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Vrnjačka Banja Offers

Parks, minerasl springs, castles, cultural and sports events, historical secrets and other interesting facts and tourist attractions of Vrnjačka Banja.

Parks

Central park is regulated in French and English style. Austrian architect and engineer Franz Winter made the first plan (blueprint) for this park in 1893. Today's park is 2 km long and Central park's area is over 23 ha. Vrnjacka Banja’s Central Park is under constant reconstruction and upgrading and that's why it is one of the most regulated parks in Serbia. It consists of linden trees, oaks, wild chestnuts, ash trees, plane trees, maples, black pines, firs, rare exotic species: Canadian, Yezo  and prickly spruces, weeping willow, Japanese cherry etc. The oldest tree in the park is the black pine 35 meters tall, 1.2 metres in diameter, and more than 300 years old. The park is decorated with floral roundels and floral mosaics with inscribed messages. In those roundels you shall find various tropical grass, peralgonium, tagetes, begonias... floral area covers 1630 sqm. Some leaves and shrubs are cut in geometrical forms (pyramids, domes, umbrellas) which cherishes influence of French baroque gardens. Within Central Park there is Children's Park with many recreational equipment: see-saws, swings, slides... as well as artificial climbing rock. There are Roman Spring, Music Pavillion, many drinking fountains as well as sculptures of Serbian and foreign artists created mostly during Sculpture in open Space symposium held in 1965. The most valuable work is Centaur by Russian sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, whose Stone Tears are also installed in the park. Other notable works are Mermaid and Lady Butterfly by Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow. However, the most popular sculpture in Vrnjacka Banja is Gochko, mascot of the city: sparrow with traditional peasant cap, shoes and costume. It was mascot of popular European TV show, Games without Frontiers, held in Vrnjacka Banja in 1990. Japanese Garden is located 300 m from Central Park. It was open in 2011 and presents harmonic unity of living and inanimate nature: artificial lake, waterfall, wooden bridge, stone hiking trails, wooden cabin, night lamps. It is second Japanese Garden in Serbia (the other one is in Belgrade) but this in Vrnjacka Banja is larger: its area covers 3,000 sqm. Lush vegetation fills Vrnjacka Banja’s parks with stimulating smells and big shadows, that make it pleasant for walk. Anyone who ever visited Vrnjacka Banja strolled through its park: the only Yugoslav Nobel-prize winner Ivo Andric, Russian writer Maksim Gorky, Serbian poet Desanka Maksimovic, famous actor Bata Stojkovic... they all rode through it on a horse carriage.
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Bridge of Love

A legend says that teacher Nada and officer Relja madly fell in love before World War I. When the war broke, Relja was sent to Greek front. While there, he fell in love with a beautiful Greek lady and decided to break his engagement with Nada.Back home, Nada was devastated and eventually died of sorrow. The bridge was once their favourite meeting place. Today, couples go there and write down their names on padlocks and hang them on the bridge fence, with the intention of "locking" their love; once the padlock is locked, the key is thrown into river. The fence is covered in padlocks all over it (you can buy them in the nearby store) and, under the weight, many fall down in river. Communal officers regularly pick them up and storage them. Eventually they will be melted and turned into a sculpture - another symbol of love in Vrnjacka Banja. Each year for Valentine's Day, a competition "Kiss me" is held in three categories: the longest kiss, the oldest couple and the most attractive couple.
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Mineral Springs

