|National Park Šar-Mountain|
Brezovica has attained its popularity on the home and foreign tourist markets, first of all by the quality of what it can offer. Its highly valued ski-tracks have earned it a place among the best known winter sport centers in Serbia and in Europe.
LOCATION AND SURROUNDINGS
The Brezovica tourist complex is situated in the upper part of the Sara mountain Sirinić Valley. From the spatial and functional points of view, Brezovica comprises regions of various natural characteristics (the valleys of the Lepenac, Muržica and Blateštica rivers, mountain slopes and a mountain crest) at the height of between 900 and 2,500 meters above sea level.The lower part of the tourist complex, associated with the concept of the settlement, is situated at 900 to 950 meters above sea level, on a slanted plateau in the widened part of the Lepenac river valley. It is here that the newly formed tourist settlement of Brezovica is situated with the hotels Narcis, Breza and Junior arid with restaurants, shops and residential facilities.
The middle part comprises the valley of the Muržica river, a tributary of the Lepenac, at 900 to 1,300 meters above sea level, and represents a link with the upper part where the famous ski slopes are. This area hosts the weekend zone as well as children's and workers' rest homes. An asphalt road cuts through connecting the settlement of Brezovica with the Ski Center.The upper, mountainous part has a height of more than 1,700 meters above sea level and is situated on a steep slope connecting the ridge with the Muržica valley. This part is better known as Stojko's House or the Ski Center. The hotels - Molika, Kameni Dom and Ski-Turs - as well as the starting points of the largest number of cable-cars and ski-lifts, are situated on the lower, cape-shaped part of the slope.The mountainous Sirinić Valley, whose borders almost overlap with those of the commune of Štrpce, is clearly separated, by prominent border lines, from the rest of the valleys and the parts of the Šara mountain. These border lines are made of the mountain massive of the north-east part of the Šara mountain and its branches: Ošljak, Kodža Balkan, Žar and Jezerska mountain. The Brodska canyon connects it with the southern parts of the Kosovo valley, one of the most remarkable wholes of the central part of the Balkan Peninsula and of our country. On the opposite, western part, across the Prevalac saddle (1,514 m), the famous medieval Sredska Valley is situated, leading, along the picturesque Duvska canyon, to Prizren and Metohija. The regional road which connects this area with the main thoroughfares runs through these valleys and along their main axes and through Brezovica itself. In the surroundings of Brezovica there are a number of tourist attractions, cities like Prizren, Peć, Priština and, separated by the national border, Skoplje. There are, also, cultural heritage monuments of exceptional value, like the remnants of the monastery complex of Sv. Arhangeli Gavrilo i Mihajlo, Dečani, Pećka Patrijaršija and, on the Kosovo side, Gracanica, Gazimestan etc. Apart from the land thoroughfares, in the immediate neighborhood, there is the railway line Belgrade - Skoplje - Salonica and Athens (30 km to Uroševac). The airports in Priština and Skoplje make Brezovica easy to reach from any of the world's capitals.
By its gigantic appearance, height and space, the Šara mountain commands a dominant position on the whole of the Balkan Peninsula. The spacious range of this mountain, 85 km long, extends from Kačanička canyon and the Ljuboten peak on the northeast to the upper parts of the Radika and Korab rivers on southwest. The mountain ridge represents a large surface area which, in the direction of Kosovo and Metohija valleys, slopes more steeply into small valleys like those of the mountain Sirinić, Sredska, Gora and Opolje valleys. Above the vast ridge there rises a crest with numerous peaks whose heights surpass 2,500 m. Ljuboten (2,498 m) represent the extreme northeastern part of the mountain and is separated from the central ridge by the Kule saddle so one gets an impression of its isolation. From Ljuboten, there is a magnificent view on the broader surroundings, all the way to the Saionica Bay. Following the ridge, one comes to the source of the Kaluđerska river: to the Štrbačko or Livadičko lake. It is one of the larger glacier lakes, known as "mountain eyes", situated in a basin, a typical trough valley with steep sides descending below it. In its upper part, below Demir Kapija, one comes across one of the most beautiful waterfalls, known as Ćopure. The peaks of Tumba (2,346 m) and Livadica (2,497 m) rise above the lake, with the source of the Bolovanka river below them. In this part of the mountain, on the plateaus of Široko Polje and Virovi there are exceptionally favorable morphological and snow conditions for Nordic disciplines and recreation skiing tracks.
