THE JEWEL OF BALKAN – 3rd chapter

3rd chapter 

Under the shadow of the Prince’s Knights

I passed by afforested hills and spacious valeys, enough for only few miles to reach Lazar’s capitol, Kruševac. I remember I came here few times with my school class. It was beautiful, again,  around the spirits of the knights, looking at the town for long six centuries. I stayed at the hotel, in the center of the city with a nice view of Kosovo Warriors monument. And from this very place they began their journey to defense Christianity, all way to Kosovo. Fascinating! Kruševac is a small town, but have beautiful spots and mysterious stories, and I hope it might lead me to my gem. I really needed help, but I couldn’t say a word about it, and as usually I did it my way. I felt my throat clamped. I didn’t feel quite well. I had a headache and felt my head is going to explode . I really didn’t have enough strenght to continue my pursuit, it beet me tired. I just fel a sleep.

„Ding – dong“, alarm on my cellphone keep beeping. With heavy eyes I watched it, and tried to turn off, for all time.

„I really hate when the alarm woke me up. My whole day is ruined than”, already mad at myself. And clock was ticking last minutes till noon.

“What”, I screamed like Im late. Involuntarily, I dressed my favorite ocher jeans but it couldnt make me feel much better. Still, I was ready for a walk.

I went to the monastery Lazarica to light the candle. I was baptized here. Some of my relatives told me once, when I was a kid, my father took me here and baptized me. And nobody get the point why my father took me here Belgrade. It was a really challenge and bring a little baby to get baptized on a journey of 200 miles. The goddfathers waas angry, but at the end it was his way. This templ was the right place. He used to talk its one of the diamonds of serbian history and this is not just a building made of bunch of rocks, but the place with special spirit. In that time, people didn’t appreciate this a lot, cause they believed in ideals instead of Christ and a cross. Lazarica is one of the most famous monasteries  in Serbia. Foundation of Prince Lazar, keep the spirit from the old ages, since Prince and his army was at the Holy Communion, just before the Holy war. The battle was  at Kosovo on 28th June, 1389. where both of rulers died and determine the new course of history. This day people celebrate as St. Vitus, paying tribute to fallen heroes of Serbia. Only the ruins remained of the old town of Kruševac, and the monastery still lay in the center of the town. There are models and how it looked like in the local museum.

„And this is the place where it disappear”, I get mad and angry, watching at the exhibits.

 “How suppose I know where is it when I don’t even know how it look like?“, I almost lose my hope and sat on the bench. A great statue of Prince Lazar watched at me and in some strange way, I had a feeling it trying to say something to me. According to six centuries old tradition, there is stories that are saying, Prince Lazar rise from the death. And while his spirit lives here, this monument is the keeper of the town. When he died, his head was apart of his body, and people are saying if some day someone compile it, Serbia will be united again, and people will live in harmony. Of course, it didn’t happen till nowdays. While his body is laying in Manasija monastery, his head wander around the world. Could it be, it’s the gem Im searching for? I was hungy and I couldn’t think clear any more. Since I knew this town quite well, I went to Ribarska spa, a windmill in a village of Srndalje. I heard they prepare nice meals and grilled fish. I needed this to refresh myself. I walked down the path of wealth. This is the royal spa. Serbian king Peter Ist (monarchy Karađorđević) liked this spa, above the Jastrebac mountain. This mountain is nearest to Kruševac and presents real Meca for local and foreign game hunters. Its one of the most beautiful and undiscovered mountains in Serbia. In this spa the king had treatmants in termal waters and truly enjoy with the queen, in peace, far away of all royal protocols. Talking with locals was quite interesting, made me visit monastery St. Roman and miraculous church of Virgin Mary in Djunis, village near Ribarska spa.

Summer of the Lord ‘898. and very hot day, a peasent mayden went for a fresh and cold water. By the way she heard some nice woman’s voice and she hit the road to reach the spring. When she arrived, she saw young lady in a dress shining as a sun, long hair, and she said to her she build a church on this wonderful place. Mistic woman droped a rock, like she was marking this holy spot, and she disappeared as she never been here.

„The rock!“, I said.