Four of these springs are used for therapies (Topla voda, Snežnik, Jezero and Slatina) while three springs are used for bottled mineral water (Voda Vrnjci - Borjak, Borjak 3 and Belimarkovac for Element water). While you walk along Vrnjacka Banja and you stumble upon a spring, spend a minute at each one and drink a water from it. Topla voda is located in the central core area of the Spa.It is he oldest and the most famous mineral spring which, judging from accidental archaeological discoveries, was known back in prehistoric period, and subsequently was used in the Roman times, I-IV century AD. The Turks also used this water in the Middle Ages, and after they had left this region, the healing springs were covered up. In recent times, the discovery of mineral waters is related to the cure of a sick horse of Vrnjci priest Hadži Jeftimije Popović. The first chemical analysis was carried out by Baron Herder in 1835 and, with the establishment of Founding Endowment Association of Hot Mineral Water in Vrnjci, new water impoundments began. In 1883 Cursalon was erected, and in 1892 the first bath constructed of solid material was built. After impoundment in 1924 the pavilion with a central spring and thermo-mineral bath was erected. Deep water drillings were performed to obtain new amounts of water from 1932 to 1937. A new biveta (a specially designed construction where the spring water is routed to) building was erected in 1975. The water belongs to the category of alkaline carbo-acidic homeo-thermae with temperature of 36.5° C. It is rich with sodium hydrocarbonate and has low level of mineralization. Snežnik Located in the zone of River Vrnjačka. Although the springs of Snežnik were known as far back as the end of 19th century, they had not been used until 1916 when, upon order of the Austro-Hungarian officers, the springhead was cleaned and a pipe placed on the source. After the I World War, this water was used for treatments. Being grateful for her healing, a teacher Darinka Čavdarović Telebaković had the spring arranged and a drinking-fountain erected in 1920. Increased need for this water caused immediate impoundment to be performed. Bivetas with wooden porches were placed above the springs. The drinking-fountains were below the level of the surrounding ground, so one needed to go down to the spring or the water was handed by the girls in charge of that. In 1978-80 old pavilions were replaced by bivetas. The water belongs to the group of alkaline earth- alkaline carbo-acidic achrotopegae, and its temperature is 16.8°C. It is yellowish and contains mostly sodium, then calcium and magnesium hydrocarbonite. It has slightly alkaline taste. SlatinaThe water spring Slatina, located in the zone of River Lipovačka, had been known ever since the end of 19th century, but the impoundment wasn’t performed until 1923, when the pipe was set on the source. In 1937 a pavilion was built over the drinking-fountain that was getting water from the spring, called the Pipe, whereas the other spring, called the Wall, was in the wall of the pavilion. In 1978 researching boreholes for mineral water were set, and in 1984 newly discovered waters were brought by pipelines to the old well in which they mix and flow through the three fountains in the newly erected biveta. The water belongs to the group of alkaline earth- alkaline achrotopegae and its temperature is 14 ° C. Jezero On the left side of River Vrnjačka, in the spa park by a small lake, halfway between Snežnik and Slatina, mineral water Jezero was discovered in 1978. A drinking-fountain was placed at the source and works resumption began in 1985 when, a dozen meters from the first one, a new borehole was drilled. For a certain while the water was used at the drinking fountain in a wooden glass enclosed pavilion, and then, in 1989, on the very mineral water pool by the lake, a new modern biveta was erected. The water belongs to the group of alkaline earth-alkaline carbo-acidic hypothermia and its temperature is 27 ° C.Spring is slightly yellow, transparent, sodium hydro carbonated, weakly mineralized and of a weakly acid pH. Beli izvor Located near the mouth of the Lipova stream into the Lipovačka river.Water from this spring is slightly yellow, transparent, rich in sodium, calcium hydrocarbonate,  slightly mineralized, with low acid Ph, hypothermia (29.5°C). Borjak is located 700 m away from Snežnik, upstream along Vrnjačka river. Its mineral water is slightly yellow and slightly muddy, rich in sodium and potassium, hydro carobonated. Weakly mineralized, low in acid Ph and cold (16°C). Vrnjačko vrelo is halfway between Kraljevo and Kruševac, on the main road. Mineral waters, for the indications stated below, are used in the following ways:Per os (drinking), dosed on the doctor's advice,Inhalation of hot mineral waterBathing in hot mineral waterApplication via enema for colon diseasesVaginal sprinklingEyes rinsing for chronic eye diseasesDiabetesDigestive system diseasesPostoperative conditions after surgical removal of gallbladderChronic gynecological conditions and sterilityInfections of kidney pelvis, bladder and urinary pathsUrinary duct stonesNon - infectuous diseases of small and large intestineStomach and duodenum ulcerPancreas diseasesCondition after curing jaundiceDiseases of gallbladder and of bile ductsFunctional diseasesConditions after resections of esophagus, stomach and intestines Indications for adult treatment:Gastrointestinal system diseases: acute and chronic esophagus inflammation, esophageal reflux disease, acute and chronic inflammation of stomach and duodenum, stomach and duodenum disease without complications, conditions after the resection of stomach and duodenum, indigestion (dyspepsia), inflammatory and functional diseases of small intestine and colon (entheritis, entherocolitis, colitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable colon syndrom, after-radiation colitis). Diseases of hepatho-billiar tract and pancreas: convalescence after acute infective and toxic liver inflammation, chronic liver inflammations, initial stages of hypertrophic liver cirrhosis, chronic noncalcial inflammation of gallbladder and bile ducts, postoperative conditions after surgical removal of calculus and chronic pancreas inflammation lacking in tendency for frequent aggravations. Metabolic diseases: Light and medium severe forms of diabetes and obesity. Kidneys and urinary tract diseases: chronic inflammations of urinary tract, microlithiasis, lithiasis with a possibility of spontaneous elimination of the calculus, postoperative conditions after surgical removal of calculus stones and urinary tract operation, toxic damage of kidneys and chronic inflammation of prostate gland. Cardiovascular diseases: high blood pressure in labile form or lighter forms in a stabilized condition, and chronic peripheral circulatory disorders Hematopoietic system diseases: syderopenic anemia and hypocholhydria caused anemia. Rheumatic diseases: extra-joints rheumatism, degenerative rheumatism and chronic inflammatory rheumatism in remission stage. Post-traumatic and post-operative conditions. Gynaecological disorders and illnesses: chronic inflammation of internal genital organs in remission stage, functional disorders and conditions after surgical interventions. Treatment and rehabilitation of children: chronic gastric with hyper or hypoacidity, peptic ulcer disease, recurrent and chronic entherocolitis, conditions after after recovery from virus hepatitis, chronic liver disease without signs of decompensation, diabetes, microlithiasis, christalurie, conditions after removal of calculus, tendency to create recurrence of calculosis and recurrent urinary tract infections. Contraindications for adults and children treatment: acute diseases, infective diseases, tuberculosis of lungs and other organs, malignant neoplasm and hematological malignancies, venereal diseases, chronic diseases in the stage of deterioration and complication, parasitic diseases, ample and frequent bleeding of any cause, cahexy, psychosis and epilepsy.  
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Carnival

