In the very east of Serbia, behind the mountains that hide the Danube, there are over fifty mountains of unusual beauty. None of them is higher than a thousand meters above sea level, but each is full of sections, limestone rocks. This is where the springs of rivers erupt and rush through the abyss into the valley. The Homolje mountains are the hidden and undisguised beauty of Eastern Serbia. And that is not the only mystery of this part of our country. The name Homolje itself also remains a legend to this day.
This part of Serbia has the healthiest sources of drinking water, according to many. Homolje is full of mountain peaks, caves, rivers, and streams, still insufficiently explored. What we know is that the best Serbian honey is sold here, in the village of Kamenovo. There is even a monument dedicated to bees. So, are you ready to meet the unreal beauty of the Homolje mountains? We shall begin, then.
Homolje – a place where forests reign
The Homolje mountains belong to the Carpathian-Balkan group of mountains. The highest peak is Oman at 962 m. The mountains are rich in dense forest and many river springs. The lower parts of Homolje mountains are overgrown with oak forests, in the middle parts there are oak and beech forests, while in the highest parts there are pastures and meadows, and on them katuns and bačije, ancient cattle-breeding habitats.
In the area of the Homolje mountains, there are the most famous rainforests, which are very interesting to see. Vinatovača is the largest rainforest in this part, which is specific for its large letters, which are about 350 years old.
Also, one of the most famous forests in this area is certainly the forest of Trest, which resembles the jungle. It is dark and with high humidity. Therefore, it is a suitable habitat for many species of edible fungi.
Unusual legends of Homolje mountains
The Gornjak gorge, or the gate of Homolje, is the only entrance to the magic of Homolje mountains. It is a combination of unusual architecture, customs, traditions, and old Balkan culture. Untouched, wild nature adorns the Gronjak gorge, which the locals call the holy valley. It is because of the famous, spiritual buildings and the remains of the medieval town of Ždrelo. In this part of Homolje, there are various legends and mystical stories. Some of them are creepy, some are amusing. However, all of them are interesting.
There are also various legends and unusual stories near the village of Krepoljin. In the old huts, mills are hidden under small rivers. Here, in this part, old folk beliefs and customs are preserved. The most famous stories start right here. These are stories about sorcerers, fairies, supernatural powers. The most interesting are the stories about the mermaids. These are women who talk to the dead on the eve of the feast of the Holy Trinity, anticipate events. Pretty interesting, don’t you think?
Churches and monasteries of the Homolje mountains
One of the most important buildings is certainly the Gornjak monastery, which works miracles. Namely, every year on St. George’s Day, water springs from a rock crack behind the monastery and flows into a bay. People gather it with spoons because they believe that these are actually the tears of St. George. They, reportedly, help people with eye problems. Another, but no less interesting story, is that a vine grows on the same rock. It cures infertility.
Not so far away, just a kilometer from the Gornjak monastery, there is another unusual monastery. It is, believe it or not, in rock ruins. The cave was turned into a church dedicated to the Holy Annunciation. It was first mentioned in writings in 1628.
In addition to the other spiritual buildings that Homolje offers us, we must mention the Reškovica monastery. It is located on the road Petrovac on Mlava – Žagubica. The monastery has three temples, and, according to legend, Prince Lazar built it.
There is also the Vitovnica monastery, a monument of great importance and immovable, cultural property. It is located on the right bank of the river Vitovnica. The Gospel of Vitovnica is a handwritten gospel, written in the 16th century. The significance of this building is contributed by Father Tadej, who was appointed abbot of this monastery in 1962. His grave is a well-known place where a large number of people gather.
You should not miss hiking
For all lovers of mountaineering adventures, the Homolje mountains are one of the most exciting excursion destinations. That is for sure. There are so many possibilities. Homolje offers you: bird watching, hunting, fishing, and hiking. However, it is not suitable for cycling. Get to know Serbian culture, traditions, customs. Here you can hear everything about the mentioned legends, but we believe much more from the experience of the locals themselves. They know the best.
For all mountaineering lovers, the Homolje mountains have several exciting trails through nature, the goal of which is to conquer the highest peaks. There are trails for both mountaineers with experience and beginners. Equipment you need for this exciting trip and discovering mystical landscapes: tent, adequate footwear, and clothing, rain protection, flashlight, personal accessories.
What is Homolje also famous for?
Homolje is very famous for its specialties, such as Homolje honey, cheese, Homolje lamb, mountain trout, honey elixir, fruit syrup, as well as the famous Vlach folklore from Homolje. Homolje honey is of great quality because it is made in the traditional way. What makes it stand out is that there are no artificial additives, but it is completely natural. Quantities of honey are limited because the quality is extremely important to producers.
As you can already see, this part of Serbia is well worth a visit. The wealth of this region lies in many things, such as rivers, forests, legends. There are many possibilities and places to explore. And the locals? They will make your visit even more beautiful and interesting. Once you come here, you will want to come back. Sooner or later. What are you waiting for?