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6 reasons to visit Obedska Bara

Srem is widely known as flat and tame. True, but it is also colourful, a bit mischievous and always surprising. It has hidden all sorts of beauties, but it is particularly proud of its gem of exceptional natural values, inhabited by unusual animals. On our way to the main destination through the suburban settlements of Belgrade, we also explore some interesting places suitable if you want either to escape the city’s bustle or to go on a longer vacation.

Srem, Obedska bara

Why visit Obedska Bara

1. Because the nautical village “Biser” is a gem on the Sava River

About 30 km from the capital, in the settlement of Boljevci, rests the first nautical village in Serbia, Biser. Along the left bank of the Sava River, there are 16 lined up raft-houses that resemble a coastal string of pearls. They are furnished with air-conditioning, a bathroom with shower tubs with massagers, a covered terrace and an upper terrace showing a beautiful view while you are enjoying the sun. In the vicinity, there is a boat-restaurant which,in addition to the specialties of Srem, offers fish dishes. Visitors can compete in beach volleyball and football, walk in the nearby dense forest, and ride a bike along a well-arranged path. There is also a small playground built for children. You can use city transport or your own vehicle to reach the nautical village, as well as boats which will sail and anchor in the port.

Not far away, in the village of Progar, there is the famous Tarzan beach. It was named after a long rope, a liana hanging from a tree, daring the bold ones to enthusiastically jump into the water. Therefore, do not be afraid if you hear a scream similar to the famous roar of the jungle king. The surroundings are also reminiscent of the “jungle” with lush greenery and flowers.

By the way, the bathing area is arranged, it has concreted banks with a pontoon, restaurant, swings, and seesaws for kids, and hammocks stretched between the trees for real relaxation in the style of the cartoon hero Goofy. The Sava River is too wide and strong here, so it requires caution.

2. Because the forest of Bojčin is a natural monument

From the river, we rush into a green oasis, an excursion site of diverse contents. The forest of Bojčin is located between the Sava River and the canals of the Jarčina River. Due to its peculiarities, it was declared a protected natural monument in 1965. It also has historical significance because during the two world wars it provided shelter for the locals and soldiers. Some of the dugouts and catacombs have been preserved to this day.

The forest, which expands over approximately 630 hectares, is dominated by a pedunculate oak, as well as by a hornbeam, linden, and poplar. It is rich in various plant species and mushrooms, so you may run into ramsons, and in the spring you may enjoy eating wild strawberries. There is quite a number of animals, and if you are lucky, you might come across a rabbit or a roebuck. In addition to roaming the woods, real recreationists can test their skills on 16 obstacles and devices set along a two-kilometer-long trim track.

Bojčinska šuma

At the entrance, there is a large manege of the Bojčin Equestrian Club where skilled riders show off, and a little further there is a small manege for beginners. This is where newcomers meet horses and learn to ride. Several log cabins have been set up around the area with the appropriate amenities for those who want to spend a few days in quiet and peaceful nature. After exciting walks and time spent with horses, you should refresh yourself in the restaurant Bojčinska koleba, which successfully preserves the spirit of old Srem. When you taste its dishes, especially those made of the Mangalica, time stops, the hosts say.

Konjički klub Bojčin

3. Because Obedska Bara is the oldest protected value of Europe

It was declared a protected area back in 1874, only two years after the Yellowstone in the USA was declared a national park. It has been known in Europe since the mid-19th century. The Austro-Hungarian rulers would go hunting there and give their ladies unusual, colourful feathers, which were then a must in fashion.

It was named after the nearby Obed monastery, known among the people as the Church of Mother Angelina (Branković). Originally, it was built from the material of a ship she sailed on happily, the legend says. Today it is a special nature reserve, which covers more than 9,800 hectares. It is one of the richest and most preserved habitats of the living world in the Pannonian Basin. It provides settlement for 226 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, 13 species of amphibians, 12 species of reptiles, and is the only habitat of glossy ibis in Serbia. Carp, pike, and crucian carp are enjoying the water, while wild boars, deer, and hedgehogs are walking around, and the black stork nestles in impassable oak forests.

Pecanje na Obedskoj bari

The park is appropriately arranged for rest, with its wooden tables, benches, and fireplaces, where kettles are used and barbecues are made. The necessary wood is stored – cut and neatly stacked. You come here for a whole day of socializing, and relaxation. If you are still up for some action, you can rent a bike or paddle boat to cruise and go fishing on your own, walk the marked paths, or watch the birds. Be sure to climb the lookout to enjoy the view.

A visit to Obedska Bara is incomplete without a catamaran ride. The captain is friendly and eager to share with us some of the secrets of the swamp-forest space.

He lovably starts his story of the food chain, on whose top there is the main predator here, the white-tailed eagle, or rather its female. He also mentions a yellow-crowned night heron, which people call “danguba”, because it can stand in the same place for hours and not move. He presents us with plants and vegetation, angry with the algae that have grown in recent years due to low water levels. There is a continuous croaking sound in the background. It is a reedbird, a small orange bird. That is, he says, how they call one another, call out, quarrel, chat. We have not seen them, but we have seen some turtles. Not each of them manages to hide well. Along the way, the captain reveals the dangers of a nearby forest that hides the quicksand. He emphasizes that you can walk through that forest only on marked paths. He recalls how this terrible sand was indeed of great help to the Serbian army in the Great War.

Namely, after the Battle of Cer, the people who knew this region well managed to lead the Austro-Hungarian soldiers to the quicksand that swallowed up the entire enemy cavalry. A little heroic and wise history never hurts. As you cruise this strange realm, be quiet. Observe and listen carefully. Everything sings here.

VIDEO

6 reasons to visit Obedska Bara

4. Because the village of Kupinovo was a despotic neighborhood

Only in Srem, which carries this title, and at the same time the last Serbian despotic capital, the locals proudly say. This is evidenced by the remains of the fortress of Kupinik. Written sources mention it at the end of the XIV century. It was erected on a small island and was surrounded by a defensive trench and five towers. Its history is turbulent. The fortress was the residence of despot Stefan Lazarević, and later on of nobles of the Branković family. This is where Vuk Branković, also known as Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk, female despot Angelina, and the last Serbian despot Stefan Berislavić, lived. It was conquered and destroyed in 1521 during the march on Belgrade by Turkish Sultan Suleiman.

Archaeological research has only recently begun, so no one can imagine what can be found. Before going on a tour of the fortress, consult the TO staff of the Municipality of Pećinci. Young and cordial people will guide you in detail on all the secrets and traps of the medieval fortress. They welcome you to the ethno-park Kupinovo, the oldest preserved part of the village, where a traditional farmhouse and grassy and flower garden are presented. You will see old furniture and furnishings, a small wooden house without windows (“vajat”), a barn more than 200 years old, and a well. Be sure to climb up to the observation deck, from where the view of the fairytale, wild environment begins.

They thought of kids as well. A swimming pool with sand was built for archaeological games, and the brave ones can be photographed with the Dragon of Kupinik. How? That is what you will find out at the visit. A photo with a being with wings is certainly the most imaginative way to perpetuate the encounter with Kupinovo.

Selo Kupinovo

The oldest part of the ethno-park is the Church of Saint Luke, the most ancient Orthodox temple in Vojvodina, erected in the middle of the XV century. It is the endowment of despot Đurađ Branković, and the iconostasis was painted by the famous baroque artist Jakov Orfelin in the last decades of the XVIII century. In the surrounding villages, there are several more preserved buildings of folk architecture that are worth a visit.

Across from the ethno-park there is a restaurant with a terrace under good shade. We are also tempted by a song that is greatly sung, but we must move on, to arrive at another special place on time.

5. Because the Serbian museum of bread reveals the spirit of the people

Bread has always been more than food for the Serbs. Made up of a handful of wheat grains, it is a symbol of unity, and after being made by skilled hands, it is broken and divided, thus representing a common life. The Serbian museum of bread – Jeremija was founded in 1995 by the painter Slobodan Jeremić, out of love for his own heritage. In the area of 1200 square meters, about 2000 objects are exhibited, classified into three thematic collections: ethnographic, archaeological, and fine arts. They were collected during the painter’s travels around the country, during which he also researched and recorded customs. The setting shows the way of the wheat grains “from the earth, across the bread, to heaven”, revealing how the bread was once made, its significance and symbolism, but it also tells about people and their customs and a way of living.

Most of the exhibited objects can be touched, they are not under glass, because the controlled dust is an integral part of the museum, the founder explains. Some of them even start to work, and with the sound of a hand-held threshing machine, which is about 200 years old, cracking machine and millstone you can travel to the distant past. You can also see a bread baking oven, a hearth and a military kitchen.

The collection of ceremonial breads is particularly interesting, a rich testimony to spirituality and different customs. Family patron’s day, wedding, all soul’s day and harvest bread, cakes, Christmas ritual bread (“česnica”), Christmas figural bread laws (“zakončići”) are presented…

The walk further leads to the room where the host’s pieces of art are displayed. They are great. The founder also created a church, dedicated to Serbian fame, which he painted personally. On the wall in front of the chapel the rulers of the Nemanjić family are painted, inside on the dome are Serbian saints, and on the sides old Slavic goddesses and gods.

It was nominated for the 2017 European Museum of the Year Award. It is open for visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It can be considered as another artwork of Jeremija. Magnificent and unique. As our mindful people would say, “He is as good as bread”.

6. Becuse on their way back, many people refresh themselves at PS Gazprom Krnješevci

After a day of strolling through Srem, our four-wheeler is running out of gas, and so are we. We are going to the PS Krnješevci on the Belgrade – Šid highway where we will all “recharge”. While the kind fuel attendant at the petrol station takes care of the vehicle, we quickly choose our food. Drive Cafe burger made of pure beef, with cheddar cheese, and lettuce well packed in a soft roll, with hot fries. And a freshly made sandwich with cream and roast meat to replace the missed flavours of Srem. It is working, almost completely.

NIS Burger

Let us drink Jazak spring water of different tastes. Everyone has their own favorite. We end the adventure with a sweet bite. Strudel is gone, but cheesecake will do – with raspberry topping. A novice in an already rich offer of candies. Bingo. We could do another round, but you have to pay attention to your figure, summer is coming.

NIS Petrol Čizkejk

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6 reasons to visit Homolje

The weather is quite a bit unstable, but nature doesn’t really care. It keeps putting on its dazzling spring cape and calls out. We couldn’t wait. We are off to a quest for uninhibited beauty, to a neighborhood where premium cheeses and even better honey are made. The road leads us through the city of Požarevac.

Why visit Homolje

1. Because Homolje exudes natural beauty

We are arriving in Homolje. This eastern Serbian area is enclosed by mountain ranges from every side. The official mention of Homolje is linked to the 13th century, when the whole region of Braničevo was ruled by Bulgarian nobles. In the olden days it served as a refuge being so hard to access. It boasts a lot of things, most notably the Homolje mountains, which are, in average, about 900 meters high. They are overgrown with oak and beech forests and covered with endless pastures and meadows, where you can still spot the so-called “katuns”. They are rich in diverse and medicinal herbs, forest fruits and are a habitat for many animals.

While hiking along well-kept and marked trails or conquering one of the mountain peaks, you might meet a deer, a rabbit, a fox, a wild boar, but also a wolf. Birds are watched here, there is hunting and fishing, and climbs are mastered by bicycle. Numerous caves give this place a special charm, the most famous of which are the Ceremošnja and Ravništarka caves. The famous ethno-village of the region is Trška. Many say it is one of the best in Serbia. We can’t confirm because we couldn’t find anyone. We were a day early. It is located on the road to the town Žagubica, marked with a turn sign showing to the gravel road.

The most important water way is the Mlava River, which cut the 16-kilometre long Gornjak gorge through the luxuriant, unbridled nature. It is because of the temples and remnants of the medieval town of Ždrelo that the locals call this gorge a holy valley. Many mystical stories and legends are told about Homolje. At some point in its course, the Mlava river flows silently. Locals call it “the silent water.” One legend says that a messenger brought news of the lost Kosovo battle. It was then that everything went speechless, including the Mlava river. The second legend is related to Emperor Lazar and the Gornjak Monastery. The locals will tell it to you when you get there.

It is not possible to visit, let alone explore Homolje in a day or two. One must come again and discover new nooks and crannies with great curiosity, over and over again.

VIDEO

6 reasons to visit Homolje

2. Because the Gornjak Monastery was founded by Prince Lazar

Perhaps the greatest Serbian poet of romanticism Đura Jakšić described his encounter with the monastery in the heart of the Gorge with this verse – “The cross on it shines, responds to the sun, and draws golden stripes on the cold rock” in the poem “A Trip to Gornjak” (Put u Gornjak). It is located in picturesque landscapes, at the foot of the steep cliffs of the Ježevac mountain, on the left bank of the Mlava river. Once named Ždrelo, today it is called Gornjak. One oral tradition says that it was named after a medieval nearby town, another one suggests it was named after the so-called “gornjak”, the mountain wind. It was founded by Prince Lazar, who wanted to make a small offering to the Mother of God. It was built between 1379 and 1381 in the Moravian style. It shared the fate of his people. It was demolished, set on fire and ravaged countless times. All the valuables of the treasury are now gone, including the charter of Emperor Lazar, a cup with his initials, the golden chalice he donated to the monastery, and the banner of Emperor Dušan.

