Winner in the Tourism and Local Gastronomy category
Meet Pirot, with its people, kindness, culture, language and tradition. Great wealth of material and spiritual culture make this region unforgettable for visitors. Known as the 'Little Jerusalem', Pirot is famous for its kilim rugs, its local cheese, Pirot lamb, flattened sausage, folklore, local customs, handcrafts and an abundance of ethnographic art motifs hardly found anywhere else in Serbia.
Pirot is nested in the foot of Stara Planina Mountain, where the tradition of livestock breeding has been present for centuries. With sheep as the main animal, a variety of sheep-based produce has been developed, the most distinctive ones being Pirot hard cheese and flattened sausage.
Local customs related to gastronomy and intangible heritage are well preserved and can be experienced by visitors today.
Winner in the Tourism and Local Intangible Heritage category
Knjazevac is located in the eastern part of Serbia, 280km from Belgrade, between three rivers and three impressive mountains.
From far away one can recognise the peak of 'Grandma's Tooth' (Babin zub 1,785m). The highest peak of Midzor patiently waits for visitors to climb up and enjoy the beauty of the Balkan Mountains from 2,169m. There one will discover Molitvu pod Midzorom (Prayer under Midzor), a pagan event taken over by Christian traditions.
Today the local community welcomes guests in the traditional folk way, with 'belmuz' (a gastronomic speciality prepared with white corn flour and cheese), 'visnjica' (cherry wine prepared in the village of Ravna) and many types of wine prepared from local grape varieties.
Today, as part of an educational cluster, the old village school in Balta Berilovac offers attractive programmes and experiences for kids and young people. Knjazevac invites those who are interested in learning more to the village of Ravna to attend the pottery workshop, research the archaeo-ethno park and imagine the life of Romans in the fort of Timacum Minus.
Climbing the peak of Midzor is an activity for both beginners and experienced hikers. First time visitors should join a guided group, to be sure to experience the most impressive landscapes of the region.
For those who prefer to stay at the foot of the mountain, there are activities like preparing 'belmuz' (a specific food of the region, prepared with white corn flour and cheese), competing in the shepherds games, knitting the 'dvopredjne carape' socks or tasting the gastronomic specialities of the region, prepared by local women.
Leaving behind the adventures offered on or around the mountain, you can discover the spiritual and natural heritage of the destination: churches of St. Djordje and Holy Virgin, Holy Trinity Monastery, Timakum minus Roman locality and the Archaeo-ethno park in the village of Ravna.