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Sunday, 20 August 2017

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Sokobanja Spa

The therapeutic qualities of Sokobanja’s thermal springs were known as far back as Ancient Rome. The Sokobanja public hamam – steam bath – was first mentioned by Turkish travel writer Evliya çelebi in 1663. After the liberation from the Turks, Prince Miloš ordered the renovation of the hamam and built a residence (konak), and Leopold Erlich was appointed as the spa’s first doctor. The start of organised tourism in Sokobanja can be traced back to 1837 when the office of Prince Miloš issued a referral (‘voucher’) to warrant officer Lazarević to have treatment in the spa.

Sokobanja is located in southeastern Serbia, between Ozren and Rtanj mountains, on the banks of  Moravica river. It lies 400 m above sea-level and is 230 km from Belgrade.

At the beginning of the 20th century wealthy traders and innkeepers built villas for their own stays in Sokobanja, but they were also used to accommodate guests. During the inter-war period the first contemporary spa hotel – Evropa (today’s Park konak) – was built, parks and picnic sites laid and waterworks and public lighting installed. The modern development of Sokobanja began in the 1960s with businesses springing up next to the hotels and the transport infrastructure being updated.

The natural therapeutic factors in Sokobanja are the thermal mineral springs (with temperatures ranging from 28 to 45.5°C), which are used for bathing and inhalation, and the moderate continental climate characterised by favourable atmospheric pressure, moderate rainfall, little fog and a few windy days, a high concentration of oxygen, ozone and negative ions in the air and an absence of air pollution.

The surrounding area of Sokobanja has many picnic sites and forest and tarmac paths lead to Oštra Čuka, Ozren mountain’s highest peak (1117 m). Trails on Ozren lead to the Jermenčić monastery, the ruins of the Tatomirov Grad fortress and the 580m-long Ozrenska Pećina cave. The 11m-high Ripaljka waterfall, formed by the Gradašnica river, is also nearby. The Đerđelez spring, which was known as far back as the Turkish period, is concealed in the meadows on Ozren. Rtanj mountain is well-known for its medicinal plants.

Kalinovica is a picnic spot with a beech forest, cold water spring and a restaurant which is open during the summer season. Not far from the Lepterija picnic site lie the remains of the Soko Grad (Falcon City) fortress. Vrmadžanski Grad fortress is located 2 km from Rtanj and Vrmdžanski lake, which is ideal for fishing, is also nearby. The source of the Moravica river is located 15 km from Sokobanja, and is a unique natural phenomenon because the river emerges from several hidden springs. Sesalačka cave is located not far from the village of Sesalac and is rich in cave formations and has been adapted for visitors.

 

Zdrelo Spa

Banja Ždrelo is surrounded by Homolje mountains. The biggest attraction are the winter outdoor swimming pools where the water temperature is 40 degrees. Outdoor pools are connected with indoor pools by "transparent warm tunnel" so users are fully protected from the cold and when the snow is around.

In addition to the outdoor swimming pool for recreation there are hydro-massage baths, small pools with underwater massage, and indoor there is a Jacuzzi massage tub, sauna, solarium, hamam and massage facilities.

The only indoor waterpark in Serbia with nice slidesis in Ždrelo spa.

The rich historical heritage of Homolje area makes it ideal tourist destination. Prince Lazar built the most famous monastery in this region, Gomjak (XIVc.) well known for its cave hermitage. There are also the ruins of medieval churches, Metropolitanate, Reskovica, Annunciation Church and the Vitovnica Monastery.

The medieval town of Ždrelo with preserved fortifications, on both the banks of the river Mlava, is an outstanding monument of Medieval Serbia. The remains of its towers and walls can be even seen today.

 

Bukovicka Spa

Bukovička Spa is situated in Arandjelovac (central Serbia), at the height of 236 m above sea level.