Of the medieval buildings, the main monastery church dedicated to the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Vavedenje), the chapel of St. Nicholas and the hermitage of Grigorije of Gornjak are preserved. A chapel dedicated to St. Elijah was built in the lodgings. There is a coffin with what is believed to be the miraculous relics of Grigorije of Gornjak. The main church is currently being rebuilt and no entry is allowed.

Across the road, on the right bank of the Mlava, there is a small hotel where you can have a snack and spend the night, and the surrounding forests can be roamed on footpaths. The parking lot features a map of the area with clearly marked sites and natural landmarks. Take a picture of it, it will come in handy for your further exploration.

Not far away, at the very entrance to the Gornjak gorge, the Blagoveštenje monastery (Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary) is located. It is believed to have been built by despot Stefan Lazarević, in an almost vertical rock. Such an extraordinary sight. The road is marked and extended for the parking, however, the monastery is deserted.

3. The Krupajsko vrelo (Krupa spring) is the pearl of Homolje

At the foot of the Beljanica mountain, on the right bank of the Krupa river, secluded and forgotten by time, in the dense untainted vegetation lies the treasure of Homolje. Blue and green play with their brightest and tamest shades, painting a fairytale landscape. And the resonant sound of waterfalls cannot be overpowered. A sight for sore eyes and music for the soul. If only we had something to scoop water with and drink it. We might also get a tiny bit of gold with it. For, as the legend goes, the Homolje mountains swallowed a vast treasure chest hidden at the bottom of the Krupa spring in a golden cave, guarded by a water spirit, possibly a naughty one. We didn’t go looking in so deep, but someone did. The divers descended to 123 metres and discovered a network of canals leading to the cave. There must be some truth in every legend.

And while fantasizing about the enchanted treasure, refresh yourself in one of the two restaurants and be sure to treat yourself to some pond-grown trout. There is an unusual stone pool where you can freshen up in the summer. The Krupa spring (Krupajsko vrelo) is a natural monument. Clean and intact. It just seems like the surrounding area could use a little refinement. For starters, take care of the access road and plant grass in the dirt parking lot.

4. Because kids also enjoy the Ždrelo Spa

It is known for its thermal mineral water. With its spring at a depth of 180 meters and a temperature of 40 degrees at its surface. It is especially beneficial for gout. Nowadays it is a private hospitality and entertainment complex of the Terme Ždrelo. Visitors can relax in the spa, take a swim in four open and five indoor pools, and the kids simply love the outdoor and indoor water slides. Apart from the hotel guests, daily tickets are available to everyone else as well.

The hotel is built in the form of a castle, and the interior of the complex has intertwined Roman and ancient Greek styles; looks like everyone can find something for themselves. Stands with authentic products of the region, souvenirs and various trinkets, clothing stores, even a cow made of plastic, a barrel for lovers, a dragon fountain, because this is where they used to land. What this great place for rest and family gatherings has to offer won’t leave you indifferent.

It is located about ten kilometers from Petrovac on Mlava, along the road with pedestrian footpath with lighting and benches. Next to the complex there is a camper area, and private accommodation is also available. Take a ride around the neighborhood. You will be surprised by the large houses and even several castle-like buildings with priceless fences. Many are uninhabited. They seem to have been built for retirement days.

5. Because Homolje bites taste like a miracle

Since the sunset caught us at the Terme Ždrelo, the ethno-style restaurant seemed more than tempting. It was going to turn out to be just the right thing. All sorts of food. We opted for local tastes. For starters, the so-called “gypsy” homemade bread. Fiery, just as the name suggests. Mouths are burning, but it will be eaten in delight. Corn porridge with vegetable stew too. If we hadn’t tried those, we would have missed a lot. And a plate of Homolje cheeses. The names are cutely featured on post-its on a toothpick. “Urda” turned up in the middle of them. We were exchanging puzzled looks. The waiter explained that it’s cow’s lump cheese. They’re all top notch, but the trophy undoubtedly goes to the goat cheese, it’s second to none.

A Wallachian plate followed. Meat of all kinds, but a pljeskavica (burger) like we’ve never tasted, to be forgiven by skilled Southerners. There were still so many interesting things to try, but we were already way out of line. There will be time for that, because such a gourmet experience is worth coming a long way for. As we gloated with Homolje delicacies, we heard that the people of this region are the longest-lived in Serbia. Together with air and nature, food also helps. And our wise people have always said – you are what you eat.

6. Because top quality Drive Cafe coffee is waiting for you at NIS Petrol in Požarevac

The prerequisite of every excellent trip is vigilance, so on our way back, we looked for a break at NIS Petrol gas station in Požarevac, where they serve all kinds of top-quality Italian coffee.

We had the largest-size cappuccino to spice up our journey with the aroma of quality coffee. We ended this journey with sips of our favorite drink.

 

 

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8 reasons to visit Vranje

Nature is greatly awakened and playful. Sunshine brings out the big smiles and warms the body. And where to pamper the soul and cheer up the heart quickly, if not in the south. We’re rushing into the city of “sevdah” and enjoyment. Where the old still resists the modern. Where girls are beautiful, and boys are skillful in singing and dancing. By taking the highway to North Macedonia, we arrive at the birthplace of Bora Stanković, in the far south of the homeland.

Grad Vranje

Why visit Vranje

1. Because Vranje is the town of Bora Stanković

It is settled in the valley of the South Morava, in a basin between three mountains. There are no reliable data when the first settlement was created, but given its important geographical location, it must have been quite some time ago. The first written clue about Vranje dates from the 11th century, and it is included in the Serbian state under Stefan Prvovenčani two centuries later. During the turbulent history, the Bulgarians and Germans tortured it until the final liberation at the end of World War II.

Walking through Vranje is extremely interesting, varied and exciting. At the beginning of the main promenade, a map of the city was made as a floor mosaic. There is also a fountain which is currently being renovated. A sunny and warm spring day has drawn out all sorts of people. Ah, what a crowd of men, as people from Vranje would say in a funny way. They’re keeping their special dialect jealously. And that’s the right thing to do. The pedestrian road is long, lively, with many catering businesses and various shops. Parallel to it, there is a part of it that extends to the so-called street of fun. Eh, that’s where you have to sip some coffee. A bunch of cafes and restaurants, youth chatting cheerfully, home atmosphere, almost intimate. A narrow alley leads out to the famous Burberry Building. An ordinary residential building with an unusual facade in the patterns and colours of the luxury fashion house. Although the motive of the owner or builder to make it like that is unknown, it is certainly an interesting thing that is talked about. Many more likable buildings are hidden in Vranje, walk and you will discover them, and you will surely reach the old hammam.

Barberi zgrada

A break from the hustle and bustle is offered by a large and beautifully landscaped city park. It is obligatory to visit the White Bridge over the Vranjska River, on the edge of the city. Freshly restored, it seems, unscathed by letters and drawings. It is also called the Bridge of Love, according to the tragic love of two young people. A rich Turkish girl had a crush on a Serbian shepherd, and she died protecting her sweetheart from her own father. And then he took his own life. And so there was a bridge, says the legend. It has a board with printouts in Arabic and Turkish. Unfortunately, we do not speak any of the two languages. Whatever it says, the bridge has always been a symbol of the merger, and a message can be hinted at. One thing is certain for sure – love must not be meddled in. On the shore there is a small wooden church of St. Petka, also known as the Crucifix Mosque, with a long and unusual history, and not far away, on the other shore, rises the monastery of the Holy Father Nikolay.

Most ljubavi u Vranju

Quite a clean, temperamental and cordial city reflecting an old-fashioned spirit from every of its corners. It is clear why it inspired the work of Bora Stanković and stole the soul and heart of Serbian Pavarotti, Stanisa Stošić, who made the melody of Vranje famous far away. We have not heard of Lela, Jelena, but the trumpeters have cheered us up in the morning. It has always been hot and cheerful in the Serbian South. To keep it that way.

The city that has a soul is the motto that welcomed us at the entrance to Vranje. There is one, very much so, very much so. It stole a piece of ours, but it gave us much more of its.

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8 reasons to visit Vranje

2. Because the National Museum Vranje is a pleasure for history lovers

It is located in Pasha’s konak, built in the middle of the XVIII century, on the promenade. The plateau in front of the former selamluk, where only men used to stay – is ruled by the kids now. They run carelessly, ride bikes and skateboards, laugh and shout cheerfully. In front of the entrance is a monument to Staniša Stošić. The museum has an ethnological collection. In the chambers on the ground floor are exhibited pieces of jewellery and urban and rural clothes of this region. There would also be a few pieces of clothing that could still be worn proudly nowadays. And jewellery, varied and unusual, eternally fashionable. Ladies will enjoy it for sure. Upstairs are the dining room, the lounge, the bedroom and the girls’ room. They fairly faithfully portray old Vranje. The nearby haremluk, once inhabited only by women, is being restored and will house an archaeological collection. We are eagerly awaiting the opening.

Narodni muzej, Vranje

3. Because Koštana and Sofka live in Bora’s house

Vranje is inextricably linked to its own Bora Stanković, one of the greatest writers of Serbian realism, who devoted his entire literary work to his homeland. He wrote his works in Vranje’s dialect despite abundancy of criticism. Thus he immortalized it in his Impure blood, Koštana, To Tašana… Nowadays, these works of heritage are kept in Bora’s birth house in Baba Zlatina Street, a narrow cobbled alley. It was named after Bora’s grandmother Zlata, who raised him after he lost his parents early on. We pass through a large old gate and enter a spacious courtyard. Floral and gentle. Under the thick shade of a hundred-year-old mulberry tree, which, as custom had it, was planted by Grandma Zlata before she started building her home. In the courtyard there is also a vine, a well and a low table with three tripods, a carpet over the porch fence. Just like it used to be when Bora was growing up here. And the interior was originally furnished. The guest room is decorated mostly in oriental style and Grandma Zlata’s room with an iron bed and a wooden loom on which she wove. Across is Bora’s room. His literary editions, manuscripts, photographs from theatre plays and films, and personal items are on display. One can stay here for hours.

Kuća Bore Stankovića

From the courtyard you can see Pribojčić’s house, another building of Oriental-Balkan style. Nearby is the birth house of the priest St. Justin Popović.

4. Because these parts were once ruled by Prince Marko

A few kilometers from the town, on the road that connects Vranjska with Leskovačka kotlina valley, there are the remains of a medieval fortress, on a protruding ridge between the mountains of Pljačkovica and Krstilovica. It is assumed that the town was built by Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, and that today’s remains of fortifications date back to the 13th century. According to folk tradition, the fortified town was once ruled by Marko Kraljević, so it was named after a hero.

Utvrđenje kraljevića Marka

There is no landscaped parking. There is only one extension on the road where only a few vehicles can be packed. We have come across a garbage dump, scattered all over the place. A sight that would deter even the most determined tourist. However, we continue on the dirt track for several hundred meters in such an environment. Further more it’s clear. It seems that there will be a few who find the strength to turn a blind eye and make it to the fort learning a lesson on the way, and leave no cigarette butts behind. On the ascent to the ridge, a path of stone can be noticed. Be sure to walk carefully uphill, especially downhill. As expected, the fortress is abandoned. In the shrubs and vegetation. Without any markings, so one can only speculate on what the builders were building. Between the slopes of the hill there is a view towards the town, while under the steep cliff the water murmurs. Nature has offered a great experience, just to give it a little bit of help by men. Marko’s fortress is one of the oldest cultural heritage of the Vranje region and a cultural asset of great importance. How it would look if it were something of lesser importance. Sadness and shame.

Utvrđenje kraljevića Marka

On the way back to Vranje there is a separation for hill Pržar. We’re making a detour in hopes of improving our impression. It did. A wooded, landscaped picnic area where you can enjoy a refreshing walk. Another beautiful view of Vranje.

Brdo Pržar

5. Because the Vranjska Spa has the hottest water in Europe

The healing water was used back in ancient times. Members of both Serbian royal lineages were also treated there. One of the kings is still present today at a mural on a rock over the river Banjštica. It is 12 kilometers away from Vranje, at an altitude of about 400 meters. It boasts the hottest, namely the hottest mineral water on the Old Lady’s soil. Temperature’s 96 degrees. It is extremely unusual to see water running from the faucet at the center of the spa and that it evaporates. Boiler’s gone, of course. It is beneficial primarily for bones ache. A sweet place for healing and recovery, but also for pleasant moments of rest. The old buildings need to be restored and refurbished. A new luxury hotel is being built in the rock, and the spa could soon become attractive even for gentlemen with “a deeper pocket”.

Vranjska banja

6. Because the Mišić Zoo houses dangerous animals

Children no longer have to go to the capital to see the wild beasts live. And there are quite a few – tigers, kangaroos, monkeys, lemurs, zebra, camel, flamingos, ibis, cranes, alpacas, llamas… In total there are about 2,000 representatives of 250 species. The owner is constantly increasing the crowd – a couple of lions have already arrived, and seals are expected soon. Homes of residents originating from exotic areas have air conditioning and underfloor heating, and there is no winter for them. Kids can hang out with their dogs and horses and attend the riding school. The Mišić Zoo, which covers about eight hectares of private property, is located in the village of Dulan, about ten kilometres from Vranje. You can come on a full-day family trip, but also spend a few days in a newly built hotel within the complex. Hedonism is guaranteed at the indoor pool with sauna and salt room. For kids a huge joy, for the Vranje region a great tourist offer.

