Treasures of Rulers Past
The small town of Topola is 80 km south of Belgrade. Nearby towns include Smederevska Palanka, Raca (Rača), Kragujevac, Gornji Milanovac, Arandjelovac and Mladenovac.
At one time, Topola was Serbia’s administrative and political center. Karadjordje Petrovic chose Topola as his base for freeing Serbia from the Ottomans in 1804. Sadly, the fortified city was destroyed in 1877 under the rule of the Obrenovic dynasty. Karadjordje’s residence was turned into museum, which displays his personal belongings and weapons from the period.
The Church of the Holy Mother (Crkva Presvete Bogorodice), also known as the Karadjordje’s Church, is sturdy and rustic. Its interior, which is adorned with lavish iconostas and engravings, features an impressive statue of Karadjordje. If you are visiting the church, you can attend religious services here. Both the museum and the church are reminders of the city’s glorious past.
Perched high above Topola on Oplenac Hill, the Karadjordjevic family mausoleum and St. George Church (Crkva Sv, Djordja) complex is one of the most historic sites in this part of Sumadija (Šumadija). The church features five spectacular domes and a white marble exterior. The mesmerizing interior features stunning mosaic frescoes of sixty Serbian monasteries. There are 725 compositions and 1,500 figures crafter from 40 million mosaic tiles in 15,000 shades. Explore further and you will find the tombs of Karadjordje and King Peter the First (1903-1921) in the central part of the church. King Peter designed the church, which took years to build. The church’s crypt contains the tombs of 22 members of the royal family. Prince Alexander and King Alexander the First are also buried here.
When you visit the grounds of Oplenac you will pass through a security checkpoint. Make certain to visit the summer residence of the Karadjordjevic dynasty (Peter’s House). Today, the residence is a museum, which features exhibits about the reign of this dynasty.
Next to the museum, you will find the villas of King Alexander and Queen Maria. A beautifully manicured park that abounds with pine, oak, ash, linden and Pancic (Pančićeva omorika) encircles Oplenac. A stroll through the park, which is under state protection, is a must!
This region is synonymous with good grapes and fine wine. According to historical data, the vineyards here produced such plentiful harvests during Prince Milos’ time that there was not enough space to store the grapes. Today, grape and wine are symbols of each village in this region. The King’s cellar in Topola has two floors of underground cellars maintained at a constant temperature of 8°C. Ninety-nine barrels of wine are stored here. Each barrel contains 4,000 liters of wine. Sample some for yourself!
Named for wine, the village of Vinca organizes a traditional three-day grape picking ceremony (Oplenačka berba) dedicated to grape and wine every October.
The hills of Topola abound with fruit, medicinal herbs and edible mushrooms. You will find one of Sumadija’s oldest oaks in the village of Lipovac. The tree, which measures 5.5 meters, has inspired local artists to found the Lipovacka Painting Arts Colony.
Ovsiste village is the birthplace of one of Serbia’s most prominent writers, Radoje Domanovic. Ovsiste is also home to a number of Serbian satirists.
The small town of Arandjelovac was established during the time of Prince Milos and is adjacent to the Bukovicka Spa (Bukovička banja). Today, Arandjelovac is well known for its Vencac (Venčac) white marble, medicinal water and salubrious climate. The town is 85km from Belgrade.
Arandjelovac is also famous for Marble and Sounds, one of Serbia’s most renowned cultural and artistic events. Held ever summer, the event carries the UNESCO distinction.
If you are a history buff, head to the small town of Orasac (Orašac) just 6 km from Aradjelovac. It is the site of the First Serbian Uprising.
The Bukovicka Spa comprises 25 ha of park space and is home to the former summer residence of the Obrenovic dynasty. Mineral water from the spa was served to the Obrenovic court and today is one of the most recognizable brands of bottled water in Serbia.The spa includes a clinic, which specializes in the medicinal uses of mineral water and clay for patients who suffer from internal disorders and juvenile diabetes. Stop by for a restorative experience!
When in Topola and Arandjelovac, we recommend:
– Perusing Karadjordje’s personal belongings at the summer residence of the Karadjordjevic dynasty
– Attending religious services at St. George Church in Topola
– A pampering body treatment at the Bukovicka Spa near Aradjelovac
THE RISOVACA CAVE
The Risovaca (Risovača) cave near Arandjelovac is considered to be an imporant archeological, pale ontological and speleological site. The cave contains numerous Ice Age animal remains and 30,000-year-old stone and bone tools from the Paleolithic Age.Tourist Organization of the Topola-Oplenac Municipality 1 Kneginje Zorke Street, 34310 Topola Tel: +381 34 811 172, 814 027 e-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.topolaoplenac.org.rs
Tourist Organization of the Arandjelovac Municipality 243 Kneza Milosa Street 3/I, 34300 Arandjelovac Tel: +381 34 724 097, 725 575
TIC Arandjelovac, 228 Kneza Milosa Tel: +381 34 715 335 e-mail: email@example.com www.bukovickabanja.info