The gorgeous Park of Bukovička Banja is famous for its open-air sculpture gallery. Spa has luxurious hotel with fantastic spa and wellness offer. The largest open waterpark in Serbia is located in the vicinity of the park and hotel.

The guests of Bukovička Spa have numerous possibilities for a pleasant holiday, including entertainment and recreation, such as outdoor and indoor swimming pools, tennis courts, sports fields, fitness rooms, and sauna baths.

The most famous Serbian mineral water, "Knjaz Miloš" is bottled in the Bukovička spa.There are several mineral water springs in Bukovička Spa whose water temperatures range from 12 to 28 degrees Celsius.

Mineral water from these springs is bottled and sold both in the domestic and foreign market. Bukovička mineral water won its first quality awards as early as 1906, in Brussels and later on in 1907, in London.

In the vicinity of Bukovička Banja is Risovačka Cave, a cave where a settlement of prehistoric people was found. It is one of the oldest traces of human existence in the Balkan Peninsula. The nearest picnic resorts are Mt. Bukulja (696 m) and Garasi Lake. Also, the small town of Topola is nearby, where the Karadjordjević dynasty had built its memorial place, consisting of a church and a palace.

 

Vrdnik Spa

Discovering of thermal water in Vrdnik occurred by chance, in the thirties of the 20th century. At that time, Vrdnik was in mine. During mining,a penetration of thermal waters in the south of the mine shaft occurred. The miners found that a longer stay in the warm water helps with gout and injured tissues. They dug three smaller pools and used water as healing baths. In 1968 the water was coming into the main mine and flooded it, which resulted in the closure of the coal mines, and construction of a modern spa and recreation center.

Thanks to the ridge of Fruška Gora Vrdnik is protected from strong winds. Microclimate characteristics are small amounts of rainfall and the absence of strong winds. The thermal water has a constant temperature of 32.8 degrees Celsius which makes it a hypothermal water with a wide range of effects on the human body. Clean air with a high amount of ozone puts Vrdnik in the class of air spas.

 

Vrnjacka Spa

Mostly legionaries of V legion Flavia and VII Legion Klaudiana and Romanized indigenous tribal aristocracy were coming here for the treatment and recovery.

The claim that the Romans knew about Vrnjačka mineral springs came from the travel writer Felix Kanitz, at the end of the nineteenth century. He says that the thermae of Vrnjčka were located south of the fort in the village of Gracac. However, during works in the nineteenth century, the residues were not visible or those who did the research did not know how to recognize them.

Traces of Roman times were encountered by chance in the catchment of hot springs in 1924.  A properly carved rock from which hot mineral water was flowing, was discovered at the depth of 2.40m. About 200 Roman coins which belong to the period from August to Valentinian, were found in the hot springs in the rock. Right next to the Roman sources, at about the same depth, the remains of the first known swimming pool were found.

The spa got its name after the village of Vrnjci where springs of mineral water were found. The first written document about Vrnjačka Spa is Baron Zigmund Herder's report, who did a research on the national treasures of Serbia on the directive of prince Milos Obrenovic. He considered Vrnjci mineral water to be of great quality and compared it to the famous mineral water springs in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.

Exploitation of mineral resources Vrnjačka Spa began in 1970.  Hot water in glass bottles started very quickly to conquer the market. Mineral water "Vrnjci" best resembles the Spa.

To the north from Vrnjačka Spa, there are tame fertile soils of the Western Morava, and to the south, over 100 km long gorge of Ibar River. There are also high mountains with the famous ski resort Kopaonik. Finally, this is the region with the most significant monuments of medieval Serbian culture, especially the monasteries with the monumental fresco painting. Some of them are protected by UNESCO as the world cultural heritage.

In Vrnjačka Spa you can find high class hotels with indoor swimming pool, conference halls, and sports facilities.

Over the year, especially in the months of summer tourist season, Vrnjačka Spa offers its visitors plenty to do. Many sports - recreational facilities and grounds provide favourable conditions for recreation and relaxation with spa treatments.

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