Flamingosi u zoo vrtu Mišić

7. Because the restaurant Mišić hides the specialties of southern Serbia

After an exciting company with dear creatures, it is time to dine in the pleasant restaurant Mišić.It is always open for us to taste the specials of the region, order the veal tail under the sač. Bingo. The meat is chopped into small pieces, juicy and spicy in the manner of Vranje, fiery. Here come the beans on “tavče” – Macedonians to be ashamed of, the burger – the Nišlije to envy, and the hot cake that must have been made by a skilled housewife. And of course, the inevitable Moravian salad, a bowl for everyone not to struggle over it. The offer is rich – from roasting, through a variety of grilled meat, pastes and pizzas, to fresh water and sea fish. Let’s believe that everything is delicious, but the ponytail is top of the line. Warm recommendation. Wow, what a Southern ending to Vranje adventure. If only we had managed during the day to enjoy in the sun on the terrace of the restaurant. There ‘ll be a chance, because we’ll be back for sure when the little lions and seals move into the zoo.

Hrana u restoranu Mišić

8. Because at NIS Petrol you can pay for fuel from the car

After the “Vranje safari”, the time comes for saying good bye. At PS NIS Petrol Vranje-grad, we poured fuel with the Drive.Go application. We came, the hospitable Vranjanac filled our fuel, and we scanned the QR code and paid through the app. No waiting, from your seat, quick and easy. We also took advantage of self-service car washing – it also deserves some rest after this adventure. Refreshed and full of impressions, we are heading back home – so that the impressions and the calf’s tail under the sač settle in our experiences as well as in our stomachs.

BS Vranje Grad

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Drive.Go is the first mobile application in Serbia that allows you to pay for refueling from the driver's seat.

It is enough to have the Drive.Go application installed and use it to read the marked QR code and you can pay for fuel without getting out of the car.

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Jet Wash - self-service car wash

At selected NIS Petrol and Gazprom gas stations, you can use one of four car wash programs with the same token: shampooing and washing with hot water under pressure, rinsing with high-pressure water, waxing and washing with demineralized stain-free drying fluid.

Take advantage of the action until April 30, 2022, and at selected laundries with three purchased tokens, you will receive Drive Cafe wet wipes of your choice as a gift!

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7 reasons to visit Srbobran and Turija

When the winter comes and the north wind starts to breeze, one should stick to the south. Think those who don’t know anything about the tiny village that has cleverly dealt with the plain winds and great snowfalls. Where it is most lively right in the winter. We had the audacity to pay it a visit. Along the way, we intend to explore the area and drop by to a place of famous landowners and of a proud name. From the highway to Subotica, we turn to Srbobran.

Ulica u Srbobranu

Why visit Srbobran and Turija

1. Because Srbobran is a lovely town with a rich history

For a long time, it was called Szenttamas, or a similar version of the name St. Thomas. According to Hungarian written sources, Srbogradski or Srbograd (“Serb Town”) was added to the name in the middle of the XVIII century. After the Great War and the annexation of Vojvodina to Serbia it was named Srbobran after the fortress-ditch which was built at the present-day Srbobranska Street during the Revolution of 1848. As Serbs were in those ditches, it was symbolically called Serbian, and some time later – Srbobran (“Serb Defense”). Today, no landmarks, no mention of the famous ditch.

Srbobran - žuti bunar

Srbobran is embraced by many waters – the Krivaja River, the Great Bačka Canal and several ponds, and they have endowed exceptional fertility to the land. It is rich in thermal waters, which are not used for medicinal purposes, but still has its source of health, the Yellow Well (“Žuti bunar”). At the center, under the sweet roof, there is a continuous flow of water. Yellow, rich in iodine. Don’t be discouraged by the color, or the smell, it’s not very pleasant, but one gets accustomed after a few sips. It’s worth squeezing your teeth for health’s sake.

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7 reasons to visit Srbobran and Turija

The fertile land once gave birth to the landowners. The most famous is the Dunđerski family, which the locals also remember for their benevolence. Even today, one can see the magnificent buildings of once the richest prečan family. In the local Orthodox cemetery here is the Dunđerski Chapel, built by Lazar, the father of Lenka, probably the most famous member of the family thanks to the pen of the great romantic Laza Kostić. At the entrance to the cemetery is the Mausoleum of Stevan Dunđerski. It is reminiscent of the domes of medieval Serbian monasteries. Its construction cost 200 wagons of wheat. Golden wheat ears is still worth gold today. We didn’t set foot inside. It is under renovation. The cemetery is also unusual because of the large number of ossuaries, family tombs, which resemble smaller mausoleums. Not that the cemetery can be considered a suitable tourist destination, but sometimes it can tell a lot about the locals and their lives.

Ulice Srbobrana

Srbobran streets also carry royal spirit, for once the king walked there. Admittedly, then officially heir to the throne, Alexander I Karađorđević. He was hosted by Stevan Dunđerski in his lavish lounge in 1919. He was driven there by a beautiful carriage. Unfortunately, our host did not have a carriage and two black horses to lend to us to trot around the alleys and have a royal experience of the posh houses of vivid colours. We had to walk, but we enjoyed it just as much.

Srbobran

The fertile land, hard-working hosts and fighting past make the locals proud, as our host proudly tells us. It’s a delight to listen to him. How much love is woven into the descriptions of every corner of his home. For him, it is certainly special and the most beautiful. Honestly, it’s worth a visit. So instead of going to the roadside tavern, stop by Srbobran and take a couple of hours to explore the exciting surroundings. There will be no lack of beautiful surprises.

2. Because two Christian churches live together in Srbobran

History, especially in mixed and smaller places, is often also reflected in religious buildings. While different churches and religions survive, there is respect and coexistence. That’s exactly the kind of environment Srbobran looks like.

Pravoslavna crkva u Srbobranu

Already as one approaches the town, two giant towers are visible. They symbolically represent the Serbian people on both sides of the Sava and the Danube, and the monumental nave of the church represents their unification and strength. The bells, they say, can be heard for up to 25 kilometers around. The Orthodox Church of the Epiphany of the Lord was founded in 1787 and was under construction for about twenty years. It would suffer in any armed conflict, and there were some in this area. The bells would then be silenced and melted into cannons. But the locals were more tenacious than the cannonballs, so they would always rebuild it.

Hrišćanska crkva - Srbobran

It is considered one of the most beautiful Orthodox places of worship in the Pannonian region and a protected cultural monument. But the door is closed. Very unusual for an Orthodox temple in Serbia. In front of the church is a landscaped park, a favorite meeting place for young people, and a Monument to fallen combatants and victims of fascist terror.

Unutar Rimokatoličke crkve - Srbobran

At the other end of the town is the Roman Catholic Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The first place of worship at today’s place was built in 1783 without tower and without cross. As the population, and thus the number of believers, grew, in 1815 a real place of worship was built with a high tower and a cross. And it, like the Orthodox Church, also suffered during the Revolution of 1848. It was renovated about twenty years later, and today’s appearance takes shape at the beginning of the last century. A large building that dominates, as we assume, the Hungarian part of Srbobran. We went in there. A splendidly painted vault, colorful stained glass and various figurines. The winding narrow staircase leads us up to the balcony from where the interior shines with full glow. From there breaks the sound of organ.

Rimokatolicka crkva - Srbobran

3. Because the Turija sausage holds the Guinness record

It all started in the winter of 1985. It was quite snowy, say the townspeople. When there is nothing to do in the field, the people go into their houses, firewood burning, drinking hot brandy, and chatting. And what else would hunters and hosts discuss than about who is a better sausage maker? And so teasing began. Volunteers for the evaluation gathered in no time and the competition began, in a smaller circle. But already the following year, distinguished hosts applied, news spread around the area, crowds gathered, and the competition became serious. Finally, to see what they ended up with, some money remained in the piggy bank, and the Sausage festival of Kobasicijada got a humanitarian mark. Thus, one of the most famous and significant events in Serbia emerged from winter leisure and local teasing customs.

Turijska kobasica - rekord

On the last weekend in February, the tiny Turija becomes the centre of Serbia. The crowd comes from everywhere, and there can be one or two foreigners, too. Everyone assembled to see the Guinness wonder live. It was entered in the Book of Records in 2013, and since then, every year, Turijans have set a new one. They haven’t had any competitors for a long time. One cannot go down the main street. Crowds squeeze among the booths that offer everything, just like on any other fair. The most interesting are certainly meat booths with marvelous delicacies. The stage is set in the center of the village. The cultural and artistic program runs from Friday. Folklore ensembles alternate, kids in folk costumes also perform kolo dance, and presenters recount the events from previous Sausage festivals. Saturday at noon, Her Majesty arrives. She is driven by a tractor, which honks tirelessly trying to dispel the curious crowd. When he finally manages to make it to the stage, the sausage is sliced like a red ribbon and the merry celebration can begin, officially. The Sausage festival is something to experience, at least once in a lifetime. An exciting and uncommon event, especially for city kids.

4. Because Beljanska pond is a nature park

It is located between Srbobran and Turija. The Beljanska pond represents a significantly preserved wet area. It is habitat to numerous rare species of plants and animals, and the spawning grounds of several indigenous fish species. It has adopted about 130 species of birds, and there are some amphibians and reptiles, too. There are insects, understandably, in abundance. It is an ideal place for passionate nature lovers and photography aficionados and a paradise for anglers. A well-maintained health trail, four kilometers long, is an opportunity to stretch your legs. And when you get tired and hungry, there is a well-tended barbecue area nearby.

Pecanje na Beljanskoj bari

5. Because Salaš Tatić is a family oasis

Not far from the Beljan pond, there is Salaš Tatić. It stretched across the orchards and vineyards, all the way to the shores of the Great Bačka Canal. There is a pontoon made for sunbathing and summer swimming. Kids can run carefree on the spacious lawn, try their skills on the outdoor playground props, and mingle with sheep, lambs, and a pony. An angler is easy to become here, you just have to throw the hook, and for romantic souls, you are provided with a boat ride. Something for each sense. Of course, when the snow starts melting and the sun warms this tame plain of Bačka.

Salaš Tatić - hrana

6. Because Tatić’s goulash is seasoned with bećarac

A salašar story is not complete without a home-cooked snack. A brick-and-wood restaurant, decorated with ethnic details and a few pieces of antique furniture and utensils, blends in perfectly with the surroundings. Although it is not yet dark, the atmosphere inside is already boiling. The joyful partying of a middle-aged group has already been there for quite a while. We would like to try a lot of things, but on the weekends, the choice is narrowed. The house offers sausages. Even though our trunk is packed with those from Turija, we don’t mind. The second choice is beef goulash with noodles. They are skilfully curled at the bottom of the bowl, which gives them a special juiciness. All is perfect. We expected nothing less. The deprivation of a few more salaš delicacies has been compensated by general cheerfulness. The band is tireless, they can play all kinds of things. And then the real treat begins – bećarac. Several great ladies sing and keep outwitting with experienced musicians. And no one to take a break, let alone give up. They accompanied us with humour. While there is good-host food and song, there’s no winter.

Salaš Tatić - hrana

7. Because PS Novi Sad 16 has a wide range of products

After the bećarac, on the way back, we sought refreshment at the Gazprom station on the way out of Novi Sad. Juicy and fresh donuts have further lifted our spirits, and a wide range of waters, juices and energy drinks have provided us with much-needed refreshments for the journey back. As we add up the impressions and take away the calories on the way to Belgrade, we think about everything we experienced in Srbobran, a place that was a historical “dam” from the great empire. And we are thinking about what Serbia would look like today if it were not for the brave Srbobran folks.

NIS Petrol - Novi Sad

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Drive.Go – Payment without going to the cash register

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Drive Cafe is the biggest coffee shop in Serbia

At more than 300 locations throughout Serbia, you can enjoy the unique aroma of Drive Cafe coffee, which will make your every trip stronger and easier.

Look for the much-needed break in the wide range of food and aromatic coffee at NIS Petrol and Gazprom gas stations. Proof of the quality we are proud of is the more than 5,000,000 coffees drunk in the previous year.

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8 reasons to visit Loznica and Tršić

We go to the west of the homeland, where nature has created wondrous landscapes, history has written heroic feats, and minds have shaped the future. To the beautiful Drina, the bumper and the clamp, ever since. In the homeland of folk speech and Serbian language and script nowadays. Loznica can be reached from Belgrade via Šabac and Sremska Mitrovica. Whether you want the route via Little Paris or the former Sirmium, it is your will.

Grad Loznica - pogleda na grad

Why visit Loznica and Tršić?

1. Because Loznica is home to two great men

The Loznica region was inhabited around 4,500 B.C., the Illyrians had left it a rich material culture, and during the Romans it was part of the province of Dalmatia. The town is believed to be named after vines that have been cultivated since the third century. It is was mentioned for the first time in the writings of King Milutin’s charter on the occasion of the construction of the nearby monastery Tronoša in 1317. It was annexed to the Principality of Serbia at the time of Miloš Obrenović thus becoming a free peasant property.