„Where could it be?“, I ask myself. Locals told me I can see it in the monastery treasery, where I could also find some 19th century inscriptions. This walk tour, simply finished by the Adrovac, nice place on the hill, surrounding by alley of 100 old limes. And here is the church of St. Trinity founded in tribute of 37 old  colonel Nikolaj Rajevski, who has as a volunteer connected with Serbian army in serbian/turkish war during 1876. And he stayd here forever. In the following years Rajevski lived as count Vronski in Tolstoj‘s novel “Anna Karejina”.

„Ugh, enough with informations, im tired, I need some sleep“, soon as I reached hotel, I fell in my bed. I was dead tired.

After long hours of sleep I woke up with the first morning rays. Although still sleepy,  I realise my room is in a chaos. All of my stuff were all around the room with no order. I didnt realise what was happen last night. Ringing telephone turned my attention while I was stretching curtain. I answered. Huge vibrating sounds almoust made my eardrum explode. Probably some provider failure. I dressed the first things I found on the chair. The plan was I go to serbian Holy Land, Mojsinje. One tire was blown a little. I couldnt risk and go fast so I drived nice and carefully, but in my mind I was hurry as I never been before.

South Morava, Stalać gorge, Mojsinjska and Poslonska mountain create this spiritual and historical sightseeigns. There is still a monastery of St. John the Baptist, builded in 9th century, probably the oldest in this region. Actually, the story begans much earlier. According to legend, in the old times, here in Mojsinje, a man kept his flock. Going from the east, a Wagon laden camels passed by Stalać gorge and stoped at Mojsinje for refresh and sleep. But, one of them, stayed awake and went for a walk. He saw a shepherd and start telling him a story: “In my land, sometimes in the past, lived a shepherd on the mountain, just like this one. He saw there an Angel of the Lord in a burning blackberry… burning and never burned. He approached to see this wraith and magic. And the Lord said to him:“ Moses, Moses! Do not go there, but take off your shoes, because the path you are walking on is blessed and holy“. Feared by the great Lord, Moses covered his face with hands and went back“. When he finished this story, he knelt and kiss the ground, and said this mountain should carry the name by Moses.

Was this pasanger actually, our Holy father, or Moses maybe? There is a hundred of questions, why Temuxin (Genghis Khan) has deep respect of this area and what the Romans and Bhyzanthines kept here?

A jewel, maybe? In the valey of the three mountains  Mojsinjske, Poslonske i Đuniške there is riverbed, building a double omega and look like the fetus. Stalac fortress is located in very center of the head of the fetus. Around the town, river is twisting and hitting the rocks on the banks, and all the way to the north, to Mojsinje. The Romans made the road all the way of South Morava and connected the east and the west of the empire. This road is known as „Via militaris“. The remainings of this road are located around the town. Huge slabs of stone, with latin numbers and letters, could be seen from the road. Because of the position, this area is also known as The Gates of Serbia.

I trembled at the river bank and felt like I lived here, in a previous life perhaps. I was afraid that something will go wrong. I gathered my stuff and headed towards the Todor tower, despite the fact I was still in a mood for swimming in this divine river. Todor of Stalać or Serbian Duke Prijezda,  lived here with his wife Jelica. They loved each other so much, they almost never been apart.  Even in the times when the Ottomans ran over Serbia, they were still together. From the quiet room, you could hear the sob, which marked the last minutes of their lives. He drew her close, so close, he could felt the her breath on his cheek for the last time. And his cheek was wet of her tears. She was affraid, but not for herself, but for his love, cause she knew he never gonna see him again. Duchess was a pretty woman, in fact, one of the most beautiful in Serbia. And the Duke adored her.

„Darling, nobody can separate us“, he said his last words, and they jumped in cold river of South Morava. The love left their mark and trace here, they have not fallen into the hands of the turks and they didnt allow anyone to separate them. People are saying, there is a secret tunnel that connects this tower with a tower in Kruševac…

I stopped to draw water at the Lazar’s fountain. The spring of this miraclious water are studied by many labs, and mixing it with some coloured chemicals but they couldnt find the source of cure effect and elixir of youth. The only thing they were able to determine that it flows next to the oak standing there for centuries.

„I feel I need this elixir, in some way. I get older in this relationship“,  I mumbled when I recieved the message from Marko. I didnt answer, I turned off the cellphone and went to south….

