The Braid of Nature and History
Located in the foothills of Rajac Mountain along the Ibarska Highway, Ljig is 85 km from Belgrade. The city is also known as Kacer (Kačer), the name of the river that runs through it. The cities of Arandjelovac, Gronji Milanovac, Mionica, Lazarevac and Lajkovac surround Ljig.
Ljig, a picturesque little town of 3,000 citizens, is a relatively new settlement. Its residents are mostly engaged in crop and vegetable farming. The town’s homemade brandy (rakija) and cheese pastry (gibanica) are renowned across Serbia.
In the past few years Ljig has become an increasingly popular tourist destination. The Ljig Spa, which is just 2 km from the town on the Belgrade-Podgorica motorway, features several thermo-mineral waters with an average temperature of 32.5°C. You can drink or bathe in the sparkling mineral waters here, which offer healing benefits.
The villages that surround Ljig feature genuine cultural treasures. The 15th century church in the village of Ba is a must see! Visit Rajac and Ravna Gora and explore the former summer settlements of shepherds. Stroll around Dici (Dići) village, which is on a way to Gornji Milanovac, and discover the ruins of Dragutin Nemanjic’s church.
Drive along the road connecting Ljig to Rajac and you will come across the quaint village of Ikonici (Ikonići). It features a medieval church containing the beautifully adorned coffins of the Despot Djuradj Brankovic, Djuradj Smederevac and the female Despot Jerina. Explore further and discover Slavkovica, a delightful town known for its unique granite.
The Rajac Mountain area is becoming an increasingly appealing tourist destination. Every second week in July, villages in the area host a hay-stacking competition (Kosidba na Rajcu) and festival. The event originated as a way to help landowners in the area complete this laborious traditional task. Hay stackers wear traditional dress, complete with straw hats and colorfully embroidered bags. The most skillful – and some say most handsome – is crowned master hay stacker (Djidija or Kozbasa) at the end of the festival. The three-day event offers plenty of good food, drink and entertainment. Crowds of over 50,000 participate every year!
Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic founded Gornji Milanovac, which is 124 km from Belgrade via the Ibarska motorway. For six years Milanovac was called Despotovica, after the river that runs through it. Prince Milos changed its name to honor his brother Milan, who died in Romania.
A visit to Gornji Milanovac’s district administrative center (Okružno načelstvo) is a must! The building is nearly as old as the city itself. Today, it is home to the city’s cultural center, library, modern art gallery and municipal television station. In front of the building you will see statues of Prince Alexander, Duke Milan Obrenovic and a bust of Zivojin Misic, who led the Suvobor-Kolubara battle here.
Explore further and you will discover the 1860 Holy Trinity Church (Crkva Svete Trojice), also founded by Prince Milos. Another prominent site is Peace Hill (Brdo mira), which features the unique Norwegian House. The structure is part Viking ship, part traditional Serbian house and is a symbol of the friendship shared by the people of Norway and Serbia. The nearby museum features an exhibit that pays homage to the Serbs who suffered in Norwegian concentration camps.
Travel beyond Gornji Milanovac and you will find yourself in Rudnik Mountain, which dominates Central Serbia. This mountain settlement existed long before the Slavs arrived. Ancient Romans mined ore and minted coins here. Today, this is a natural paradise for mountaineers and hunters. The volcanic Ostrvica Hill and surrounding fortress ruins are prominent sites in the area.
The area surrounding Mount Rudnik is home to the Vracevsnica monastery (Manastir Vraćevšnica), which features three residences from different periods and the St. George church (Crkva Sv. Djordja). You will find the residence of Prince Milos just three kilometers past Vracevsnica, in Gornja Crnuca (Gornja Crnuća). The city served as Serbia’s capital for three years before it moved to Kragujevac in 1819.
Takovo is a historic city in the Milanovac municipality. It is the site of the Second Serbian Uprising (1815) led by Milos Obrenovic. A visit to the city’s 18th century wooden-trunk church, featuring engraved doors and iconostas is a must!
Savinac is a small neighborhood in village of Sarani (Šarani). Acoording to legend St. Sava passed through the village on his horse. Some say the horse’s hoof print is still visible here. Mina Karadzic, a poet, painter and daughter of Vuk Karadzic, is buried under the Savinac Church.
When in Ljig and Gornji Milanovac, we recommend:
– Having a shot of homemade brandy (rakija) in Ljig
– Having lunch in the meadows of Rajac Mountain
– A stroll from Rudnik to Ostrvice
The village of Kostunici (Koštunići) is considered to be the only genuine Serbian eco-village. The water here is so pure you can drink it straight from the creek. Explore Kostunici’s ethno-house, complete with traditional platters, needlework and woven pieces. The village features the Prodanovica shop (magaza), an ethno-museum, an exhibit of Boza Prodanovic more than 120-year-old paintings, and a historical museum dedicated to the Battle of Kolubarska and the General Zivojin Misic (Živojin Mišić). Several private households in Kostunici offer excellent accommodation to travelers.
INFORMATIONSTourist Organization of the Ljig Municipality 7 Karadjordjeva Street, 14500 Ljig Tel: +381 14 83 300, 85 242 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com www.ljig.org.rs, www.kosidba.com, www.selo.co.rs
Tourist Organization of the Gornji Milanovac Municipality 13 Vojvode Milana Street, 32000 Gornji Milanovac tel: +381 32 720 565, 720 566 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com www.togm.org.rs