A rare natural phenomenon, Djavolja Varoš was a nominee in the New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign. It is located in Southern Serbia, on mount Radan not far from the town of Kuršumlija. Djavolja Varoš is 288 km far from Belgrade and 89 km from Niš.
It comprises more than 200 stone formations, 2 to 15 meters high and up to 3 meters wide, with strange stone caps. The Djavolja Varoš Natural Landmark belongs to the village of a strange name – Djake, which comes from the Albanian word “gjak” which means blood. The village is located at 660 to 700 meters above sea level. This unusual and mystic place, which very name will chill your bones, comprises two ravines with ominous names – Djavolja (Devil’s) and Paklena (Hell’s).
The nearby springs – Žito vrelo (Wheat spring) and Djavolja Voda (Devil’s water), with extremely acid water have well known miraculous properties. A path leads to the stone sculptures and viewpoints offering a spectacular view of the surrounding nature.
Djavolja Varoš consists of two rare phenomena: attractive stone formations created by erosion and two springs of extremely acid water with high mineral content.
Similar phenomena can be seen around the world, none of which is this high and numerous, hence the nomination for the new wonders of nature. Despite not being elected the new wonder, it attracts numerous tourists looking for adventure and mystery.
For centuries people have told legends about this place. According to one legend, these formations are petrified wedding guests who, on devil’s orders, wanted to marry a brother and sister. Then God punished them by turning them into stone to stand as a reminder that no sin goes unpunished.
The other legend says that there was a witch who granted people’s wishes as long as they promised to give her whatever she asked for. These 202 stone statues are those who didn’t fulfil their promise or tried to trick the witch.
Science, however, doesn’t have such a fairy-tale explanation – Djavolja varoš was formed by erosion. By destroying forests, man has made way for the destructive power of water. Wind, rain and sun did the rest. Nevertheless, the scientists agree that the shape of some caps and the fact that a peak of 20 to 30 cm in diameter holds a cap of several hundreds of kilograms is somewhat “peculiar”.
Djavolja Varoš is a place to visit. Grandiose and slightly menacing figures in daylight, mystical and illuminated by decorative lights at night, these figures will surely leave you breathless. And the legend says that if you drink from one of these springs, you will surely return.
Niš is the third-largest city in Serbia and the largest in southern Serbia. It is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans. It is 237 km away from Belgrade and about 250,000 people live in it. The river Nišava flows through it. Throughout its long history, Niš has been the administrative, military and trade centre of many countries. Due to its geographical position, it was the target of many conquerors.
The ancient name of the city is Naisus and the Roman emperors were born there: Constantine the Great - in it in the 3rd century and Constantius III in the 4th century. In 313, the famous Edict of Milan was signed in Niš, a document that gave Christians freedom of religion.
Of all the peoples who ruled it in Niš, the Turks stayed here the most, from which it was liberated in 1878 and since then it has been part of Serbia again with short interruptions during the First and Second World Wars when it was occupied. The architecture of the city shows the influence of different nations who lived in it.
One of the most significant events in Serbian history took place in Nis in 1189, when the first Serbian-German agreement was signed by the two most powerful rulers of Europe at that time – Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Serbian medieval dynasty of Nemanjić and Frederick I Barbarossa. After the golden period of the Serbian state of Nemanjić, Niš was the first to be hit by the Turkish invasion. In that way, Sultan Murat took it from Prince Lazar in 1385, 4 years before the famous Battle of Kosovo. After the collapse of the Serbian state and the short reign of the Branković dynasty, Niš finally fell under Turkish rule in 1448.
During the Turkish rule, a fortress was built in Niš, and this construction is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful fortresses in the Balkans.
During the Austro-Turkish War, Niš alternately passed from Turkish to Austro-Hungarian hands, and the First Serbian Uprising of 1804 marked the rapid end of Turkish rule.
The battle of Čegar took place near Niš in 1809, and 3,000 Serbian insurgents led by Duke Stevan Sinđelić were killed in it. As a result of this Serbian defeat, the monument to Ćele Kula was created, the only one in the world, partially preserved to this day. The Turks built this tower from the skulls of the killed Serbs. There were 952 skulls, but until today only 58 have been preserved. At that time, no one guarded this tower, so the Serbs were coming during the night and we’re pulling out the skulls to bury them according to Christian rules.
Niš remained under Turkish rule until 1878. King Milan then entered the Niš Fortress and marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the city.
After that, Niš developed very quickly and grew into a modern European city. During the First World War, Niš became the war capital of Serbia but fell under the occupation of the Bulgarians. He was liberated from the Bulgarians in 1918.
Today, Niš is a large industrial and commercial city with cultural institutions, places for entertainment and recreation. The University of Niš was founded in 1965 and has 13 faculties. There is also the airport “Constantine the Great” in Niš.
In the very centre of the city, there is a pedestrian zone, which is connected with the Niš Fortress, a favourite place of Niš. The fortress was built by the Turks in 1718 on the remains of ancient and medieval fortifications. On the territory of the fortress, there are preserved remains of fortifications and periods of Ancient Rome and Byzantium, as well as monuments built during the rule of the Turks, among which the most beautiful is the Bali-beg mosque.
There is also King Milan Square. And there is also a nice pedestrian street Kazandžijsko sokače with cafes and restaurants. The whole city centre is intended for enjoyment and relaxation. The city has a large number of monuments dedicated to the Serbian king Milan Obrenović, who loved Niš very much and tried to make it the capital. He ruled from it, introduced the railway in it, opened schools and hospitals in Niš. There is also a monument to Constantine the Great, whose origin the people of Niš are proud of.
Niš is a city that has a soul, has its world, represents a different Serbia and is worth a visit.