30 May Soko Grad Fortress (Sokobanja)
You’re in need of an adventure that will leave you breathless – Soko Grad has got you covered! Resembling a castle from J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe more than it does a fortress belonging in Serbia’s East, Sokolavac — as it’s sometimes referred to — is more likely to be the birthplace of Gandalf than it is the work of Roman craftsmanship fallen into Slavic hands.
Sitting high atop Mount Ozren, Soko Grad is just 2 km away from Sokobanja, a renowned Serbian spa town. The ruined military fortification offers the average vagabond plenty to see and do, as it dominantly presides over the surrounding Lepterije nature reserve and Moravica river canyon.
You’ve got just over an hour worth of hiking to do before reaching the ancient fortress from Sokobanja. Your adventurous path starts at the spa town and follows a marked trail along (upstream) the Moravica river and through some forestry. The path is abundant with park benches, making it perfect for travellers of all fitness levels. There’s even a source of fresh mountain water at the halfway point, allowing you to quench your thirst along the way.
The fortress’ entrance tower immediately greets you following the completion of the ascent. This is the best-preserved part of Soko Grad, while the rest of the of the ancient military fort lies predominantly in ruins. Divided into two sections, the ruined city housed the master and his army in uptown, by the main entrance tower. Meanwhile, downtown was reserved for the general population and prisoners.
Seeing as you’re already here, there are quite a number of other attractions you won’t want to miss:
- Ripaljka Waterfall
- Brigand Veljko’s Fountain
- Bovan Lake
- Turkish Bath
- Vrmdzansko City
Travel Tips & Essentials:
There aren’t any man made steps leading to the fortress. Wear sturdy shoes with plenty of grip, preferably hiking boots.
How to get to Soko Grad:
Buses travel directly Belgrade and Nis to Sokobanja. From there, a 2 km hike awaits, as Soko Grad is accessible only by foot. From Sokobanja make your way to the Lepterije nature reserve, from where you will follow a path heading upstream along the river Moravica. You will reach the fortress after about 500 m of walking.