Mountain of Narcissuses and Horses
This is not a dull geography textbook for seventh grade, filled with unnecessary information. It is a directory that should be repeated and carefully listened to. It opens to us depths of languages and mountains. And you should get to know Stolovi, if you haven’t done that already. Its meadows filled with beautifully white flowers and wild horses. Even Miloš Obilić, a legend has it, found his magnificent stallion Ždral here. He offered all the treasures for it, and got it for free. This is what happens with heroes in Serbia

Text and photographs: Dragan Bosnić

To the southwest from Kralјevo, bordered with the Ribnica River from the east, Brezanska (Gvozdačka) River from the south and lower course of the Ibar from the west and north, the mountain of Stolovi is situated. The main mountain range is in the shape of a table, and therefore its name (stolovi = tables). It rises gradually in the length of twelve kilometers, from southeast to northwest, where Kamarište, the highest peak of the mountain of Usovica is located, 1.75 meters high. Not far from it, separated by a saddle, there is Čiker (peak in Turkish), the second highest (1,325). Seen from afar, the main ridge is completely flat, so the locals here call it Ravni Sto (flat table).
In the south and north, Stolovi descend sharply, almost vertically toward the Ibar and constitute the right, the Good side, of the Ibar Gorge. This part of the mountain, because of terrain configuration and erosion of the soil, is mostly rocky, with numerous rock creeps of fallen rocks sliding toward the Ibar. Vegetation here is scarce, stunted forests resemble thickets, there are more steep grassed slopes or are rocks. Such a terrain is natural habitat of the autochthon Ibar lilac, which blooms in the gorge and can also be found in the foot of the mountain, along the Melјanica River.
The biggest tributary of the Ribnica, Melјanica empties in the village of Kamenica. It cuts through a deep and relatively long valley that separates the rest of the mountain from Ravni Sto. In the north, toward the Kraljevo Pit and Mataruška Banja, the mountain descends much more softly. It is crisscrossed by the courses of Žička, Crna and Zamčanjska Rivers, which gives a star shape to Stolovi as a whole. The parts of mountain mass separated in this way have special names of smaller mountains: Vitoš (755 meters), Strmenica (678), Oštra Glavica (729), Ozren (956).


Ravni Sto is covered with grass. In May, here and in other places on the mountain, the wild narcissus grows, and Stolovi is well known for it. For more than half a century, the event called ”Visiting the Narcissus” has been organized here. The founder is mountaineering society ”Gvozdac”, in the house of which, in the village of Brezna, the event begins and ends. Some of the participants start from the village of Kamenica and they altogether walk to the peaks of Stolovi, the meadows of which look white from narcissus flowers. The treks are developed and marked, with road signs, about twelve kilometers in total. The climb to the top is mellow, so it is not difficult to walk up there. In the village of Gradi, not far from Žiča Monastery, in the basin of the namesake river, there is the mountaineering home of Society ”Gvozdac Junior”. The place called Đipanda’s grave, where a local hero from the First Serbian Uprising was killed, is also nearby.
Despite numerous springs and water courses, Stolovi is considered to be a dry mountain. Serpentine rocks are dominant, they are relatively porous, and during the summer and in dry years many springs grow weak or completely dry.
At the foot of Stolovi, next to the Ibar Rover bed, there is a spring of thermal-mineral sulphurous water (up to 42 degrees Celsius) around which Mataruška Banja was built. Not far from thermal springs, on Lojanika hill, there is a site with petrified forest, a scientific zone of the first level of protection.
Fauna in Stolovi is just like on other mountains of the Kopaonik range. A rarity is a bigger herd of semi-wild horses that permanently live on Stolovi. Since the ancient times, the mountain has been known for good shepherds.
According to a legend, Miloš Obilić, the hero of the Battle of Kosovo, looked for a horse for himself on Stolovi, for famous shepherd Petar. The place where Miloš was offering to Petar great treasures is today called Turija, and where stallion Ždral was standing, is today called Sublina. Finally, having seen what kind of hero Miloš was, Petar gave him the stallion for free. The legend was written down in 1923 by Radoslav Pavlović in his paper Podibar and Gokčanica.


Bigger in Smaller
Kralјevo is on the Ibar, not far from its confluence with the Western Morava. Although the Ibar is at least 70 kilometers longer and by its volume twice as big, it seems that this river, finding its way between the Kopaonik and Old Vlach Dinaric range, flows into the valley of the Western Morava and loses its name. It is a rare example that a bigger river empties into a smaller one.


Around the Mountain
The part where the mountains of Šumadija are closest to the Kopaonik and Old Vlach mountain range is called Kralјevo narrowing. North from the Western Morava valley there are relatively low and divided mountains of Šumadija. Parts of Kotlenik and Gledićke mountains are in the territory of Kralјevo (the tame valley of Donja Gruža lies between them). To the south, right from the Ibar, in the axis north-south, there is the extension of the Kopaonik range: mountains of Želјin, Ravna mountain, Studena mountain, Stolovi and Goč. Left from the Ibar, also in the axis north-south, there are northeastern parts of Old Vlach mountains, extension of the Golija range: mountains of Radočelo, Čemerno, Troglav and parts of Jelica.


Introducing Conifers
On its northern side, Stolovi is well forested, primarily with deciduous trees, while conifer units are rare. Recently, forestation with conifer trees has been extensive.

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