Near Negotin, at the end of a maze of long, steep and winding roads that are typical for this region, there is a village called Rajac. Rajac is surrounded by lush vegetation that reminds one of a tropical forest, but there are also high points that provide the visitor a chance to see the beauty of this picturesque region. There is no other way to visit Rajac, but to travel different paths and roads through numerous villages, rattle along and enjoy the suspense as the landscape changes, bend after bend. Village signs are often decorated with additional directions from the villagers to guide travellers; one of the advantages of self-organization and autonomy of the people from this region.
Beneath the village runs the river Timok, whose greens are really worth seeing from one of the surrounding banks. Locals here are fishing, swimming at the beach, barbecuing, using this beautiful river as the backdrop for gatherings. In this area there is a saying that Rajac has two villages, one in which people live, and the other in which wine lives. Wine lives in pimnice, houses that are centuries old and are constructed of a special stone from the Jurassic period, and whose method of construction and history belong to the cultural heritage of this region. There used to be 316 Rajac cellars, and now there are about 60 or so. In this unique stone town wine has always lived. It attracts many tourists and locals are used to the newcomers and visitors. Wine tourism is one of the most important sources of income in this region.
In the Rajac Wineries you can taste, buy wine, and see how they are produced by traditional methods, without the use of electrical machines, only with the strength of their own hand and the skill of famous old masters of this craft. It’s not uncommon that good food and excellent wine sees off the sun; & then greets the dawn. More about pimnice, their history and purpose, can be found under the rubric of the same name on our website.
Above the cellars, at 160- 250 meters above sea level, there are the famous vineyards of Rajac. The specific climate in this region, with hot summers and cold winters, favours the cultivation of fruit crops, especially vineyards for which this area is widely renowned. The quality of Rajac & Negotin wines cannot be underestimated, with the impact of climate producing a unique taste, with a different character to the best European wines. Visitors can walk through the vineyard trails, tour the vineyards and take part in the grape harvest. The tourist offer is completed with “SvetiTrifun”, which takes place on 14 February. On the day of Saint Tryphon (protector of growers) people have gathered in Rajac for centuries to all work raising awareness and cutting vineyards.
Going through eastern Serbia you will feel you are traveling through time. Wherever you go – from the mighty Iron Gates Gorge on The Danube to the beautiful villages around Bujanovac lake – waiting for you are wonderful sights. More than anywhere else in Serbia reality and legend are mixed. The courses of large rivers have always determined people’s lives. Natural terraces along the Danube, as well as fertile and healthy soil, caused communities to spring up engaged in fishing, planting orchards – and especially vineyards.
The story of this part of Serbia started a long time ago with LEPENSKI VIR where prehistoric people built their homes. The archaeological sites of Eastern Serbia are the most important in the country – Lepenski Vir, Traiana and Trajan’s Bridge, Diana, Felix Romuliana, Viminacium, Soko, Fetislam. In Roman times, Viminacium was the capital of the province of Upper Mesia from the 2nd to the 4th century, and Felix Romuliana (today under UNESCO protection) was the residence of the Roman Emperor Galerius. Along the Danube passing Trajan’s Tablet, this emperor built a stone bridge over the Danube, whose remains, and Traiana, are located near Kladovo. On the territory of Serbia were born or lived in as many as 17 Roman emperors. Among them was the famous Emperor Constantine who founded Constantinople, the capital of The Eastern Roman Empire.
Romans in this region discovered a wealth of mineral water and began with the construction of swimming pools, wells and health resorts for their legionaries. Mineral springs and medicinal herbs, together with the nature that surrounds them are for the treatment of the sick; thus Soko Banja (the largest spa in Serbia), as well as smaller spas, such as Ždrelo ‘sprang up’. From the medieval period on the Danube find Ram fortress, Smederevo fortress (in the fifteenth century capital of Serbia), Golubačka (at the entrance to the Iron Gates) and Fetislam. You will find the excavations of Timacum close to Knjazevac indicating that grapes were cultivated in Roman times. On this site was unearthed a statue of Dionysus, god of wine in ancient Rome, and in the words of ancient writers, from the 3rd and 4th century, Knjazevacka was described as a wine growing region.
Lepenski Vir is the seat of one of the most important prehistoric cultures. There are also testimonies related to the stay of the Romans in this area: Traiana and the remains of Trajan’s bridge, Viminacium near Kostolac, Felix Romuliana near Zajecar. From the Middle Ages visit Golubac fortress, and from the Ottoman period, fortress Fetislam.