On the western side of Livadica, in the sources of Berevački and Durlev streams, an imposing group of six basins is situated. It is in this part that the Ski Center with well explored and marked out ski tracks is located. The tracks, with their length and slope, can be compared with the best quality ski terrains in Europe. From the Udut itself, or the ridge of the Šara mountain, from the height of 2,522 m, to the foot of the slope, where the complex of hotels and bungalows is situated (1,700 m), there are well prepared ski tracks for all types of winter sports fans, from novices to top professional skiers. The competition tracks have been tested and verified by competent international organizations for international competitions. Morphological and snow conditions make it possible for the ski tracks to be extended down-slope across Štrbački Jelovarnik toward Tršenja or Štrpce.On the northern side of Crni Vrh (2,536 m) and Jezerska Čuka (2,586 m), in the sources of Blatešlica and Suva Reka, there is a number of great basins filled with glacier lakes: Vrbeštičko, Malo Jažinačko and Veliko Jažinačko. The left side of the Blateštica and Suvi Potok rivers extends into a vast plateau at the height of 2,000 - 2,100 m, with a slight slope toward the north and northwest, toward the region of Careva Livada and the locality Gini Voda. This is an area of grassy clearings in the midst of coniferous forests. This is the most attractive part of the Šara mountain, easily accessible by the regional Brezovica - Prizren thoroughfare. This road leads across the Prevalac saddle (1,514 m) above which there rises one of the highest peaks, Bistrica (2,651 m). The source of the Prizrenska Bistrica river is also represented by a group of basins filled with the lakes of Golemo (upper) and Micko (lower). The appearance of the relief creates an impression of an unruly plastic with a very jagged rim and isolated peaks and hills, broad slopes cut by canyon-type valleys with water and rivulets rich in sediment material. The view offered from the Brezovica settlement and, in particular, from the neighboring Dreniča slope, where the ruins of the Gradište fortifications are to be found, on the surroundings and the snow covered peaks reminds one of the most renown mountain tourist centers of Europe, like Chamonix, Davos, Cortina etc. In the immediate neighborhood of Brezovica there are exceptionally favorable conditions for mountain climbing and Alpine activities. Of equal importance are speleological sites, like Govedska and Kozarska cams in the Suva Reka river valley, Crkvena Pećina cave above Vrbešlica, Ras above Burnik and Dukino Blago and Kaiuderov Kamen caves in the Kaluderska river drainage basin above Štrpce. The Sirinić Valley is sheltered so that the influence of the cold north wind is felt only from time to time and only in the highest regions of the mountain ridge.
The lower parts have the characteristics of the valley and the upper of the Alpine climate, with fresh summers and cold winters. The summers are fresh, but very pleasant and with low precipitation. Higher precipitation occurs during winter months providing optimal snow conditions for skiing and extended winter tourist season. The structure of the snow is such that the ski tracks are very fast but safe. In the shady sides of the basins the snow is preserved even in summer months.The combination of mild valley climate in the lower parts and the sunny sides and true Alpine climate in the higher regions make this part of the country suitable for the development of tourism. For just one or two hours of walking one can go from one climatic zone to another. Sometimes, within a single day, one can experience all of the four seasons; sometimes, even in July or August, the highest peaks of the Sara mountain could get their snow-caps.
The relatively high level of precipitation and the water-resistant rocks result in a dense network of rivers and rich wells and surface water. The great number of wells and springs with cold, clear water are a special picturesque element of this region.
The qualities and the dispersion of the variety of flora give the basic, strong impressions on the nature of Brezovica. Seen from the foot of the Šara slope toward Brezovica, they appear interlaced with the most diverse shades of green. Above the valley bottom of Lepenac with its agricultural greenery, the area is covered with meadows and low vegetation (hazel bush, traveler's-joy, blackberry etc.), with interspersed clearings in many colors, with flowers, particularly Narcissus poeticus. The belt of deciduous forests is also interspersed with meadows and clearings with rich grassy carpet. Beech is the most widely spread tree, but one can come across cerris, white ash, birch and some other types of trees as well. Above 1,600 m there are mixed and coniferous forests: pine, fir, spruce, juniper, as well as endemic trees like Pinus peucce, Pinus heldreicbii, Pinus mughus, Taxus baccota and some others. Grass covers the mountain ridge and crest. The broad zone of pastures and forest clearings is dominated by bilberry and. a bit downward, by forest strawberry and raspberry. We should also add the rare species of plants like Gentiana punctata and lutea, Rhododendron ferruginum, Dijanthus scardicus and the various types of mountain herbs: Achiilea milefoiium, Hypericum pertoratum, Thy-mus serpyilum, Origanum 'vuigare and some others.The succession of forests, flower sprinkled meadows and pastures allows a freedom of movement in an ecologically unpolluted environment and this contact of man with the beautiful nature has an exceptionally significant health and recreation role. Special tourist manifestations are based on all this, such as The Days of the Narcissus, The Days of Medicinal Herbs, and the like.To the rich variety of the flora, one should add equally diverse fauna which is, partly, in the function of the hunting or is a part of the protected environment. Of the rare game one should; mention bear, chamois, roe deer, wild boar, marten and lynx, while fowl is represented by various types of grouse, partridge and the like. The Lepenac river, with its numerous tributaries, is rich in trout.
In order to ensure protection and achieve rational use of natural resources, as well as to preserve cultural heritage monuments, a part of the Sara mountain and its branches, Ošljak and Kodža Balkan, have been included in the newly established "Šar Planina" National Park.