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Uncovering Mt. Stara Planina hidden beauties, one of the least explored natural areas in Serbia and oasis of fresh water in every step of the way.
Mt. Stara Planina is a nature park under the protection of the government for its vast flora and fauna, splendid landscapes and waterfalls. When we think of wilderness, usually an exploration through the thickly overgrown plants in a tropical rainforest crosses our mind. The wilderness hidden in the slopes of Mt. Stara Planina offers an experience just in line with that while staying on the European continent.
In the first article of this series, I gave you a glimpse of outstanding dazzling waterfalls of Mt. Stara Planina. Every third waterfall in Serbia is located on the territory of Mt. Stara Planina, and some speculate that this number may be higher than a hundred. Due to untamed nature, and in some parts an inaccessible terrain, many of the waterfalls are hard to reach and were discovered only recently.
Fresh, clear waters of mountain rivers near the town of Pirot, famous for the unique woven kilims, are in most cases safe to drink. The waterfalls are especially beautiful in spring and autumn when, due to the rainfall and snow-melting, they have a heavier flow and more dramatic paths. Spectacular views, healing energy of wild nature and overall remoteness of the location, offer for an irresistible adventure reserved only for the true nature lovers. Even though you can find the locations of the waterfalls online, it's advised to go with the certified guides from the touristic and hiking organizations.
Only 8 km from the village Topli Do and its river, the Cunguljski Falls springs down the bare rocks from the height of 42 meters, and "only" 1150 meters of altitude. It was discovered relatively recently, in 1996, by the explorer who accidentally found himself lost out of the hiking trail. It’s unique because it cuts into the rocks for one centimeter every year, due to the very heavy water flow from melting snows in early spring, coming down from the higher peaks.
The river of Topli Do carries the largest number of waterfalls in Serbia. In the area, surrounding the river, there are reportedly more than 50 discovered waterfalls!
Just below the Mt. Kopren, at imposing 1820 meters of altitude, there lies the second largest waterfall in Serbia, 103.5 meters long. During the summer, the Kopren Fall is well-hidden behind the excessive forest vert, and in winter is transformed into a grand ice structure, that gets covered in snow during the snowiest winters. It’s one of the highest waterfalls in Serbia and represents a true reward for dedicated hikers. However, it’s not recommended to go by yourself, as you need to follow a specific path, that’s not always easy to find. Even a small discourse from the path may result in missing the Kopren Falls, due to dense forest vegetation.
Located beneath the “roof” of Serbia, the highest peak Midzor (2.169 m), there lies a magnificent waterfall - the Kaludjerski Skok. Its location was well-known from before, but it was measured for the first time in 2012, only to discover that it was intimidating 232 meters long, at 1554 meters of altitude, reaching down to 1422m. Due to the vast forest vegetation, as well as sharp and slippery rocks, it’s only possible to visit this waterfall during early spring, while there is still a snow in some parts, with a full hiking equipment and a certified guide. The hike is definitely worth the trouble, and rewards the bravest of hikers who decide to reach the Kaludjerski Skok with a memorable and breathtaking experience.
Such a place that welcomes only the experienced hiking shoes should be regarded with the utmost respect and will award its visitors appropriately. Local people take a great pride for the untamed nature "in their backyard" and give their best to preserve and promote it, in spite of the rapidly growing plans for the industrialization of this area. The dazzling waterfalls of Mt. Stara Planina are there to pick your interests for the surrounding canyons, caves, and summits, guarding the east of Serbia, and offering a real wild adventure at our disposal.
Many thanks to Milan Simonovic from "Save the rivers of Mt. Stara Planina" movement.
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