Traveling to Serbia in October 2011

This time the purpose of my trip was to visit a spa to treat my joints, which are affected by arthrosis. Serbia and the whole territory of former Yugoslavia have plenty of spas whose waters (sources) have very different properties. Thus, according to its characteristics, I chose the spa Koviljaca, located along one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe, the river Drina and very near the border of Bosnia.
Here are some pictures, where you can see one of the oldest and most beautiful spas in Serbia, also known as « the Royal Spa », as its spa facilities were built in 1904 by King Peter I Karadjordjevic, the king « soldier » of the First World War. The little town is located below the rich wooded mountain Gucevo, where fierce battles took place during the First World War. All the older facilities have recently been completely renewed.
During my stay, I tried to see some Sarplaninci from the region. I knew that in the nearby town of Loznica (110 000 inhabitants) lived the family Vasic, who owned Sarplaninci. Here are some pictures of this beautiful town, where I went one day to meet the family Vasic and to see their dogs.

Unfortunately they had lost 3 males in a row, during this summer and there was only 1 female left, Bucka (father César Vujanski, mother Filipina od Gvima). The brother of Mr Vasic, living nearby, brought his female Tara (Al Kapone x ?), so I could take her pictures too.
I learned that Mr Vasic was the President of the local cynological society for many years and that he was taking care of the organisation of the CAC exhibition, with the invaluable help of his wife and his daughters: Mirjana is the cynological judge and Marija the « fan » of the Sarplaninac.
In 2007 a special exhibition of our breed was organised in Loznica.
My cousin from Milan came to join me for 4 days; he had rented a car, which allowed us to visit a bit the area, during the time that was left from our spa treatment.
The first excursion we did was the village of Trsic, located a few kilometres from Koviljaca. Trsic is the birthplace of a great man of Serbia, Mr Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic (born November 7 1787 – died February 7 1864, in Vienna). He was a writer, translator, a collector of everything that was transmitted orally among the Serbian people (poetry, proverbs, and stories) and a Serbian linguist. He was the main reformer of the Serbian literary language, based on the phonetic principle « one sound - one letter ».
Enjoy this beautiful ethno village, with among others the house where Vuk was born and a very nice restaurant that we have visited several times because the food was outstanding .
Another excursion was the climbing of the mountain of Gucevo, where we had an incredible view of Koviljaca, the Valley of de Drina River and on the mountains across. At the top of Gucevo we found a monument, placed there in memory of the victims of the First World War
Another trip took us to the monastery Tronosa. This monastery was built in 1317 by King Dragutin and his wife queen Katarina.
The monastery was two times destroyed by the Turks in 1389, after the defeat of the Kingdom of Serbia and in 1814. It was twice rebuilt and its frescoes are works of well known masters, coming from Macedonia. After a voluntary fire of the Germans, those frescoes were covered with soot; their former brightness was giving back to them during the centenary of the death of Vuk St. Karadzic.
In the front of the altar, during each Mass, burn two huge natural wax candles, donated by the surrounding villages, weighing each more than 50 kg and 1,5 m high.
A few meters, before arriving at the monastery you can see a fountain on which a fresco, representing the nine Jugovic brothers, the heroes of the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, who according to the legend would have stayed in this monastery a year before the decisive battle, as sung in the traditional national poetry.
Our last trip was longer, about 300 km. My cousin wanted absolutely to see the famous bridge over the Drina River in town of Visegrad, as he read the novel by Ivo Andric.
The bridge was built in 1571. The construction of the bridge was done under the command of Mehmed Pacha Sokolovic, a famous officer of the Ottoman Empire who was born as a Serb of town of Rudo. Even as a little boy, “Bajica Sokolovic”, was taken with other children as a tribute in the blood of Constantinople.
“Bridge over the Drina” is a novel by Ivo Andric (9.10.1892-13.03.1975) and for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1961.
The bridge is one of the most important national monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In July 2007 it was registered on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
On the way back, we stopped at Mecavnik or Drvengrad, built by our eminent film director Emir Kusturica.