Down the Raging Rapids of the Drina
Tucked away in the hills of Tara close to Serbia’s border with Bosnia, Bajina Basta (Bajina Bašta) is accessible from Belgrade via Uzice (180 km) or Valjevo (150 km). Often referred to as the pearl of western Serbia, this beautiful mountain city lies on the shores of the Drina River. Built in 1882, Bajina Basta’s streets all intersect at a right angle. Its beautiful homes and beaches on the Drina make this city a fantastic getaway.
Just six kilometers south of Bajina Basta, you will discover the 13th century Raca (Rača) monastery founded by King Dragutin. Nestled in the hills of Tara, the monastery was once a center for transcribing liturgical books. The Raca School of transcription is lauded as the guardian of Serbia’s national identity.
Every first week in October, Bajina Basta and Raca organize the Days of Raca event, which features an intense artistic program and scientific discussions. Outstanding creators who participate in the event are awarded the Raca Diploma.
The Tara National Park comprises of Tara Mountain, Zvijezda Mountain and a portion of the Drina canyon. With over 1000 species of plants and flowers, Tara is home to nearly a third of Serbia’s flora. The park, which is 80% forest, is the natural habitat of the chamois, brown bear, and the native Pančićev skakavac (grasshopper). Tara is also home to over 130 bird and 37 fish species. The unique peat that blankets the ground is called Tepih livada (meadow carpet) and can truly make you feel as though you are walking on carpet.
Tara is renowned for its plentiful water sources. The park features a network of springs and streams that flow into the Drina. The Perućac spring spouts an astonishing 300 liters of water per second into the Drina. Tara’s most spectacular waterfalls are the Veliki and Mali Skakavac.
The Drina surrounds Tara to the north and west. Perućac Lake, which was created by a 93 m dam extending to Višegrad, is a popular spot for rafting and fishing. The spectacular crystal clear lake has a surface of 28 sq km, is 55 km long and 88 m deep. The nearby Zaovine Lake, which connects via tunnel to Perućac Lake, is also an idyllic spot to enjoy a refreshing swim.
The impressive Drina canyon, which is located just upstream of the dam, is the third deepest canyon in the world. Though the construction of a hydroelectric plant has made rafting along certain points of the Drina challenging, experienced kayakers still navigate these dynamic waters.
Bajina Basta is home to one of the greatest rally races in Serbia. Every year, the best drivers compete in the Brdska auto trka (Hill Race), Reli Tara Memorijal Obrena Tešića (Obren Tešić Tara Memorial Rally) and the YU reli Evropski šampionat (YU rally European Championship). If you would like to come watch this adrenaline-filled extravaganza, you can find comfortable accommodations at the Omorika or Beli Bor hotels, or in one of numerous private pensions around Tara.
If you are in Bajina Basta, Tara, or Drina, we recommend:
– A visit to the Raca monastery
– A stroll through the Tepih livada (Meadow Carpets) in Tara National Park
– Rafting down the Drina canyon
PANČIĆ SPRUCE (SERBIAN SPRUCE)
Tara is home to the rare Pančić spruce, which is native to Serbia. The tree is named after Josif Pančić, a famous Serbian biologist and the first president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences. Pančić discovered the spruce in 1871. You will find the spruce, which is protected by the state, only in the middle part of the Drina River. Though the Pančić spruce can reach a height of 35 m, its short branches make it appear even taller. If you want to get good look at this natural wonder, head to Bilješka stijena just above Peruće Lake.
INFORMATIONSTourist and sports centre Bajina Bašta 34/II Milana Obrenovića Street, 31250 Bajina Bašta Tel: +381 31 865 370, 865 941 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tara-bajinabasta.com