Zaječar District is consisted of territories of municipalities: Zaječar, Sokobanja, Boljevac and Knjaževac.
Statistic data: population
Some basic data about the Zaječar District are presented in the table:
|No of settlements||42||20||25||86||173|
Land use and nature protection
Territory of Zaječar District is taken as an undeveloped region in the grip of an economic and demographic depression.
Arable land occupies more 45% of the whole territory.
Protected areas are listed as follows:
- Nature Park “Staraplanina”, the Municipalities of Zaječar and Knjaževac, of the area of 48,588 ha;
- Nature monument “Ripaljka”, the Municipality of Sokobanja, of the area of 7 ha;
- Landscape of outstanding characteristics “Lepterija-Sokograd”, the Municipality of Sokobanja, of the area of 406 ha;
- Nature monument “Bogovinskapećina”, the Municipality of Boljevac, of the area of 14 ha;
- Strict nature reserve “Mala Jasenovaglava”, the Municipality of Boljevac, of the area of 6 ha; and
- Landscape of outstanding characteristics “Romuliana-Gamzigrad”, the Municipality of Zaječar, of the area of 2,686 ha and of the protective zone area of 2,414 ha.
Territory of the region is taken as an undeveloped region in the grip of an economic and demographic depression. The unemployment rate was about 14% (source: Statistical office of Serbia). However, official figure is more-less unreliable and the true value can reach double than official due to the data that counts in only registered unemployment in the Bureau for unemployment. Majority of real unemployed are registered as farmers without land.
The focus area has no optimal connection to large transport nodes Belgrade and Novi Sad. There is no large railroad network in the region and the existing railroad network and rolling stock are in bad state of repair. There is no explicit connection between ship services on Danube and the region. The region is not included in the cruise shipping tours. Road network allows bus traffic, but due to the low inhabitancy and low interest for the tourism offer of the region, the bus traffic is not huge. The international bike route EuroVelo6 runs through the region and it is well marked. There are no combinations of transports – bicycles with ships, trains, busses.
There are no international train connections from the region to the neighbouring countries. There is a wish expressed by the Public Company “Railroads of Serbia” to connect the railroad of the Zaječar District to Vidin, but the project has not developed from the idea still.
Railroad network in Zaječar District has been developed for the primary purpose of connecting main industrial canters to the main cities in Serbia Niš and Belgrade. So, the network is in fact a railway that goes from Niš to Knjaževac and Zaječar and from Zaječar one railway goes to Negotin and port Prahovo, other goes to Bor (copper production), Majdanpek (copper production too) and then towards Belgrade.
At the moment the state of repair of railroad network in Serbia is bad. The speed is reduced even to 30km/h on some stretches. There is no developed harmonization between other means of transport. The main operator in the region is Public Company “Railroads of Serbia”, which is in charge for the construction and maintenance of railroads and rolling stock.
Trains are generally not widely used for tourism in the Zaječar District.
There is several bus services connecting Zaječar District with Western Europe, regularly used by passengers that originate from.
The region is served by a number of regional buses that are operated by several operators. Usually, there is a reduction of bus lines during summer school holydays and weekends.
Nearly all municipalities in the region have their strategic goals which are connected to the development of tourism. There are several tourism hotspots in the Zaječar District. Every municipality in the focus region have own tourism organization, which basically is in charge of the development and promotion of tourism packages and offers in its municipality. Every municipal tourism organization has their own web-site and offers some information regarding tourism packages:
Several projects have tried to produce a regional tourism offer and to do regional marketing on tourism. As every project, with a completion of it, activities are somehow reduces or completely stop.
Main tourist hotspots in Zaječar District are:
|Zaječar||Felix Romuliana||An archaeological site, spa resort and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Serbia, located south of the Danube river, near the city of Zaječar. It is the location of the ancient Roman complex of palaces and temples Felix Romuliana, built by Emperor Galerius. The main area covers 10 acres (40,000 m2).|
Stara Planina Nature park is rich in sediments of varying ages. Well-known are the Bigar stream valley and the Midžor and Babinzub peaks.Stara Planina is a harbour to least 1190 plant varieties, 116 species of butterfly, 18 species of amphibian and reptile, 203 bird species and more than 30 mammal species. The surrounding area is rich in sites of cultural and historical interest, including numerous Orthodox churches.
