Knjaževac - Little Venice in eastern Serbia.

Old mountain

picture with the text

There are stories that ancient peoples struggled terribly to decipher and explain the mountains of the Balkans. In Greek mythology, the Atlases are mentioned, which support the heavens, and the legend also says that the largest and most beautiful “heavenly statue” is Stara planina, the roof of Serbia. Without it, it is believed, the heavens would collapse on the earth and its inhabitants.

Stara planina is a natural border between Serbia and Bulgaria. From its highest peak, Mižora (2169 meters), you cannot see “all the seas of the Balkans”, as the legends tell, but you can see endless pastures, gold-bearing streams, old forests, wild blueberry plantations. On a clear morning, the view goes all the way to the blue Danube.

Freedom, infinity and beauty are the words used to describe Stara planina. Not even modern times could do anything to her. It kept its secrecy, its sacred places, ancient customs. Mountaineers and adventurers, adventurers and naturalists, young and old, return to it again and again, unable to agree on which season it is most beautiful. They agree on one thing: when you “conquer” Midjor in the tiniest bit, and there is nothing above you but a glowing ball of the sun, you have the feeling that you are free to do whatever you want.

Stara planina has a wonderful climate and in the summer it is a real pleasure to walk on it. Fragrant grasses, the quiver of old mountain mother-of-pearl, a butterfly that lives only here, the air purified by a sudden summer rain “on a cloud” and the breath of pine… Around you, St. John’s wort, St. John’s wort, thyme, numerous types of orchids and like the cherry on top of the cake – dew, plant a carnivore, whose food is insects. He likes to pose in front of the camera.

If you’ve never been, imagine how hundred-year-old forests, ridges, mountain streams and waterfalls of incredible beauty stretch out for kilometers around you. It is Stara planina. Herds of horses come to the well and you can hear the leaves moving in the gentle breeze. The highest peak, Midjora, is easy to reach, as it is flat and gentle. However, at more than two thousand meters, the weather changes quickly, so the walkers, setting off in the sun, are often met by a snow flurry.

The system of cable cars and trails, the construction of accommodation facilities, contributed to Stara planina becoming a valuable tourist area. On the heights around Mižor and Baba’s tooth, snow remains for 150 days a year, and in sheltered places it sometimes remains until June. The slopes “Konjarnik” and “Sunčana dolina” with a four-seater cable car and the first gondola in Serbia are used by up to 1,500 skiers per hour during the winter. In addition to classic skiers, Stara Planina has also been discovered by more “extreme” skiers, so it is increasingly a “target” for those who enjoy snowboarding.