Loud voices of local guys sitting next to the camp fire, making a bean soup in a large pot, while encouraging each other to go and grab a case of beer cooled in a nearby stream are the only thing breaking the perfect silence of the forest in central Serbia, near the beautiful town of Valjevo.
As we approach, we are understanding what they are talking about: as it is fitting for a Sunday afternoon – football, and new events in the national league of Serbia.
We would gladly join the conversation, but the scene that has unfolded before us literally leaves us without words: the scenery that is fit to have come from the Tolkien’s novels about the Middle Earth, a green paradise that we thought existed only in books, a landscape belonging to a more beautiful, forgotten era.
Taor Srpings, a place you probably never heard of, even if you are from Serbia. And probably the most beautiful place in this country.
The waterfalls of the Taor springs are located at the foot of the Povlen mountain near Valjevo, near the village Donji Taor. They are always coming down through numerous cascades, running besides the fairytalelike mossy mills, all the way to the river Skrapez, in which they cast all their power and beauty.
At the top of this magical place, as in all fairy tales, whether they are real or not, there is a cave, or more precisely its opening, from which the water come out. Going downhill from it, you will find numerous waterfalls and cascades, along which there are wooden watermills. They used to be 12 of them, say the locals, and today, every one of them, except one at the bottom, is abandoned.
And sown there, in that old mill: People are eating roasted pork, drinking beer, singing… The locals who know about this fairytalelike place and, dare we say, everyone who comes here once, know perfectly well that they should not ever miss a chance to be here.
Describe the Taor springs? Nearly impossible. What we see, hear or feel is always far superior to words, but only in places like this one the reality of this fact becomes so sternly clear.
But let’s give it a try.
Water. The start of everything. Water is the Creator, the demiurg of this miracle. For thousands and thousands of years it persistently shaped micrometer by micrometer, with the patience and gift of artists, the rocks and stones through which it passes.
Stone. Hard, indestructible, but defeated in a thousand-year battle with water. Bleached, scattered, remains of an army that had lost its battle. But in its defeat, it gave birth to something magnificent: natural sculptures, everywhere, the work of a natural artist, bigger and more gifted than anyone born by a woman… You can literally walk all day long around here and find new and new water-stone miracles, which hide in themselves all the beauty this world has in it.
Life. It’s around here, everywhere. It settled on the battlefield of stone and water. It wrapped around it, all in velvety green. It is around, above, and under the giant stone-water sculpture that is the Taor springs. Something beautiful, raw, powerful and ancient, wrapped in the only robe that can ever fit it. Butterflies. Spiders. Lizards. Grasshoppers. Everything around here is full of life. No wonder. And there’s one strange thing. When you get really close to a butterfly, it does not fly away. This is a place of harmony.
Man. Here, he arrived, as well, long ago. But, unlike almost everything else he destroyed and desecrated, he did not even dare to touch the sanctity of this place. He adjusted himself, squeezed in, leaned against this beauty. Mills, which he built, have become an integral part of this natural beauty, as if they were shaped by nature itself for millennia until they were perfectly sunken in the peace of this holy place. Even boys and girls, who are happy, drink and eat down there, at the bottom, do not disturb the harmony. This place was made to celebrate life, and that’s precisely what they do.
If you are in Serbia, you MUST get to Taor springs. We promise you, you will see things that are rarely seen.This article is a part of the project “Seven miracles of Valjevo”, supported by the City of Valjevo. Positions of the supported media project do not necessarily reflect statements of the organ supporting the project.
(Come to Serbia)