The picture of the emerald river surrounding the ground of high rocks, habitats of Griffon vultures that fly over the peaks of Ozren and Zlatar, has become a recognizable symbol of domestic tourist offer in recent years.
If you desire to visit Uvac, the best will be to take advantage of a nice October day and get on the cliffs not far from Gujanička Mala or the plateau of Molitva (Prayer) by ten in the morning. At that time, fog is rising from the river and the sun illuminates the green water, bare rocky shores, and countless smoke bushes that turned fiery red. Afterward, the vultures take off, using warm air currents, they make a few circles above the canyon and head to the feeders at the dam. In the afternoon, they return to the nest but sometimes cruise over the pastures of Stari Vlah.
The birth of the river in the meadows of Ozren
The Pešter plateau is located in the south of Stari Vlah. It is named after numerous caves. These caves are thought to have provided shelter to the monks who had spread literacy in the area for a long time. Pešter is bordered by the Ibar and Lim rivers, but the Uvac river and its tributaries are the most important for the whole area. Uvac springs in the grassy meadows of Ozren mountain. Not far from Sjenica it receives the waters of the winding Vapa, and then enters into the beauty of the Stari Vlah.
Sjenica is the largest settlement on Pešter. It was founded on an important caravan route that led from Dubrovnik to the east of the Balkans. In the center of the city is an ancient mosque with a dome that is the largest on the peninsula. There is also an old settlement, administrative buildings, a school and more. In addition to large cattle fairs, it has recently been known for its pie days. Sjenica is directly watered from the Vape well which is extremely strong and the water is so clear that no reservoir has been made.
Further on, the Uvac flows north. After ten kilometers of flow, at the viewpoint of Molitva, the water broke through porous rocks, creating a real labyrinth. In some places, the river made almost a full circle around the rock, then directed its course to the opposite side. From the top of the Molitva, this play of river and stones provides a memorable sight.
The length of the river flow is 119 kilometers, although the distance from the source to the confluence measured in the airline is three times shorter. On its way from the source on Pešter to the confluence with the Lim river, the river has a significant fall, so three dams have been built on it and three lakes have been created. The first is Sjenica or as it is increasingly called Uvačko lake. The next in a row is Zlatarsko and the last one is Radoinjsko lake.
The new lakes, except for electricity production, are used for water supply, and they have significantly increased the tourist supply of this beautiful area. Zlatar Lake is especially interesting because it is the largest lake and is located in the immediate vicinity of Nova Varoš and the main road connecting Belgrade with the Adriatic Sea.
Ethno villages and towns as resting places on the shores of Uvac
Nova Varoš is known for its famous cheese and well-developed tourism. Zlatar has the credits for both, the mountain that covers the town and lakes. In the spacious meadows, many herds are still white, and the ethereal vapors of dense conifer forests are very good for human health. The Zlatar heights and the specific cuisine made the hotels on Zlatar, particularly Panorama, a favorite resting place for visitors.
The most interesting settlements on the coast of Uvac are the ethno villages of Vraneša and Gujanička Mala. The village of Gujanička Mala is located not far from the dam at Sjenica lake. Immediately below the village, Griffon vultures nest on the inaccessible rocks of the canyon. Griffon vulture is a close relative of the eagle, but in the air, he looks more magnificent than the king of birds himself. The vultures have inhabited these areas since ancient times but have been brought to the brink of extinction by human negligence.
The villagers poisoned the wolves with poisoned baits that usually ended up in the birds’ wombs. It is well known that vultures can digest anything that might be called food – but not poison. Many herds also disappeared, and animals in the forests thinned out and there was no food for these natural sanitizers.
In recent years, humans have stopped poisoning animals, and even a bird feeder has been built. A Griffon Vultures Fund was established in Nova Varoš with a team that feeds and cares for birds, and today there are about three hundred of them. The vultures also inhabited inaccessible rocks on the most picturesque part of the river flow at the viewpoint of Molitva, and there are also them in the sunken canyon of Veljašnica.
The nature reserve and the place where ancient places of worship were built
The Uvac River is a Special Nature Reserve with a strict regime of protection. There are no tourist facilities, so only a daily visit is possible here. Therefore, even then it is not easy to reach the cliffs from which the flight of magnificent griffon flyers is best viewed. This is especially true for the plateau Molitva located in the rural area of the village of Ursula.
The starting point is the Camp of the Griffon Vultures Fund on the river, not far from Sjenica. From there, it takes a good two hours to walk to Molitva, but as the trail follows a winding river course, this distance is almost insensitive. Along the way is an impressive Girls Rock from whose cliffs an unhappy girl ended her life.
During the summer months, when the Nova Varoš Tourist Organization organizes a regatta, it is possible to reach Molitva, the Ice Cave at its base, by boat. Residents of Ursula on the right bank and Lopiža located on the other side of the river are showing interest in rural tourism, but it is not yet certain that they will soon offer accommodation to interested visitors.
The lower course of the river is equally interesting and well hid. The river used to be the border between Serbia and Turkey. Both river banks were covered with dense forest. The Turks did not like the forest on the Serbian side, so they set it on fire. It was rumored that the fire had been burning for a year. Because of this, the left bank is still wooded, unlike the right bank, which is spooky bare and covered with stone.
In the narrow gorge, the monastery of Uvac or Vuvac, as some call it, was also nested. Even a badly flowing gorge did not save this place of worship, and it was burned two and a half centuries ago. The remains of the ruined church are said to have been found thanks to a vine planted when a monastery was erected eight centuries ago.
According to legend, the monastery was erected by the family Nemanjići for their mischievous sister Janja, who became a nun here. The monastery church was renovated in 1998 and is dedicated to The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. From the monastery, the road climbs to Stubal, the most picturesque part of Zlatibor. From Stubal, the trail leads to the Dubrava Monastery, located on the Uvac meander, five kilometers upstream of the Uvac Monastery. It is said that the monk Danilo, the igumen of the Uvac monastery, heard about the remains of Dubrava in his dream. During the archaeological work on Dubrava, 260 Venetian ducats were discovered.
By: Dragan Bosnić