While leaning on the railing of ”Molitva” I watched the green river quietly flowing in the canyon below me. One vulture landed on a cliff on the other side. Apart from the occasional sound of crickets, it seemed like no other sounds were there. There were no even other people, even though I was standing in a place that was shown in so many billboards in past days. Observing meanders of river Uvac, which disappears and re-appears behind the rough slopes, and so long as the eyes can see, I remember a thought that went through my mind: ”How is possible that place like this is so unknown all these years? And why even now no one is here? This is perhaps the most beautiful corner of Serbia, and seems like nobody knows about it…”.
What is Uvac actually?
Uvac is a river in southwestern Serbia, with a length of approximately 120 km. The most beautiful part of its flow, which it dedicated to this story, is located between Sjenica and Novi Pazar, consisting of numerous meanders that river carved into the limestone walls in its course. The nicest view on the meanders is from viewpoint called ”Molitva” (translated in english it means ’’Prayer’’) which can be easily reached on foot.
If you decide to take this walk, first you need to reach the town Sjenica, and continue through it towards Ivanjica. At the eighth kilometer of the road turn left on the gravel road that climbs on the hill ’’Kandića krš’’, and then at the hill pass road continues to the camping site ’’Previne’’ on the shores of lake Uvac. This place is the starting point for this beautiful walking tour.
Be sure to prepare comfortable walking shoes and pack some water and a few sandwiches. If you take a hike during summer months, bring a hat and sun protection, because there is almost no shade during the walk. The path is simple, easily noticed and it extends high above the meanders of the river. Hiking doesn’t require any special preparation and medium level of physical condition is just enough. Track is ideal for all amateurs and enthusiasts. The length of path from the camp ’’Previne’’ to the viewpoint ”Molitva’’ is 4.5 km, and it takes about two hours (add some extra time for a break on viewing points). Return will need less time, taking the same path. The height difference between the highest and the lowest point on the track is about 100 m. Altitude of the final destination at viewpoint ’’Molitva’’ is 1247 m.
From camp, path constantly rises, at times descending between the hills, mostly stretching across the pastures high above the water.While walking, only a few houses can be seen in the the hills. There are no hotels, apartments, restaurants, fast food, or even roads. Here you are alone with nature that gradually revealed in its most beautiful form. As you walk the narrow path that leads near the canyon rim, at the same time it feels like path travels through time. Stacks of hay in the surrounding hills remind us that life still exists here, while a footbridge over the river allows connection between villages on the different sides. But everything is quiet as if no one is there…
At some point you will notice the most famous residents of this place! If you raise your head, you’ll see Griffon vultures, with a wingspan of 3 meters! They represent the largest birds in these areas, and the only species of vultures that inhabit Serbia. Right there, at vertical slopes of the canyon, vultures bend their nests. Only twenty years ago, vultures were almost extinct, but thanks to organized care and feeding, their number is constantly growing.
Fortunately, Uvac still remains untouched by mass tourism. That is why now is the best time to visit it. All this will look different, when one day hotels start to rise above the canyon, and when asphalt road reach ”Molitva”.
I honestly believe that development of tourism infrastructure will give this region a chance for growth, but, inevitably, charm of the scenes that I tried to convey to you will disappear at the same time. However, if you hurry, you still have a chance to enjoy untouched nature, wave to griffon vultures, and a chance to exchange a few words with the local mowers in a meadow. Perhaps you may be even lucky enough to drink fresh milk and taste cheese with Mr. Bajro and his wife, who are today one of the few inhabitants of these areas. I still remember their stories about life along the river. If some of you meet them on the way to ”Molitva”, send them my greetings and gratitude for their sincere hospitality.
Enjoy the walk!
Photos by Nebojša Zabrdac.
If you are interested to explore Uvac, we’ll suggest you this new tour.