An inspirational place for a perfect holiday, a legendary region preserving the memory of glorious moments in history and a better past, a first-class hedonistic destination. This is all Topola, but all this is just the start of its story.
Topola, the cradle of Serbian independence, the capital of Serbian kings who started the tradition of viniculture and a region many refer to as “Serbian Tuscany”, partly for its wine and partly for its nature and landscape, which bear many resemblances with the famous region in Italy, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Serbia. It has kept its spot on the tourist map of our country for decades, as a destination of rich history, with legendary tales of domestic rulers and patrons, famous wines and festivals from Oplenac. Tourists from all over the world come to the region to enjoy its beauty, while domestic tourists like this destination as its central location makes it easily accessible from all corners of the country. This allowed Topola to develop into something of a tourist-cultural centre of Šumadija, with good road infrastructure and abundant natural attractions.
Located at the heart of Šumadija, Topola offers absolutely all you may need for a short escape from the urban jungle and everyday chores. From gorgeous scenery and Tuscany-like landscapes, through excellent wine and food, to cultural and historical sites, all the way to the famous fair in Topola dating back to the time of King Aleksandar Karađorđević, which is one of the most popular festival events in Serbia in general. In addition to the fair, Topola offers another event known as “Oplenačka Berba”, Oplenac harvest, a festival taking place each autumn as a testament to the tradition of viniculture in this region.
Oplenac wine route is something that confers a special value to Topola, primarily due to the quality it offers; the region has been known for its high-quality wines since the Middle Ages. Despot Stefan Lazarević got very familiar with the delicate bouquet of the wines of Pavlovac, today the wines of Koraćica, as he frequently came to this region to hunt. At the time of Prince Miloš, the wines in Topola’s vineyards bore so much fruit that they could not store all the grapes – or all the wine. The wine cellar of King Petar I Karađorđević was founded in 1903 and thanks to the royal family, the wines from Oplenac became famous throughout Europe. The best tradition of the wine-growers and royal wine cellars is now preserved by small, top quality, winemakers. At the “Aleksandrović” cellar, using the recipe of the master winemaker of the royal family Karađorđević, certain old varieties of wine are making a comeback. There are other Oplenac wine cellars as well, such as “Tri Hrasta”, “Srpska Tradicija”, “Gedošević” or “Grba”. And when guests come to the Topola wine route, they also have an opportunity to visit historical sites of the region, cultural monuments and surrounding villages.
The central monument in the region is the family mausoleum of the Royal House of Karađorđević – Church of St. George at Oplenac, a building of authentic and sophisticated beauty, perfectly fitting in with its surroundings. It was built in the Serbian – Byzantine style and is home to copies from 60 Serbian monasteries. Total surface area of all mosaics in the church is 3,500 meters square, with 40 million stone pieces in 15,000 colours embedded in them. The massive church chandelier is an upside-down crown, representing the grief for the Serbian empire lost in Kosovo. Over 20 members of the royal family are buried in the crypt. In addition to the wine grower’s house and Petar’s house, as well as the Royal Cellar, visitors can also see the King’s mansion and the mansion of Queen Marija. Members of the royal house Karađorđević still sometimes stay in these mansions. A visit to Karađorđe’s town can be a special treat, as visitors can see an exhibit of the great leader’s personal belongings and the “Aberdar” cannon, missing its top handle because Petar the First melted it to craft the insignia for his coronation.
Cave Risovača, category I natural heritage site is located nearby. It is home to a human settlement dating back to the ice age and is one of the most famous Palaeolithic sites in Europe. In addition, it is the habitat of a species of bat – Blasius’s Horseshoe Bat, which, like other species of bats, is endangered and therefore protected. There is a Medieval monastery Nikolje nearby as well. It dates back to 1425 and during the 18th and 19th century it represented an important cultural and political centre in this part of Serbia.
Back in the ancient times, the region was a part of the Province of Upper Moesia, one of the most important breadbaskets of the Roman Empire. Hence, many a Roman artefact has been found here: pillar heads and traces of foundations from the late Roman period. In addition, remnants of Byzantine buildings have been found, as well as coins, indicating the presence of the early Byzantine civilisation in this region. All of this makes the region one of those local regions that you just have to visit, because such rich heritage, ranging from Palaeolithic to modern history, could hardly be found elsewhere in our country.