Taking the road south of Belgrade, we come into Sumadija (Woodlands), a fertile region known for its forests and fruits. Legend has it that the woods of old were so dense and impenetrable that one would walk through them for days without even a glimpse of the sun. It was this terrain that gave birth to heroes of the Serbian Uprisings against Ottomans. The purpose of our journey through the outstanding nature of Sumadija is to discover those heroes who regained their nation’s independence, to learn about Serbia’s rise to the kingdom and the two dynasties that ruled her and to see how the spirit of old tradition still lives in this part of Serbia. In Orasac, where the First Uprising began, under the oak tree ‘Takovski grm” that witnessed those happenings, you will have a chance to hear a tale of Black George – Karadjordje, the fearless leader of the rebels. Not so far from Orasac rises the magnificent mountain Bukulja, with the city of Arandjelovac at its foot. The founder of the city was Milos Obrenovic, the head of the Second Uprising and the first ruler of the independent 19th-century Serbian state. In the middle of this charming town, nestling among the woods is Bukovicka Spa, well-known for its thermal springs and the park which is decorated with sculptures brought from all around the world. Following the country road, we find ourselves in Topola, the center of the liberated Serbia from the time of first Uprising. There you will see the lavish church mausoleum of the House of Karađordjevic, surrounded by the family’s large vineyard. You will also have the opportunity to have a traditional meal and taste some homemade Sljivovica.
Trees take up a prominent place in rich Serbian mythology that keeps a memory of a land that once was the land of Gods, Fairies, Dragons, Vampires and other mysterious creatures. King of these Slavic mythical woods is Oak, a personification of Perun, God of thunder and stormy sky. Some oak trees in Serbia, hidden under the name Engravings, in ancient times were sacred places that had a function of real shrines when these were far away. And when rebels fanned out in 1815, they didn’t spring out from bushes and shrubs like rabbits. This would have been a shameful scene. They gathered under the imposing “Takovski Grm” oak tree, the green face of Perun, God that had fallen into oblivion. When the land was ravaged and miserable, unimaginable poor, people awoke drowsy beliefs of ancient times, they had recalled mighty Oak, the old shrines, green cathedrals to be a witness of great achievement for freedom of Serbian people