Spomenik Jovanu Cvijicu - grad Loznica

The birthplace of Jovan Cvijić, a scientist and founder of Serbian geography, and Miodrag Mića Popović, a famous painter and academician. Loznica erected a monument to Cvijić and dedicated a park and the main street to him. Popović donated about forty paintings and graphics to his homeland that are the heritage of the Gallery of Mića Popović. The works are often on tour through Serbia, and the possibility of seeing them depends on luck. We have not been lucky this time.

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8 reasons to visit Loznica and Tršić

What stands among the city’s beauties are Vukov dom kulture (cultural centre), unusual appearance and decorative facades of bright color, the Jadra Museum, the Anta Bogićević elementary school, on the elevation of the former rebellious fortress, and the nearby Church of the Shroud of the Most Holy Virgin, erected in the second half of the XIX century on the site of the older building.

Muzej Jadra - Loznica

A small, but lively, hospitable and clean town, where two dialects, like the two shores of the Drina, compete together.

2. Because the Jadar river Museum preserves the Drina monoxyl

Drinski Monoksil - Muzej

Monoxyl, an old vessel used to transport people and goods carved from a single piece of oak wood, was found on the coast of the Drina in 2011. The tip was sticking out of the ground, and it was spotted, who else, but by fishermen. It is seven meters long and weighs more than a ton and is considered an extremely rare example of this type of water transport estimated to be several centuries old. The river giant is worthy of a special place and adorns the museum’s little courtyard. True, you’d have a hard time getting it under the roof. But the rest of the exhibition about the Jadar region is worth seeing. It starts from prehistory and covers the period up to the middle of the last century. Particularly interesting objects were found at the nearby bronze site of Paulje, where a common tomb was excavated, and a model of the necropolis was shown. We relive the rebellious and warrior days of this region through a trench model, which played an important role in the Loznica Battle, also known as the Battle of Tičar, as well as the stories of the local duke from the first Serbian uprising, Ante Bogić, as well as of Momčilo Gavrić, the youngest participant in the Great War. After his entire family was killed by the enemy, an eight-year-old kid turned into a soldier. Later, he was taking part in breaking through the Thessaloniki Front. The ethnological collection contains interesting tools and pieces of furniture, and something to learn about Cvijić.

Oruđe i oružije iz muzeja Jadra - Loznica

The museum is housed in an appealing building of an old pharmacy built at the beginning of the 20th century.

3. Because Tršić is the cradle of nowadays alphabet

Just a few kilometers from Loznica is Trsić, the birthplace of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić. Collector of folk intellectual creations and songs, linguist, reformer of the Serbian language, and writer of the first Serbian dictionary and grammar called Pismenica in the language of the common people. A lot of valuable things were left to us by Vuk, but the most precious thing is the priceless alphabet. Phonetic, perfect. Unique alphabet in the world. But, it seems that we’re not perfect enough to nurture it, so by being conceited, we hushed it up.

Drvena tabla - Tršić

Vuk’s homeland today is part of the Region of Exceptional Characteristics Cultural Region Tršić-Tronoša. At the very entrance is the elementary school “Vuk Stefanović Karadžić” and the plea of young people that the cradle of Serbian literacy should not be tainted. It seems to have been respected.

Kucica sa QR kodom - Vukov Rjecnik - Trsic

The Museum of Language and Alphabet represents important people from the Vuk’s era and shows the origin of Cyrillic. Vuk’s Alphabet Cases, 30 boxes resembling birdhouses for each letter of the Serbian alphabet, are placed around the Museum. On the boxes, a QR code is put through which visitors can get acquainted with the words from Vuk’s Dictionary that speak about folk customs, beliefs and traditions. If you have a folk word, write it on a piece of paper and throw it in the box. You will contribute to the preservation and enrichment of the language and thus become a real Vuk’s follower. That’s a great idea.

Hram Svetog Arhangela Mihaila

Vuk’s Home is accessible on foot. By the way, on the wooden boards, we read the engraved inscriptions of honor, justice and humanity. We pass by a meeting place with the wooden Church of St. Archangel Michael, and restored mills and houses with an antique look. Several hosts have returned from abroad and revived their old homes, as our host proudly tells us. At the top of the hill, across the Žeravija river, the founder of nowadays alphabet was born. At the entrance to the courtyard, we are greeted by the words of Vuk: “I was born and raised in Serbia and therefore it seems to me that there is no country in the world that is more beautiful than Serbia, nor a place more beautiful than Tršić.” We enter a humble cottage, a log cabin, on a stone basement. Not the original. According to Vuk’s records, the Turks burned it almost ten times during the rule of Karađorđe. But at the end of the 19th century, the locals marked the place of the original home with a cross placed in the bedroom of the Memorial House, erected in 1933. At that time, the first Vuk’s congregation was also held. In the courtyard are two wooden houses called “vajat”, a cottage for barrels and a barn.

Vukova kuca i okucnica - Trsic

The homeland holds the memory of the Vuk with dignity. Pure, green, natural, buildings in wood and stone, and knowledge lures from everywhere. It just needs to be absorbed.

Vukova Kuca - Trsic

Nearby is the famous Tronoša Monastery where Vuk stayed for a short time, got a little education, and kept the herds. Take a stroll through the stunning surroundings, climb to the spring of the Žeravija, enjoy the preserved nature and the chirping of birds, memorize the creations, and renew the alphabet. If nowhere else in Serbia, it still rules here.

4. Because Koviljača is a royal banja

It is located not far from the Drina, at the foot of the forested mountain Gučevo. It is believed that people here have been treated since ancient times, and written sources mention medicinal waters in the first half of the 19th century. It is sometimes known as Smrdan Banja or Smrdan Bara for the sulfuric scents of beneficial mud. It was renamed in the early 19th century. According to one of many legends, it was named in honor of the wealthy Koviljka who built the city there.

Banja Koviljaca - pogled sa visine

Today it is one of the most healing, but certainly the most beautiful health resorts in Serbia. The jewel of the beauty of Podrinje (the Drina region) is a lavishly landscaped park with more than 80 types of trees, flower arrangements, grassy areas, and a large fountain. It covers about 40 hectares and is one of the largest artificial oases of greenery in Serbia. In addition to the landscaped nature, the Kur-salon, built under the patronage of King Alexander I Karađorđević and modelled after the Viennese one, is also prey to beauty. In addition to the cure session (treatment), from the beginning he was also chosen for the entertainment of the gentlemen of aristocratic origin. Thus the spa from the derisive name of Smrdan (stinking) to the illustrious nickname of Royalty. The other one’s worth it today. Coffee shop on the spacious, sunny terrace of the Kur-salon overlooking the beautiful park with the sounds of the classical music. A few royal minutes you have to afford.

Spomenik Kralju Aleksandru I Karadjordjevicu - Banja Koviljaca

5. Because Gučevo is a heroic mountain

A wooded mountain that covers Banja Koviljača and waters it with mineral water from its sources. They take turns hornbeam, oak, beech, maple, and black pine, so one can breathe to the fullest. It is home to rabbits, foxes, various birds, roe deer, and there are some wolves. Favourite is the picnic area and destination of pedestrians, hikers, cyclists, bikers, adrenalin-run paragliders. The ride to the top is fairy-tale, but the road is not wide enough, so be cautious, especially on many curves.

It enrolled in the history of Serbia after the first trench battle in the First World War. The Battle of Gučevo, fought during the Battle on the Drina in 1914, lasted 55 days and is known among the people as the Battle above Clouds. In memory of the fallen, a pyramid-shaped memorial was erected, 15 meters high with a two-headed eagle spreading its wings at the top. The remains of some 4,000 Serb and Austro-Hungarian soldiers were buried. The famous thought of Njegoš is written above the sarcophagus: “Blessed is one who lives ethernaly, he was worth being born.” From there, the eyes embrace a piece of the homeland around the Drina. Yeah, the heroes were motivated what to die for.

6. Because Ethno village “Sunny River” is an oasis of relaxation

Etno selo Suncana Reka - setaliste uz Drinu

A few kilometers to the south, between the mountains of Gučevo and Majevica, the Ethnic village “Sunčana reka” (Sunny River) developed. Rather big, covering seven hectares, it provides a variety of facilities for rest and recreation – horseback riding, carriage and boat rides, tennis courts, football, basketball, and beach volleyball, a cheerful courtyard for the youngest, an outdoor exercise area, and the possibility of renting quads for exploring the surroundings. A special charm is given to the landscaped beach, where three famous domestic series were recorded. On the shore of an emerald beauty. Always cold, unpredictable, enchanting. There are also several restaurants and bars to eat and drink. The accommodation is divided into settlements made in the spirit of old times, each with its own peculiarities. One bears the name of the famous Hollywood actor Robert de Niro, who was enchanted by the Drina had so much, that he named his adopted daughter after her, according to many sources. The cottages are made of wood, bricks and stone, and five of them are just like the cottages they used to be, pile dwellings. Some hints of history never hurt, and the museum exhibition – the Drina through time – has been staged, but it is currently closed for renovation. Vacations in the old-fashioned way, home cooking, socializing with animals, and mirroring in clear waters of the Drina.

Naselje Robert de Niro - Suncana Reka

7. Because the Serbian tavern serves Argentine kebabs

There, you don’t have to cross the Atlantic into the land of Maradona to taste their kebabs, it is enough to cross the road to the Serbian Lodge in Loznica. The courtyard is cute, ethnic style, and the interior is small but pleasant. Apart from the “Argentine”, which we acknowledge is excellent, the offer is typical for a taverna. We order sausages, top-notch, homemade, and a burger on kaymak, which fills the plate. It would feed two persons with good appetite. But size can’t replace taste. It should be juicier and softer. Prices are decent, service quick and kind. Certainly recommended, especially for hungry women, just stick to sausages and kebabs made with the “God’s hand of football”.

Hrana u Srpskoj Kafani - Loznica

8. Because at PS Loznica you can pay for fuel without getting out of the car

After exotic tastes from the land of Maradona and the tango, it is time to dance back to Belgrade. And since the dance of love and death always takes two, we also have to water our four-wheeler. There is not enough fuel until the petrol station Loznica. We do not feel like moving with our fully fed stomachs, so we apply our favorite and very practical Drive.Go app. We pay for the fuel from the warm vehicle, comfortably and quickly. Now that we are all fed up and satisfied, we start engines for collecting impressions of experiences from the always ravishing western Serbia.

Benzinksa stanica Loznica - NIS Petrol

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„Sa nama na putu“ Loyalty program

Join the number one loyalty program for drivers in Serbia online and for free! As a member, get a discount of up to 5.5 RSD/L of fuel and 20% on top Italian Drive Café coffee! Only on NIS Petrol and Gazprom stations!

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8 reasons to visit Zaječar

Zaječar is the largest city in the Timok river valley, in southeastern Serbia. It nestled at the foot of the Carpathian-Balkan mountains, bordered by the valleys of Crni and Beli Timok rivers. It is widely known for its rock music, but also for its beer. The fastest way to get from Belgrade is on the E75 highway, and after the exits to Paraćin and Zaječar, there are about a hundred kilometers of pleasant driving through magnificent landscapes. The mystical pyramid-mountain, Rtanj, is indicated just to herald the magic of the East. As it is not very close to the main road through Serbia, it is not visited along the way, but is targeted.

Why visit Zaječar?

1. Because Felix Romuliana is a part of world cultural heritage

One of the most important archeological sites on the territory of Serbia is located in the environs of the city of Zaječar. The Roman emperor Galerius erected his residence at the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 4th century and named it after his mother Romula. It sprawls over 6.5 hectares, surrounded by a rampart of 20 giant towers and looks more like a powerful stronghold of that time. It was to be completed by the time of celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Galerius’ reign, when he intended to abdicate and settle right there, in his grandiose court complex. However, illness prevented him, and Felix Romuliana was never completed.

Inside the walls are palaces, pagan temples, Christian churches, underfloor heating baths, and various other structures. The palace was lavishly decorated with precious stone wall cladding, sculptures and floor mosaics, which are among the best achievements of the late antiquity.

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8 reasons to visit Zaječar

It has a turbulent history. After Galerius’ death, it was in the hands of the Christian church, destroyed by barbarians, rebuilt and turned into a fortress in the 6th century, and abandoned before the invasion of the Slavs. Five centuries later, it came to life as a Slavic medieval settlement, and during the Turkish rule it served as a shelter.

It has a turbulent history. After Galerius’ death, it was in the hands of the Christian church, destroyed by barbarians, rebuilt and turned into a fortress in the 6th century, and abandoned before the invasion of the Slavs. Five centuries later, it came to life as a Slavic medieval settlement, and during the Turkish rule it served as a shelter.

It has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007. It is considered to be the best-preserved example of dedicated Roman palatial architecture. Landscaping work continues. The construction of a visitor center is planned, and additional excavations are forthcoming. What else will emerge from the home of the last Roman god?

Glava Herkula

Romuliana is also called Gamzigrad, after the nearby village, where the Gamzigradska Banja spa with hot springs and one of the three oldest hydroelectric power plants in Serbia, still in opertion and generating electricity.

