The East has long been the synonym of mystery, secrecy, certain philosophies and beliefs by which life is interpreted. Eastern Serbia, too, has those very elements – bringing imagination to life. Wherever you go in Eastern Serbia – whether to the mighty Iron Gate (Djerdap) Gorge or the beautiful Djerdap villages – interesting things awaits you. Here, more than anywhere else in Serbia, reality and legend blend to such an extent that it is difficult know where one ends and the other begins.

Photo from: www.skyscrapercity.com
Photo from: www.skyscrapercity.com

The major rivers have always defined the lives of the people. The natural terraces at the end of the Danube, with their fertile and healthy soil, have led to people settling along its banks to fish and plant orchards and in particular vineyards. The many village households which cater for tourists near Donji Milanovac, Kladovac, Golubac, Majdanpek and Negotin will make sure that you are as comfortable as you are intrigued.

Timocka Krajina is also known for its grape-growing tradition. The conditions in this region are perfect for growing the common grape vine. From the village of Rajac, a 15-minute drive brings you to the Rajacke Pimnice wine cellars, on the way passing through beautiful forests in which enthusiasts pick mushrooms, elderberry flowers and lemon balm leaves, which make a very calming tea. In this region, in areas close to Zajecar, Knjazevac, Boljevac, Sokobanja and Bor, hosts will serve you venison goulash, nettle broth and the pasulj prebanac (bean stew) is like no other. Belmuz, which is kacamak (a kind of polenta) made from white corn flour, is a famous eastern Serbian specialty. It is prepared with young, unsalted goat’s cheese, served warmed with cultured goat’s milk.

Photo from: www.panacomp.net
Photo from: www.panacomp.net

Many myths revolve around Rtanj mountain. Whether you believe in them or not, the air, food and medicinal plants of this area really do border on the magical. Winds from the Carpathian Mountains, Adriatic Sea and the northern plains meet here, so not only do you feel the benefits of fresh, clean air, but in essence you are breathing in a “medicine” which rids you of coughs, cleanses your lungs and strengthens your immune system. The regional food is exceptional and of the diverse selection we insist that you try gibanica (cheese and egg pie), kiselo mleko (cultured milk) and every one of the mushroom and game specialties. Do not forget to buy or pick for yourself the ingredients for the famous Rtanj tea, which only grow at the base of this magical mountain.

Photo from: www.thecornerterrace.co.uk
Photo from: www.thecornerterrace.co.uk

Homolje is a special region in eastern Serbia. One of its unique features is its many gorges, including Gornjacka and Ribarska, as well as the gorges carved by the Velika and Mala Tisnica, Osanicka and Do rivers. The Vrelo Mlave spring is a special tourist attraction. The Morava river flows through the Branicevo region which is where the town of Pozarevac invites you to Ljubicevo farm for the Equestrian Games which are held every September.

And towards the southeast there is the town of Pirot and its surroundings, made famous by the Pirot rugs (woven rugs) which are made by hand on looms in the villages around Stara Planina mountain. The carpets are dominated by the colour red and the decorative patterns are always geometric with a stylised bird, flower, collared dove or an item found in the weaver’s local area. Traditional dishes made in Pirot are unique to the region. They include vine leaf parcels stuffed with lamb offal, čorba ćisalica (broth), uštipci od krompira (fried potato balls) and any number of combinations using peppers.

Smederevo Fortress (Smederevska Tvrdjava), as well as the Ram and Golubac fortresses, is located on the banks of the Danube. One of the most beautiful gorges in Europe, the Djerdapska Klisura (Iron Gate), is located here too, as are the Djerdap National Park and a hydroelectric power plant of the same name. The art of the pre-history settlement of Lepenski Vir – with unique stone sculptures of fish-like gods, captured the world’s attention. The remains of Viminacium, which was the capital city of the Roman province of Upper Moesia and an important Roman military camp, are located near Kostolac. Felix Romuliana, near Zajecar, is one of the most quintessential and complex examples of Roman court architecture and is under UNESCO protection.