Sokobanja is located in south-eastern Serbia, in the valley between mounts Ozren and Rtanj, on the banks of the Moravica river and with the altitude of 400 m. It is one of the most frequented places in the country, with the annual number of visits of about 100,000 tourists, with about one million overnights. Sokobanja is also a great medical centre. Numerous events which are held in Sokobanja are also very attractive for tourists, among which the most famous are art colony “Sokograd”, Festival of Flowers, Golden Hands and St. John the Herb-gatherer, then Fair of Honey and Healthy Food and the most recognizable of them all – The First Accordion of Sokobanja.
Climate is one of the most important elements of tourist valorisation of Sokobanja and it is rightfully called the “air bath”.
Curative properties of the Sokobanja’s thermal springs were known even in ancient Roman times. What makes the present day Sokobanja attractive are thermo-mineral waters, ideal altitude, moderate-continental climate, clean mountain air with lots of oxygen and wonderful, untouched nature. It is one of the most frequented places in the country and it is one of the most renowned tourist centres with the longest tradition of organized touristic activities.
With its historic background, springs, natural beauties, favourable climate conditions, Sokobanja has always been famous in the wider public. Writing about this region, Dr Jovan Cvijić recorded that Sokobanja and its surroundings could be called “Serbian Switzerland”. The following sites can be singled out: Amam (Turkish bath), Local Heritage Museum, Legacy Gallery, sanatorium Banjica and thermal springs. A remarkable tourist spectacle is hiking to Sokograd, and selidbe, a fortress built at the time of Roman Emperor Justinian. Sokograd was first mentioned in the times of King Stefan Nemanja (1170-1196), and the name of the fortress is from that parket period. Two towers, remains of a water cistern, as well as ceramic conduit for conducting rainwater are what now remains of the ancient city. The following natural phenomena can be singled out: spa Jošanica, Lake Bovan, Mount Ozren, Ripaljka waterfalls, Virgin Mary in stone, Stone of Love, etc.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.