pedestrian area in Sokobanja, Soko Banja in Summer

Soko banja spa, even if it’s often written like this, is mistake. It is Sokobanja spa. It could be Soko banja spa in maybe case that there are many hawks here. Soko means “hawk” in Serbian. But that is not the case. At least in this period of time. Once it was, and for that reason this place got name Soko banja ie. Sokobanja. This spa is tourist diamond of Serbia and Europe. This place is visited by more than 100 thousand people a year.

How to get to Sokobanja

To Sokobanja spa you can come only by land road. From few directions. From Nis, coming to Aleksinac, to here. Distance from Nis to Sokobanja is about 50-60 kilometers, depending of road you take. The fastest way from Nis to Sokobanja is highway. So you can arrive to the spa in shortest time, even if it is 60km. Distance form Sokobanja to Aleksinac is 31 kilometer. If you are coming from Belgrade to Sokobanja spa, you should know that you have about 226 kilometers. From Zajecar in Eastern Serbia to Sokobanja spa there is 68 kilometers.

So, you can say that the road to Sokobabanja spa is not long. Never mind from what direction you are coming. Along the way, you will come to Aleksinac, Rtanj, Bovan lake, Moravica river Sokobanja. So you can certainly enjoy the drive.

Sokobanja history

Heath treatments in Sokobanja area were known in ancient roman time, and last till today. Sokobanja spa is health improvement center specialized in curing of diseases of respiratory organs. First traces of this spa are known from roman time. It is presumed that it was built during rule of Emperor Iustinian. Latter used by Serbian kings, than Ottomans, a after again us. In long history of this spa, it was liberated by famous hero Veljko Petrovic in 1808. Than it was called Banjica. Than it was rebuilt and in 1833, started tourism again in here.

Most important thing here is public bath called Amam. Great place for relaxing and treatments. Amam in Sokobanja is opened for visitors, never mind that it’s history monument. THis spa was built in period of ancient Romans. It was active in Ottoman period. Anf after, new begining was when Sokobanja was freed and become Serbian territory again. Prince Milos Obrenovic rebuilt it again in 1837. That’s why, one of baths is named after him. That is bathtub “Kada Kneza Milosa”, that is still active.

Themal spring in Sokobanja

Today in Sokobanja there are six thermal springs. Those six thermomineral springs in this spa are Pijaca, Bunar preobrazenje, Sonda park (Saint Archangel), Banjica pool 1 and 2. And also Banjica spring. Sonda park (St. Archangel) has clear water, with no smell or taste. Tempeprture of this spring is 43 degrees. Pijaca has also clear water, with tiny odor of hydrogen sulfide. Temperature of water in Pijaca spring in Sokobanja is 32 degrees. Banjica spring has temperature of 28-36 degrees.

Banjica 1 thermomineral pool in Sokobanja is also with water with no color and mild smell of hydrogen sulfide. Temperature of this springs water is 27,8 degrees. Banjica pool 2 in Sokobanja is thermomineral spring with water temperature of 28,9 degrees. Well “Preobrazenje” is thermomineral spring with temperature of 43.8 to 53 degrees.

Sonda park and Banjica are hyper thermal. They both have temperature higher than 38 degrees. Other four are Hypo thermal. They have temperature lower than 39 and above 20 degrees. Beside these thermomineral springs, are two more. They are with cold water. That is, under 20 degrees. They are Lepterija and Zdravljak.

In Sokobanja spa you can have medical treatments for many things. It is great in asthma conditions, low blood pressure, hepatitis, after injury conditions, anemic, gynecological disease. Tuberculosis and all unspecific lung disease. Medical treatments are done in Special hospital Sokobanja and Ozren hospital. And also in Banjca health resort.

Pogled na Milošev konak, Milošev konakt Sokobanja

Sokobanja come here old and go young

Sokobanja spa is one of favorite tourist destinations of Serbian people. Not just for health tourism. For relaxing also. Attempts at sports tourism and gastronomy should certainly be appreciated. In recent times, walking tours on the mountains Ozren and Rtanj have a big role. There are also Sesalac caves. Lake Bovan, when passing on the way to Sokobanja spa. Lake Vrmdza and monster Vrmdzilo. Meteorite that fell in 1877, first registered. Church of holy Trinity in Vrmdza built in 1818. “Bogova vrata” on mountain Krstavac, and waterfall and wellspring Buk. Aqua park Sokobanja also.

Sokobanja medicine tourism and what more?

Apart from the most important and well-known things for which Sokobanja is famous, is there anything else here? Guaranteed. No village or place of ours exists without some magic. In the case of Sokobanja, apart from spa tourism, it is food. These are Sokobanja cheese and Sokobanja sour milk. You say sour milk and cheese are everywhere? You’re right. But these are rare and different. What is very important here?Important is thathere you ahve mountains, which have, in addition to pure nature, a lot of medicinal herbs. It has medicinal benefits for grazing and the milk production team itself. Be sure to try Sokobanja cheese and Sokobanja sour milk. Recommended!