2. Because Zaječar embraces two rivers

Not many cities have that privilege. The Crni (or: Black) Timok flows through the city and makes a confluence with the Beli (or: White) nearby, thus forming the Veliki (or: Great) Timok. But it is not named after watercourses. It is not known for sure where the name comes from. Some say that judging by the word itself, it comes from ancient Serbian „zajac“, a rabbit. Rabbit keeper, according to one legend. There will be many of them in the nearby forests. Definitely a nice interpretation. It is mentioned in the writings for the first time in 1466, when the Turkish company recorded data on the inhabitants of the Vidin pashaluq. Today it is a lovely and lively town with several small squares. Pretty clean. Several buildings stand out for their beauty – the buildings of the District Administration, the Historical Archive and the City Assembly, as well as the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God. Monuments have been put in place to commemorate the victims of the First World War as well as the prominent historic figures of Zaječar – Veljko Petrovic, who led uprisings against the Ottomans, politician Nikola Pašic and Zoran Radmilovic, the renowned 20th-century actor. The Timok Krajina Theater is also named after this great Serbian thespian. Exceptional edifice.

3. Because the Guitar festival is famous world over

It is one of the oldest and most important music events in Serbia. It was founded back in 1966 and soon became a real symbol of Zaječar. It is a great opportunity for young groups and performers to present their musical skills to the audience. For many musicians it was a springboard to fame. In addition to the competition programme, true rock fans enjoy the performances of long-proven masters, because the biggest names in the domestic and world music scene gave their best performance in Zaječar. The great Zaječar rhythm must not be missed. Book a few days for a serious gig in August.

4. Because the museum of Zaječar bears testimonies about the tumultuous history of this land

The story of Felix Romuliana continues in the National Museum of Zaječar. It starts on the ground floor, in state-of-the-art premises showcasing valuable excavations from the site, sculptures and two magnificent mosaics. One of them is dedicated to Dionysus. This Hellenic, eternally young god with whom Galerius identified. Here, once the Romans and the ancient Greeks were in love. We climb to the floor where two other large rooms are dedicated to Gamzigrad, and then we walk through the history of Zaječar from its early days, through war times and the inevitable Timok rebellion to modern times, and see interesting antiques and precious and unusual pieces of jewelry. Ladies have a whale of time here. A special room is dedicated to Zaječar’s celebrities – Zoki Radmilović and Nikola Pašić, whose hand cast in plaster is on display. A receptive, interesting and above all educational setting. The museum building, in the center of the city, is one of the city’s beauties and has been declared a cultural heritage edifice.

5. Because Radul-beg’s qonak is an important monument of oriental culture

Just a minute’s walk from the National Museum is Radul-beg’s residence, a monument of oriental culture. It is not known who erected it and precisely when, whether in late 18th or early 19th century. Be it as it may, in the aftermath of the liberation of the Timok region from the Ottomans in 1833, it was bought by Radul Glirogijević, a rich Serbian merchant from a nearby village, whom they nicknamed „beg“ (or bey in Turkish, which means a rich Ottoman dignitary) due to his wealth. He must have enjoyed enormously in this lavish villa. The ground floor is dedicated to cultural events, and on the first floor there is a permanent exhibition called Stari Zaječar (or: old Zaječar). Every room depicts certen topic – Arab, girl’s and Turkish room, salon, and dining room. The special artifact is a huge photographic camera from the time when people used to have themselves photographed on special occasions only. An antique album with faded pictures is also on display. And as it is already witnessing the Turkish era, the locals call it „čardak“ (from Turkish çardak coming from Farsi čārtāq, an old typical house in the Balkans).

6. Because Popova beach and Kraljevica are sports oasis

It seems that Zaječar nurtures the sporting spirit. On the coast of the Crni Timok, there is a diverse offer for professionals and recreationists – courts for various team sports, beach volleyball, outdoor chess, badminton, golf, skate park, and a health trail. The beach is arranged along the coast, so it is very lively in summer. Great place for a family and romantic walk.

Those prefering hilly areas, galavant in Kraljevica, a park-forest. Favorite picnic spot with a variety of offers throughout the year. In addition to various fields, there is a sports hall, swimming pool, football stadium, and trim track with equipment. The ski trail gives a special value to Kraljevica. The top is reached by an anchor-shaped cable car. The trail is about 650 meters long, it is illuminated so it can be whirled in the dark, and equipped with cannons for artificial snow when it is naturally stingy. What other Serbian city can be proud of its ski trail?

7. Because at “Two brothers” you eat brotherly

The locals brag that they eat well everywhere in Zaječar. We have no doubt, but we follow the recommendation of our experienced host and rush to the „Two Brothers“ cafe. Although the entrance says restaurant in original English, everything inside is tavern-like. Plaid tablecloths, and old photographs and some ethno details hung on the walls. An appetizer of various delicacies arrives for the appetizer – a selection of home-made cheeses imaginatively called two brothers’ salad, marinated zucchini, Timok salad, pastoral young cheese baked in the oven, and hot buns. We are almost full, but we can’t resist the veal baked in a special clay crockery and the spicy ribs. The food is perfect, the atmosphere is friendly, the service is brotherly and sisterly. Just like in a bar.

8. Because you save on NIS petrol by using the “Sa nama na putu” application

After the fraternal lunch, we set off on a journey of collecting impressions. We say goodbye to everything we saw with the promise that we will return as soon as possible – to absorb the beauties of eastern Serbia again and to apreciate once again the hospitality of the hosts from the Timok region.

We stop at the NIS Petrol station where we tank up with quality G-Drive fuel and take delicious Drive Cafe snacks to return home. Naturally, we collect bonus points through the “Sa nama na putu” application, which we will use on another occasion at any NIS Petrol or Gazprom refuelling stations throughout Serbia.

Practical, economical and easy, right?

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7 reasons to visit Kikinda

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7 reasons to visit Kikinda

In the past, the town used to be referred to the Great Kikinda. Over the years, the grand name fell out of use, but the old charm remains. Located in the north-east of the Banat valley almost at the border with Romania, Kikinda is home to proud architecture, artistic spirit, friendly neighbours, second oldest Serbian resident, and mouth-watering food. It is the Serbian pumpkin capital, and in winter also a shelter for amazing local birds.

Why visit Kikinda?

1. Because Kikinda is a romantic town

A cute and quiet town, Kikinda does not have a remarkably long history, but is stock-full of attractions. Serbs first settled here in the middle of the 18th century. Only several decades later, the Austrian empress Maria Theresa founds the District of Velika Kikinda, and the town starts growing in earnest. Curiously, all streets in the town intersect at right angles – a relic of the precise Austrian urban planning, so do not worry about getting lost in a maze of side alleys. The town retained its name of Velika or Great Kikinda all up to World War I. After the First world war, it became part of Serbia with the name shortened to just Kikinda.

The architecture is typical for Vojvodina, with neat multi-colored houses and carefully detailed decorations. The most noteworthy examples of local architecture include the Budišinova mansion, a Neo-Baroque masterpiece, the Town Hall, and the Drakslerova and Slanikina mansions. The town is uniform with no tall buildings that would be out of place here. The main walking street is quite long, lined with lively cafés, greenery, and terracotta sculptures. At the end, you will find a small open-air museum.

Take a walk along one of the prettiest streets in Serbia, if not in the world. The two-kilometer-long street is named after Petar Drapšin, a war hero. It is remarkable for its idyllic pastel-colored houses with detailed frilly gates and over 400 massive trees lining it. Planted after World War II, they create a green shady tunnel along the entire street. Here you will also find the old wooden water tower tucked in the shade.

The green Blandaš Park close to the town center is the favorite recreation spot for the locals. Unlike most Serbian towns, Kikinda does not have a river, but makes up for it with a picturesque lake left over from the Galacka River that used to be here. The lake is a beloved walking and picnic destination. Several kilometers from the town is the 19th-century Vodice church, one of the most significant in the area. The famous ruler of the Huns, Attila, dubbed the Scourge of God ruled over this land in the first half of the 5th century he and is believed to be buried here. The exact location of the grave is still unknown. Legend says, Attila was buried with all his treasures, which still have not been found in the 16 centuries that passed from his death. A great challenge for the local Indiana Jones fans.

Kikinda is known as the pumpkin capital of Serbia. Each fall, usually in September, the town hosts Pumpkin Days, a festival where the local farmers compete for the largest pumpkin and the longest gourd. The locals joke, that no matter how big the pumpkin, you will be able to see the entire town if you climb it, referring to the perfectly flat land in the area. The town residents are known to be friendly, talkative and ready to help.

2. Because Kikinda is home to Kika

Kika is one of the two Serbian mammoths. Fossil remains of a female mammoth were found here, so the animal was named Kika after the town. The remains are estimated to be about half a million years old, a little younger that the other Serbian mammoth Vika, found near the ancient city of Viminacium.

A true-to-size copy of the mammoth is displayed in front of the Kikinda National Museum. The fossilized skeleton, almost complete, can be seen on the first floor of the museum. Kika was discovered in 1996, at the depth of 21 meters in the clay pit of the Toza Marković factory. The mammoth was about 4.7 meters tall and 7 meters long with the estimated weight of seven tons. Her tusks are the impressive 3.5 meters long. An average mammoth lived between 60 and 80 years and changed six sets of teeth in its lifetime. The teeth wore down quickly, as the animals fed on shrubs, leaves and grasses.

Although Kika is the star of the collection, the city museum has much more to offer. The museum occupies the the former courtroom, a late Baroque building, one of the oldest and most impressive in the town. The exhibits include artifacts from the Neolithic era, an icebox – a pre-electricity food storage chest, a traditional gold wedding headpiece, a model of an old earthen house, and a coin music box with various melodies, mostly symphonies. The cellar of the museum building used to be a prison, but is now used for storage.

In front of the museum, you will the Family sculpture, prominently showing the town’s values.

3. Because owls winter here

Kikinda is the largest urban wintering are for long-eared owls. They gather here from all over Europe to enjoy the mild snowless winters. Owls can be spotted all around town, even in the busiest streets, and do not seem to mind people. A long-eared owl is a protected species. Through the day the birds rest in the trees and hunt after dark, mostly for mice and rats. To protect the species it is crucial to preserve the wintering grounds with enough trees to make home for the birds. There are different superstitions and beliefs connected to owls. Some believe they bring misfortune, others see them as a symbol of wisdom and patience. Kikinda citizens seem to have grown used to their winter neighbors and take good care of them. In November, the town even holds a themed educational festival, aptly named Sovembar (sova is Serbian for owl).

The owls are hard to spot among the yellow leaves and grey bark of the trees, as they are perfect at the art of camouflage. However, if you find a tree with many white marks under it and look patiently, you will definitely see the birds there.

4. Because Kikinda is home to the only surviving horse-powered mill in Serbia

The Suvača mill is a unique monument of Serbian 19-century architecture. It was a horse-powered dry mill used to process wheat, paprika and pepper. Legend says, the fine flower from Kikinda has highly prized and even delivered to the Vienna royal court. The Suvača is one of the only two surviving mills of this type in Europe. It has been out of operation since 1945 and is now part of the Kikinda National Museum. It is open for visitors from April to the end of October.

5. Because the Terra art studio is heaven for artists

The Terra art studio is located in the building of the former Toza Marković brick factory. We are greeted by dogs barking from behind the iron gate, but they turn out to be quite friendly as we come closer. The factory building dates back to the late 19th century and created an impressive setting for the assortment of terracotta sculptures all around the yard. Part of the old workshop has been renovated and equipped as a sculpture studio. Each year artists from all over the world gather here to create. The studio is outside of the town center, but is well worth a visit, especially for those fond of alternative creative spaces. The vibe is relaxed, creative, and unruly. If you prefer to enjoy works of art in a well-decorated gallery rather than is a studio, visit the Terra museum that was opened across town several year ago. It boasts over a thousand sculptures in the terracotta style.

6. Because the Kikinda pumpkin soup is to die for

One of the most highly recommended restaurants in town is the Twenty in the pedestrian area. It attracts visitors with a modern eclectic design and a truly amazing cuisine. As an appetizer, you get crispy bread sticks straight from the oven. After that, it is time for the Kikinda specialty – the pumpkin soup. It is satisfyingly rich and comforting. There is a great variety of entrees: creole chicken thigh with spicy sausage, pork in creamy sauce with spiced baked potatoes, turkey with homemade noodles, smoked duck with berries, and much more. The food is mouth-wateringly good, and the service crisp and polite. The overall experience is worth every penny. Do not leave Kikinda without trying another local specialty – the scrumptious pumpkin pie. If pumpkin is out of season, a rice pudding is a great idea too.

7. Because at the Kikinda filling station you do not have to leave the car to pay

After an amazing lunch, it is time to leave town, so drop by the NIS Petrol filling station in Kikinda for a top-up. If you do not feel like getting out after a day of walking, you can simply pay via the Drive.Go app from the comfort of your car. It takes three simple clicks to quickly and safely pay for the fuel, so you can now get on your way back home.

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Many reasons to travel through Serbia in 2022

Serbia – at the crossroads of worlds and cultures, peoples and religions. Inside a winding clash of the frosty Northern and the hot South winds, on the battle site of unreconcilable difference between the West and the East. Where the history echoes back to ancient times, the place of countless battles and spirituality embodied in many holy sites. Where the spring knows not where the water goes or the orchard what fruit it brings forth or the soil what travails above it. The land of plains and highlands. Where cities rush towards the future, while the peasants still keep the fire burning in their hearths, where the host guilelessly receives an unknown visitor into his home. Both modern and traditional. Only good when ours. And if it weren’t, we would have valued it even more.

