Knjaževac, Svrljig

A Toast to Džervina Wine

The town of Knjazevac (Knjaževac) was built on the confluence of the Svrljiški and Trgoviški Timoka Rivers, which together form the Beli Timok (White Timok) River. Knjazevac is located off the Niš–Zaječar highway. It is 40 km from Zaječar and 173km from Belgrade.

According to historical records, there once was a Roman settlement here called Timacum Maius (Big Timok). The name Gurgusovac first appeared in the 17th century. The settlement was known for the Gurgusovačke, which Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević used as a prison for political offenders.When Aleksandar Karađorđević fled in 1869, Prince Miloš had the tower burned to the ground. He wanted to do away with this symbol of previous power. The inhabitants of Gurgusovac renamed their town Knjazevac in honor of Prince Miloš.

Today, the old part of the town is known as Cigan mala (the Roma quarter). Though it is a vibrant and modern neighborhood brimming with artisan and commercial shops, it still preserves the authentic architecture and the spirit of the old times.

The stone bridge in Knjazevac was built in 1913 and is one of the key symbols of the town. Visitors enjoy photographing the bridge with the old town and avenue of the chestnut trees in the background. The town center lies on the banks of the Svrljiški Timok River. The picturesque Ace Stanojevića Street faces the river and is dotted with colorful houses and bridge motifs. The street is parallel with Nemanjina Street where you will find the town Museum. The museum is located in the former home of Ace Stanojevića, one of the leaders of the Timočka buna (Timok rebellion). The interior of Knjazevac’s late 19th century town hall has been completely preserved.

Stroll to the other side of the riverbank and you will discover the National Museum, which is located in the luxurious 1906 home belonging to the Sibinović family. If you are in the town center, you can see the famous Džervin vila. It is a beautiful house owned by Đoko Cvetković, which was built based on the villas in a Czech spa.

You will find the oldest vineyards in the region on Džervinovo hill. The Knjazevac vineyards grow autochthonous grape varieties, including prokupac, vranac and plovdinu. The owners of the vineyards also host an annual Smoked Ham, Wine and Cheese Fair. The Wine Fair takes place every May in Knjazevac.

The village of Donja Kamenica is 15km south of Knjazevac. Mihailo, a Bulgarian estate owner, built the town church at the start of the 14th century. The west side of the church is adorned with two unusual spiky towers that shield the view of the dome behind them. The frescoes here are beautiful. They depict the church’s patron with his family and saints riding horses.

Explore the further and you will discover the Gornja Kamenica village and monastery. Despot Lazar, the son of Đurđ Branković, built this simple, unadorned and unpainted structure.

Eight kilometers from Knjazevac, the village of Ravna is home to Timacum Minus, a Roman Era archeological site. Here you will find excavated monuments, tombstones and ancient residences. Stroll through Ravna and you will discover a small museum of wine. The village is also known for its collection of double-threaded wool socks. Along with Ravna, the villages in the Timok Rivery valley are well known for their well-preserved traditions and motifs.

ACTIVITIES

If you need to rest and unwind, head to one of Knjazevac’s two famous spas, the Rgoška Banja, and Bazen Banjica. Relax in the soothing hot waters of the spas, which also include a range of amenities and sports facilities.

Tupižnica is located in the outskirts of Knjazevac. It is highest point in the vicinity of the town. Locals often come here for excursions, and since it is an area rich in game, it is a popular spot for hunters.

Every May, the village of Balta Berilovac, which lies 35 km from Knazevac, is home to the Molitva pod Midžorom (Prayer at Midžor Mountain). The event consists of various rituals and customs of the region. If you visit the village, you will discover a beautiful watermill on its creek.

Knjazevac is renowned for its traditional cheese-making methods.  Cheese from this region is well known throughout Serbia and beyond.

Svrljig

The small town of Svrljig lies on the Knjaževac–Niš highway between the Svrljig Mountains and the town of Tresibaba on the Timok River. Svrljig’s economy and administration are largely dependent on Nis. The surrounding area is part of the larger Svrljig Timok River basin.

The Svrljig valley is one of the most important passageways between the Carpathian Mountains and the mountains in the rest of the Balkans. The area is a popular spot for local fishermen. This scenic region offers a range of possibilities for further development in mountain and rural excursions.

If you are in Knajevac and Svrljig, we recommend:

– Sampling some delicious wine in the village of Ravna

– Tasting some delicious sausage at the Kamiondžije restaurant in Svrljig

– An excursion to Balto Berilovac

ONE-METER SAUSAGE

Svrljig’s Kamiondžije (Truck driver) restaurant is well known for serving sausage and pork stake by the meter. If you are hungry for some traditional food, Svrljig offers a range of delectable cuisine, including lamb roast. If you stop by one of the town’s restaurants, you will discover they feature an epithet of the town tavern, a plaid tablecloth, and a festive old time atmosphere.

INFORMATIONS

Tourist Organization of the Knjaževac Municipality
1 Miloša Obilića Street, 19350 Knjaževac
Tel: +381 19 731 623, 735 230
e-mail: toknjazevac@nadlanu.com
www.toknjazevac.org.rs
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