Every week in July, Vrnjacka Banja is a big stage with numerous costume balls, festivals, exhibitions, concerts, plays... central event is Big International Carnival Procession. Tradition of costume balls (so-called Kermises) in Vrnjacka Banja dates back to 1868. ... The most amazing Kermises were staged on the large terrace of the modern spa baths facility. The whole Banja, all its citizens, as well as the residents of surrounding villages partook in the Kermis festivity. Guests from other places were invited for Kermis, and on Kermis day the spa was refined, immaculately clean and all in festive attire. There were flowers everywhere, and twice a day the music in a march parade was passing along the streets. Terraces of the baths were adorned with numerous lampions and decorative lights, and pyro-technicians were hastily making final preparations for unforgettable fireworks display. Kermis began at about nine o'clock in the evening, and was opened by appropriate speech of the president of some charitable organization on whose behalf all the funds were raised, and afterwards the actors, singers and artists performed. The women of Banja were preparing countless cakes for that night, simply competing who would bake the most beautiful dessert. Cakes were passed around for free - that was the gift of Vrnjacka Banja’s inhabitants to their guests, and caterers were serving beverages and other goodies. With play, various attractions, beauty contests and other prizes, the most beautiful and most romantic summer night in Vrnjacka Banja was taking place... (Excerpt from: Stories from the past of the Vrnjacka Banja by Branko Radosavljevic) Renewed carnival was held in 2005, from July 12th to July 17th, around the week of July 14th when the first tourist agency in Balkans was founded at this very place.34 carnival troupes from Serbia and all over the world took place in the event, with more than 1,500 participants. The following year children carnival procession was established and Vrnjacka Banja Carnival became member of FECC (Federation of European Carnival Cities).Year in and year out, this event has been bringing together an increasing number of participants and visitors from the country and around the world. The acknowledgement for previous work is the Tourist Flower award, for the best tourist manifestation. This prestigious award is presented by Tourism Organization of Serbia with the support of the Ministry of Trade and Tourism.
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Love Fest

Festival was established in 2007. and named after Bridge of Love - one of most famous attractions in Vrnjacka Banja - and gradually, from an intimate city party around the bridge, transformed into largest music youth festival in Central Serbia, in just one year time. Some of participants of Love Festival and Love Fest parties (held inbetween to festivals) were, so far: Eric Prydz, Mark Knight, James Zabiela, Joris Voorn, Pan-Pot, Chris Liebing, Maceo Plex, Svan Vath, Carl Craig, Marshall Jefferson, Good Groove, Martin Ten Velden, Noir, Silicone Soul, Gramophonedzie, Darkwood Dub, Darko Rundek... Concerts and different kind of activities aiming to promote and support art and culture of young people are held on nine stages . Activities are focused on equality, solidarity, tolerance, highlighting projects that have humanitarian, social, environmental, educative and entertaining character. In 2018 Love Fest was named the best festival in (ex-YU) region.
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Peasant Shoe for Guinness

