Abstract:On this trip we take you to the very heart of Serbia, where on the first day we will visit some of the most important churches and monasteries, while on the second we will enjoy the spectacular countryside and folk treasures of west Serbia.
Activities:Visit the church Saint George at Oplenac Hill
Visit the house of Peter I
Visit the Karadjordje's Fort
Visit the monastery of Žiča, which has raised by king Stefan
Visit the Studenica Monastery
Visit the nature reserve "Uvac canyon"
Visit a waterfall Gostilje
Visit an open air museum of Sirogojno
Day 1: Novi Sad – Belgrade – Topola - Oplenac – Žiča – Studenica
We start from Novi Sad, dropping by to Belgrade to pick additional passengers and continue towards Topola. Arriving there we head for the top of Oplenac Hill where stands the church dedicated to St George, the mausoleum of the Serbian royal house of Karadjordjević. Surrounded by forest and vineyards, this five cupola edifice in Serbian medieval style is covered in shiny marble and is sure to leave you amazed. Its interior is unique in this part of Europe: entirely covered by mosaics (40 million pieces in 15,000 shades), all of them copies from over 60 different Serbian medieval monasteries. With 1,500 figures arranged in 725 scenes or portraits it represents a real anthology of Serbian medieval art. In the crypt of the church are buried 25 members of the House of Karadjordjević, including Petar II, the last king of Yugoslavia, brought here from USA a few years ago. We won’t miss to visit the house of king Petar I, today housing a gallery with portraits and artifacts connected with the royal dynasty, some of them of great artistic and historic importance.
After that we will descend to the foot of Oplenac Hill to visit the Karadjordje’s Fort containing a museum that tells the story about the First Serb Uprising against the Ottomans (1804-13) as well as the old church. Free time for lunch.
Afterwards we continue our bus ride to the monastery of Žiča (first half of the 13th century). It was founded by king Stefan who was crowned here as the first king of the Nemanjić dynasty. Later on, six more kings of the same house were crowned here as well. When in 1219 Serbian church became independent from Constantinople, Žiča was chosen as its seat and its first head became St Sava, Stefan’s brother and the most important Serb saint.
We will next visit the Studenica monastery. It was established by Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjić dynasty, and his wife Ana in 1190. This used to be one of the largest and wealthiest Serbian monasteries. Studenica is considered to be the corner stone of Serbian medieval art and architecture and as such was included on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. We will spend the night next door to the monastery in a modest but pleasant hotel run by the monks.
Day 2: Studenica – Uvac Canyon – Sirogojno – Zlatibor – Belgrade – Novi Sad
Those interested in matins will have to rise early and be in church before sunrise. Breakfast is scheduled for 8 o’clock. After a 2½ hours long bus ride we will reach the Special Nature Reserve “Uvac Canyon”. River Uvac flows between mountains Zlatar (to the south) and Zlatibor (on the north). It is most noteworthy for its numerous twists as well as for its most famous inhabitants – griffin vultures. Being the last refuge by this rare and endangered bird, Uvac was noted by the naturalists and eventually became a nature reserve. Among its numerous caves stand out the Ledena, Tubića and Ušačka caves, the latter being one of the longest in Serbia. Their entrances are at times partially submerged under water but it is possible to enter inside on a boat. You will experience the wonderful nature of Serbia: we will go for a walk and then it is possible to go on a boat ride to Ledena Cave. Afterwards you will have free time for lunch in one of the simple eateries by the river.
We continue towards the village of Gostilje where we will make a break to visit its waterfall. Our last stop will be the open-air museum of Sirogojno where you will learn about traditional life of Serbia’s peasants in previous centuries.
The trip ends with a drive back to Belgrade and then to Novi Sad.