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Kopaonik mountain

History

Kopaonik is the largest mountain range in Serbia and the most famous and largest ski resort in the country, popular during both winter and summer. Many have discovered their passion for winter sports on this mountain and return every year. This mountain has everything: from breathtaking natural beauty, rare flora and fauna, excellent accommodation for those seeking a break from everyday life, skiing and other winter sports courses, and of course, phenomenal entertainment.

If you have always been interested in how Kopaonik came to the status it has today, in the following text you can read about its geomorphological characteristics, and the development of the mountain as a tourist and ski center, as well as a national park, a habitat for many protected plant and animal species.

Founded back in 1992

Bela Reka Brzeće

Ski Club
About Kopaonik: Geomorphological Features and Natural Monuments.

When it comes to the geographical position of Kopaonik, it is located between the rivers Ibar and Sitnica to the west, Labe to the southeast, Jošanica and Koznica rivers to the north, and is bordered by the valleys of the Rasina and Toplica rivers to the east.

The origin of the name Kopaonik comes from its mineral wealth, where mines existed since the Middle Ages. These mines were primarily caused by volcanic activity and hot mineral melts, which resulted in high temperatures and strong pressures that led to changes in the rocks.

These features, along with favorable climatic conditions, diverse geological substrates, and a thick snow cover, have influenced the development of a rich and diverse flora and fauna, as well as the formation of numerous natural landmarks.

Some of the most famous geomorphological landmarks are the granite stone figures of Lisičja Stena, Suvi Vrh, Babin Grob, Karaman-Vučak, and evidence of Pleistocene glaciation, such as Cirk Krčmar, Cirk Široki Do, and Cirk Velika Gobelja.

Settlements on Kopaonik

Just the name Kopaonik draws attention to its mining tradition, as do numerous toponyms such as Suvo Rudište, Samokovka, Rudnica, Gvozdac, and Kovači, which also testify to the development of mining activity in this area. The history of mining on this mountain begins with the Romans, and continues through the Sassanids and the Middle Ages, the Turks until the 17th century, and up to the present day, with a small hiatus of 200 years prior to that.

During the Roman period, there was intensive use of the mineral wealth of the Kopaonik region, and evidence of this can be seen in the many remains of mining buildings, tunnels, and smelting facilities that they left behind. The most material and tangible evidence of mining activity in this area comes from the Middle Ages, particularly in the vicinity of Kopaonik, where medieval fortresses can be found. Maglič is one of the most impressive fortresses on the right bank of the Ibar river, dating back to the 13th century and considered one of the most beautiful monuments of Serbian medieval architecture.

Maglič is surrounded by the river on three sides, while the eastern side is protected by a moat. It has seven massive towers and a donjon tower that was the most advanced and also served as a residence. Within the fortress was the Church of St. George, rebuilt by Archbishop Danilo in the 14th century.

Ras, also located near Kopaonik, is one of the largest fortresses in Serbia overall. Within its complex are three archaeological sites, of which the best known and most extensively researched is the military fortress at Gradina. This fortress had two gates, a western and a southern one, both flanked by towers.

In the first half of the 12th century, Ras became the main stronghold of the Serbian state, requiring additional reinforcements and the construction of new structures, highlighting the significance of this entire region for Serbia at that time. Today, the area has changed significantly and is primarily focused on tourism. In addition to these two most famous and largest fortresses, remnants of medieval towns such as Zvečan, Brvenik, and Koznik, which date roughly from the 11th to the 15th century, are also preserved and located on isolated plateaus that provide good visibility.

Kopaonik today

As we have already mentioned, today the purpose and development of Kopaonik primarily lie in its tourism development, as the most popular winter destination both for Serbia and the region. How did it come about?

Tourism in Kopaonik began to develop in the 1930s, primarily thanks to the development of the Kraljevo - Raška railway line, which was put into operation in 1931. At that time, the first organized groups of tourists began to come to Kopaonik, mainly mountaineers and skiers.

Basic conditions for tourism were only able to develop after the construction of the asphalt road from Jošanička Banja to Brzeće and Kruševac, which passes over Kopaonik. Until 1964, there was no planned tourism development and no work was done on it, so a community was established a few years later that focused specifically on that, as the potential was recognized.

Planned construction of the Suvo Rudište tourist center began in 1980, it took 6 years, and now it is the most famous and visited tourist, as well as ski center, in Serbia.

About 65km of trails for Nordic and Alpine skiing.

Kopaonik

Ski Resorts Of Serbia

History of skiing

at Kopaonik

The development of skiing on Kopaonik came about through the development of this sport in the Alps in the 1930s, when the Serbian Mountaineering Society was founded in Belgrade. The interest in Kopaonik and its potential as a mountain, not only in terms of tourism but also for skiing and mountaineering, was increased by the construction of a railway.

The first skiing course was organized in 1935, after which the decision to build a mountaineering lodge was made at the site of today's Hotel "Olga Dedijer". In this initial period of lodge development, visitation was generally low, mainly due to a weak material base, expensive equipment, and poor transportation to the mountain.

Nevertheless, this did not prevent them from regularly holding skiing competitions until 1941 when this mountaineering lodge was destroyed during the war. Seven years later, it was rebuilt at the initiative of mountaineers and named the Mountaineering Lodge "Olga Dedijer". However, disasters did not spare it, as it burned down two more times before being converted into a Category B hotel.

Kopaonik began to take shape as a real ski center after the construction of the first ski lift in 1964, followed by other urbanization projects. After the necessary conditions were met, the Karavan Hotel (now the Grand Hotel) was opened, which completely improved the quality of the previous offer, while the "Olga Dedijer" hotel was renovated.

Kopaonik National Park

In 1981, the Serbian Parliament declared Kopaonik a national park due to its rich flora and fauna. In the lower regions of the mountain, there are beech forests with maple, ash, and lime trees, while the highest forested area is dominated by spruce trees. The forests at even higher altitudes give way to low shrubs such as juniper and blueberries, primarily because they can better withstand the cold winds.

Endemic plant species on Kopaonik include the Serbian spruce, Pančić's rockcress, Kopaonik violet, gentian, Kopaonik houseleek, and Pančić's scabious.

In addition to the flora, the fauna is diverse, and animal species that can be found here in greater numbers include wolves, deer, foxes, rabbits, as well as various bird species such as the Eurasian eagle-owl, rock partridge, and crossbill. Zones with particularly significant and rare plant and animal species are isolated and protected as nature reserves, and there are 12 of them on Kopaonik.

Today, Kopaonik is undoubtedly a standard in terms of skiing and available courses, as well as accommodation units (hotels and apartments) and the overall organization of the center, which is increasingly popular among all age groups year after year.

In addition to winter sports, during the summer, you can enjoy walks or other types of outdoor activities here, so choose your season and be sure to visit Kopaonik!