Rzav River Canyon

The Veliki Rzav River springs at the foot of the Mučanj Mountain /highest peak 1536 m/, located between the Kokin Brod /Zlatar Lake/ and Ivanjica, east of the Murtenica Mountain, and south of the Javor Mountain. The Veliki Rzav River is created by the Presečka reka River, whose source is set on the slopes of the Cemernica Mountain and the Jamcica Mt in the village of Mocioci.

The Beli Rzav /White Rzav/ is the river of West Serbia which starts in the Zaovine village, on the west slopes of the Tara Mountain/National Park. The main feature of the Beli Rzav River is its distinctive bright bed-river color, which comes from the very white stones. Thanks to such white river bed, the Beli Rzav – White Rzav River features extremely cold waters, even in highest summer temperatures. The Beli Rzav River is 23 km long and its watershed covers 205 sq m. The Crni Rzav River /the Black Rzav river/ starts at the foot of the Čigota peak, at the Carevo polje point and the village of Draglica, and flows along the central part of Zlatibor Mountain. The Crni Rzav River supplies the artificial Ribnica Lake with its waters, from where the entire Zlatibor tourist center is supplied. The Crni Rzav River got its name after the dark color of serpentine river bed along the river course. Besides the Crni Rzav River, the other Zlatibor area rivers are Uvac and Beli Rzav River. From its source, the Beli Rzav River flows through outstandingly beautiful areas, and had created the canyon along the foot of the Sargan Mountain, to continue through the village of Mokra Gora, famous for the Sargan train – the well-known tourist attraction of Serbia. The Kamisnja River joins the Beli Rzav River by the Mokra Gora village. In the Vardiste village, both rivers of Beli and Crni Rzav form the Rzav River, that continues to Visegrad, where it joins the Drina River. On the Beli Rzav River there is the artificial lake of Zaovine and the reversible Hydro-power plan, and a number of mountainous watermills. The Zaovine Lake is located on the Tara Mountain/NP, by the village of  Zaovine, and belongs to the Municipality of Bajina Basta. By its origin, the Zaovine Lake is artificial, and was created by construction of the dam in the hamlet of Djurici, carried out from 1975 to 1983, when the course of the Beli Rzav course was dammed at the point of Kik peak (958 m). In the period of highest water level, the surface of the Zaovine lake rises to the altitude of 881,50 meters. The Zaovine Lake deepest point is around 110 meters. The Zaovine lake is supplied by waters from 2 streams, the Konjska River and the Beli Rzav River. The Zaovine Lake attracts a large number of visitors and nature-lovers in summer. It is surrounded with green hills covered with pine forests, and due to the lack of tourist facilities – it provides unreal quietness and peace.

The Canyon of the Rzav River, from Mokra Gora village up to Visegrad /Bosnia and Herzegovina/ was for centuries the trail of travelers and merchants, which connects the Adriatic with the Central Balkans. This was also the bloody route along which numerous armies passed, on their way to the East or to the West. The mountain peak of Carina, above the river canyon, and the Vardiste village and the Varda Mountain, whose names in Old-Slavonic mean the „guardian“ testify on this historical phenomenon.

There are not many canyons such as the Canyon of the Beli Rzav River, on its course from the Zaovine Lake up to the junction with the Crni Rzav River. Hiking down to Kotroman, some 1 km downstream from the village of Djurici, the tranquil landscape surrounded with wonderful mixed forests of the Tara Mountain, suddenly and dramatically narrows into the few hundred meters deep canyon of the steep sides, that in some parts almost touch one’s head, reminding of the well-known canyon of Nevidio in Montenegro. It is almost impossible to hike along the mountainous wilderness of the Rzav River shore, and the river can be easily crossed with assistance of the hiking stick, due to its pretty shallow river bed, even in spring. The river junctions, from where the Rzav River flows direction Visegrad, make the unique natural phenomenon because of huge water temperature differences of the two Rzav Rivers. The water temperature of the Beli Rzav River, which comes along the canyon from the area of the Zaovine lake on Tara Mountain ranges during summer from 8 to 11 C, while the temperature of the Beli Rzav River, which openly flows from the Zlatibor area, rises up to 26 or 28 C. When those two Rzav rivers join, here there is a very pleasant water temperature of 20 to 22 C for a pleasant summer swim !