The mysticism of Eastern Serbia attracts visitors, especially in the autumn, because this region is known for its good wine, cultural and historical sights and natural beauty. All this is seasoned with the mysticism of Vlach magic, legends, strange customs, such as gold panning in the river Pek and home residents who in the second half of the 19th century migrated to Western Europe in search of a better life making this region unique in Serbia.
It’s hard to say whether Eastern Serbia is richer in historical and cultural monuments, or natural beauties. The river Danube with the Djerdap gorge, one of the most beautiful in Europe. Caves are open for tourist visits, Silver lakes for hot summer days and of course a still undiscovered pearl – Vratna river canyon – a complete treasury of natural beauty.
To help make you comfortable, & offer an interesting experience, there are many rural households in the vicinity of Donji Milanovac, Kladovo, Golubac, Majdanpek and Negotin, that cater to tourists.
Eastern Serbia carefully preserves its centuries-old heritage, unspoiled nature, mountains, customs and people.
The Romans started to cultivate vines, but only in the eighteenth century on the hills above the river Timok was a single settlement for storing wine commenced – so this divine drink was closer to the gods. Wineries, a special village for storing wine, are architecturally very interesting. They are built of stone, some of which even today are very well preserved.
In the far of East Serbia, about twenty kilometres south of Negotin, near the Bulgarian border, there are the widely known Rajačke Wineries. In the area of Negotin region, known for its rich vineyards in ancient Roman times, the rural population has, for centuries been engaging with wine, & created a separate village near their permanent residence. The villages are named pimnice, as wine cellars are called by the locals in the Negotin area.
European viticulture in the late 19th century, fell into a deep crisis, when the American parasite called phylloxera, a tiny louse that destroys the vine, arrived. When, in the 1870s in Western Europe, the disease caused a shortage of wine, there was a boom of viticulture in Negotin Krajina, which due to the sandy-rocky soil structure phylloxera could not spread. Then the wine from Negotin began to be transported throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but also to France, England and Russia. Wine from Negotin region was transported on ships that sailed the Danube. The Negotin Region in the late 19th century, had the largest area of vineyards in the whole of Serbia.
Wine cellars are used for the production of wine and brandy from precious grapes, as well as a storage area for finished beverages, because it has always been believed that quality wine has to have peace and quiet. Rajac Wineries are a unique cultural and historical monument, erected in honour of wine and grapevines. Rajac pimnice represent a set of wine cellars, belonging to the village of Rajac, located 2 km west of the village, on top of Beli Breg, surrounded by vineyards.
Rajac wine cellars are densely grouped into a spontaneous series that follows the layout and configuration of the terrain. Rows of stone wine cellars of unequal size, a ground floor or two floors, but an identical shape and buried in the ground, make the winding streets of Rajac cellars. A monumental mysterious city of wine. Rajac Wineries are 270 rustic stone buildings (more than 300 before) that are more than two centuries old, a central fountain and a square dedicated to Saint Tryphon. Narrow streets lead to the next row of stone wine cellars, produced in this place by the will of Mother Nature and intended for the production, preservation and care of natural Rajac wine. They produce especially valuable red wines, produced with love and care from the host Rajac grapes.
From the natural beauty of eastern Serbia, it is imperative to visit the fascinating Vratna gates (the hunting reserve of the cultivated fallow deer, mouflon and wild boar), Mokranjska rocks, and Rajkova Pećina cave. This waterfall in the headwaters of the rocks is a popular excursion. The waterfall is about ten meters high, at the foot of which erosion has formed lake that is used as a summer beach.
The River Vratna, which flows into the Danube, created canyons with Prerasti – arched stone bridges that cover the river. There are three of them, called Vratnjanske gates and an unavoidable tourist destination.
The Rajkova Pećina cave, in the valley of the river is a really grandiose underground tunnel which runs the river of the same name. The unique form of underground karst morphology of eastern Serbia, the specific initial stages of evolution of tunnel cave outgrow, and therefore has a distinct scientific importance.
Iron Gate Gorge, Lepenski vir, Gamzigrad, Soko Banja, Silver Lake, Felix Romuliana, Rajačke Wineries from the 18th century wine production settlements, Rajac village, Jerma Canyon, Vlasina, Pčinjska river, monasteries Manasija and Ravanica with Resava cave – all are more or less known secrets of the region that must not be missed.
