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Zlatibor – Serbia

The well known mountain and tourist centre – the Mount of Zlatibor (once called Rujan) – spreads at 30 km length and 15 km width in south-west Serbia, between the Rivers Djetina, Uvac, Rzava and Susice.

This summer and winter haunt is the natural health resort, 27 km away from Uzice, 230 km from Belgrade and 280 km from the sea.

The vast, mildly waved Zlatibor plateau at the average level of 1000 m above sea level is bordered by the heights covered in various vegetation -primarily in golden pine, juniper and fir, and by its peaks Tornik (1497 m), Murtenica (1480 m), Cigota (1422 m), Viogor (1281 m).

Its expansive ample and fragrant fields and meadows are cut by many streams and small rivers. The pleasant, mild, mixed mediterranean-continental climate provides exceptionally clean air without humidity, with the characteristic concentration of light ions in the air, absence of allergens and radiation of radionuclides- 2003 sunny days a year, with minimal temperature discrepancies – made this place an extraordinary air spa, a unique health treasury and the most visited mountain in Serbia.

Zlatibor has been known from long ago as a climatic area, summer and winter tourist resort. As early as 1750, chroniclers have recorded that building of the first “summer houses” (cottages) in Vodice was the beginning of the development of Zlatibor.

However, August 19,1893. is taken as the official date of beginning of the tourist development of this Serbian mountain gem, when King Aleksandar Obrenovic visited Zlatibor and was hosted a banquet near Kalusevac spring.
On that occasion, King Aleksandar supported the wish of his hosts to develop the region into a known summer resort, so he raised a drinking fountain on the spot where the banquet was arranged in his honour.

From that time on, Kalusevac was named Kraljeve Vode (King’s Waters). (However the name was changed into Partisans’ Waters after the Second World War and that name remained till the end of the 20th century.)

Anyhow, the true development of Zlatibor began with building of a modern hotel (Srbija villa of today), Cigota villa and a bakery in 1908; these buildings received their first guests in 1912.

A permanent coach line was established upon construction of the Kraljeve Vode-Uzice macadam road in 1927. The area between Kraljeve Vode and Palisad was afforested in 1930. In that period, a regulation was brought regarding landscaping of Kraljeve Vode as an air spa, so that electricity and water were supplied and the sewerage network constructed, as well as new buildings in the village of Ribnica.

From 1930 to 1940, Zlatibor was established as a sports centre as well – in 1934, three hundred skiers stayed there. There already were about a hundred of private villas and hotels in Zlatibor at that time. After the Second World War, the development of Zlatibor as a tourist centre was resumed, so that an artificial accumulation was built, the road to Uzice paved…

The construction of “Palisad” Hotel, the foundations of which were set in 1961, added weight to the importance of this development, and the first guests were received in 1970.

That was the way Zlatibor has grown into a true oasis of calm, accord and beauty -thanks to the nature and its devotees -becoming the famous centre of mountain, recreational, hunting and fishing tourism, and lately of health tourism as well.

Namely, after thorough research of climatic and favourable bio-medicinal factors in Kraljeve Vode, the “Zlatibor” Institute for Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Thyroid Gland (goiter) was built in 1980s. The area of Zlatibor is healful for those with anemia, for exhausted people, those with stressed nervous system, and with asthma and mild heart condition.

Within this specialized Institute – equipped with latest equipment for diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation and staffed with a team of doctor specialists and therapists – there has for many years been available a very popular Cigota programme, intended for those wishing to lose weight and become fit under supervision of experts. The programme is based on appropriate diet and adequate physical activities.

Favourable availability of snow – 96 days in a year with snow of average 60 cm thickness – and the mildly sloped Zlatibor inclinations provide ideal conditions for winter sports.