The hidden beauty of Western Serbia: The land where our soldiers shed blood is proudly guarded by Orthodox monasteries (PHOTO)
Western Serbia is the ideal place for a weekend vacation
There are forest and fog behind us, and under the ground, there are bones of Serbian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers, bullets, and a lot of spilled blood from late 1914.
We went on an excursion to Sokolska Mountain and Jagodnja, whose peaks rise above 900 m above sea level above Macva and Sumadija on one side and Drina on the other side. Some of the bloodiest battles during the First World War took place here, trenches were dug, bayonets were flashing... The Austrians from the other side of Drina were pouring in Serbia with the desire to crush the Serbian army.
One of the hardest battles was led here, on Mackov Kamen, in a small area, on the top of the mountain Jagodnja, hand to hand combat. Over 1.200 Austrians and 800 Serbs died, and there were around 5.700 wounded.
This was a real Serbian "meat grinder", and the Austrian soldiers lost their mood due to the fact that they were walking on the corpses of their soldiers during the relentless resistance by Serbs.
You can reach to the very top of Jagodnja with a car, with the road that leads to Krupanj. There is a monument, built at the beginning of the thirties, where a candle is still lit today for the remains of many Serbian soldiers.
MONASTERY SOKO AND SOKO GRAD
We continued driving on the mountain areas towards Sokol, the place where monastery Soko was built, dedicated to the St Nikolay Mirlikiiski, and to the holy bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic, with a small museum that preserves the history of this region. Massive rocks are above the monastery, and a big Orthodox cross was erected on one of them.
Before the gate of Republika Srpska, hidden under Sokolska mountain, in a place where Turks ruled for centuries, this cross reminds of the Serbian sacrifices that have fallen...
You can reach it without any problem, while the car can remain on the parking at the monastery.
Prepare your muscles and test your fate.
Do you know 10 commandments by heart? There are 10 stone houses with the plaque and one commandment until the top, to the cross.
Little by little, step by step, repeating and enjoying the scenery.
Before you start walking the metal staircase to the very top where the cross is located, and if you don't have the fear of heights, prepare for the incredible view.
You will see the entire monastery from a bird's eye view, your car on the parking lot, and a quiet little lake.
And you can look far into the distant mountain range, much steeper than Sokolske mountains.
This cross has another meaning. It was erected in a place where Soko city was located, and only the ruins remained. That has nothing to do with the Soko city around Soko Banja.
This western Soko city was in the foreign hands for centuries, and he has been Serbian for just a few decades. It was one of the last bastions of the Turkish authorities in Serbia.
Before you head to the cross, drop by the nearby waterfall near the monastery. Hidden in the rock, this waterfall calms you with its sound, and the shade during the summer months is God-given.
You will walk on the rocky, slippery ground, but a bit of acrobatics certainly pay off. The field is accessible, and the path is a bit short. You just have to take a peek behind the rock, and you are in for a surprise.
MONASTERY ROZANJ, LIKE A FAIRYTALE
There is a road from the top of Sokolska mountain, and you can walk for about two hours, with a light walk and with the constant climb. Forget about your car, take a deep breath and enjoy the climb to the top Rozanj which hides incredible view on half of Macva and Sumadija, which goes all the way to Avala and Obrenovac power plants.
There is Cer mountain on the left.
On the right side, there are Medvednika and Bobije.
On the very top, there is an Orthodox cross and the beautiful monastery Rozanj.
The monastery was raised in a style that reminds of a Russian, from wood, and it has a fence around it, it looks like a fairytale.
Clean, neat, untouched, and the wood is still fresh, it was built less than a decade ago.
One who knocks on the door can expect the hearty welcome of the monks.
But, only if you respect the dress code. And one more thing - there are taking photos or smoking inside.
You should hurry back, there is a lot to walk, and you might need some flashlights.
VIDEO: Did you know that there is a wonderful waterfall 25 km away from the center of Zlatibor?
(Telegraf.co.uk / Mateja Beljan)
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