Sokobanja museum and Milosev konak restaurant

Let’s start from the center of Sokobanja. Certainly, the two most important buildings beside Amam are “Milošev konak” and the Sokobanja Homeland Museum. “Milosev konak” building was built in the 19th century for the needs of Prince Miloš Obrenović. Today that building is a restaurant. The Homeland Museum is also an old building, located in the original edition. It dates from the 19th century. The Sokobanja Museum houses various objects from the history of Sokobanja and its surroundings.

Aqua park in Sokobanja

The Sokobanja Aqua Park started in 2011. It is located in the part of Sokobanja called Podina. As the only attraction of this type in the vicinity, and in a tourist place, it arouses great interest. It works, of course, only in the summer months. It is located a kilometer and a half towards Aleksinac. Here you can enjoy the semi-Olympic pool, children’s, recreational with figures from which water comes out and the pool with water slides. Monthly ticket for adults costs 2500 RSD. For children up to 12 years 1500 RSD. The daily ticket for those over 12 is 450 RSD. For children under 12, the entrance to Sokobanja Aqua Park costs 350 dinars. Be sure to check the prices before departure and do not rely only on this article.

Sokobanja Soko grad (Sokolac) fortress

Soko banja spa as mistake. But is it also Soko grad? Or not! It’s not. Sokobanja and Soko is a city! : D Or Sokolac, as it is also called. Where is that “city”? Soko grad is a former fortification, located 2 km southeast of the center of Sokobanja. It is a medieval fortress from the 13th and 14th centurie. It was destroyed in 1412. And since 1413 it has been at the disposal by the Ottomans. Another important thing about this fortification is that it was built on the foundations of the previous one from the 4th century. This fortr Soko grad consists of two parts, the Lower and the Upper. Today, it is a cultural monument of great importance and as such is protected by the State of Serbia. Hajduk Veljko’s Church is nearby.

Soko grad sight in Sokobanja, Soko banja or Sokobanja spa Serbia

Not only Venice has Romeo and Juliet. Sokobanja also has their own. Romeo from Sokobanja spa and Juliet marked this territory and all generations after them. The picnic place was named after the girl Lepterija, and the beach after the unfortunate boy Župan.

Lepterija Sokobanja picnic area

Lepterija picnic area is another very important and popular landmark of Sokobanja. This picnic area is located on the way to Soko grad fortress. In addition to the phenomenal nature, something else is important for Lepterija. One is a rock that depicts the Mother of God with Jesus in her arms. According to the legend, the two of them hid here, fleeing from the Romans. On the religious holiday of Good Friday, water springs from the rock. Just for that holiday. Another important and beautiful thing is the restaurant under the rock. The restaurant is called Pećina. Apart from these two things, in this part of Sokobanja there are two water sources and bathing places on Sokobanjska Moravica. Apart from this, there is also an asphalt road.

There are two legends about Lepterija picnic area. The first legend says that this was the part where slaves used to walk during the day when they had the opportunity. And since a large number of them were from Greece, that’s how the name came about. In Greek elefthería (ελευθερία) means freedom. The second legend is romantic. The children of the commander of Soko grad and Vrmaški grad fell in love with each other. Because of the rivalry between the cities it was forbidden love. That love ended tragically. The daughter of the landlord of Soko grad was executed. And the son of the landlord of Vrmaški grad threw himself and drowned in the river. The daughter’s name was Lepterija, so this part was named after her. The boy’s name was Zupan, so the beach of Sokobanjska moravica was named after him. Sokobanj’s Romeo and Juliet.

Moravica river Sokobanja

When we are talking about the river Moravica, it should be pointed out that it is one of landmarks of this area. Because of its beauty and the beauty of the surroundings area. It is also a favorite beach for people from the surrounding area in the summer months. With the already mentioned beach Župan and fishing, on this river you have a complete offer. Apart from the beaches , the attraction is the source of the river Moravica stream, which is located on about 13 kilometers from Sokobanja.

This source is characteristic because it consists of two rivers and a lake, cathcment, at the beginning, in Vrelo village. Moravica Sokobanja consists of two rivers, on the right side river Izgara and on the left side river Tisovik. On the left side is also Gradasnica. On the right Seslacka, Blederia and Trgoviska river. This location is also a famous picnic spot for the inhabitants of Sokobanja and its surroundings. Marko’s cave is located near the spring. Legend has it that Marko Kraljevic, a mythical hero, lived there.

Sokobanja picnic sight Spting Borici

Park and picnic area Vrelo Boričići has a positive effect on walkers and people who spend time in it due to clean air and negative ions. So it is recommended for people with respiratory problems. There is also the fountain of Duke Veljko, when they say that he liked to spend time there. In his time, this resort is mentioned for the first time in Turkish documents under that name.

