Sokobanja

Restorative Thermal Springs

Sokobanja lies 30km from Aleksinac. It is accessible via highway and railway from Belgrade (235km) toward Niš, Thessaloniki, and Istanbul. Sokobanja was Serbia’s first ecologically oriented municipalities. Tourism and agriculture comprise most of its economic activity.

The municipality is located on the Moravica River bank, between Ozren and Rtanj Mountains, 400m above the sea level. Today, Sokobanja is one of the most popular spas in Serbia.  Its ideal climate, and restorative thermal and mineral springs are among some of the best in this part of Europe.

Sokobanja has attracted visitors for over 150 years. The spa’s healing medicinal springs appeal to those who suffer from chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, psychoneurosis, high blood pressure, chronic rheumatism, exhaustion and a series of other ailments. You can certainly come here if you in perfect health. Take the opportunity to relax and breathe in the cool mountain air.

Though Sokobanja has been popular since the ancient times, it was Prince Miloš Obrenović who developed the spa into a modern town. He built a konak (residence), a Serbian Orthodox Church, a hamam (Turkish bathroom) and fountain in the town center. If you visit Sokobanja, you will see these structures are still standing.

The beautiful Turkish hamam is still in use, and you can take a tour of the beautiful Milošev konak. Traditional village residences surround the quaint 1884 church. Stroll through the town center and see the National Museum, which is housed in a traditional building typical of this region in Serbia.

The town was named after the Soko grad (Soko town) fortress, which is located 2 km from the center of Banja, near the Moravica River. Built in the late Middle Ages on the site of ancient Roman remains, the fortress is perched on a spectacular cliff.

Sokobanja resembles a large lush park. Its most beautiful part is undoubtedly the Čuka Dva (Two little owls) Forest.  There are two sanatoriums on the ridges of the Ozren Mountains near the Ripljanka waterfall, the tallest in Serbia. The nearby manmade Bovan Lake abounds with plentiful fish, the most of any lake in all of Serbia.

ACTIVITIES

The temperature of the Sokobanja thermal springs ranges from 28 to 45 degrees Celsius.

According to experts, the springs emit gasses that are extremely beneficial to the human body’s respiratory organs. Come and experience the restorative powers of these springs yourself! Apart from Sokobanja, you can visit the nearby Sonda Park, Bunar Preobraženje, Banjica Bazen I, Banjica II, and Pijaca Springs.

Some say the Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić would visit these springs every year, including the year he wrote the world-famous novel Bridge on the Drina. Stevan Sremac, the writer who brought southern Serbia to life in his work also frequented these springs. In fact, he spent the last few days of his life here. The writer Isidora Sekulić and the geographer Jovan Cvijić also visited Sokobanja and reference it in their work.  Some seventy years ago, the well-known comedy writer Branislav Nušić, a regular guest of Banja, penned the famous expression, “Sokobanja, Soko Grad, come here old and leave young.”

There are a number of religious figures that appear in various nature spots around Sokobanja. The figure of the Holy Mother of God and Christ is outlined in one of the cliffs on Ozren Mountain. The small Armenian Saint Archangel Church appears in the relief of the mountain. Here, you will also find the Hajduk Veljko cave in the forest just off the road leading to Soko grad.

The Ascension of the Most Holy Mother of God Church, which is located in the vicinity of Sokobanja, features highly unique frescoes: Jesus depicted as child, young man and finally as an adult.

The mountainous terrain surrounding Sokobanja and the Lepterija excursion site are also worth visiting.

If you are in the area, make certain to stop in the village of Jošanice, which features several thermal springs. The highlight of the town is easily its fountain, which sources water from six different thermal springs!

If you are in Sokobanja, we recommend:

– A stroll though Soko grad (Soko town)

– A drink of water from one of Jošanica’s fountains

– A visit to the Ripljanka waterfalls

ACCORDION

Sokobanja has organized the International Accordion Festival every summer for the past five decades. In the course of three days, accordion maestros from Serbia and the Diaspora come here to compete in seven categories.  They include the youngest and oldest accordion players and duets. On the third day of the festival, also the Sokobanja Day of Hot Springs, the winners in each category are announced during a festive cultural and artistic program.

INFORMATIONS

Organization for tourism and culture of Sokobanja
2 Square Oslobođenja, 18230 Sokobanja
Tel: +381 18 830 271
e-mail: otks_sokobanja@beotel.rs
www.otks.org.rs
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