Road trip to Arandjelovac and Oplenac

Today’s postcard highlights the second part of our “local travel” weekend. We visited the city of Aranđelovac which was named after the Archangel Gabriel and holds historical importance in Serbian history – it is the place where the first Serbian uprising against the Turks took place in 1804.

My mother has visited the city many times during her childhood and her historical knowledge served as the perfect guide during our visit. Arandjelovac is mostly known for its natural spring water and we couldn’t go home without taking some water back, so we filled 5 litres of pure water. The taste is quite strong and sour due to the natural mineral composition. (Note: there is a 5 dinar charge 1 litre of water filled).

Our first stop was Sculpture Park which is a 21.5 hectare property with a permanent exhibition of marble sculptures. The park is home to the Bukovicka Banja (Wellness Centre) which was opened in 1836 by Prince Milos Obrenovic. Its mineral water is known to treat gastrointestinal, urinary and arthritic diseases as well as diabetes.

We then took a break and enjoyed a refreshing lemonade at Hotel Izvor which is the flag bearer of tourism in Arandjelovac. This luxurious hotel and spa resort is situated opposite to the Sculpture Park and has its own Aqua Park – perfect for a weekend getaway.

We continued our visit to the town of Oplenac which is home to the mausoleum of the Serbian Royal family, Karadjordjevic. The complex consists of St. George’s Church, King Peter’s House and the King’s Vineyard. Despite the hot day, we had to hike approximately 100 meters to the top of Oplenac hill where the mausoleum is located.

We first visited King Peter’s House which was his home during the first stages of the construction of the St. George Church until his death, and is now converted into a museum, dedicated to the family.

St. George’s Church left me completely speechless! On the outside, it is made of white marble designed in Serbian Orthodox style. On the inside – millions of tiny coloured squares form a majestic mosaic which covers every inch of the church; the artwork is simply perfect.

We visited the graves of the Karadjorevic Royal family members located underneath the Church. This area as well was covered with mosaics and didn’t look at all as a grave – rather a celebration of light, colour and tradition.

The final visit in the complex was to the King’s Vineyard which is located a walking distance from the church. It is simply a place to rest your eyes and enjoy the natural landscape with its beautiful colours. We have purchased a bottle of the King’s wine however haven’t found an opportunity to taste it yet.

I really took a moment to appreciate the entire complex which experienced a tumultuous journey having been destroyed completely by two wars over the period. Today, it is a member of the Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance list and is protected by the Republic of Serbia because of it’s exceptional qualities.

I highly recommend a visit to both Arandjelovac and Oplenac during a weekend getaway – where you can marvel in history, enjoy various activities and bathe in natural mineral water.  Don’t forget to pick up your bottle of Knjaz Milos sparkling mineral water which is produced here from the springs. 

A picture is definitely worth more than a thousand words, so please have a look here!

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