|Sokobanja||Sokobanja||Sokobanja is actor in organized spa tourism for the past 180 years. Main features are thermal mineral waters, ideal elevation, temperate continental climate, fresh mountain air with a lot of oxygen and beautiful, pristine nature. Most important attractions are the Hammam (Turkish bath), the Local Heritage Museum, Legacy Gallery, the health centre Banjica and thermal springs. Great network of hiking trails is also well known.|
BROAD DESCRIPTION ON TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN EASTERN SERBIA
THE CITY OF ZAJEČAR
The city of Zaječar is very rich in cultural and historical monuments. Certainly the greatest monument in the region is the archaeological site Felix Romuliana, from the period of Roman Emperor Gaius Galerius ValeriusMaximianus. It covers an area of 6.5 hectares (16 acres) and is surrounded by defensive walls with 20 towers. The fortification defended the imperial palace with temples, halls, peristyles and atriums, public baths, floor mosaics, marble panelling, sculptures. Felix Romuliana was inscribed into the World Heritage List of UNSECO in July 2007.
The Suvodol monastery, which is related to Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Serbia, is in the vicinity of Zaječar. Of the cultural and artistic facilities and events stand out the Theatre ZoranRadmilović, that bears the name of one of the greatest Serbian actors and a native of Zaječar, as well as Gitarijada (Guitar festival), the event that fosters rock sound and brings together renowned musicians each August.
The main natural resource at the disposal of the municipality of Zaječar is the Gamzigradska spa complex. The main feature of the Gamzigradska spa is an abundance of thermal-mineral waters – there are five sources of water whose temperature varies in the range from 32.4 °C (90.32 °F) to 42 °C (107.6 °F), in addition to which a source of drinking water with the temperature of 17 °C (62,6 °F) is also present in the spa. Thermal mineral water of the spa have largely been researched and tested, and their healing effect has been proven in the treatment of various ailments.
Tourism potentials of the municipality of Boljevac are extremely interesting, especially for adventurers and nature lovers. The traditional Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day) climb on the Mount Rtanj is one of the most beautiful night climbs and attracts hundreds of hikers and fitness enthusiasts from all over Serbia. The well-known Rtanj tea comes precisely from this area, and the event called “Picking of the Rtanj tea” is traditionally held here each year. Among other natural beauties stand out the Bogovinska Cave (the longest cave in Serbia, with its 5 km of surveyed corridors). There are also many attractive springs (the CrniTimok spring in KriviVir, the Lozica and Buk spring, the Lukovsko spring).
The municipality of Boljevac, as well as other municipalities of Eastern Serbia, is rich in cultural events, mainly of a local character, but without doubt the most important of them all is “Crnorečje” – Festival of Popular Culture, which brings together the growing number of visitors each year and is on the way to grow into a true national event.
Tourism is slowly becoming recognized as the backbone of the future development of the municipality. Tourist centre on the Mount StaraPlanina is the greatest potential of this region. In recent years, the entire complex is being developed and already a new 4 star hotel was built and a number of very attractive ski trails with modern ski lifts were developed. Also, the plan is to quickly complete the development of utility infrastructure and access, asphalted, roads. All this has stirred great interest of tourists.
Among other things, the municipality of Knjaževac is known for its cultural and historical monuments, above all, for the ethno-archaeological park Ravna. The park features reconstructed houses from the 19th century, as well as a collection of stone monuments and exhibits from the archaeological site Timacum Minus, from the Roman period, which is not far from Knjaževac. The Local Heritage Museum of Knjaževac is specific in that that one can see a unique exhibition of double-knit wool socks in it.
“Molitva pod Midžorom” (Prayer at the foot of Midžor) and “SabornaKadibogazu” (the Gathering on Kadibogaz) are the most famous events that take place in the municipality of Knjaževac. These events keep the tradition and old customs through the preparation of traditional dishes, telling folk stories and poems, performing traditional folk music.
Tourism is the main branch of economy in Sokobanja and Sokobanja has been engaged in organized spa tourism for the past 180 years. Over all these years of being engaged in tourism, Sokobanja has grown into a leading Serbian spa by the number of visits during a tourist season, where over one million overnights are achieved.
The climate is one of the most important elements of tourist valorisation of Sokobanja and the spa is rightfully called the “Air Spa” for it. Curative thermal springs of Sokobanja were known even in ancient Roman period. What makes Sokobanja attractive are thermal mineral waters, ideal elevation, temperate continental climate, fresh mountain air with a lot of oxygen and beautiful, pristine nature.
Writing about these regions, Jovan Cvijić, PhD, noted that Sokobanja and its surroundings may be called the “Serbian Switzerland”. Among the attractions stand out the Hammam (Turkish bath), the Local Heritage Museum, Legacy Gallery, the health centre Banjica and thermal springs. A special tourist spectacle is a hike to Sokograd, a fort built at the time of the Roman Emperor Justinian.