Paraćin, Despotovac

Despot Stefan Lazarević’s Majestic Monastery

Paraćin is located 160km from Belgrade, off the highway heading toward Niš. The Crnica River passes through the town and flows into the Velika (Great) Morava three kilometers downstream. The municipality of Paraćin is part of the rich and fertile Pomoravlje (Morava River Valley), which descends from the Kučaj Mountains in the east toward Velika Morava in the west. The Crnica and Grza Rivers transverse this beautiful valley.

Historical records indicate the town was likely founded in the 14th century. Paracin experienced widespread industrial growth in the second half of the 19th century. A number of textile, cement, and glass factories opened here during this time.


The 14th century Saint Petka monastery is located on the right bank of the Grza River, at the opening of the Čestobrodica Canyon. The dome shapes above the naos (main body) and the narthex (entrance) resemble the dome of the Ljubostinja church.

The Grza region near Paracin attracts the most visitors. You will find a popular place for an outing located at the 17th kilometer mark on the road from Paraćin to Zaječar. Another popular getaway spot is the beautiful village of Krivi Vir, which lies 20km from Paracin.



Despotovac is a small mining town 130km south of Belgrade.  The town’s popular sights include the Manasija monastery, Despotovačka Banja (Spa), the Mining Museum in the Senj Mine, and of Resava River, which features several beautiful waterfalls.

The Manasija monastery is one of the key ecclesiastical and cultural centers of Moravian Serbia.  The monastery’s Holy Trinity Church was built as a mausoleum for Despot Stefan Lazarević, one of Serbia’s most prominent rulers. Lazarević was the son of Tsar Lazar. Manasija’s exterior was completed in the 18th century. The complex has endured the destruction of several wars. All that remains of the old narthex is the beautiful mosaic floor, which features white, green-blue and red marble. The floor is similar to the lavish floors of Milutin’s church in Hilandar.

The wall features a depiction of Lazarević in his splendid vestments as he receives a spear and sword from winged angels. Lazarević created the Resava School here. It is Serbia’s most renowned book transcription institute. Manasija’s frescoes are among some of the most magnificent creations from the Middle Ages in Serbia.


At 1339 meters, Beljanica Mountain separates Resava from Homolje. The karst topography here created a series of round karst valleys, pits, ravines, and caves.  The central plateau is bare, but the hills are covered with beech and oak tree forests, even rainforests in certain places. If you decide to hike in this area, you will discover mushrooms, particularly the porcini variety, growing at the bases of large tree trunks. Though the area is strewn with numerous shepherd cottages, no permanent settlements exist.

The entrance to the renowned Resava Cave is located in the depths of the Beljanica Mountain, approximately 10 kilometers east of Manasija. This opening was not discovered until 1962 because of the dense vegetation surrounding this natural wonder.  The cave has three levels and a total length of 2380 meters. The top two levels are open to visitors and feature an 800-meter long pathway. The lowest level features an underground river. The cave maintains a constant temperature of 14°C.

Far below the peaks of Mount Sokolica, the Veliko Vrelo River flows across a steep cliff to create a spectacular 200 m waterfall. The plunging waters have over time created a large recess in the karst grounds resulting in the largest single waterfall in Serbia.  At 156 m in length, Ivkov ponor is Serbia’s largest recess. Come and see this spectacular natural beauty for yourself!

This region is a popular hunting spot. The Južni Kučaj hunting grounds stretch across the territories of Despotovac and Paraćin. The grounds allow hunters to shoot European deer, does, wild boars, and rabbits. The fox, lynx, otter, wild pigeon, grey falcon, imperial eagle and suri eagle however are all permanently protected species. The grounds feature four comfortable lodges available for overnight accommodation.

If you are in Paracin or Despotovac, we recommend:

– A visit to the spectacular Resava Cave

– A visit to Manasija monestary

– A visit to the Ivkov ponor (hole)


Resava River originates in the Kučaj Mountains some 1100 meters above sea level. This mighty river ends 65 kilometers downstream as it reaches the Velika Morava (Great Morava). The Vitanovača Reserve is a natural rainforest located near the upper sections of the Resava River. The area comprises 38ha and abounds with majestic beech trees.


Tourist Organization of  Paraćin Municipality
13 Kralja Petra I Street , 35250 Paraćin
Tel: +381 35 565 814

Tourist Organization of  Despotovac Municipality
3 Cerska Street, 35213 Despotovac
Tel: +381 35 613 672