The Obligation to the Innocent Mountain
After World War II, this mountain beauty was not marked on ideological geographic maps of Serbia. That is why we are discovering it so late, from the far, confused and ashamed of its long betrayed beauties. When we hear that, on Orthodox New Year, fireworks from its peaks can be seen on St. Sava’s Plateau in Belgrade, we cannot believe it at first. The reporter of the ”National Review”, the great expert in this mountain and its people is a reliable guide in the discovery we are facing

Text and photographs by: Dragan Bosnić

During the war years in ”the war”, the Great war, World War II, the Chetnik major Dragoslav Rančić built a cabin church and a school on Bobija Mountain. They say he was an honest person, and that the people loved him. For these admirations, Bobija was ignored after the war, even on war maps of Serbia, so it is no wonder that we know so little about it.
In the after-war period, the mountain was afforested and then neglected. When the area engineer Milojko Mićić came on Bobija, in the beginning of the 20s, many things have changed. With the collaboration of the residents, the forest was cleared, paths were marked which lead to beautiful viewpoints and benches with eaves. The forest house is also arranged, becoming the favorite meeting place of hikers. 
Bobija Mountain belongs to the group of Sokolske Mountains. It is placed in Azbukovica, near Ljubovija. It is 1300 meters high, just as the neighboring Medvednik, Jablanik and Soko Mountain. At first, Bobija is a typical mountain of West Serbia with identical flora and fauna, a similar relief and typical people of the area. However, there is a man living on Bobija, holding the title of a one hundred percent man from Azbukovica, and he is not from Azbukovica. His name is Milojko, also known as Uncle Pera from Bobija.
Above this mountain, there flies one of the last flocks of griffon vultures in Serbia. They build nests on the inaccesive rocks of the canyon of Trešnjica, and they love to land on Lučeva rock, on the west side of Bobija. The mountain is decorated with beautiful viewpoints with an unforgettable view. It is surrounded with Ljuboviđa, Trešnjica and Tribuća rivers. The last one is one of the most beautiful pearls of Bobija and the whole area of Azbukovica. The river has its headquarters under the very peak of Bobija, going through a narrow gorge, making three beautiful waterfalls, or three splashes, and empties into Trešnjica.


The forest house on Bobija is not officially a tourist object but it is available on road to all visitors of Bobija. Beside the forest house is a cabin church dedicated to St. Prince Lazar. It was built by Major Račić during war years. The new government planned to tear down the church after the war. Angry, bitter and ironic residents suggested that the church is torn down at the same expense, because Račić built it as well. Surprised, they did not tear down the church or the school.
There is a big fair on Vidovdan in the churchyard. Bobija is visited by residents of Azbukovica in jeeps, tractors, and mostly coming on foot, with bags bending over their shoulders, which is why they were called krivotrobići (a word describing bags bended over the shoulder). Near the church was the spring Dobra voda and a small accumulation pump.
I met Mountain Bobija and its residents ten years ago. I visit it as a stop on the way or as my final destination. The most beautiful meeting with it is when I measure the distance between Debelo Brdo and the forest house with 14 thousand steps (meters) which I usually do not notice, charmed by the surroundings. The Orthodox New Year is the time when I always come to Bobija. A small company from the town is coming to spend New Year in the forest house with a few hunters and forest workers. The house is tucked in tall conifer trees, and there is an unforgettable view of Medvednik and Jablanik mountains, spacious Tamnava, and when the weather is clear one can see Belgrade.
The New Year’s eve is sometimes decorated in large snowflakes which can prolong our stay on the mountain for several days. Fortunately, the residents celebrate St. John’s Day, and being prepared for the long winter, the snow blockade becomes a pleasant holiday.


The first neighbor is Nikola Obradović, a church volunteer. He visitis Račić’s church with his grandson Nikola. There is a monument to the Chetnik commander on his property. He says that his late brother Vidoje brought lunch to the major in the cave under Lučeva rock for the last time. Immediately after that, Račić was caught and executed with six accomplices. As most of the residents, Nikola does not only remember these times as bad times and he thinks that a man should always be a man, no matter the circumstances. If a toothache stroke him in a mountain covered with snow, Nikola was ready to pull out a tooth with no medicine.
Near Nikola lives Stojan, the forest worker who knows well the mountain and its characteristics so one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Bobija – Stojkovac – got its name after him. The house of Gvozden Mitrović  is the place where the visitors of Bobija come to buy good cheese and kaymak. The housewife always serves the guests with coffee. The head of the household serves good brandy, offers a warm room and tells a nice story. What is especially pleasant is Mitrović’s house are three beautiful little children. The school of Major Račić will never stay empty.


The season
Every season on Bobija has its charms. The long summer days are ideal for visiting the surroundings. The autumn offers a true firework of fire. The long winter nights are the best time to meet people from the mountain. The warm furnace, hot lamb meat and warm atmosphere of the forest house make you hardly feel the frost, from which the tree and the stone break. The most beautiful winter mornings, when the Sun rises behind Povlen and lights up the mountain peaks and the clouds which fill up the area under 1000 meters of height above sea level. This is when you realize why the winters in town are so somber. 


The New Year’s fireworks on St. Sava’s Plateau in Belgrade can be seen from Bobija, as if Belgrade is ten and not one hundred kilometers away. Instead of firecrackers, the Orthodox New Year is followed by the sound of bells of Lazar’s Church, the endowment of Major Račić.



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