Sjenica: The Serbian Siberia

January 1, 1970

by FreedomWriter

Roads in Sjenica during the winter

Roads in Sjenica during the winter

Mosque Sultan Valide in Sjenica,city center

Mosque Sultan Valide in Sjenica,city center,winter time

Sjenica: The Serbian Siberia

Serbia is a small country situated at the crossroads between Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans .Not very popular but certainly well known for its natural beauties such as beautiful mountains, lakes and rivers, spa and ski resorts and many other attractive tourist places. One of those attractions is definitely a city which is well known across the Europe as the Serbian Siberia – Sjenica.

Once a center of all merchandise activities in whole Sanjak ( The Ottoman Empire region, but the term Sanjak still remains popular for this region)Sjenica is a modern but still rural place where everyone can find something to enjoy in. Sjenica is the small town with only 16000 citizens, situated in the center of one of the most expanded municipal area in Serbia. It was a place where the medieval caravans reposed their horses and fed them with hay, and the legend says that is how the city got its name( hay is “sijeno” in Serbian), on their way from Dubrovnik to Constantinople. Small but beautiful city in the southeast of Serbia. Amazing landscape ,fresh air, polite citizens and a real place for a good vacation. A city surrounded by seven mountains and placed in the valley of those mountains gives it a unique climate and a “must visit” place. In recent years, it has become a real sensation among the fans of tourism, with new, unexplored landscapes and untouched, undamaged natural beauties. With an altitude of 1130 meters, it represents the unique, splendid and incomparable natural oasis in the heart of Europe. Sjenica is also called the Serbian Siberia   or the coldest inhabited place in Europe.  The lowest temperature ever measured here was  in January 1954,  minus 38.4 degrees, and it was the lowest temperature until  January 2006 when it was measured minus 39 degrees. The absolute maximum for this site was in August 2007 ,36 degrees.  The winters here are very harsh, cold and with a lot of snow. In 2012, the snow layer was over 1,60 meters and it was an incredible landscape full of never-ending whiteness. This situation was quite normal for the citizens who are pretty much used to these conditions and they performed their everyday activities without any problems. Even during the summer time, the nights in this city are very cold comparing to the temperature during the day. However, the citizens of Sjenica, including me, never complain about this because it gives them a good night sleep after a hot day.

Nevertheless, the cold weather doesn’t make it difficult for the people in this city and the tourists to enjoy all the beauties of it.

sjenica lake, griffon vulture

Sjenica lake, griffon vulture

Winter time in Serbian Siberia

Winter time in Serbian Siberia

Places to visit

  • Sjenica lake
  • Monuments of culture:
  • Ski center Žari

Sjenica lake

In recent years, this place is crowded with the tourists from many European countries and they say the lake reminds them to Grand Canyon. One of the biggest tourist attraction of the region is Sjenica lake with its incredible landscape with meanders of the river Uvac. The best thing is that Sjenica city center is only 6 kilometers away from the lake . Another magnet for tourists is the fact that the lake is the biggest habitat of the  griffon vulture or “scavengers of nature” in the Balkans, rare and the largest bird living in Serbia, which was once one of the endangered species but today there about 200 of them living on the banks of this lake.

Sjenica lake is 25 kilometers long and its maximum depth is 108 meters, at an altitude of 985 meters. The best impression can be taken from Viewpoint called Molitva (Prayer). I can tell you it is a stunning view from this Viewpoint and it gives you a unique feeling and it can possibly give you a close encounter with those griffon vultures flying over the lake and literally over your head.

Sjenica lake is something like a paradise for hikers, adventure lovers, and nature lovers. The lake can be visited by a boat or on foot. This way you can see the caves -a unique cave system debt of more than six thousand feet, mostly unexplored and unknown. The caves are rich in cave ornaments in the form of stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies. Also, you can see the river meanders and the griffon vulture nests on rocks on the shore. Around Uvac or Sjenica lake, there is small footpath which can lead you to a lookout point with a view of the lake and its meanders. If you are a camping person there is also a camping zone on the shores of the lake where you can out your tent and enjoy the nature. For more information about the lake check the link .


