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The New Face of the National Parks of Serbia

Author: Kristina Golubović

glavnaBELGRADE- The tourist potentials and new content of Serbia’s national parks of Mount Kopaonik, Mount Tara and Đerdap, recently presented to the media in Belgrade, indicate a need for a more careful attitude towards nature in order to preserve these pearls and attract as many tourists as possible, local as well as foreign.

The Mount Kopaonik National Park – Trekking Trails

Suzana Komatović, a biologist of the Mt. Kopaonik National Park and its PR person, presented the popular trekking trails, as well as new ones whose popularity is expected to rise in the future.

Among the most popular trails of the Mt. Kopaonik area is the Canyon of the River Samokovska, which together with the Kozje stene represents a natural reserve through which the trail passes.

The trail takes about three hours to traverse, and the canyon of the river takes one’s breath away by its clarity, rapids and watercourses; the water is potable, and the trail runs alongside the canyon! The trail can take you to two of the best known holiday spots on Mt. Kopaonik: Kadijevac and Đorov Most.

A section of the trail offers a spectacular view of the Kozje Stene rocks. The trail features an opportunity to pick strawberries, raspberries, currants, blackberries, and many edible mushrooms.

The Metođe trail is a medium difficulty trail which takes about three hours to walk. It features the stone church of St. Method of Olymp, with a spring which is believed to have medicinal properties. Each July 3 people from the surrounding villages congregate in the church. The trail also passes by a five-meter geyser.


From Jelovarnik to Nebeske Stolice

The next trail Komatović described was named after a waterfall, and is more difficult, taking about seven hours to walk. The Jelovarnik trail with its 75/meter waterfall is a strictly protected natural monument.

Oštri Krš is a new trail on Mt. Kopaonik, opened in 2013. It features a wonderful view of the dense forests of the Gobelje reservation and the cliffs covered with edelweiss – a rare and protected flower. This trail takes about three hours.

The easiest and most popular is the trail named Nebeske Stolice (Heavenly Chairs). The name was given by the World War One Serbian military leader, Duke Živojin Mišić, who on seeing the area was reminded of chairs on which gods sat. Lovers of history and archeology can find here an archeological site Crkvine, which holds the remains of an early Christian 5th century basilica. This trail also takes about three hours to walk.

Another trail with an interesting name is Markov Kamen (Marko’s Stone). According to legend, Serbia’s famous medieval figure Marko Kraljević (Prince Marko) played with rocks before battle, which are of very specific shape and size on the track and are up to ten meters high. This is an easy trail which takes about an hour, and features a beautiful view of the Ravni Kopaonik plateau.

A trail named Treska is still being traced. It is about four hours long and features many rare plant and animal species, including the indigenous plant sempervivum kopaonikensis.

The trails can be seen on the website of the Mt. Kopaonik National Park. Serbia’s skisites and Mt. Kopaonik have concluded an agreement on panoramic viewing of Ravni Kopaonik from a ski lift.

Also new on Mt. Kopaonik are two log houses which will soon be completed. Their purpose is resting and they will feature solar cells. Who knows, it could be an inception of more widespread use of solar energy in Serbia? In any case, an excellent example.


The Đerdap National Park

Srđan Stefanović, the director of the Đerdap NP, reminded us of the traditions of the five national parks. Mount Fruška Gora was the first to be declared a national park in 1960, followed by the Đerdap NP in 1974. Mounts Tara and Kopaonik were declared national parks in 1981, аnd Mount Šar Planina in 1986.

Also not to be forgotten is the Obedska Bara special nature reserve, protected since 1874 and among the world’s oldest reserves. Altogether it makes up only six per cent of the territory of Serbia under protection, not even close to the standards of the European Union, but, according to Stefanović, also the Vice-President of the Association of National Parks of Serbia, work is under way on increasing the number of protected natural reserves according to a long-term plan. Mt. Golija could be the next national park in Serbia. That is the modest contribution of the author.

The Đerdap NP is the biggest by size, but due to five primary and about 15 secondary entry and exit points it is difficult to establish the total number of visitors, but the number is certainly not small.


What Does Đerdap Offer in its Best Years

In the service of enriching the contents of the National Park, various projects are being implemented. The river Danube, which flows through the Park, is an important item in the advancement of the tourist offer of Đerdap.

The project Danubeparks step 2.0 lasted from October 2012 to September 2014 and represents an advanced transnational cooperation between protected areas along the Danube.

