Bogdanovic Villa Stara Planina

Bogdanovic Villa Stara Planina

Bogdanović Villa is located in Kalna village, in Knjaževac Municipality, in East Serbia, at the foot of Stara Planina Nature Park and the famous Ski Center. Kalna village is about 300 km away from Belgrade, 60 km away from Niš, 68 km from Soko Banja Spa, 39 km from Pirot, 29 km from Knjaževac and around 130 km away from Sofia. Thanks to its comfortable accommodation, excellent food and fantastic hospitality of hosts, this uniquely pleasant rustic villa in Stara Planina is part of our special offer for weekend packages in Serbian countryside.

Budžak is area which contains the foot of highest peaks of Stara Planina Mountain and belongs to Knjaževac Municipality, but still today bears the name which in Turkish means crook, due to its remote location. Trgoviški Timok or Strma reka River springs on the western slopes of Stara Planina Mountain, beneath its highest peak of Midžor – 2169 m, which is the highest point in Serbia, less than 1 km from the border with Bulgaria. Strma reka River gets Trgoviški Timok name from Kalna village, along the Trgovište village in Knjaževac Municipality, to join further the Svrljiški Timok River, creating together the Beli Timok River. The mountainous Budžak area is actually triangular space between Knjaževac and Serbian-Bulgarian border and villages of Pirot, where life was flourishing since the ancient times and during the mining of Romans up to the end of the 19th century and especially til the seventies of the 20th century, when this ultimately beautiful area, also known for cattle breeders – declined. There is an assumption and archaeological finds that people had lived in Budžak area already during the bronze age (1400-800 years BC). Turbulent historical, cultural and economic factors brought changes to the demographic picture of this area. From the end of the 19th century (1879) till the beginning of the 21st century, the population decreased for more than 3 times, and the number of members per household for 5 times. Faced with harsh conditions of mountain life and lack of perspective, the population intensively emigrated to the lowland areas around the Beli Timok river and to the surrounding towns. In the Budžak area, few settlements have the average population younger than 60 years what is nowadays one of the oldest populated areas in East Serbia featuring population density of 7 inhabitants on 1 sq km. Judging by the long-term trend of birthrate decrease and the accelerated aging of the population from this area, the question has to be asked: in 30-50 years in Stara Planina Mountain in the Budžak area, would there be human life at all, or there would remain historical monuments as the evidence that generations and generations of people had lived there and had their culture and customs.

Kalna village is situated at the altitude of 380 meters, on both shores of two rivers – Trgoviški Timok and Izvorska reka river, surrounded with magnificent mountain massif of Stara Planina Mountain. Once an administrative center of Stara Planina Mountain villages, but today with only somewhat more than 200 inhabitants, Kalna village provides its visitors various possibilities for true relaxation and holidays, to all keen to enjoy in long walks along wonderful pastures and forests, swim in mountainous rivers, pick up medicinal herbs and mushrooms, feel unique tastes and splendor of beneficial stream waters from nearby springs, or experience awakening with warble….

Although situated in the center of Kalna village, “Vila Bogdanović” provides sense of intact nature and absolute tranquility of the Stara Planina Mountain, thanks to its location on the vast property which contains an orchard and a forest. House for rent at the foot of the Stara Planina Mountain of 4 stars category has been built in sixties of the 20th century for the needs of owners household, to be entirely reconstructed and fully refurbished in 2009 in order to provide comfortable tourists services of accommodation and food. Since owners pay great attention to their roots and inheritance, the house itself was reconstructed in the way to preserve outside appearance of original architecture of Stara Planina Mountain, featuring archaic wooden windows, construction of stone and bricks combination with large porch, so-called “ćošak”, which is attired with arches in Morava style of architecture and traditional details, that all enable the entire structure a warm sense. Central heating is inducted in the house, which provides pleasant stay during the coldest winter days. In the ground floor there are the corridor, and 3 double bedrooms with private facilities and a common dinning room with kitchen. The floor contains a luxurious apartment of 80 sq m, featuring 2 bedrooms with king-size beds, a corridor, a bathroom, and a large dinning room with kitchen. Luxurious apartment is especially convenient for family vacations with 4 or 6 members. Bogdanovic Villa is also superb location for a memorable team building programs for smaller groups, thanks to its amenities, fantastic natural surroundings and imaginative activities we organize.

“Vila Bogdanović” has its own parking lot at disposal to its guests. During stay in this pleasant facility at the foot of the Stara Planina Mountain, guests can choose among services of bed and breakfast, or half board or full board /which is strongly recommended, since hosts serve only delicious authentic homemade food of Stara Planina Mountain, so-called „to fit the stable and a court, and greet a tsar and a cattle-breeder” : belmuž, cheese, yoghurt, various pies, klinka /kind of soup prepared from cabbage casserole/, soup of “vočće” (dried plums), lean dish of dried paprika stuffed with leek… However, an equipped kitchen, a kitchen-er and a fridge are at disposal to all who wish to prepare food themselves.

In the yard of the Villa there is an auxiliary structure, so called “plevnja”, constructed of stone, earth and chaff providing unique opportunity to guests who want to sleep on hay stocks, while enjoying its amazing smell and freshness and spirit of past times….. All who want to discover the rich history and preserved customs of Stara Planina and East Serbia are welcome to visit the Log Church in Kalavat, peak of Babin Zub, old hamlet of Minići, Bigar Waterfall, ethnological exhibition in Ćuštica village, apiary where they can observe natural honey crop and harvest, Temska Monastery, Donja Kamenica Monasteries and churches, recently reconstructed Monastery of St Onuphrius…..

The Valley of Stanjinska reka River is real oasis of intact nature, which hides numerous attractions. The river bed of Stanjinska reka and the calcareous rocks it cuts are unique nature phenomenon, adorned with Bigar Waterfalls, which is about 20 meters high. Upstream of Bigar Waterfalls there are several smaller waterfalls, and three lakes featuring crystal clear mountainous waters. Only a little is known about them, due to the fact that this area is sparsely populated and substantially remote. Stanjinska reka river is clear, icy-cold and clean, so potable in summer period, from the foot of Bigar Waterfalls, where locals and random visitors come to refresh and quench. Here in crystals of the Stanjinska reka river live some rare animals.

The colorful event of Molitva pod Midžorom is held traditionally on 6th of May, the Saint George feast. The first part of the Molitva pod Midžorom Manifestation is organized in Vrtovac village, where the Saint George’s feast is celebrated among local farmers and cattle-breeders as one of the merriest event dedicated to strength of spring and nature, since it is believed that Saint George ritually transmit its virtues to people, cattle and crops. Saint George Feast begins by picking up flowers and herbs on Plant-Friday followed with the ritual of making wreaths on river. Celebrating is continued with first milking of sheep, and on the day of the fest with the procession in the center of the village, including consecration of young cheese, adornment of the entire space and planinka /woman who represents spirit of nature/ with flowers and herbs. Procession ends with slaughter of a black male lamb which is adorned with the wreath and lighted candle on its horn, called “Molitva” by locals of the Budžak area.

Molitva pod Midžorom Festival – Prayer beneath the Midžor Peak Festivity