A particular challenge is to climb to the top of the mountain Rtanj (summit 1560 m above sea level), from which the view even extends to the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Rtanj is known for its endemic plants that grow only on this mountain, and is protected by law, and one of them is certainly the most savoury tea (Saturea montana).
Eastern Serbia is a unique testing ground for adventurous and active tourism, thanks to the excellence of the mountain landscape and its numerous water courses on which are also located numerous spas where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of unspoiled nature.
Eastern Serbia offers a unique blend of inviolate nature, centuries as a cultural centre and the centre of the gastronomic heritage of the Danube region Staroplaninska. The little explored timočka kitchen, habits and customs relating to food preparation, ritual behaviour at the table and ancient recipes passed down from generation to generation are attracting the growing attention of lovers of nature, history, health food and drinks.
Eastern Serbia has finally established herself as a true cultural phenomenon and a gastronomic paradise.
Mysticism, healthy and high quality drinking water, use of the thermal springs for centuries, in conjunction with the old recipes of traditional Vlach, Torlačka and Staroplaninska cuisine, are the backbone of natural gastronomy that intrigues a growing number of Europeans, but also the inhabitants of other continents.
Eastern Serbia is an old wine region, since ancient times. Timočka wines were and remained famous all over the world. The combination of tradition, culture and quality of this heavenly beverage is best seen in the Rajac cellars.
Old recipes, seasoned with natural, exotic components, which are jealously guarded and transmitted from generation to generation, they take your breath away when tried -pastirske dry pies with cabbage, mushrooms and nettles; salad of dandelion and wild garlic; natural juice Staroplaninska blueberries; lamb cooked in milk; cabbage stewed all day on low heat or stuffed vine leaves; Jani of three kinds of meat and varieties of corn bread and corn meal – then cheese, specifically prepared fried with a dozen kinds of vegetables that are used in conjunction with the famous Vlach or Staroplaninski cheese …
This array of delicacies simply has no end; as neither does the enjoyment that you will feel when in eastern Serbia siting at the table. When these specific foods connect with the spiritual history in the form of untouched nature, folklore, and the specific culture, created in this region since prehistoric times, through to modern times – then you will experience an unreal pleasure for all the senses.
Numerous agencies organize weekend trips, mostly to Rajko’s Cave, which is a remarkable natural monument near Majdanpek. Landscaped walkways inside the cave are available above the waterways. They are decorated with sparkling white cave formations and interesting travertine baths of diverse sizes, colours and shapes. In this area there is a Ravništarka, hydrologically active cave known for its creek ponorac which is a real attraction for speleologists.
On this trip visit Gornjak monastery, the endowment of Prince Lazar in 1379. One of the most common reasons for traveling in eastern Serbia is Zlatni Pek (Golden Pek). Tourists can experience an extraordinary and unique experience – search, or rinse gold particles using traditional wooden specimens in The River Pek.
Majdanpek is a typical mining town where mining has a long tradition seven centuries old. The attraction is a tour of the copper mine, where you can learn all about modern ways of copper and gold. In the center of Majdanpek is the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, unusual architecture for an Orthodox Churches; it was built in 1856.
The magic of eastern Serbia does not end there, because Rogljevo pimnice are also one of the most interesting attractions. However, best known are Rajačke pimnice, located halfway between Negotin and Zajecar.
Building “house – wine cellars” in Rajac started in the eighteenth century, for the purpose of keeping wine in stone buildings – basements, where she later proceeded with the production of the famous wine regions of Negotinska Krajina. In almost every instance of a Rajac cellar you can try a variety of wines or visit the exhibition of handicrafts and traditional crafts.
A visit to this part of the country should be used for visiiting the many historical and cultural sites, the white stone ‘gates’ in the village Vratna near Negotin, the monastery Bukovo, the monument for Hajduk Veljko Petrović, the house of Stevan Mokranjac … These are just some of the destinations on this unusual path.
Of course, in every town in Eastern Serbia, waiting for you are the specialties of the region. However, the biggest attraction of this area is located near Zajecar – The Roman Imperial Palace Felix Romuliana, which is now on the list of protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A ‘must’ visit during your stay, along with Zajecar Museum.
Zoran & Emina Milenović
00 381 64 398 16 04
00 381 65 966 62 05
Guest House & Ethnic Restaurant
00 381 64 216 25 00
If Travelling With a Motorhome Park Outside the Winery.
Vinarija RAJ d.o.o. 19 314 Rajac, Srbija + 381 63 720 57 48 ©2018 - Vinarija RAJ