Stara Mountain - miraculous empire of waterfalls and nature
Vast areas of green, fresh air, a number of springs of mineral waters and great ski trails with a lot of snow are the key features of Stara mountain.
The Balkan mountain range, after which the Balkan Peninsula was named, extends 550 kilometers across the Balkans connecting Serbia and Bulgaria. Another name mostly used by Bulgarians is Balkan Mountain.
This mountain range is located in both central and eastern part of the Balkan peninsula and it extends from the city of Zajecar and the border between Serbia and Bulgaria to the Black Sea.
Five months of snow coverage make this mountain a true challenge for passionate skiers.
During Roman rule the mountain was known as Haemus Mons and historians consider that Haemus is derived from the Thracian word “saimon”, meaning ‘mountain range’. The Slavs called it Matorni gori, and Turks called it Kodzhabalkan and Balkan. The name “Balkan” comes from the Persian language and it means “mountaneous land”.
Endless stretches of untouched nature, vast mountain pastures and forests rich in forest fruit and herbs, picturesque villages and interesting folklore. That is the true picture of Stara mountain, one of the most beautiful and most authentic nature reserves that hides the highest mountain peak in Serbia – Midzor at 2,169 meters above sea level.
At the altitude between 1,100 and 1,900 meters, this mountain lies under snow blanket five months a year. The peak “Babin zub” (1,758 m) is one of the most beautiful parts of Stara mountain and it is a protected nature reserve, but it is also a ski center with cable car “Konjarnik” and artificial snow-making system.
The peak Babin Zub has a unique morphological form, with the characteristic western vertical cliffs and one cliff resembling an old tooth, thus the name Babin zub (English: Old lady’s tooth). This cliff is around 200 meters high and it is accessible only to experienced climbers.
Picturesque beauty 330 kilometers from Belgrade makes Mt. Stara planina the most beautiful part of eastern Serbia and it was declared a natural treasure of great importance. This mountain is known for its mild climate, clean air, springs of hot mineral water, while the park “Stara mountain” spreads on 142.000 hectares.
However, Stara mountain is also a desirable destination during summer period. This mountain offers some of the most beautiful green sceneries as far as eye can see. In 1997 Stara mountain was declared the Park of nature for its exceptional beauties. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity for recreational activities or going on a picnic or a hiking trip.
Zavojsko Lake, one of the most beautiful and clearest mountain lakes, lies at the foot of Stara mountain. The lake abounds in fish, and passionate fishermen along the bank of the lake assure us that this truly is the best location for catching pike, catfish and carp.
Stara mountain has characteristic flora and fauna, at the foot of the Babin zub sub alpine beech can be found, while rivers and creeks abound in brown trout. Meadows and forests are rich in herbs and mushrooms, as well as numerous species of rare flora.
Numerous mountain villages still treasuring the unique folklore and customs are set at the slopes of Stara mountain.
Friendly hosts will welcome you with lots of organic specialties and local homemade rakija (brandy). You should definitely try the famous “staroplaninsko jagnje” (lamb from Stara Mountain) with local cheese.
When you are here, don’t miss…
The excellent lamb roast which makes this region famous. It doesn’t matter if it was made in an oven, roasted or fired on a stone panel.
With the roast you must try Senokoški cheese which was even on the menu in the White House during the time of Yugoslavia.
Catch your breath next to the quick mountain rivers: Visocica, Rsomaca, Senkoška river and Temštica are just some of few rivers that with their clear waterpierce the mountain.
If you find yourself here in August, don’t miss the local traditional events: the Sabor of national music “Panadzur” as well as the International fishing competition on Zavojsko Lake.
Stara Planina spends almost five months a year under snow cover, at heights of between 1100 and 1900 m, meaning that there is good potential for the construction of long alpine ski slopes.
With the construction of a ski-lift system and ski slopes, accommodation and other facilities, Stara mountain became one of the largest and most important ski centres in Serbia, aimed in particular at lovers of snow sports and quality skiing in the midst of immense beauty and untouched nature.
The natural features of the Mountain are also ideal for hiking, hang gliding and paragliding, fishing and picking medicinal and aromatic plants and mushrooms.
Babin Zub is one of the highest peaks on Stara mountain, standing 1780 m above sea-level. There are plans to build the Babin Zub Tourist Centre, with an alpine skiing capacity of 14,000 skiers, 40 km of ski-lifts, 100 km of ski slopes and accommodation with over 8000 beds.
Currently, the Babin Zub Ski Centre comprises slopes in Konjarnik, the Suncana Dolina valley, as well as the Markova Livada meadow which is lit for night skiing.
The four-seater Konjarnik ski-lift, which has a “magic carpet” conveyor belt for boarding skiers, has a capacity of 1500 skiers an hour, while the Suncana Dolina and Markova Livada ski-lifts each have a capacity of 1200 skiers an hour.