It was made by main peasant shoemaker in Vrnjacka Banja, Slavko Strugarević, with six more workers. It took nine bovine skins to make it. Opanak is 3.2 m long which is equal to (EU) shoe size of 450! According to some historical sources tradition of making this light, peasant footwear in Serbia dates back to 10th century, when it was first mentioned in notes of Byzantine emperor Contantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-959). A legend from the Middle Ages says that Greek cattlemen who lived on Mountain Goč, made this type of tanned skin. The most important part of the process, precursor of opanak, was called "vrnčanje" - tightening left and right side of the leather with thin strings - and people who did that were called Vrnjčani and the town - Vrnjci. In Vrnjačka Banja you can see the largest opanak in the world, made by Slavko Strugarević, of 10 bovine skins, 2.3 meters long, equal to shoe size 450.  His workshop "Opanak" is still active today in Vrnjačka Banja.Until 50 years ago these peasant shoes were worn in rural areas of Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria... Now they are only used by folklore dancers and as part of traditional folk costume. This craft is on the Tentative list of World Heritage, nominated by Serbia. Did you know? Peasant shoes, traditional for Vrnjacka Banja, are made using wooden molds; there is no difference between left and right foot. Men's opanak is made from back skin, women's from thigh and  children's from stomach skin. Opanak is usually made of cow and beef skin, rarely of horse, pig or sheep skin. Today it is made mostly of goat skin.
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II World War Attractions

The tunnels were dug during II World War as shelter for German South-Eastern Europe headquarters. Today they look just the same as they were more than 70 years ago. Digging began in May of 1942 under command of General Alexander Löhr. Works were not finished before 1944, after a year and a half, when two teams met in the middle of Čajkino Brdo, digging from both ends simultaneously. There are seven rooms in the tunnel. Another arm of the tunnel is still unfinished. Villa Turkulović, today Villa Partizanka, is connected via above mentioned tunnel wirh Crkveno Brdo and former German headquarters. The Villa is also famous for being site where Operation Knight's Move (Rösselsprung) was conceived with aim to capture Marshal Josip Broz Tito and destroy the partizan headquarters, support facilities and co-located Allied military missions. Villa's pavement still has a mosaic showing seahorse, symbol of Vrnjacka Banja. Whole operation was named after that mosaic. Originial owner of the villa, dentist Miroslava Turkulović, made in Vrnjacka Banja replica of her house in Belgrade. Her family embellished floors with motifs that reminded them of sea and water. About 900 parachutists from various SS military units started to descend on Drvar on May 25th. However, the operation Knights' Move failed. Tito managed to narrowly escape them, along with members of Russian and British Allied mission.(Text and photos: Nenad Božović)
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Temple of Virgin Mary's Nativity

This holy temple was erected during the reign of Prince Miloš Obrenović. For 47 years archpriest Jeftimije had been performing the service in this temple. He is buried at the southern side of the temple. The iconostasis was donated to the church by Jovan Kujundžić, a merchant from Belgrade, in 1875. The temple is dedicated to the birth of Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, which is testified by a wonderful mosaic above the entrance. The church was twice extended in length, in 1936 and in 1973. The current appearance of the western side was designed by the deceased Dr. Dragomir Tadić, architect from Belgrade. The feast day – the religious procession of Vrnjačka Banja - is on July 28th. That is the celebration day of Holy Martyrs Kirik and Julita. In the surroundings of Vrnjačka Banja you can also visit several other holy places: the Church of the Holy Mother of God at Stanišinci, the Church of Saint Jovan at Vukušica, The Mausoleum of the Belimarković family on the town's cemetery... Not far from Vrnjacka Banja there are many famous monasteries from the Middle Ages: Žiča (32 km away), Studenica (80 km), Ljubostinja (16 km), Stubal (11 km), Lazarica (38 km), Gračac (12 km) Kalenić (45 km)...
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Belimarkovic Castle

