With the Sky within Reach

The Nemanjićs have walked these mountain paths.Some of their most famous endowments are here, Sava’s Hermitages and Waters, traces of Nemanja’s prophetic stick. The sun rises from the gigantic Kopaonik in the morning and sets over Golija in the evening. Beauties, scattered on all sides, wait for us. Old postcards testify that these beauties have been known in Serbian tourism in the past, but the question is whether they are still known

Text and photo: Dragan Bosnić 

The road to Rudno separates from the Ibar highway near Brvenik. The road makes an almost full circle above the hill with the remains of the town of Brvenik, and then meanders through the Brvenička Gorge, following the river with the same name.

The village of Gradac is about ten kilometers upstream. “Iva” water is bottled in the village, but the settlement is more famous for the monastery church dedicated to the Annunciation of Holy Virgin, endowment of Jelena, wife of king Uroš. The tomb of the great queen is in the impressive church, said to be fifth among the Nemanjić family endowments. Her body, however, disappeared somewhere in the mist of centuries.

Each year in May, the monastery hosts “Days of Jelena of Anjou” or “Days of Lilac”. According to the legend, the lilacs were planted in the Ibar valley by king Uroš for his bride-to-be. Nuns from Gradac monastery are famous for supreme icon painting.

The road from the monastery meanders up the Radočelo mountain. After abo ut twenty kilometers and almost a tho usand meters of climbing, we reach the fairytalelike plateau and the village of Rudno. The village has an altitude of 1.100 meters, surrounded with thick forests, rich pastures, meadows and many mountain rivers and streams.

The forests are centuries old, coniferous. The highest peak of Radočelo, Krivača, is 1.643 meters high. There is a path from the village of Rudno through an old forest leading to it.

Interesting is also the small church Nikoljača from the XIV century, not dedicated to St. Nicholas, but to St. Elijah. It is small in dimensions and covered with stone plates. It is two kilometers from the settlement and located on a forest plateau surrounded with tall spruce trees. A bell tower was recently erected. The local Church of Holy Trinity was also recently renewed.

Rudno is mainly a climatic place, where the blood improves with impressive speed. The place has a long tradition in tourism. Guests used to come here even before Kopaonik was discovered as a tourist destination. Old postcards showing nicely arranged log cabins where guests stayed testify about it.

Today they also stay in nicely arranged log cabins, offering the comfortableness worthy of high-ranked tourist centers. The most important objects are log cabins belonging to the Šekler family, with the “Beli bagrem” ethno restaurant. Numerous awards won by chef Milijana Šekler at different events prove the quality of food offered by the restaurant. We should also mention the “Selena” household, as well as the bit further “Nebo” tourist resort.

The sky over Radočelo is luminescent, completely unpolluted, so during the night you can see all the details of the scattered Milky Way. Equally beautiful are the sunrises over Kopaonik or the sunsets on the heights of Golija. Rudno is also famous as the place with the most sunny days in Serbia and a special wind rose, good for treating respiratory diseases.

Treasure

They say that seven roads lead from here. According to his – torical data, many caravans passed through Rudno on their way to Dubrovnik. Such stories probably initiated the fables about buried treasures, present in many other parts of Serbia. Buried perhaps at times of trouble, sought in vain, found only in stories.

CONSECRATING LIFE AND TIME

Every summer, scouts organize an education camp for children in Brevina, on the Rudno plateau. The path of health is thirty-six kilometers long, with ethno log cabins used for resting along the way. The Kace canyon and its waterfalls make this area very attractive and challenging.

The most important events in Rudno during the year are the gatherings on Christmas Eve, with burning of the oak tree in front of the Church of Holy Trinity, “Foxes and Wolves Hunt” in March, the July Assembly, “Flowery Fields of Europe” in August, the Assembly in Radočelo in August, “Potato Assembly” and the Assembly in the Studenica monastery during September.

Pridvorica monastery is on the northwestern slopes of Radočelo. The church dedicated to the Transfiguration is little known, but it is certain that its founder was an important person and that the monastery had its own waterworks. Interesting are the stone decorations built into the church façade.

There is a macadam road leading from Rudno to Pridvorica over Dević, but it is better to take the road to Pridvorica over Studenica.

The road towards Studenica is also macadam, but it is better maintained and very picturesque. You can occasionally see a large part of the Kopaonik massif, and then the valley towards Studenica. Also interesting is the cemetery church in the village of Vrh. It is almost identical to Nikoljača for its dimensions and shape. It is dedicated to St. George, and the altar part of the façade has a plate with a head similar to the one in Pridvorica. There are several more such plates in the church interior. Another interesting single-storey church is in the village of Dolac, on the road to Studenica.

Stefan Nemanja built a monastery in the late XII century under the Radočelo mountain. The monastery was named after Studenica, the river flowing from Golija into the Ibar. St. Sava stayed in Studenica from 1207 to mid-XIII century. Under Sava’s guardianship, the monastery became a great cultural and spiritual center of medieval Serbia. It is one of the most valuable monuments o f Raška s chool o f a rchitecture. The church dedicated to Holy Virgin is single-nave, with an altar space and interior narthex, while the exterior was built later by king Radoslav.The relics of St. Simeon, or Stefan Nemanja, are kept in the church, as well as relics of his wife Ana, their son Stefan.

Travelers who wish to visit Pridvorica should also visit Sava’s Hermitages located near the road, on the slopes of Čemernica. The Lower Hermitage, with the spring Sava’s Water, can be reached in about ten minutes of walking, while an interesting path, about three kilometers long, leads to the Upper Hermitage, with the church dedicated to St. George. It was raised in the XIII century and painted by Georgije Mitrofanović four centuries later.

Waters

The water in rivers and streams on Radočelo is of extraordinary quality, since there are no industrial centers in the vicinity. The biggest rivers are Brevine, Izbubra and Vrelo. All three are rich in sprout and river crayfish.

Izvor