The Veliki Rzav River is officially the cleanest river of Serbia. Up to town of Arilje, the Rzav River flows through depopulated areas of the carstic canyon, and features crystal clear and pure potable waters.The Rzav River differs entirely from all rivers you have visited – it is quick, relatively shallow, with constant small cascades, and of tranquil waters, with some pretty safe obstacles, and of amazing natural beauty. The Rzav River is rich in nicely arranged beaches, where visitors can relax in summer days, so visitors to Arilje are strongly recommended to take their swimming equipment. In town of Arilje, there are several beautiful beaches on the Rzav River : Urjak, Bosa Noga, Green Beach, Žuta Stena. The part “Kruščica – Bosa Noga” is 28 km long and can be passed in 4 – 6 hours, depending on the water level. There are three waterfalls and cascades on this part, the first one at the very entrance to the Orlovaca Canyon, the second one within the Orlovaca Canyon, and the third cascade by the village of Roge. There are 4 or 5 village wooden bridges across the river, where the boat needs to be carried. Below the Bose Noge beach there is the beach called the Sonjine Čari. Below the Zuta stena is the dam of Sevelj – the point from where the water is converted into supplying system of the Rzav River, while after the dam the Rzav River flows through Arilje, where it joins the Moravica River. The Mali Rzav River joins the Veliki Rzav between the village of Radobuđa and town of Arilje, while the Veliki Rzav River joins the Golija Moravica River, 2 km downstream of Arilje, enabling this town to enjoy the premium located between the two watersheds of the Rzav Rivers Direction of those watersheds is predominantly northwest – southeast. The smaller rivers o the Arilje Municipality are Panjica, Trešnjevačka reka, Grivska reka, Novitovića reka, Latvička reka, Biljevačka reka and Mirosaljačka reka Rier. Arilje is alway reborn every spring, then Rzav River breaks with its strength into the mountains, crosses the fields, narrows and canyons, announcing the awakening …..

In the area of the Visoka village, close to Arilje, there is the spring of hot medical healing waters – the Visocka Banja Spa. Since the time immemorial, this spa was known as to cure various illnesses – rheumatism, heart and nervous diseases, and significantly helps eye-sight. The water springs out in bubbles in a number of places from the depth, besides the river bed, and in some parts along the river course. The springs of the Visocka Banja Spa are set in a very inaccessible part, at the elevation of 600 meters, and can be approached only by hike down and up the river course. In 1997 the hiking trail was built above the river course, that goes to the spa. The water springs out from the underground collector /lake/ by the principle of the connected pots, and by its own pressure finds the cracks and holes in the river rocks in places of the weakest resistance, that are the lowest parts of the Rzav River Canyon. The water, coming out from the collector to the surface, previously heated in deeper parts, melts with the surface waters and gets colder. This type of the canyoning springs is a „museum of natural thermal rarities“, the only one in Serbia and the former Yugoslavia. The healing waters of the Visocka Banja Spa features 27C, and belongs to the category of the calcium-magnesium-hydro carbonates, oligo-mineral, hypo-thermal waters. The Visocka Banja Spa is known to cure the rheumatism, the skin diseases and vision. Accommodation facilities in private rooms number around 30 beds, and the Visocka Banja spa features two open bathing pools. Organized usage of the waters of the Visocka Banja Spa started in 1936, but till the present day it is not sufficiently exploited as the tourist resource.

The amazing relief significantly contributes to the outstanding beauty of the Rzav River scenery, which features deep valleys and ravines and gorges of the Beli Rzav, the Crni Rzav and the Kamiska River. All those natural features of the Rzav River provide memorable outdoor activities in the wilderness to adventurers – canyoning, hiking, caving…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZc2j2V15UI   Baterija Studio film : Ivan Nikolic and Dobrica Mitrovic