1. Because the nature is a gift from god

Many foreigners praise the natural beauties of our homeland. The description as a “gift from God” comes from our acquaintance of ours, the German lady who has travelled the globe. She once came to the country answering the invitation from the waters of Danube and now, enchanted by Serbia, she eagerly returns. It often seems that people living abroad find Serbia more beautiful than its inhabitants. Is the grass always greener on the other side for the foreigners too, or is it, in fact, the truth?

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Many reasons to travel through Serbia in 2022

Because Pešter has a fairytale nature

For many, it is the Siberia of Serbia, a place in the middle of nowhere with heavy snows and merciless freezing temperatures that are commonplace in winter. Truth be told, there are not many amenities on the highest plateau in the Balkans. Nesting between many mountains and highlands, its nature seems to be a creation made for Gods. With its herds of sheep, cows and horses are roaming its vast drylands. Peacefully. Its scare local population is incredibly humble, accustomed to harmonious living with nature that is more often than not extremely harsh. They are warmhearted, hospitable, smiling. They are truly delighted to greet any wandering soul that happens to come by. Pešter is an experience for the soul, if possible, before mixers and excavators swarm this place as well.

Because Uvac is the Serbian Colorado

That’s how it is called by some of the locals. We haven’t visited the Grand Canyon but, if one may judge based on available photos and videos, the comparison seems to be unjust to the exceptional beauties of Uvac. Not everything that comes from America is always better and more beautiful than it is in Serbia, just bigger maybe. Our canyon pridefully shows the stunning meanders crisscrossing the landscape of lush greenery, with an emerald lake, that welcomes carefree divers during summer months, and the Ice Cave with rich cave decorations. Watched by its guards from the sky. Those are griffon vultures living on the precipitous cliffs of the Uvac Canyon, one of the largest colonies of this bird in Europe. Sky giants with mighty wings and a perfect flight. The views from Uvac can hardly be described by words. It is not a replica of Colorado but one of a kind treasure trove here in Serbia. Long isolated by its obscurity, it was suddenly “discovered” and its merits earned it a place among the most recognizable landscapes in Serbia. If possible for Uvac to remain hidden for years, there must be another hidden jewel somewhere else too.

Because Đerdap is Danube’s masterpiece

Not all Danube countries have been so fortunate to be the home of this mighty blue river at the prime of its strength and ferocity. But Serbia has had that privilege, for the most part of its flow through the country. In the vicinity of the town of Golubac, its vastness is reminiscent of the vastness of the sea. It is a sprawling and basking body of water, but not for long. When faced with massive mountainsides, the river is forced to squeeze through the gorge that is the largest of this type in Europe, stretching for more than 100 km to the Diana Fortress near Kladovo. Flowing through the Đerdapskoj klisuri, the Danube is a natural border between Serbia and Romania. Pushed by massive rocks, this powerful river carved fairytale landscapes. It yielded abundant riches to both sides, though more generously to its right banks – Serbia. Fighting for the passage through the cliffs, it nearly lost the battle in the ravine of Mali Kazan, the stretch of river barely 150 m wide, where it is forced to carve deep into its bed to the depth of 90 m. Throughout its course through the Iron Gate, as called by foreigners, the river features landscapes of lush vegetation, magnificent viewpoints, revealing the spirit of ancient cultures and remnants of early civilizations. Had Strauss experienced Đerdap in person, we believe that his famous waltz would have been named “The Ferocious Blue Danube”.

2. Because the ancient past of this territory is a mystery

These grounds were trodden by nearly all the people that had ever stepped foot on the Old Continent. Some lived in peace. Others attacked, enslaved, plundered, destroyed, put to flames, but they built as well. They left us an immense and diverse cultural and architectural wealth. Some of it has been discovered, but not all. Nevertheless, they are a testimony to how important and attractive this piece of land was.

Because Lepenski Vir is the cradle of Europe

The settlement on the right bank of the Danube, in the Đerdap Gorge, was formed around 9,500 BC, though official data place it about 3,000 years later. It was not by chance that Lepenians chose this landscape, between the river rich in fish and sharp cliffs that offered protection against wind. All the houses were facing east, to soak in the warmth of the early sun. They were smart and healthy. Their diet was predominantly composed of fish. From the community that relied on hunting, fishing and gathering, they turned to crop and animal farming. This allowed for the population to increase, making the available space scarce and forcing them to migrate. Where the Lepenians went remains unknown.

The settlement that stunned the world was discovered during the exploration of the area before the construction of the Đerdap HPP. We only have that which was found at the time. If there is anything else, it will remain hidden beneath the waters of the Danube. The excavations are on display at the Lepenski Vir Visitor Center. A remarkable contemporary exhibit. Alongside Vinča, Lepenski Vir is the most important archaeological site in Serbia. However, they share the same fate. Both have failed to catch international attention, both have had their importance somewhat disputed. Lepenski Vir is the most important archaeological site in Serbia. However, they share the same fate. Both have failed to catch international attention, both have had their importance somewhat disputed.

Because Viminacium is the Balkan Pompeii

Thousands of years after the Lepenians, not far from Kostolac but once again near the Danube, this area was visited by the Romans. They must have been taken by it, as they stayed in the area for many centuries. They originally intended it to be a military stronghold but, having seen the fertility of the soil, abundance of ores and the importance of its waterways, they built a settlement that then became the capital of the Upper Moesia Province, an important trade, craftsman and medical centre. It was looted and destroyed in the fifth century and was left forgotten under the earth, much like Pompeii. Only to be unearthed by archaeologists. Today, there are on display: a mausoleum, tombs, the Roman street, the thermal baths with underfloor heating, and the amphitheatre that was a later addition. It feels as if one has entered a time machine and travelled back to the past as it was two thousand years ago. One gets an impression that a gladiator or an old Roman, clad in full armour and a toga, might come from around the corner. Viminacijum is widely known. To be fair, it is well-deserved fame. A brilliantly designed tourist centre that offers history and culture, but also entertainment and sports amenities. Its greatest appeal might be the female mammoth called Vika, undoubtedly the oldest ever resident of this area.

Because Caričin grad is a unique Byzantine legacy

This area was once under the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire. One of the greatest Roman rulers, Justinian I, who was born on Serbian soil according to some sources, decided to build the future capital and the archepiscopal seat of Illyricum at the foot of Radan Mountain. Justinian Prima. Intended for his forbidden love towards a dancer called Teodora, the legend says it was named Caričin grad. It was built in the first half of the VI century. It was huge and lavishly decorated, surrounded by ramparts with towers and a moat filled with water. Within the fortress walls, there were cobbled streets, thermae, churches, basilicas, residential buildings, a cathedral, an episcopal palace, and a public square. It was rich in colourful floor mosaics that can only be seen on the exhibit panels. The town was short-lived, as less than a century later its residents left when faced with the Slavic invasion.

It is reminiscent of the Acropolis of Athens, situated on a lower hill, but more spacious and much more luxurious. A unique site across the Balkans. Cast aside and neglected. An application for the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List was submitted as far back as 2010. Someone recognized the value of Justinian’s legacy, but since then, it has been grounded to a stop.

3. Because it’s not cold in the Serbian mountains

Bacon, prosciutto, kajmak, and spicy homemade sausages will assuredly provide you with sufficient warmth. And they are massively available across all Serbian mountains. With warm clothes in addition to the food, the seasoned winter lovers will not feel the bites of winter. The snow usually comes as expected, but sometimes, when so inclined, it covers the ground and bounds the roads.

Because Kopaonik is a top destination

It is the best ski resort in Serbia. For winter sports enthusiasts, it offers about 65 kilometres of trails and roads for alpine and Nordic skiing, modern ski lifts and cable cars that cruise from one end of the ski tracks to another. The ski trails are well-beaten and maintained, with nearly all of them supported by artificial snow systems and perfectly marked. And for the tireless visitors, night skiing under the spotlights is also available. Adrenaline chasers can rent a snowmobile after the ski trails are closed and take a ride on a taxi snow groomer. Kopaonik is also known as Serbian Davos, partially because it is a place of gathering of the business elite during the Economic Forum in March, and partially because of the high rates charged by some restaurants and hotels.

While the plentiful oxygen rebuilds the strength, new construction projects are afoot non-stop, resulting in the shrinkage of the safe areas for skiing and snowboarding. At the height of the season, Kopaonik turns into a rather big town where the battle for parking and a place in cafes is a part of daily distractions. For the season of 2021, a gondola from Brzece was also put into operation, which certainly reduces the number of vehicles in the centre, but increases the number of skiers and boarders. So put your helmet on, a pair of eyes on the back, and watch your step.

Kopaonik is much more than just a ski centre. It is a National Park of exceptional natural qualities. It should be visited in summer when it is dry, peaceful and in full bloom to explore its riches and experience the charms of its wilderness.

Because Zlatibor offers excellent entertainment

The word about its exceptionally good kajmak and prosciutto but also air spa potential has spread around. In the meantime, it has also developed into a ski resort with several elevators and excellent ski trails. Similar to Kopaonik, Zlatibor has become quite urban and overpopulated. It’s the price of popularity, but thanks to that same popularity, it is vibrant all year round. It offers a variety of entertainment and leisure activities, opportunities for training, recreation, as well as adrenaline sports. During summer, it also offers swimming. The summer season is a wonderful opportunity to wander deeper into the woods and arrive at the Sirogojno museum – the world’s only open-air museum of its kind. It preserves heritage, old crafts and skills in still pristine nature.

Because Stara planina is a winter paradise for families

Its atmosphere is more relaxed and peaceful at rates that are more affordable than the other two mountainous beauties. Suitable both for beginners and seasoned snowboarders. It is the one that is best suited for families with small children. Everything takes place in the centre, at the start of the gondola, making it easier to keep an eye on the children until they become more apt at skiing and head for the summits themselves. The problem may be the distance between accommodation and the ski slopes. If you cannot afford a hotel, you can find accommodation in private houses a few kilometres away, which would require a vehicle ride every morning. No boisterous nights out are available, except for the bohemian atmosphere in restaurants. This situation is acceptable to most. Don’t miss out on the queen of all sausages – the iron sausage, and the belmuž, a young white cheese mixed with flour. He used to give the shepherds the strength for the entire day, and it will do so for you too.

And when the snow melts, Stara Planina, as those that know the mountain well would say, becomes magical with its waterfalls, springs, little rivers, caves, hiking trails across the hills and meadows. Also called the Balkans, Stara Planina is always youthful.

4. Because the religious heritage of Serbia is remarkable

There is hardly any corner in Serbia that does not have a temple, monastery, church, or chapel. Medieval Serbian rulers were great patrons, leaving us with rich spiritual as well as artistic and architectural heritage. The holy sites were also centres of culture, education and literacy and shared the fate of the people, and were often used as shelters for the outlaws and patriots.

Because Studenica is the holy cradle of the nation

It was not the first monastery built by the Nemanjić family, but it keeps the remains of Stefan Nemanja, the progenitor of the dynasty. The Church of the Virgin was built at the end of the XII century. The sarcophagus with Nemanja’s relics is kept in this church. It is famous for its frescoes, the best known of which is the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, also known as the Studenica Crucifixion, one of the most beautiful works of Byzantine art of the XIII century. This spiritual fortress once had 14 churches within its walls. Today, in addition to the Church of the Virgin, there are two more: the Church of the King and the Church of Saint Nikola, the smallest and simplest one, beyond the reach of visitors. It was in this monastery that Saint Sava composed the Studenica Typicon, which declared Studenica independent from ecclesiastical and secular authorities. Studenica was listed among UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1986 for enshrining priceless paintings and sculptures.

The peculiar atmosphere of Studenica permeates everything. The worshippers absorb it with their eyes and their souls, without words and timidly, almost with awe. Aware of the magnificence of the first among equals.

Because Mileševa is the home of a White angel

The most beautiful work of art from the Middle Ages, many say. The paintings were produced in the early XIII century. The monastery survived the Turkish ravages as well. It was saved by the wisdom of the people. A fresco of timeless beauty, a supreme achievement of art and a profound spiritual message. It made Mileševa famous across the globe. However, notwithstanding the most precious angel, this monastery situated on the shores of the murmuring Mileševka River is considered by the people one of the holiest of all temples. It used to be called the monastery of Saint Save for his love of staying there. After his death, the monastery kept the relics of the first Serbian archbishop until the end of the XVI century when the Turks removed them from the monastery and burnt them in Belgrade. It was founded by King Vladislav, the grandson of Stefan Nemanja. It also boasts the largest bell in Serbia, the gift of the Russian people, and the treasury that holds the sceptre of St. Sava, the symbol of the autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Inside the white walls of Mileševa, the atmosphere is that of vibrant life, intimacy and serenity. The joy and hope, gifted by the White Angel to every living soul that steps inside.

Because Manasija is the temple of the knights

The supreme achievement of Serbian building prowess in the late Middle Ages. A gigantic, powerful fortress, surrounded by thick, high defensive walls with 11 towers and an additional outer protective wall. Inside the fortress, there is the Church of the Holy Trinity, the pearl of the Morava architectural school. In the early years of the XV century, Manasija was founded by the son of Prince Lazar, despot Stefan Lazarević, in the vicinity of present-day Despotovac. The knight above all knights. A hero, patron, writer and poet. As he skillfully wielded both the sward and the pen, backed by excellent education, he gathered in his monastery the writers, monks, translators and transcribers to illuminate the manuscripts and books. This is how the famous Resava school came to life. The monastery, also called Resava, was the centre of spirituality and enlightenment over the next several centuries.