Erected on the slope above the Topla Voda thermal spring, it was constructed following the model of northern Italian rural villas of that time, according to the conceptual design of Jovan Belimarkovic's nephew, the civil engineer Pavle Denić, and projected and supervised by Austrian civil engineer Franz Winter. Construction lasted from 1888 to 1894 whereas in 1889 the greatest part of the work was done. It was the dwelling of Belimarković's descendants until the 1970's, and in 1968 it was purchased with the intention to be used for cultural purposes. By the Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage it was declared a cultural value of great significance for the Republic of Serbia. The Culture Castle is run by the Cultural Center of Vrnjačka Banja. Today, Belimarkovic Castle is home of many concerts, plays, presentations, book promotions, lectures, summer schools, academies and, overall, cultural happenings. Its walls are home to Vernacular Museum with permanent exhibition: Collection of Archaeology, Ethnology, History, Art and Nature.Permanent exhibition consists of three separate units: Lađarište - Prehistory of Vrnjci, Ethnographic heritage of Vrnjacka Banja and Memorial room of General Belimarkovic.
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Library

The room was visited by locals and their guests, primarily to read daily newspapers and discuss the current affairs.Since then Vrnjacka Banja has become Serbian spa town with the best cultural offer. Library is in a building that once was a villa, built in the beginning of 20th century. There is a name of Dusan Radic inscribed on its walls. Mr. Radic was famous city's writer and doctor and one of the greatest contributors to foundation of first football club in Vrnjacka Banja. Today the library posses more than 40,000 books, available both to locals and guests. Every guest can receive a special membership card. Reading rooms are tastefully furnished with copies of all daily newspapers, magazines and periodicals in the fields of science and culture, as well as local heritage materials which are available to users under certain conditions. Library takes part in publishing, printing books on history, culture, philosophy, tourism, literary reviews etc. The most important edition so far is Fons Romanus. Throughout the year, and especially during spa season, the library organizes literary evenings, literature discussions, lectures and promotions of new books, with participation of eminent professionals of cultural, scientific, religious and other organizations and institutions.
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Sports Tourism

The Sports Hall meets all criteria for indoor sports such as basketball, volleyball, handball, martial arts, table tennis, indoor soccer, body building etc. The Sports Recreation Center "Raj" has three grass (football) pitches. The fields are located on the hill of the same name in the immediate vicinity of the Sports hall "Vlade Divac". The fields also include a sand volleyball court.Minor sports stadium "Kocka" is located at the centre of Vrnjacka Banja and has ideal conditions for indoor soccer, basketball, handball... During the summer season large Olympic pool is open for everyone. If you prefer tennis, you can enjoy a match with a friend on tennis courts of great quality. If you are more prone to fun sports, you can try tug of war, sack race or playing darts in Vrnjacka Banja.
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Culture Events

Since 1977 Film Screenplay Festival  is held in second half of August, on the summer stage in Vrnjačka Banja. Numerous films have been presented, which is also an opportunity for the film audience to meet the outstanding people of then Yugoslav, now Serbian film industry. Screenplay writers, directors, actors, as well as others of no less importance for film production, have always been very welcomed guests. This festival is also an opportunity to take an autograph or a photo with celebrities. Besides presenting, evaluating and rewarding film screenplays that were realized during the previous year in Serbia, there are sidebar events such as Screenplay  Symposium and Summer School of Film Dramaturgy. Days of Bata Stojkovic, dedicated to one of the legendary Serbian actors who was regular visitor of Vrnjacka Banja, are held since 2010 at the amphitheatre bearing his name.During his lifetime, Bata Stojković uttered famous line:- As long as I live I will never set foot outside Vrnjacka Banja! Since 1994 he celebrated every birthday with his friends in "Cicino sokače". During Bata Stojković Days you can try his favorite food and drinks at this restaurant.
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Grabak Winery

Spread over 2 ha there are 2,400 grape vines of the following sorts: prokupac (authentic Serbian sort), cabernet sauvignon, merlot, muscadine, sauvignon blanc and riesling. This winery produces six different labels, named after birds: "Modrovrana", "Prva lasta", "Grabak Prokupac", "Bela golubica", "Siva vrana" and "Plava paunica". Winery was named after hornbeam ("grab" in Serbian) in whose grove it is situated. Besides wine production, Grabak has wine cellar with tasting room and a restaurant that can seat 100 people. Two swimming pools, tennis, basketball and beach volleyball courts are also part of the complex so you can spend a whole day in this magical place. The winery was open in 2015 but it has already won several awards. In October 2017 label "Modrovrana" (2015) won golden medal in Bergamo, Italy. - It is my greatest wish to produce high quality yet affordable wines - says Misa Jovanovic, owner of Grabak Winery. His greatest passions are wines and art (he designed this whole place by himself, including drawings for bottle labels) but he has an unusual daily job: as machine engineer specialized in dental instruments. His most important assistant in winery is Marina Bogićević, who worked for 20 years in Tuscan vineyards and universities as a doctor of enology and viticulture.
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