Monuments of culture

The city is surrounded by the range of the most beautiful cultural-historical monuments . Monuments of immeasurable cultural and historical value can be found wherever you go. In Sjenica there is the Valide Sultan mosque (built in the 19th century), founded by the mother of Sultan Abdul Hamid 2nd (during the Ottoman Empire), its dome is 15 meters in diameter without any pillar. This object is one of the most beautiful Islamic monuments in Serbia, and it has been recently put into the protection of the government as the monument of a great cultural value.

Other very important object is the Mosque in the village of Ugao (built in 1703.). This is the oldest existing mosque in Sjenica municipality.

Yet another monument is the Kumanica monastery. Time of the construction of the church of St. Archangel is not completely certain, although it is assumed to be in the 13th century. The Kumanica monastery  has been in ruins and abandoned for centuries but during 2000′s, the church was rebuilt and roofed. The first archeological research was done in 1971. Although the church has been ruined for last few centuries, it has remained one of the rare cultural objects in this region.

Ski center Žari

If you are visiting Sjenica during winter time you just shouldn’t miss visiting the Ski center Žari. It is only 6 kilometers away from an urban area of Sjenica, this ski center presents an ideal place for those who love winter sports but also for those who enjoy spending time on snow.

There are two parts of this ski center. One segment of “Žari”ski-center is the center for Nordic sports with total 5,5 kilometers of tracks and fully equipped shooting range for Biathlon. In this moment, this center is the only one in the region and it is titled as National biathlon center “Žari” and all national and regional competitions are held here.

There is also a brand new ski track, which is another segment of “Žari” ski-center and it is the favorite place for recreational skiers and beginners. The track is 850 meters long with ski-lift and gives a unique view of Sjenica valley and surrounding mountains of Pester plateau. Working time is 09:00 – 16:30 during the winter season which is in this area very long.

The city has several hotels and places where you can stay overnight and the food is just delicious. The food here is full of meat and other specialties and I am sure that if you ever try it you will definitely want some more. In addition, there are also very good night bars and cafés if you are a night party person. As a matter of a fact, if you decide to visit this small city you can do that and save your money because the night in a hotel with a breakfast is only 10 or 15 euros.  The following slink can give you further infirmation concerning the places you can stay in Sjenica;label=New_German_DE_5226379345-fzDOffFjuxoGSvYd3CT4rgS73336368505%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1%3Ap2%3Aac%3Aap1t1%3Aneg;sid=59043203a415ffcb3dce6f6dea2fc025;dcid=12;city=-95757;hyb_red=1;redirected=1;redirected_from_city=1;source=city;src=city&gclid=CN2xpJye98sCFVEo0wodQIQBuA&tfl_cwh=1

All things considered, it would be a shame not visiting this natural oasis if you were given a chance. This is only a part of the unexplored natural beauty of this yet untouched and beautiful city, so if you ever come anywhere near Serbia does not skip visiting Sjenica or The Serbian Siberia.


By FreedomWriter

HI,my name is Valida Stupljanin Tokovic, a proud mom, English teacher, tech and movies lover,a great fan of football-soccer and sports in general. I am a person eager to learn new things and improve myself on a daily basis. I always want to explore more and that's why I like traveling.Traveling is a great way to meet new people,traditions,cultures, customs,languages and have fun in the process. I visited some European countries and cities. I was really impressed with Slovenia and Germany. Slovenia's seaside is absolutely amazing.Traveling is more fun if I know the language spoken in a country I am visiting. So, I try to learn new languages in my free time. Currently, I am learning Turkish and German because those are my next destinations. I like hiking and biking,so nature attracts me the most. Every place I visit tells a story for itself and I will try to retell it to you the best way I can. I hope you will enjoy reading my articles as much as I enjoy writing them.


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