The Magnificent Rose of Sumadija
Kragujevac is Sumadija’s (Šumadija) largest city. It lies 120 km southwest of Belgrade via Topola. If you are looking for a more scenic route, take the Batocina (Batočina) turnoff, which will add an additional 20 km to your drive. Kragujevac is also accessible via train from Budapest, Thessaloniki and Bar.
Kragujevac was the first capital city of the modern Serbian state. The city rose to prominence during the 1818 to 1839 revolution, when the first cultural and educational institutions of the restored state were established. Along with the Joakim Vujic Theater and Josif Slezinger Royal Orchestra, the city’s first courthouse (1820), gymnasium (1833), newspaper (Novine serbske), lyceum, caste, cannon (1853) and electrical power unit (1884) were built during this period.
The center of the old capital city lies along the Lepenica River. The Holy Trinity Church (Crkva sv. Trojice) and the old Assembly are located on the right bank. The first major decisions of the newly formed Serbian state were debated and resolved here. The first Constitution of the restored Serbian state was voted into law during the famous 1835-assembly session on Sretenje (a religious holiday). On the left bank of the Lepenica, the Amidza (Amidža) Residence is the only structure from the royal complex that has been restored. The complex includes a Museum and Prince Milos’s Residence.
Like many other cities in Serbia, Kragujevac has a spirited pedestrian zone in the city center. The zone begins at the Square at the Cross and leads straight to Memorial Park in Sumarice (Šumarice), the site where 7,000 people were killed during WWII. Kragujevac became an industrial power in the mid 19th century. The city experienced tremendous growth when if became the site of an expansive weapons and vehicle manufacturing factory.
Kragujevac’s aquarium is the first of its kind in Serbia. The aquarium is home to marine life and various species of amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates from across the globe.
The medieval monasteries of Voljavca, Blagovestenje, Nikolje, Petkovica, Denkovac, Raltinac, Sarinac and Divostin are all in the vicinity of Kragujevac. Built in the Moravian style, these majestic monasteries feature unique architectural feats and mesmerizing frescoes.
The Petkovica Monastery includes the remains of the Srebrnica fortress and the Church of St. Nicholas (Crkva sv. Nikole). The fortress was a gift from Duke Nicholas (Vojvoda Nikola) and Princess Milica to the St. Panteleimon Monastery at the Holy Mountain of Athos.
The Divostin Monastery is dedicated to the Holy Annunciation. According to legend, there is a saint is buried here. It is believed that water from the nearby Svetinja (Relic) spring contains healing powers.
The people from Kragujevac are known to be excellent restaurateurs. If you are in Kragujevac and crave some delicious local cuisine, stop by the local tourist organization, which maintains a list of more than 20 highly recommended restaurants.
Whichever type of getaway you are seeking, Kragujevac offers a range of options for rest, relaxation and recreation!
Some 20 km from Kragujevac, the city of Knic (Knić) is worth a visit. This small town is 150 km south of Belgrade, accessible via road and the Kragujevac-Kraljevo railroad. Knic is located in the center of the Gruza (Gruža) region and offers a number of both Stone Age and Ancient Roman ruins. The Church of St. Ilija in Knic was built in 1910 on the grounds of an 1842 temple.
The outspoken poet Dobrica Eric referred to Gruza as a magnificent rose. Today, the area is known predominantly for crop farming and fruit growing. Local fishermen are grateful for Gruza’s sparkling creeks, which abound with gudgeon, chub and river crab.
Although it mainly provides Kragujevac’s water supply, the Gruza Lake also offers plenty of quality fish, including catfish, carp and pikeperch. The lake is also a popular training facility for local rowing clubs.
If you are in search of mind boggling natural phenomena, head to the Boracki Karst (Borački krš). These incredible rock formations are under state protection. Along with historical documents, the ruins of the nearby medieval city suggest that this was once a diverse and rich settlement.
A visit to the ruins of an 8th century church in Borac (Borač) city is a must! Here, you will see a linden tree in the church’s entryway so massive that it would be impossible for four adults to circle it with their arms.
You will find a similar occurrence at the 15th century Kamenac monastery in the village of Cestin. The village also organizes a traditional fox chasing competition every winter. The beauty of this area attracts painters from far and wide. There is a Painting Arts Colony (Gružanska jesen) here every autumn.
If you are in Kragujevac and Knic, we recommend:
– A visit to the Divostin monastery near Kragujevac
– A swim in the pristine waters of Gruza Lake
– A drink under the linden tree in Boracki Krs
THE LEGEND OF THE THREE SISTERS
Not far from Velike Pcelice (Velike Pčelice) and the Dulenska river valley, you will find the remains of the medieval Denkovac, Raletinac and Sarinac monasteries. Though the exact year of their construction is unknown, experts believe they were built during the reign of Despot Stefan, when this region of Serbia was quite prosperous. According to legend, three sisters, Raletina, Dena and Sara, built these monasteries to hide from the Ottomans following the Battle of Kosovo.
INFORMATIONSKragujevac City Tourism Organization 44 Kralja Aleksandra Prvog Karadjordjevica Street, 34000 Kragujevac Tel: +381 34 332 172, 334 883 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourism Information Center (TIC) Kragujevac 11 Zorana Djindjica Street Tel: +381 34 335 302, 301 306 e-mail: email@example.com www.gtokg.org.rs
Tourism Organization of the Knic Municipality Municipality Knic, 34240 Knić Tel:+381 34 510 115 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.knic.org.yu