Although only a third of the original paintings have been preserved, they represent the supreme achievement of medieval paintings in Serbia. The most famous is the composition portraying despot Stefan, the 12 holy warriors, depicted in motion, and the image of Archangel Michael, which is associated with interesting folklore. It was ravaged, devastated and looted times without number. And restored as well. Today, bordered by dense greenery and a forest, it resembles a mysterious fairytale castle. In the last few years, he has been the host of the Despot Stefan Lazarević International Festival of Chivalry. It celebrates courage, honour and a good reputation.

5. Because the lakes of Serbia can replace the sea

It’s not like Serbia can have everything. Salty shores were not its destiny, at least not in its recent history. But nature gave its best in the mountain and lowland lakes.

Because Vlasina is a retreat for nature lovers

Once a vast swamp, today an exceptional landscape, boasting diverse flora and fauna. It is the second-largest lake in Serbia and, at the height of 1,200 m above sea level, it is also the highest. The water is crystal clear and chilly. It simply refuses to warm up even in the summer months. The floating islands are its unique feature, with only a dozen in existence today. They rest stranded until powerful winter winds set them in motion. Visited mostly by true nature lovers as there are hardly any amenities. But almost everything that nature can provide is here.

Because Palić is a pride of Vojvodina

A well developed and appealing destination, better known for plenty of services rather than just for swimming. Despite its long shores, many are reluctant to get wet. As the host of the Olympic Games, 16 years prior to the first official modern Games, it still cherishes the spirit of sports. Bicycles, rickshaws and rollerblades and joggers take to the promenade, while kayaks or pedal boats cruise the lake. Green parks and gardens, interesting architecture, cafes and traditional restaurants offering various Vojvodina specialties. For the youngest, there is a small zoo, better said safari, whose residents are allowed to roam freely. There are several famous salašes and horse stables in the neighbourhood. And Subotica as well, with its lavish architecture.

Because the Silver lake offers the spirit of the sea

The colour of the water is not silverish, but it shimmers as the sun sets down. People cherish the goods that their names were dubbed “gold” and “silver”, which is how the bullheaded branch of Danube got its name. The grass and pebble beach stretch along the shoreline, with concrete sundecks here and there. A swimming pool has been built to accommodate diving and the most award-winning national sport – water polo. The promenade is a true waterfront, a spectacle of colours. With cafes named after luxurious European resorts. The little ones can enjoy the aqua park and playgrounds, with various sports fields and a mini-golf course available for the sporty. In addition to the hotel and private accommodation on the Silver Lake, you can camp in a trailer, under a tent or anchor your own boat in the marina. There’s a boat offering a three-hour cruise along the Danube. An entirely new experience of the blue river.

6. Because Serbia’s cities have a turbulent past

According to many, the past was cruel and the present is unjust. Big or small, young or old, each city contributed to freedom and development and spawned at least one notable person. And each one holds at least one secret or its unique treasure.

Because Vršac is a town of wine and poetry

City of wine, renowned people and harmonious community of different nationalities, cultures and religions. Remarkably wealthy. Clean. With lovely, well-preserved majestic buildings, with the Government Court of the Banat Eparchy standing out. With a substantial religious heritage. The city is dominated by the Roman Catholic Church of St. Gerhard, an imposing neo-Gothic building. The city park, modelled after the French and English gardens, is a botanical garden of a kind. It’s home to the Air Force Academy. Except for the father of Serbian drama, Jovan Sterija Popović, painter Paja Jovanović and poet Vasko Popa, the city is most famous for its exceptional wine-growing region. Wine drinking has been known since the time of Dacians. A hat off to the worthy tradition.

Вршац DonŽon kula

Because Kruševac is city of Czar Lazar

He will forever be associated with the almost mythical Serbian emperor Lazar and the fateful Kosovo Battle. It was the city he reigned from. From a fortress on a hill, now in ruins. Here he gathered his soldiers before leading them to Gazimestan. It was Lazarica, the beautiful church built in the Morava style, where the heroes received their communion. Milić od Mačve donated more than 120 of his paintings, which are on display as part of his legacy. It has a unique tourist attraction, Miniatures Park on Bagdala. Having the shape of Serbia, it houses models of the largest Orthodox temples. It was the birthplace of some of Serbia’s greatest actors – Čkalja, Taško Načić and Radmila Savićević. It has suffered greatly throughout history, with plenty of memorials to the fallen and killed that testify to that. Once an imperial capital, today a city worthy of respect.

Because Novi Sad is a city of culture

And that’s official now. It is the European Capital of Culture in 2022. It comes as a confirmation of its long-standing nickname, the Athens of Serbia. From its very beginning, it has been oriented towards spiritual life and culture. Its most important institution is Matica Srpska, which was moved to Novi Sad from Budapest in 1864. It cherishes both cultural and religious diversity, which is embodied in its ravishing antique buildings. In the city’s downtown, the Roman Catholic Church of the Name of Mary, the City Hall and the Bishops Palace of the Eparchy of Bačka stand out. Numerous side alleys with diverse goods on offer give the city its special charm. The façades are sleek and tidy and the streets are clean. The pride of the people of Novi Sad. The city relishes in the joys of the Danube. The Strand, the weekend getaways of Ribarsko ostrvo and Kamenjar, and a long promenade are nesting on the Danube’s left bank. On the other side, Petrovaradin, the symbol of Novi Sad adorns the Danube’s right bank. It is one of the best-preserved bastions in this part of Europe. Its construction lasted almost a century, from the end of the XVII to the end of the XVIII century.

After the bridge, Sremska Kamenica is home to the Zmaj Museum. Deserving of a visit. After all, one should look up to Čika Jova Zmaj. He devoted his life to the youngest among us, he treated equally both the rich and the poor, planted trees, and genuinely loved his country.

7. Because wherever you go, we’ll be waiting on you with a smile

The beauty of Serbia is so vast that the question “Where to go?” never comes to mind, but only “In what order do we visit them?” Everyone should discover Serbia in their own way, wherever the road takes them.

And once you head for the road, it is good to know that a NIS Petrol or Gazprom petrol station is always along the way whatever that road may take you. With a network of more than 300 petrol stations all over Serbia, offering top products, it will serve your needs, whatever it may be: coffee, delicious burgers, snacks, refreshments, world-class fuel or technological improvement.

You can enjoy yourself at ease or just refuel using the Drive.Go app and head your way without getting out of the car. Rest assured, you will be credited the bonus points if you are a member of the loyalty program “On the road with us”.

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8 reasons to visit Novi Sad

The city is stretched from the plain of quiet Backa, across the waters of the violent Danube, to the hilly slopes of Fruška gora in Srem. Young, yet rich in cultural heritage and uncommon old-fashioned splendor. The fastest way to reach it from Belgrade is via the European road E-75, but we choose a slightly longer, but more interesting and pleasant route through Fruška gora and Sremska Kamenica and across the Freedom bridge we enter the Vojvodina capital.

Why visit Novi Sad?

1. Because Novi Sad is serbian Athens

It was first mentioned in 1694, two years after the beginning of the construction of the Petrovaradin Fortress, when, opposite the fortress, a settlement of soldiers, craftsmen and merchants was formed on the left bank of the Danube, named Racko (Serbian) village, later Petrovaradin Šanac. It obtained the status of a free royal city under the name of Novi Sad due to a cash purchase from the Empress Maria Theresa in 1748. It was destroyed during the Revolution of 1848/49, but it is being rebuilt by its faithful inhabitants. Soon it experienced a cultural boom and was nicknamed Serbian Athens, thus comparing it to Greece’s Athens, the cultural and scientific centre of the ancient world. It was attached to Serbia, namely the then Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, after the end of the Great War, while after the Second World War, it was rapidly growing and developing in all directions.

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8 reasons to visit Novi Sad

Since it was established, it has fostered cultural and religious diversity and paid attention to spiritual and cultural life. Churches, schools and gymnasiums, reading rooms, and theatres were built. The undisputed cultural seal was given to it by Matica Srpska, which moved to it from Budapest in 1864, where it was founded about forty years earlier. Nowadays it is also proud of the Library and Gallery of the Matica Srpska, the Museum of Vojvodina, the Museum of the City of Novi Sad, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, and the Memorial Collection of Pavle Beljanski. At the beginning of the 20th century, science also got involved into its culture, when Mileva Marić and her more famous husband Albert Einstein lived there.

It has grown into a modern, receptive city of wide boulevards, magnificent antique and modern buildings and a variety of offers. It is known for Štrand, the most beautiful beach on the Danube, market called Futoška pijaca, sports facilities and weekend resorts Fishing Island and Kamenjar with inns (“čarde”) and accommodation facilities. There are many wineries and isolated farms (“salaš”) in the area.

Serbian Athens, no doubt. It was recognized by the finicky Europe, proclaiming it as its cultural capital in 2022. It’ll be worthy of the title, we’re sure.

2. Because the heart of the city cherishes the ancient spirit

Time seems to have stopped at the central Freedom square. With its beauty, size and colorful tower, higher than 70 meters, the Roman Catholic Church named after Mary imposes itself. Across the street is the City Hall, a magnificent building erected in the late 19th century, which is a monument of culture of exceptional importance. In between is a monumental monument dedicated to Svetozar Miletic, one of the most influential politicians of the 19th century and the former mayor, is the work of Ivan Meštrović. The building of the headquarters of Vojvodina Bank is strutting sideways, and across the street is the Hotel Vojvodina and further Tanurdzic’s palace from the 1930s, simple, without decorative elements, which differs a bit from the luxurious surroundings.

3. Because the city center is a fairytale labyrinth

Zmaj Jovina Street continues from the square. Wide, lifelike, full of decorated gardens and side alleys. We get to the monument of Čika Jova Zmaj in front of the Vladičanski dvor of the Eparchy of Bačka of the Serbian Orthodox Church, a striking building in an eclectic style, with strong decorative elements. We continue towards the Dunavska Street, one of the oldest streets of Novi Sad. Rather narrow, with compacted one-story houses and a network of passageways where shops, restaurants, workshops are hidden… so you could wander through them for hours. In the street one could see the City Library, which overlooks the oldest house, erected in the first decades of the 18th century, the house where Svetozar Miletić lived, the Collection of foreign art, and further museum objects.

There are several other buildings that must not be missed – the Novi Sad Synagogue, one of the largest in the region, with the buildings of the Jewish School and the Jewish Municipality, a beautiful Art Nouveau-style complex, the building of the Central Credit Institute, rich decorations from the end of the 19th century, the most important Orthodox church in the city, the Assembly Church of St. George, and the building of the Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj Gymnasium, in the spirit of eclecticism.

There are several other buildings that must not be missed – the Novi Sad Synagogue, one of the largest in the region, with the buildings of the Jewish School and the Jewish Municipality, a beautiful Art Nouveau-style complex, the building of the Central Credit Institute, rich decorations from the end of the 19th century, the most important Orthodox church in the city, the Assembly Church of St. George, and the building of the Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj Gymnasium, in the spirit of eclecticism.

4. Because the Danube park is a monument to nature

It’s known as the prettiest, but it’s small. It is located at the end of the first part of the Dunavska Street. It is adorned with a sculpture of Nymph, a monument to the poet and painter Đura Jakšić and the busts of poets Branko Radičević and Mika Antić, as well as an artificial pond with several ducks. They’ve got a little house on the island to snuggle in. The flora is very diverse – birches, silver linden trees, wild chestnuts, cypresses… There could be more green areas in the centre, but there are some nearby that are worth a visit – Limanski and Futoški parks as well as Kamenički park on the right bank of the Danube, in Srem.

5. Because the legacy of Čika Jova Zmaj is not just a book

It is dedicated to one of the most significant Serbian romantics and lyricists, Jovan Jovanović. It is widely known as Zmaj (the Dragon). Neither from Nightfall, nor from Avala. Only Zmaj. He earned it with his omission. As he was a great advocate of Serbian unification, in addition to his name, he wrote down the date of the extremely important May Assembly for Vojvodina – 3 May 1848. Once, probably in a hurry, he omitted the dot after number 3 and that’s how he was named Змај (Zmaj in Cyrillic). He liked the nickname so much that he later launched a satirical magazine of the same name. For the kids, he is Uncle Jova. He was the first of all Serbian poets to give a treasure trove of verses just to them.

The museum is located in Sremska Kamenica, on the right bank of the Danube, not far from Novi Sad. It is situated in a family house, a summer house where the poet spent the last years of his life. As he taught the little ones through the rhymes, he himself found a convenient place in his backyard and planted two pears. One still bears fruits.

The permanent exhibition, organized in five rooms, consists of personal items, documents, books, private notes and correspondence, works published after the poet’s death, paintings, editions of magazines and newspapers printed by him – the Zmaj, Starmali and Neven, and medical instruments. He was a doctor by profession. His Physician’s Announcement from 1870 is also exhibited, in which he points out that he receives the richest and the poorest in the same hours and that he approaches everyone with “the same readiness” regardless of the “reward”. A doctor must be like that. And he was drawing. A true artistic soul. Mostly friends and acquaintances. But also the first Serbian comic book. Some of the drawings are exhibited.

