It all began six thousand years BC. In Lepenski Vir, on the Danube, our distant ancestors decided to stop and think, and settle down. At this world famous archaelogical site, stone sculptures, the first representations of life-size human beings were discovered. Ever since then, everything is made to order, to fit the human beings in these parts.
We can still discern the grandeur of ancient cities and imperial palaces, like Gamzigrad (Romuliana), near Zajecar, or Mediana, near Nis. The epochs lie side by side: the age of conquest and the age of liberation, traces of rebellions and revolutions, the times of the haves and the have-nots, and thus, for 13 centuries, step by step, all the way to the modern age.
From the fortifications of the past, memories move to the museums, stories, into your impressions.
The adventure of discovering never stops. Cloaked in silence, hidden among the hills and plum orchards, the monasteries and churches, invaluable heritage of timeless beauty, were created in Serbia from the 10th to the 17th century.
Although by the gracefulness of their outside archictecture these churches leave an impression of smallness, it is only on entering them that you can appreciate the monumental stories of things earthly and things heavenly they can tell. The eyes of the angels, of the Virgin Mary, of the holy warriors standing their eternal watch, of princes and princesses, of kings and queens, focus on you from the frescoes and icons...
One of the founders of these structures, King Milutin, left behind him forty years of reign and the same number of churches. What will the towers of Manasija, the domes of Ravanica, the rosettes of Lazarica or the portals of Studenica whisper to you? What were the red facades of Žića the witnesses to? What does the sophistication of Gracanica consist of? What about the strength of Visoki Decani, the marble colossus of medieval architecture? What are the messages sent to you by the treasures of Krušedol and Hopovo.
Perhaps that the answers to all these questions can be found in the words of the French poet, Alphonse Lamartine, who said that the history of the Serbs should be sung, not written about.
Long ago, the oldest monument of Serb literacy, The Miroslav Gospel (written in the 12th century), together with other relics, found its way to the Serb monastery of Chilandrion, on Mount Athos in Greece. Later, it was returned to the fatherland, as a gift to the King Aleksandar Obrenovic of Serbia. In the horrors of World War I, it was taken all the way to Corfu in the saddle-bags of the Serb army.
The 180 pages of carefully illustrated parchment at last completed their journey and became a part of the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade. The journey of the Serb culture is not unlike this journey of the Miroslav Gospel.
This valuable manuscript set the standards for all later creations. The famous ancestor has famous offsprings: Tesla’s and Pupin’s ingenuity, the thought and the word of the Nobel laureate Ivo Andric, of Crnjanski and Kis. The names of the world famous painters, ballet masters of today, musical virtuosos, the choirs with box-office success everywhere in the world, theater and movie magicians..
The nationals parks of Serbia are great natural museums in the open air.
Tara, with its impassable forests and flower strewn meadows, waterfalls and streams which disappear in caves. Imagine the memory of the Pancic spruce, endemic to this region of the world only, growing here from the Tertiary! Fruska Gora, the verdant island of the Panonian Sea and Serb Mount Athos, devoted to the guarding of dozens of monasteries and 700 species of medical herbs. Sara, a spacious farm in the open air, with its pastures, traces of the Ice Age at its peaks, mountain lakes, alpine flowers...
Djerdap, the Iron Gates squeezing the mighty Danube through the largest European canyon. Kopaonik, the mountain of contrasts and of all seasons, with monasteries on its slopes, ice-cold water springs at its foot and the sun at its peaks. Time, water and limestone took their time in sculpturing the underground halls in Serbia: Rajko Cave, Ceremosnja, Marble Cave, Resavska Cave, near Despotovac, some three kilometers in length, is luxuriously adorned with coral-like stone jewels and snow white crystals.
In the surroundings of Kursumlija, nature, like a skillful Oriental builder, sculptured a city of stone. Hundreds of figures appear and disappear of themselves, rising and changing their shapes. Not knowing how to explain this natural phenomenon, the people named the place the Devil's Town (Djavolja Varos).