Living Amongst the Monuments
Čačak lies on the Morava River and is surrounded by the Jelica, Ovcar (Ovčar), Kablar and Vujina mountains. The city is 144 km from Belgrade off the Ibar motorway.
Cacak’s urban center features the remains of a 4th century Roman settlement, which includes ruins of thermal baths and monuments to Jupiter. The villages and agricultural estates in the vicinity of abound with remnants of the Roman period.
Built by Prince Milos’ brother Jovan in 1835, the residence of Jovan Obrenovic is one of the oldest preserved structures in Cacak. The residence, which has been converted to a museum, is the only remaining symbol of the Obrenovic dynasty. The museum features three permanent exhibits. They include a historical depiction spanning from the Neolithic era to the middle ages, Cacak’s Ovcar-Kablar monasteries and churches, and scenes of Cacak’s uprisings and conflicts between 1804 and 1941.
A number of Cacak’s structures still feature their original exterior. They include the Regional Administrative Center (Okružno načelstvo), Falcon House (Sokolski dom), the gymnasium, Hadzic House (Hadžića kuća), Dragomirovic Palace, and Mayor Gavrilovic’s house. The Nadezda Petrovic Art Gallery and memorial honor the founder of the contemporary art movement in Serbia.
Visit the Cacak cemetery and you will discover a unique monument to those who fought in WWI. The monument, which was built in 1934 features Orthodox and Catholic crosses, the Islamic Crescent and the Jewish Star of David.
The Tanasko Rajic monument on Ljubic (Ljubić) Hill honors the memory of the legendary cannon operator from the First Serbian Uprising. The Gradina archeological site atop Jelica Mountain is located in the village of Grab just 8 km from Cacak. The expansive site, which includes the remains of an 8th century Byzantine fortified city, suggests the settlement enjoyed a vibrant economy and rich culture.
Just 10 km from Cacak, the stunning Ovcar-Kablar Gorge, which cuts across the Morava River is the site of ten magnificent 14th century monasteries and two holy places. This valley is often referred to as Serbia’s Holy Mount of Athos.
You will find several of these majestic monasteries tucked away on the right bank of the Morava. They include Vavedenj, dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, Vaznesenje, in honor of the Ascension of the Lord, Preobraženje, dedicated to the Rising of Christ, Sretenje, in honor of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, and Sveta Trojica, dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
On the left bank of the Morava, you will find the second cluster of these remarkable monasteries. They include Blagoveštenje, dedicated to the Holy Annunciation, Ilinje, in honor of St. Eliah, Jovanje, dedicated to the birth of St. John the Baptist, Uspenje, dedicated to the Assumption, and Nikolje, in honor of St. Nicholas.
Apart from the plethora of monasteries, we highly recommend a visit to the Kadjenica Refuge church and the Savinje church, dedicated to St. Sava. Both showcase the Raska (Raška) school architectural style. Along with the monasteries in the area, both churches at one time maintained workshops for book transcription and illustration, icon painting, and the crafting of sacred objects.
If you love the outdoors and enjoy fishing, mountaineering, rafting and extreme sports, the mountains of Ovcar and Kablar are the perfect for you. You can learn to paraglide in Ovcar, which offers spectacular views. Kablar offers courses in extreme mountain climbing.
If a relaxing getaway is more your style, you can visit one of Cacak’s three mineral water spas. The Ovcar Spa features soothing thermal waters and the beautiful vistas of the Ovcar-Kablar Gorge. The Gornja Trepca is world renowned for its therapeutic medicinal waters. Thermo-mineral water here contains rare and restorative microelements. Let the mild climate, lush vegetation and fresh mountain air renew your senses. If you are seeking a unique spot for a spa getaway, head to the Atomic Spa, which is close to a wide range of cultural and historical monuments.
Cacak organizes over thirty different cultural and sporting events annually. One of the most prominent is Dis’ Spring, in honor of the poet Vladimir Petkovic Dis. The May festival has existed for several decades and has enjoyed the participation of a slew of distinguished 20th century poets.
The municipality of Lucan is accessible via Uzice (Užice), Pozega (Požega) and Cacak, just off the road that winds through the Ovcar-Kablar Gorge. Dragocevo, which abounds with cultural monuments, comprises the largest area of Lucan. The monuments date back to the ancient times and include traces of the Roman era and medieval Serbia. If you only have time to see a few, we highly recommend Breg, Zbegoviste, and Oranica.
The ancient churches of this municipality share the unfortunate fate of the inhabitants here. Sadly, there are no remains of churches from the period of the First Serbian Uprising. Restoration and new construction began following the Second Serbian Uprising (Karadjorjde’s Uprising) in 1815.
The nature here is pristine and largely untouched. The residents of Dragocevo have worked hard to preserve their environment and protect it from decline.
Ecologists in Dragacevo are especially proud of Radanova Gora, a hill in the village of Guca. This nature spot is the first and only private forest under state protection in Serbia. The area under protection includes nine trees scattered across various Dragacevo villages.
The Dragacevo Trumpet Festival has put the village of Guca (Guča), 16km from Lucani (Lučani), on the world map. Every year in the first week of August, thousands of people from across the globe converge on this small town to enjoy the music of Balkan brass bands. For a few festive days, Guca is transformed into the world trumpet capital. The event, which has taken place for 45 years, features good music, good fun, and hardy food. Here you can sample roasted meat and svadbarski kupus (wedding cabbage), a local specialty.
If you would like to explore more of Guca, head to the unique Museum of Roadside Tombstones (Muzej krajputaša) behind the town schoolhouse. The museum features roadside tombstones from across the Dragacevo area. These pillar-shaped tombstones display a photo of the deceased and are either carved or painted.
When in Cacak and Lucani, we recommend:
– Visiting the ruins of the Ancient Roman thermal baths in Cacak
– A hike around the Ovcar-Kablar Gorge and Serbia’s Holy Mount of Athos
– Attending the Guca and Dragacevo Trumpet Festivals
THE PRISLONICE PIPES
For more than two decades, pipe players (Sabor frulaša) have gathered every July in the small town of Prislonica in the vicinity of Cacak. This unique event, which was founded by the legendary pipe player Miodrag Mile Azanjac, aims to preserve the indigenous folk culture, customs and musical tradition of Serbia. Pipe makers and other craftsmen display their crafts alongside weavers and embroiderers. If you happen to be visiting, try one of the traditional dishes here.
INFORMATIONSThe Cacak Tourist Organization 4 Square Ustanka, 32000 Cacak Tel: +381 32 342 360, 343 721 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.turizamcacak.org.rs
Center for Culture, Sport and Tourism of the Lucani Municipality Square Slobode bb, 32230 Guca Tel: +381 32 854 110, 854 765 e-mail: email@example.com www.saborguca.com