificial reservoirs made on the territory of the villages Radeyna, Smilovtsi and Partopopintsi at 10 km from Dimitrovgrad.
In order to go fishing in these lakes, you should purchase daily license that you can get from the authorized representative of the Hunting-Fishing Union. The fish fund of these lakes is still rich enough to make these lakes favourite waters of the local fishermen. You could catch impressive specimens of grass carp, carp and pike. Additionally, in the lake there are rudd, common roach, crucian carp and sheat-fish. Savat I and II are among the few lakes in Serbia with abundant well-arranged fishing places along their shores. There are no restaurants in proximity to the lake and the nearest one is at 2 km distance in the centre of the village of Smilovtsi. There you could visit an unusual restaurant that was designed in ethno style “Kafana pod Perche”.
Tsarichin grad – Justiniana Prima
“Tsarichin grad” – Justiniana Prima with its church and military architecture, town-planning, houses construction and marvellous remnants of the material culture is one of the most important Early Byzantine archaeological sites at the Balkans. Tsarichin grad is located at 8 km from Lebane and 28 km from Leskovac and is archaeological site from the sixth century, as well as one of the largest and most important Byzantine towns in the interior of the Balkan. It was built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (527-565) as a gesture of gratitude of the region where he was born. Little bit after the death of emperor Justinian, Tsarichin grad was conquered by many Slavic tribes and in the beginning of the seventh century of the new era it was abandoned without maintenance.
Monasteries and churches
Saborna church - Leskovac
The cathedral or the Saborna church was devoted to the Trinity. It was built in the period from 1921 to 1931; it was sanctified on the 21st of September in the presence of the emperor and the patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It was built according to the model of Grachanitsa.
The house of Bora Stankovic
The house where the writer Borislav Stankovic was born (1875-1927) is located at “Baba Zlatina” Str. № 7, the previous Dolna mala, at the place where it was purchased from the grandmother of Bora, after whom the street was named. It was built in 1855 as a house of four parts, open veranda and protruding window under which the cellar entrance is located. After the restoration activities it was the place to shelter the Museum of Bora Stankovic. Among the Serbian realists Bora Stankovic is regionalist in view of his subject, he writes about the psychology and acts of the protagonists and in view of his style he is one of the founders of the contemporary Serbian prose.
Monasteries and churches
The monastery of Saint Prohor Pčinjski
The monastery Prohor Pčinjski is located at the forest slopes of Kozyak mountain, on the left bank of Pčinja river near the village of Klenik, at 30 km South of Vranja at the very border with Macedonia. According to the legend, it was built in the eleventh century by the Byzantine emperor Roman Diogen as a gesture of gratitude to Saint Prohor Pčinjski that foresaw he would become an emperor. The most recognizable and important icon is the one of Saint Prohor Pčinjski with scenes of his life. The monastery functions was cultural and educational centre of the region with theology school to it, workshop for transcribing and sanctifying, wall-painting is also being taught there. In the monastery region there are two guest houses one of which is for sure known for its monumental nature “Vranski town-hall”. This guest house is for sure one of the most beautiful buildings of its kind in Serbia. It was built between 1854 and 1862. It would be interesting to note that in order to stay in the monastery “Saint Prohor Pčinjski” every visitor and worshipper needs a blessing. Before coming in the monastery, he or she should dial the telephone number of the monastery and ask for blessing to stay in the monastery on a particular date. Every visitor should also come in the monastery before 17 p.m. so that he or she could attend the mesa.
Gorges and canyons
Gardelichka gorge is the first narrowing in the composite valley of South Morava river in South-East of Serbia. It is named after the town of Gardelitsa at the gorge entrance. It is 34 km long, and its depth is 550 meters. It connects Vranska and Leskovachka valleys. If you could head down the flow with boats of your own as amateurs or professionals, you could pass along South Morava from Predejne to Gardelitsa. For modern passing you need to use inflatable boats with a capacity from 6 to 10 people. In this area the climate allows passing without special equipment from May to October. After rafting, the organizer of the event Gardelichka regatta, the Cultural Home in Gardelitsa usually organizes traditional lunch – fish soup and beans prepared according to military recipe.
Rivers and lakes
Vlasinsko lake is located in the South-Eastern part of Serbia in proximity to the Serbian-Bulgarian border. The natural beauty and rarity of the region, as well as the influence of the favourable climate and the quiet mountainous nature make this place ideal for staying during the various periods of the year. The lake is surrounded by mountains covered with a forest of beautiful birch trees. Part of the lake shore is convenient for swimming which is very good in the summer despite the water in the mountain going up to a temperature of 23 degrees. The recreation at Vlasina could turn out to be a good combination for enjoying the water conveniences and climbing the mountainous peaks Chemernik and Besna kobila, as well as many mountainous layouts. The lake also provides for amateur fishing. The colours of the Vlasinsko lake varying from gray-blue in proximity to the edge to dark blue in the middle and green at the shore, thus creating a special picture of the entire landscape. In the region of the Vlasinsko lake there are over 400 mountainous springs with perfectly clean icy drinking water. Among the standard activities we could offer you picnic and panoramic sightseeing of the mountains and lakes in the region. We offer you the preparation of homemade food, herbs collection, picking mushrooms, berries and other forest fruit, fishing and hunting, cycling, competition with motorbikes and special vehicles for uneven terrain.