Along the beautiful, blue Danube

In September 1998, during our stay in Belgrade, we went on excursion to Gornjacka klisura (gorges of Gornjak), which is located on the river Mlava. Gornjacka klisura is 16 kilometres long and without doubt one of the nicest in Serbia. The Austrian travel author Felix Kanitz was absolutely right when he quoted one of his co-traveller who said “excursion in this part could look like travelling in 1001 nights”. In the very gorges there is the Gornjak Monastery. This sacred place was built from 1376-1380 as a foundation from Duke Lazar. In a cave above the monastery there is a small church – Saint Nicolas, in which in ancient time Saint Gregory Sinaïte was praying. The monastery is built in the Moravian school style. The monastery was destroyed by Turks in several occasions. One of the frequent visitors was the well known poet and painter, Djura Jaksic who wrote the poems “Travel to Gornjak” and “Night in Gornjak”.
One of the purposes of our trip was to find a male for Seka for the next year.
For quite some time I had a correspondence with Sarplaninac breeder, Mr. Djordjevic Dragan. We decided to visit him and see his dogs. He is living in the village Srednjevo, between towns of Pozarevac and Veliko Gradiste, down the Danube bank from Belgrade, which gave us opportunity to follow the Danube and to visit all the attractions of this region. After the river Volga, the Danube is the longest river in Europe with a length of 2850 km, from which 588 km is in Serbia. The Danube is passing through a number of countries such as Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia and Ukraine. On Danube’s river banks there are 4 nice capitals: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade. Its basin consists of 120 streams and rivers. It is navigable on its whole length and represents an extra ordinary economical and tourist importance.

From Gornjak we went over towns of Bor and Negotin on the Danube. In the place called Sip is the end of Djerdap, the biggest canyon in Europe. After Kladovo we were just above Tabula Traiana and the bridge of Traian.

It was built by the roman emperor Traian, who also built the road through the gorge. After that we followed the Danube and passed through complete canyon as well as through the national park, mostly well known through its variety of flora. We spent the night in a hotel in the town Donji Milanovac.
The n ext day we visited the place called “Lepenski Vir”. This neolith settlement nearly 8000 years old, with 59 discovered habitats and the sacred places is located near Donji Milanovac. This locality was once, in this wild part of Djerdap, the centre of one complex and brilliant culture of prehistory. Underneath the settlement of the first land cultivators and livestock breeders from the period 5300-4800 B.C. monuments were discovered, which surprised the whole world. In 7 big localities of fishermen, hunters, food gathers it was found : number of habitats which were built with a plan, graves which are documenting strange burial rituals, a lot of skilfully made tools from stones, bones and horns, variety of jewellery, plates with engraved signs similar to writing and monumental stone sculptures.

It was possible to establish immediately that these master pieces are dated before 5300 B.C., which meant that fishermen-hunters communities, which inhabited terraces near Lepenski Vir, established the first social-economical relations in Europe and were first to found architecture of the unique characteristic and first to make monumental sculptures from huge blocks of stones.

Later we had a break in the village of Dobra, where we tasted fresh fish from Danube. After that we gave our attention to the ruins of the fortified town of Golubac. Golubac, one of the best preserved medieval towns in Serbia, was built on the rocky and steep hill, on the right bank of Danube, at the beginning of Djerdap canyon. The town was first mentioned in the year 1335. First it was ruled by the Duke Lazar, then by the despot Stephan, and later by the despot Djuradj. At the end of 15th century it was under Turkish occupation, at the end of 17th and beginning of 18th century under Austrian power and then after under Turkish power until 1867. The town was completely fortified, 9 massive towers, connected with the walls, located in such a way that town can be protected from the land and the water.
In the afternoon we arrived at Mr. Djordjevic. After a very warm welcome, from the whole family, we went to the garden to meet Aga and the other dogs. Aga od Pekanovica was then 3 years old. He was quite tall, dark, with a nice head and very good way of walking. He was similar to our Arap, especially as per his posture, character and behaviour – one joyful dog with something sparkling and naughty in his look. He was not very strong, this is the only remark I could give him.
Dragan also showed us the other male, son of Aga, Luj who was 2 years old.

I did not like him as he had a quite long muzzle. His mother Alma was the great granddaughter of our Arap. Later on Luj was exported into Czech Republic where he made quite a good career. He became quite attractive with a big fur and a very proud posture.

The last dog which Dragan showed us was a sympathetic original dog, called spot.

A few days later we went to town Velika Plana to visit the dog Dzap Sremgrad, the dog that I gave a CAC in 1994. He was already 9 years old but he still moved smoothly in the same way as when he was young. On top, he was one of the rare Sarplaninac, who was original and whose origin I did not question. The owners were immigrants from Bosnia and very polite. They just manage to build a new house. Mr. Mladen, the owner, took Dzap out of his box into the street so that we could make pictures.
Dzap was inappropriately holding his ears. The real problem was when I asked an X-ray examination of Dzap hips. Mr. Mladen did not want to let Dzap have anaesthesia, due to the risk of his age.
We went also to see his son Bigor in the town of Nis but this part of the trip will be for the next episode.