Djavolja Varos or “Devil’s Town” is a natural monument situated in southern Serbia, at distances of 89 miles southwest of Nis and 27 miles southeast of Kursumlija. Belgrade is located 288 km away from here. This naturally formed site is constituted of two of the world’s rarest natural phenomena; firstly, figures formed of soil in various shapes of relief help the area looks very attractive; secondly, the two over-acidic springs which are high in mineral content.
Both of the exceptional natural phenomena together make a stupendous wonder of natural world. The beauty of these two extraordinary wonders of nature balance well with the surrounding environment which depicts the rather harsh, almost magical scenario, and in the wider setting highlights the picturesque one. It also preserves the ruins of the town, ancient churches, and cemeteries as well as a few interesting mines.
In 1995, the 959th year of its supposed origin, the site of Djavolja Varos was brought under state protection. The Government of the Republic of Serbia recognized the outstanding value of this natural property and included it into the first group of protection – MONUMENT OF NATURE. It was a total protected area of 67 ha. Presently, the RS government’s appeal for protection is 1014 ha.
Stone pyramids are short-lived forms, since they fall apart rather quickly and are again formed back at the same speed due to water erosion. Since the locals believe that these changes happen due to the fights amongst devils for the acquisition of power, the place was named Djavolja Varos.
The location of Djavolja Varos belongs to the village at an elevation of between 660 and 700 m above sea level situated in the Kursumlija municipality. The forms or as the locals refer to them, as “towers”, are situated in two alienated narrow ravine dividing line whose sources mingled into one single erosive structure, extremely torn erosion process. The strangeness continues to the names of the ravines as well. One is called the “Devil’s gorge” and the other is known as “Clockwork” gorge.
All in all there are as many as 202 stone figures of a wide range of shapes and sizes, each varying from 2 meters to 15 meters and a width of 0.5 to 3 feet. They are the outcome of definite erosive process which continues for centuries. Structures that are formed, grow, transform, slowly reduce, sometimes even disappear and then again reappear. The effect of raindrops dissolves and washes away the loose soil. But, the material beneath the stone slabs is protected from the impact of the rain drops and erosion and remains intact in the form of the earthen figures.
Due to the steepness of the slope of the terrain on which the figures are created steep vertical erosion takes place over the side, a phenomenon, which accelerates the erosion of the material and simultaneously the creation of the figures.
Djavolja Varos Attractions
The red spring, one of the two main attractions in Djavolja Varos, is a supply point of water very rich in minerals. The rich content of iron in this water gives it the red color. This water, with a very sour and bitter taste, is not clean enough to be used for drinking, but with it you can clean your mouth. The locals are of the opinion that this water has healing properties and that it can be used to lave, or rinse eyes, cure sick areas. Another attraction of the site is the Saski mines which are past iron mine shafts from the 12th century.
Built in the 13th century, the Church of St. Petka is one more of the places to visit while on tour to the site of Djavolja Varos.