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Black water bull - harbinger of change on Lake Vlasina: A legend that lives on for centuries

A monster that emerged from the lake and swallowed herds of cattle, according to folk tales, changed overnight and roared each time an evil loomed over this part of Serbia

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Photo: Ivan Strahinic

Lake Vlasina is the largest artificial lake in Serbia and also one located at the highest altitude in our country.

However, what distinguishes Lake Vlasina from other lakes in Serbia are its so-called floating islets, created by underwater flora growing on peat. There are willows and birches on these islets. There are two static islets on Lake Vlasina - Stratorija and Dugi Del.

In addition to this phenomenon, the legend of the black water bull is attached to Lake Vlasina, which, according to folk tales, was the herald of great changes in this part of Serbia.

According to legend, there used to be a swamp in the place where the lake is today, that looked like a big green meadow. But, if a herd of large cattle wandered into this part of Vlasina, a monster would swallow it. In order to deal with the enemy, the peasants organized ambushes, ready to kill the black water bull, as they called it. But, again according to legend, the monster hid so well from the angry people that they never managed to surround and overcome it...

The tale goes on to say that the monster "overnight" changed and stopped swallowing herds, but would be heard every time an evil loomed over this part of Serbia. According to folk tales, the big black bull roared before the First and Second World Wars, and the "thunder" that was heard from its throat was so strong that everything around the lake shook, while the water boiled from the bottom. The locals took it as a warning, that would eventually have a good outcome.

This legend is still retold in Vlasina Stojkoviceva, Vlasina Rid and Vlasina Okruglica, the villages located near the lake.

Since the artificial lake was created in the mid-20th century in the place where there used to be a large swamp that had quicksand in some places, this part of Serbia has become a location that nature lovers and picnickers like to visit.

Cycling enthusiasts can't resist a 32-kilometer-long track going around the lake, and there are many who opt for a boat or pedal boat ride.

Tourists who decide to take a two-day trip to this part of Serbia can also try kayaking and climbing Vardenik.

Photo: Ivan Strahinic


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