He passed away and was buried in Kamenica. According to unofficial data, about 15,000 people attended his funeral.

The museum was founded in 1933 on the occasion of the centenary of the poet’s birth. Nowadays, it is part of the Museum of the City of Novi Sad. Interesting, romantic setting.

6. Because quay by the Danube is a walkway for pleasure

Ah, the Danube. It unselfishly bestows special beauty on the cities that have been fortunate enough to grow on its banks. It can do harm sometimes, but it’s always forgiven. Novi Sad knew how to use its Danube gift. In addition to hiking and biking lanes, you can play on the sports fields for futsal, basketball and tennis, go bowling, and work out in the outdoor gyms. There is also a monument to the victims of the Raid, in memory of several thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma that were shot at the end of January 1942. It is represented by a bronze composition of Family and 78 bronze plates with information about the crime and the names of the victims.

It has not yet been determined whether it is harder to cross or bridge the Danube. Novi Sad managed to get three bridges built, but they were all ruthlessly demolished in the 1999 NATO bombing. But new ones were built. All three of them. To make the Danube landscape even more miraculous. In the waters remained the pillars of the bridge of Francis Joseph, only to witness the turbulent past.

7. Because Petrovaradin is Gibraltar on the Danube

Thus the people of Novi Sad glorify their fortress. No wonder, because they owe its origin and rise to it. On the way to the Petrovaradin Fortress, we pass through the Belgrade Gate. The Serbian army marched there, bringing freedom to Vojvodina in the First World War. From the gate, you can see a fairytale village. A suburb, or Suburbium. It was built when the fortress was built, from 1692 to 1780. “Đava” (a nickname for Tvrđava, meaning Fortress), as the people of Novi Sad call it, is among the best preserved bastions in this part of Europe, with an excellent geostrategic position. Rather large, it covers more than 100 hectares, bordered by ramparts more than five kilometres long. The main meeting point is a plateau, with a view of the Danube and the part of the city on the side of Bačka, where one of the symbols of the city rises, a tower with a clock, although inaccurate. A fence chained to hundreds of locks of lovers who have locked their love right here. Among the preserved objects are the Officers’ Pavilion, Leopold’s Gunpowder Plant, Arsenal, Long and Simple Barracks, and the Great War Well.

Within the fortress are Hotel Leopold I, the department of the Museum of the City of Novi Sad, art galleries, workshops, shops, and cafes.

The unique attractions are underground military galleries on four levels, a network of communication-defence corridors 16 kilometres long, from which only a kilometre with arsenals and mine systems is available for visitors. As the fortress was never conquered, the members of the Habsburg monarchy kept their valuables.

Within the walls, there is also EXIT music festival, which has become one of the largest and most visited on the European soil. Every July, young people from all over the world flock to Đava, either for the outstanding performers, or for the environment. A musical event can hardly be held anywhere else in a cultural and historical whole of great importance. Đava will endure, we hope.

8. Because it is true that at the Petrol station Novi Sad 16 you can also eat well

Although a long time ago Balašević sang from Novi Sad that “once upon a time one could eat so good meals”! and even today, in Serbian Athens, one could eat divine meals! However, we chose our meal on the way out of Novi Sad, on the way back to Belgrade. We stopped at Gazprom petrol station Novi Sad 16, which broadly illuminates the highway and decided to go for Drive Cafe burgers.

We can say that good food was also served at the petrol station, and rightly so! Juicy, freshly baked, rich food and just right for the journey.

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Try the most delicious meals at our gas stations. We combine highest quality grilled meat with selected ingredients into the juiciest burgers. You can take a break with a large selection of pastries. Crunchy and soft delicacies, but also with our sandwiches. which consist of the most delicious ingredients combined into one crunchy and delicious break.

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8 reasons to visit Kragujevac

We have set off to the heart of Šumadija, to the city on the banks of the Lepenica that once was the capital. Niš-bound highway, fast and comfortable, takes us to Kragujevac.

Why visit Kragujevac and Šumarice park?

1. Because Kragujevac was the head of Serbia

Traces of life in the area of today’s Kragujevac take us back in time. It was added to the Serbian state by Stefan Nemanja in XII century. It was first mentioned as a significant settlement in Turkish writings in 1476 as Kragujevdža. It is believed to be named after the bird “kraguj”, a predator akin to eagle that was used for hunting during the Middle Ages and that found a suitable habitat in the Lepenički forest. The bird adorns the city’s coat of arms to this day.

Kragujevac became Serbia’s capital in 1818 and started to prosper with acquisition of autonomy in 1830. In many aspects it was in the lead. The first theatre, Princely Serbian Theatre, with Joakim Vujić at the helm, was opened in 1835, even though the performances had been held a decade earlier. Today’s tiny building was built in 1928. The Belgrade University has its roots in Kragujevac, too, where a Lyceum, university’s forerunner, was founded in 1838. It also boasts the first gymnasium on the territory of then Serbia, even today a magnificent building. In front, towards the Đački Trg and the monument of Vuk Karadžić, a magnificent view, at the back, towards the Palace complex, a picture of woe. Scratched walls, truncated facade, scattered garbage. It does not suit future academics at all. The first military musical band, Princely Serbian Band, was founded in Kragujevac. It performed marches, folk and appropriate songs. It developed till it ceased to exist in 1841 leaving the title to Belgrade. However, during the Great War it was Serbia’s seat. It was home to the Supreme Command. This is where the victorious plans for the battles of Cer and Kolubara were born. It is no wonder since a native of Kragujevac, Marshal Radomir Putnik, a great warrior and leader, was at the helm of the army.

Other famous landmarks include the Cathedral, the first built in the Byzantine-Roman style in the liberated Serbia, the magnificent St. Sava Church, the Assumption monument in honor of fellow citizens fallen in recent wars and the monument to Marshal Putnik.

2. Because it was the seat of Milos the Great

Besides cultural and administrative buildings, he also had a palace complex built. It is now a part of the Kragujevac National Museum, with the central exhibition located in the Mikhail’s residence. Excavations of the Vinča and Starčevo culture found in central Serbia, reconstructed houses, fabric matrices, jeweler, terms. Bone tools are on display.

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8 reasons to visit Kragujevac

The most beautiful building within the complex is Amidžin, also known as Momački konak dating back to 1818 built in a typical Balkan-Oriental style. It has an interesting warrior setting – the first flintlock rifles, holsters, scythes, sabers, original documents in Turkish, records of the Constitution of Sretenje and Serbia’s then-flag. It doesn’t look a lot like the modern one. Ljubiča konak, or Šarena konak, where Milan and Mihailo Obrenović were born burned down in a fire at the end of XIX century. It’s a meadow now. The prince’s residence was destroyed in a bombarding in 1941 and no one bothered to have it re-built. But there is a Miloš bust as a memory that he once ruled there.

3. Because the Sretenje constitution was declared in Kragujevac

On the other bank from the Lepenica, opposite the Palace complex, an Old Church was built in the first days of the reign of Miloš who received the permission to build it provided its height did not exceed the surrounding mosques. The Church is historically invaluable. The parliamentary life of the newly liberated Serbia began in the port. Until the construction of the Assembly building, parliamentary sessions were held in the open air and the common folk could be present. They always started with a liturgy. The first Serbian Constitution, the Sretenje Constitution, was signed there on 15 February 1835. It was one of the most democratic supreme legal acts. It seemed too democratic for the great powers and was suspended under their pressure 55 days later. Written by Dimitrije Davidović, it is considered one of the most valuable legal acts of the new century.

Many crucial decisions for the country and its people were adopted in the Old Assembly. The war on Turkey was declared there in 1876 and decisions of the Berlin Congress were read according to which Serbia gained complete independence. It is a part of the National museum today. This beautiful and interesting setting can teach a lot about an important period of Serbia’s past.

It is, perhaps, the most beautiful part of Kragujevac we have visited. Neat, tidy, spiritual and historically priceless.

4. Because the “Old foundry” museum is a weapon arsenal

The first neighbor of the Old Church and the Assembly is a once-powerful Zastava complex. Today many buildings are neglected and abandoned. The truth is they were destroyed during the NATO bombing. Kragujevac has a long tradition of weapons. As early as in 1836, there was an Arsenal for small arms repair that quickly grew into the military equipment factory. In the middle of XIX century, Topolivnica (Old firearms factory) moved to Kragujevac from Belgrade. Those were turbulent times and having your own weapons was important.

The Old Foundry museum is located in the building of the late XIX century. It is a very unusual place in an extraordinary setting. Machines and tools, archives, photographs, seals and decorations. A model of the first cannon cast in Kragujevac, rarities like the Mauzer-Milovanović rifle known as Kokinka and its improved versions Djurčka with five bullets, first Serbian hand grenade, M24 rifle which was entirely made in Kragujevac, as well as instructions on how to load a disassembled cannon on a horse. You never know what you might need. It is a walk through the history of Serbian military industry but also present are some examples “from the outside”. Very exciting, especially for ammunition fans.

5. Because Šumarice are an incurable wound

The official name is the Kragujevac October Memorial Park but for many it is and always will be Šumarice. It feels closer. Spanning 350 hectares, it has 29 tombs of the fallen in October 1941. About 3,000 innocent people were shot, including 300 youngsters and high school pupils and 40 children aged 12-15. Mounds were erected in their memory.

At the entrance to the Memorial Park is the 21 October museum. A reddish and simple building does not look like a museum. As we walk to the entrance astonished, we realize that there isn’t a single window, anywhere. The light comes from above. Like in a grave. Pits drenched in the blood of Kragujevac victims. Horror originally displayed in the museum building. Poems of Branko Miljković, penetrating, screaming, eternal, greet us.

The permanent exhibition traces the history of the Kragujevac crime. Documents, photographs, personal belongings, last thoughts and messages sent to loved ones, written with trembling hands on pieces of paper, school books, personal documents, several impactful works of art, embroidered verses of Bloody Fairy Tale by Desanka Maksimović… And a creepy dark room with lighted circles on the walls representing victims. Some have a face and a name, many are empty. Nameless. A horrifyingly shocking setting. Worthy of memorial victims.

The mounds inside the Memorial Park are connected by a footpath. The most famous is the Monument to executed pupils and teachers, a work by Miodrag Živković who named it according to some sources the Interrupted Flight. The largest group of pupils and 15 teachers were executed there. A white marble mound, a symbol of innocence, purity and youth terminated when it was about to grow. A line from Desanka’s Bloody Fairy Tale and a historical phrase of a fearless professor: “Shoot, I have a class to teach!”

The most prominent monuments include Pain and defiance, Resistance and freedom, Crystal flower dedicated to fifteen shoe shiners, boys aged 12 to 15, A table for one, the memory of the infamous order of the Nazi general Franz Böhme and a work of the Mexican sculptor Against evil. A whole millennium, in just a day.

At the start of XXI century, a temple chapel of the Kragujevac martyrs was built in the Serbian-Byzantine style. The entire Memorial Park is beautifully arranged, decorated with flowers, immaculately clean. It is the least we can do for the victims.

6. Because the Šumarica lake is a sports oasis

Located in the vicinity of Šumarica, this artificial lake with a well-kept beach is salvation from the heat in summer, and all the year round a recreational destination with a rich fun, entertainment and sports offer: beach volleyball court, table tennis, adventure park for kids and adults, playground for the youngest and a zip line to cross the lake. There is a cafe, a restaurant, even a medical station. In autumn, it is mostly frequented by walkers and fishermen. When the asphalt glows, it must be very crowded and lively here. Then you can rent pedal boats, speed boats and scooters, and swim, of course.

7. Because Sa nama na putu is always by your side

We take a break at one of numerous NIS Petrol stations. Fans of the loyalty program, we are looking for our Sa nama na putu cards but a kind worker reminds us that we “can also use the app”. Indeed, we start Sa nama na putu application, scan QR code, one click, done! We paid with collected bonus points this time.         

There were many of us at the station, and the worker added another useful piece of information: new members who join the program by 30.11. get 500 bonus points with their first fuel purchase. A great offer, isn’t it?

We want to get to know gastronomic beauties of this part of Serbia.

8. Beacuse at Milutin’s library you eat in Šumadija style

What a strange name for a tavern. Only Serbia could combine books and baking. Who says that cooking, just like books, isn’t man’s best friend? Milutin did his best to prove the point. You can consume knowledge while consuming the food. Books lure from the shelves but there is no one to pick them up. True to Šumadija, we chose pork under the sack. It is juicy and melts in your mouth, even lamb lovers wouldn’t say no to it. Prebranac and homemade sarma with tortillas instead of bread, not traditional for Kragujevac but hot and delicious. Artful waiters are cordial and smiling. Milutin can really create a literary work. It wouldn’t be the first time in the history of Serbia’s kafanas.

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Sa nama na putu App

Collect and use bonus points to purchase fuel and other products and services. Find out more about promotions and special discounts. Plan your trip, using an interactive map, and enjoy fine breaks. Track your consumption data and discounts on fuel and other products.

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Join online for free

Join the “Sa nama na putu” loyalty program online, completely free of charge. With the first purchase of fuel, as a gift you get 500RSD. Being a member of the “Sa nama na putu” loyalty program, with every purchase at NIS Petrol and Gazprom petrol stations you save up to 5.50 RSD/l, in the form of bonus points.

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