Otherwise, there is a dense coniferous forest in Vrelo. It used to be a meadow, the King’s Meadow. Which the citizens of Vrelo gave to King Petar Karadjordjevic, due to his frequent visits. Later, in the middle of the twentieth century, afforestation of this meadow began. Pines are planted there, and today the park is called “Borići” because of that.

Old mills in village Gradasnica

Gradasnica village is located 2 km from Sokobanja. There are two old mills in it, older than 200 years. They are located on the river Gradašnica. The nice thing is that in addition to just sightseeing, you can try to prepare dishes from the Sokobanja area with people from there. People from the ethnological association “Etnos” will take care of that. And this landmark is called the ethno corner of the Grudonjska mill in the village of Gradašnica. This river is important for one more thing. The Ripaljka waterfall is located on it.

Sokobanja Ripaljka waterfall on Gradasnica river

Ripaljka Sokobanja Waterfall has long been considered the highest waterfall in Serbia. It is located 5 km from the center of Sokobanja, on the Ozren mountain. It’s height varies from 11 to 14 meters. It has 11 sections, and the highest one is called “Velika Ripaljka”. Ripaljka refers to a jumping fish, ripa. Due to its beauty and characteristics, beautiful surroundings, the Ripaljka waterfall has been protected by the state since 1949. It is most beautiful in spring or autumn due to the larger volume of water. In summer, it happens that the water level drops so much that it almost dries up. Another waterfall has the same name but is not nearby, so it should not be confused with this. This other one is on Stara planina mountain.

Ozren mountain and Sokobanja spa

One of the most forested mountains in Serbia. Next to Ripaljka, there are waterfalls and spas, as well as two hospitals and two most famous picnic areas around Sokobanja spa. One is a hospital for the treatment of eye diseases. Another hospital on Ozren Mountain is for the treatment of lung diseases. And each of these resorts is named after the hospital that is located in it. One is Grudno, as well as the picnic area. The second hospital in Sokobanja is the “Ocna bolnica” eyes hospital. The picnic area was named after her, Ocno. One beautiful and romantic thing, which makes the Ozren resort different from others, is the “Kamen ljubavi” stone, a symbol of eternal love. Besides them, on the beautiful mountain Ozren there are some other arranged picnic areas. These are Kalinovica and Sopur known for their cold water, and Vlasina Sokobanja for its nature.

Sokobanja churches and monasteries

There is a very old monastery near Soko Banja. It is about the Jermenčić Monastery, the Monastery of the Archangels Gabriel and Michael, built in 1392. It is not known who raised him with certainty. But it is assumed that the soldiers are from Armenia. This is the first legend about the origin of the Jermenić monastery. These soldiers came to Serbia to fight on the side of the Ottoman Empire against the Serbs in the battle of Kosovo. When they realized that they should act against the fraternal Orthodox people, they left the battlefield. The monastery was built as a sign of honor.

Another legend says that Hajduk Veljko lived here with his mistress. The monastery was destroyed by the Ottomans when they heard that it was a hiding place for bandits. The monastery was renovated on two occasions, in 1804 and 1892. Another legend says that the monastery was built by the Siniti monks as an endowment of Stefan Lazarevic.

The Church of Saint Ilija is considered to be the oldest church building. It is located 12 kilometers from Sokobanja towards Knjaževac. One of the founders of this church with an interesting appearance is said to be Princess Persia Kradjordjević.

Spa Josanica Ozren Sokobanja spa

Near Sokobanja is the village of Josanica. It is located on the Ozren Mountain, 16 kilometers northwest of Sokobanja. Or some 8 km from Aleksinac. It is located on the mountain Bukovik, near Rtnj mountain. This spa does not have any other facilities and programs for visitors. Except health. Health treatments for diabetes, skin, blood pressure, rheumatism, etc. are performed here. Therapies are performed with balneo therapy, fango, kreno and peloid therapy. According to its properties, it is equal with Vrnjačka Banja. The village of Jošanica has developed tourism. Mostly because of the spa Jošanica.

Apart from the spa, here you can also see the oldest church in this area. It is a stone church from the 11th century. The church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God. And also, church is protected by the Serbian state as a cultural asset of great importance. Also, another facility deserved this kind of protection. In addition to this old church, there is also the Homeland Museum of Jošanica in the village. This museum is located in the courtyard of the church. There are also two churches in this yard. Apart from the Church of the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, there is also the Church of Saint Demetrius.

This spa is different thatn Josanicka banja spa.

Near are Rtanj, Vrmdza and Vrmdza lake.

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Waterfall Ripaljka Sokobanja credits Dejana Ristic ; Sokobanja pedestrian area photo by Saše Stojanovića, Amam photos are bz Kneza Miloša su delo Dekanski SB CC BY 4.0