Zlatibor Mountain – Golden Pine Tree Mountain
Zlatibor Mountain is a famous resort and air spa in Western Serbia and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Serbia. With its location being just 25 kilometers from Uzice it makes this mountain a perfect one day excursion.
The region is blessed with a continental and Mediterranean climate with air currents which are unique to this region. The mountain boasts a harmonious relationship of flora and fauna between wooded areas of firs, pines, spruces and spacious meadows populated with beautiful plants. This natural postcard wonder is abounding with large healthy rivers and streams, unpolluted air, a large number of annual sunny days with genuine hospitality of local people. During winter visitors flock to the beautiful ski slopes making Zlatibor a world renowned summer and winter tourist hotspot enjoying the longest tourist tradition of any of Serbia’s mountains.
Zlatibor Mountain Tourism Beginning
King Aleksandar Obrenović’s 1893 arrival in the town of Kulaševac, which was then renamed Kraljeve Vode (King’s Waters), is considered to be the official beginning of the tourism industry in Zlatibor.
Due to the favourable climate of Zlatibor, it has become ideal for people wanting to stay healthy and fit. The region’s climate further lends itself to the treatment of various respiratory diseases, anaemia, minor heart and blood vessel disorders. In particular, thyroid disorders, resulting in it being designated a climatic health resort destination.
Zlatibor Mountain is crisscrossed by 3 main rivers, the Crni Rzav, Veliki Rzav and Sušica. Throughout the region one finds many fresh streams containing a wide range of fish species, including dace, gudgeon, trout, huchen and grayling. There are two artificial lakes in Zlatibor, the larger is located on the Crni Rzav river in Ribnica and the smaller which was created especially for use by tourists is located in the very centre of the Zlatibor tourist village. Surrounded by pleasant paths and benches, guests can bathe and sunbathe during the summer months and skate on the frozen lake surface during winter.
Zlatibor is renowned for its diversity of skiing options, offering slopes for both beginners and advanced alike. Beginner skiers and children will enjoy the gentle slopes of Obudovica (with a 250 m-long ski-lift), while more experienced skiers will opt to go to Tornik and make use of its more technical and challenging slopes. Tornik Sports Centre is located between 1110m and 1490m above sea-level and is 9km from the centre of Zlatibor. The four ski slopes, Čigota, Tornik, Ribnica and Zmajevac are ideal for slalom, giant slalom and super giant slalom skiing, all being connected by three ski-lifts. In the central part of Zlatibor there are slopes for cross-country and biathlon skiing, which are considered to be among the most beautiful in Europe by virtue of their clear visibility and well thought layout.
Throughout the year the region is visited by athletes of various sporting disciplines who come to train, including basketball camps, instruction in paragliding, tennis, skiing and swimming.
Zlatibor is host to some of the largest tourism conferences in Serbia, with a large number being held all year round.
Opportunity abounds for various leisure activities with groups and individuals often seen on the many walking paths, which lead to Čigota, Rzav canyon, Gradina, Oko, Crni Vrh and Ribničko Jezero lake.
A worthwhile visit is the open-air museum of folk architecture, Staro Selo which means “Old Village” is an ethnic village in Sirogojno and has typical 19th-century Zlatibor farmsteads on display.
Legends about Zlatibor:
There are three legends about the origin the name Zlatibor ( ZLATI-BOR: zlato=gold, bor=pine tree): With the first Zlatibor is supposed to get its name by white pine trees with yellow conifer (the colour of old gold), which is known for its covering of the rolling slopes of Zlatibor.
Today only one such tree remains (in the village of Negbina) and it has been given the scientific name Pinus silvestris variegata Zlatiborica, by Eng.Omanovich, who studied those conifer trees. The second says Zlatibor got its name due to the richness of pine tree forests, that the immigrants from Montenegro and Hercegovina boasted: “It’s really a pine tree made of gold!” The third legend says that it got its name from the mountain pastures, that turned a yellow, a golden colour in autumn. When deciding which of these legends is correct, one is invited to make a decision by yourselves! Or, better come to Zlatibor, maybe you’ll hear a new version in the song of the Zlatibor pine trees!
The first inhabitants of the Zlatibor region were the Illyrians, namely their tribe Partyiny. The remnants of their culture including ornamental ceramics are being discovered in the caves and steep crevices where they used to live. Today these places are called “gradine” and there are three on Zlatibor (chajetinska, krivorechka, shljivovichka). In the museum collection of the library in Chajetina one can view fragments of pottery which have retained their characteristically decorative design by way of the use of engraving techniques in the clay by fingernails. The culture and life of the Illyrians have been studied exclusively from the “tumulus” (the tombs), which are found on Zlatibor in great numbers at various locations including, Krivorechka Gradina, Vishevina, Kremna, as well as a wider area from Ljubish to Mushvet and Braneshko Polje.
At the beginning of our epoch the Romans dominated this region with their culture which was much more advanced than what existed in the region previously. They built new fortresses, a net of new roads, namely Machkat, Chajetinska Gradina as well as the river Uvac. The Roman tombstones date to the second and the third century A.D. Most of them are in Kremna and inspired by the motives from nature and sometimes by their God Atis shaped in the figure of a youth.
After the 9th century the region was settled by the Slovenes, who also built fortresses and rebuilt `gradine”. A very interesting fortress remains on Gradac in Dobroselica, where one can see the remnants of a bulwark. Some remnants of a stone pedestal in the shape of a bench which was probably used for observing remain. There were also some animal bones found built in the base together with various kinds of medieval material also found at this location (a top of a spear, a knife, a copper ring…).
Around the year 1180 Serbian King Stevan Nemanja connected Zlatibor and Uzice town to the independent Serbian state.
During the 16th century the unpreserved monastery Rujno was the cultural and educational centre of the former district (zhupa) Rujno. In that monastery one of the first Serbian printing shops operated. Recently the position of the former monastery Uvac (and maybe also of the Church Janja – with is sung about in folk songs) has been discovered in Stublo on the river Uvac. According to traditional stories the monastery was that “Church Janja”, which was the richest in all of the region. The monastery possesed beautiful pastures above the valley of Orlic and Orahovica. Milk from the region was transported to the monastery by boats and the canals in which the boats were placed can still be identified. Thanks to the research and work done of the National museum in Uzice the monastery Uvac has been reestablished together with the church “konak” (the overnight stay) The church in Bela Reka is worth mentioning among the old churches on Zlatibor. It has unusually small dimensions having only one nave and one cupola