Absentmindedly, I looked out the window of my jeep. My eyes are lost in the distance. In one moment he said we will be together always, and then told me I am living in fantasy and I’m crazy, because of my running after the treasure that not even exist. Harsh words have fallen on that night when I closed him the door to my heart forever. He used to humiliates me in front of my friends, and sometimes to hit a slap. With great difficulty I resisted his torture and mother’s discipline, so I could start my searching. I drove the highway Kruševac – Kuršumlija. The weather get worst and the rain started. It was raining cats and dogs. Turbulence in the air was growing stronger and I felt like I’m losing control of the wheel. I thought that my rear left tire shake, but apparently not, when I realized that I was swiftly overtaken by someone and ousted from the road. I was spinning a few rounds and landed in a meadow. For a moment it seemed like I lost consciousness and yet in the distance, I heard the crunch of tires. Pain in my neck, probably from a sudden blow to the head office. I left the car to get some fresh air. And then I noticed the sign by the road – Devil’s Town.

Impatience was rising, because I could hardly wait to see this natural phenomenon, or maybe, to meet with my own devil who may wear Prada. 202 stone figures make this a natural complex of many secrets. Whether they are caused by long and patient work of nature or…?

Science says that these figures appear on the loose, but firm ground on which there is a larger sized stones. Work of rain make the land is eroding, except under the rocks cause their weight prevent its further dispersal. In the final processing, effect of natural forces, the pyramids and towers are even more thinning, so at the end make this stone caps. They are located in two separated narrow ravine watershed, whose sources fused into a single erosive formation, terribly devastated by the erosion process.  Ravines also have strange names; Devil’s Gorge and another Hell Gorge. In each of these ravines you could find a spring of very acidic water. These springs are not completely tested. The other spring is red and hot, and very healthful.

Many legends circulate about the clay figures. The site of a strange name Devils Town belongs to the village, also strange name, Djake, which comes from the Albanian word „gjaku“ which means blood. A long time ago lived a humble, peaceful people devoted to their faith. That’s bother the devil and he brought them devil water to forget about the family relationship. As they drank the water, stunned residents resolved to marry a brother and sister.Vilatry to prevent this plan, which according to legend, this day holds under its protection to this area.Vilafailed and they went to church with the bride to the wedding. She then prayed to God to somehow prevent incest. God grant her application, connected the sky to the ground, breathed into a strong, cold wind and petrified wedding with the bride.

„Perhaps my jewel is some of these stones“, looking at the flyers. I was thirsty.

„Should I drink this water, I already proclaimed as crazy one. Perhaps its gonna save me from madness and Marko” I laughed ironically. My laughter echoed, eerie tone. Strangely sculpted, and even stranger arranged, the figures were staring at me. This wilderness erosive formation, water wonder of flavors and scents, mysticism and mystery that create sound effects, blowing wind shaken my imagination to think about everything, about life, the jewel.

I stayed in Prolom spa, in a beautiful hotel with a swimming pool. I needed relaxation, of course in the pool. My thoughts swirled in my head while the smell of honey and white coffee were spreading around. I sat in a restaurant and got the sweet pleasure. The flavors of honey and milk were mixed in me. It reminded me of an incident two years ago, for my birthday, when I received a bouquet of flowers with a message, from a secret admirer. And it said I have a mouth sweet as honey, and that he would like tasting it with great pleasure. As a gift I got this map of treasure that I am looking at right now. Somebody obviously knew about my passion and the story about the gem I am searching for. In the beginning I thought it was from Marko, but I was wrong. He slapped me that day in front my friends, and that’s the day my hell is started. I swam in the hot water of Prolom Spa and tried to be calm and relax myself, but still I felt some tension. I wished I could erase every time he kissed or touched me, but no effect. I remember my father took his father once and brought here to treat kidneys . Besides this treatment, this water is also good for relaxation and blood circulation. I finished my relaxation here, cause besides this spa, there is two more, Lukovska and Kursumlijska. In southernSerbia, 36 miles west of Kursumlija, on the eastern slopes of Kopaonik is located Lukovska Spa, good for recreation and recovery, and thermal water with temperature 56-69 ° C and their abundance of 100l/su . There is also a Turkish bath or Hammam. Hammam, it is an experience I’ll have, unfortunately, to jump. The road calls me and I packed and went to Nis…





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