The aim of the project is the protection of the white-tailed eagle and winter counting of birds with the participation of the broader public, establishment of a cadastre of trees and black poplars including genetic analyses, planning and development of visitor centers for the visitors of the Danube Network of Protected Areas and the development of an Action Plan for the morphology of the river Danube.

The Lower Danube – a More Beautiful Face of Tourism

The project Changing Face of Tourism Space in Lower Danube is financed by the EU and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) attached to the Austrian Embassy. By the realization of the project, the municipalities of Negotin and Kladovo, as well as the Đerdap NP, will get marked pedestrian and cycle trails and outdoor furniture for tourists.

Canoes and equipment for canoeing , bicycles etc. will also be provided. The project will end early in 2015

Jelena Bujdić-Krečković of the Đerdap NP reminds us that we can enjoy ourselves nicely in our own country. Đerdap has health trails of various lengths, at which educative boards will be set up, concretely on a trail overlooking Gornji Milanovac. There will also be other boards which will serve for testing knowledge, with the establishment of an interactive tactile exhibition for the blind and persons of poor eyesight in the Đerdap NP Visitors’ Center. This and other activities will be realized through work on the project Support for the Creation and Promotion of Development Routes for Eco and Sustainable Tourism in the Đerdap National Park.

Director Stefanović also told us about work on the infrastructure, for which the Đerdap NP needs help from the central government, because the main access road to the Park, the Đerdap trunk road, is constantly suffers from rockfalls, which, according to Stefanović, considerably affects the number of tourists in the National Park.


The Mount Tara National Park – the First Trail Adapted to Disabled Persons

Ranko Milanović of the Mt. Tara National Park spoke about the business plans through which they are planning sustainable development.
Mt. Tara has prepared what is perhaps the biggest surprise this year, which deserves full media attention – THE FIRST TRAIL IN SERBIA FULLY ADAPTED TO THE USE OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES! They received a lot of assistance from the Association of Persons with Disabilities, and the trail will soon be ready to host visitors. Tablets with inscriptions in Braille have also been prepared.

We wish them good luck, and this is certainly an idea which the House of Good News hopes will take root, at least in all of our national parks.
Mt. Tara has an extremely interesting fauna, including the smallest species of owl that exists, and the biggest population of brown bears, over fifty.

Mt. Tara already has a paradise for cyclists, a cycle route named Carska Tara. The trail contains boards with internet links. It is a whole-day activity, as it takes cyclists about eight hours to traverse it.

All of you cyclists, while you are waiting for your trail in the Đerdap NP, remember that you already have one waiting for you!

Standing Tombstones Nominated for UNESCO List

The Mt. Tara NP has a lot of necropoli with standing tombstones nominated for UNESCO’s heritage list. A visitors’ center in Bajina Bašta is also being planned. Another new content is the Mt. Tara Botanical Garden, where biology students can see a lot of plant species in one place.


Young Rangers Club

The Young Rangers Club is a project for kids aged seven to fifteen. Children spend seven days on Mt. Tara and traverse the terrain, undergo training in coping in nature, are involved in creative work...

Mr. Milanović told us a wonderful story how accidental cooperation with Hungarian photographers led to the now famous picture House on a Rock. The photo has won numerous awards and I believe there are few who have not yet seen it.

Also of some interest is the shooting of a film after Uroš Petrović’s novel The Fifth Butterfly, which takes place on Mount Tara.

At the traditional Drina Regatta, which was held on 19 July, boats and other watercraft passed by the aforementioned house on a rock.

The author of this text was a participant in last year’s regatta and can recommend the adventure warmly. Perfect satisfaction mixed with beautiful nature, good company in the boat, a pleasant atmosphere and a dose of adrenalin if the fast river Drina pulls you swiftly! Follow the House of Good News because we will write more about this.

The author faced a major challenge to give brief presentations of our national parks, which was a difficult task owing to their great natural wealth. To present the essential and the most beautiful, while every one of us regards something else as the most beautiful and important. In any case, they are so rich that they have content for most of us. Tour them and make your own list of the most beautiful and build up your own image about each of them. Good luck from the House of Good News.

Source: House of Good News


Paradise in Southern Serbia – Lake Vlasina

fiksnavlasinaVLASINA, Serbia – Sometimes, but only sometimes, humans can create beauty equal to or even more successful than nature by itself. When they join forces with nature, when they make use of everything beautiful it unselfishly offers and strive not to ruin its harmony and balance and achieve a harmony in which are intertwined all the perfection, divine and human, then, I suppose, paradise is created on earth.

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