Josanica Spa – gates of Kopaonik
At the confluence of the Rivers Samokovka and Josanica, the right tributary of the Ibar – central Serbia – on north-western slopes of Mt. Kopaonik (2017m), in the gorge hemmed mostly with pine forest, lies Josanicka Spa.
This health resort, also known as the “green door” of Mt. Kopaonik – is located at the height of 550 m above the sea level, which also makes it a climatic resort and one of the Serbian spas at the highest altitude.
It is 10 km away from Ibar motorway, 110 km from Kraljevo and 250 km from Belgrade. The Spa is named after the neighbouring village of Josanica, located upstream the springs.
The Spa has got five springs, and is rich in hot sulphureous-hydrogenous water (36° C- 78.5° C) – one of the three warmest spas in Serbia), containing some radioactive chemical elements – radon, uranium, radium.
Unlike other spas in Serbia, these waters contain traces of wolfram, molybdenum and vanadium.
The water is used by drinking and bathing, and the mineral mud for compresses.
The waters of josanicka Spa ; have been known from ancient times.
According to Felix Kanitz, the Austrian scientist and traveller, who visited these thermal springs on June 30th, 1860, and Vladimir Karic the Serbian scientist, who wrote about these waters in his paper “Serbia” in 1887, these waters had been used by ancient Romans.
The ruins of Roman baths have been discovered. However, what we know for certain is that these thermal waters were used by the Turks in the 14th century out of hygienic needs, later for healing.
The Turks built the old Hot Bath (hamam) – which is still in use – and then, in the 18th century, expanded and adapted it. (Baron Herder, who had been asked by Serbian authorities to examine the mineral resources in Serbia, was the first to determine the temperature of this water – 78° C – and found it to be among the warmest in Europe.
In the following decades the Josanica Spa was unjustly neglected. A new bath was built and the sanatorium partly refurbished as late as 1935. Only after the Second World War was the Spa finally landscaped.
Today, the patients in josanicka Spa have at their disposal a Health Dispensary, equipped in modern-day fashion, the Spa Bath and a pool. (A modern rehabilitation centre is now being built there.)
Located in the romantic valley of the River Josanica which runs between Mt. Kopaonik and the lower Mr. Zeljin (1785 m) in the north, Josanicka Spa, surrounded by forests, with rapid, translucent rivers, is also very appealing as regards the climate – a lot of sunny days and fresh summer nights.
The proximity of major tourist centres in Mt. Kopaonik provides opportunities for winter sports; it is possible to make excursions to Kopaonik and to visit a lot of other cultural and historical monuments:
- monasteries – Studenica (12th century),
- Gradac (13th century),
- St Peter’s Church (Novi Pazar 8th-9th centuries),
- Durdjevi Stupovi – (12th century),
- Sopocani (13th century),
- the medieval fortresses of Maglic, Brvenik…