Vrnjacka Banja spa is located in central Serbia, 200 km south of Belgrade. It rests on the slopes of Goč mountain and in the valleys of the Vrnjačka and Lipovačka rivers.
Vrnjačka Banja is between 220 and 300 m above sea-level, depending on the part of the town, which can be reached by taking the main Belgrade-Kraljevo road and the Belgrade-Niš-Skopje highway via Pojate. Vrnjačka Banja has a moderate continental climate, with moderately warm summers (the average temperature is 20°C) and moderately cold winters (average temperature 0.8°C). Shielded by Goč mountain (in the south, east and west) and the Gledić mountain range (in the north), a great number of days are wind-free annually – around 170.
Archaeological findings indicate that the mineral water here has been used since classical antiquity. On top of the Vrnjačka Banja hot mineral water spring, in the period between the 2nd to 4th centuries, the Romans erected the Aquae Orcinae health resort, where soldiers from the province of Upper Moesia and military camps on the fortified Roman border along the Danube – known as the Limes – came to recuperate and rest. The current name Vrnjačka Banja was taken from the name of the village Vrnjci, where the mineral springs were discovered. Archaeological findings discovered at nearby sites show that the mineral waters of Vrnjačka Banja were again used during Byzantine rule. Some legends say that the medicinal quality of the water was also well-known in the later period of Turkish rule. According to these stories, Turkish landowners were treated in Vrnjačka Banja, demanding that the local population feed and serve them. To escape having to serve their Turkish masters and beys, the people buried the springs. With the departure of the Turks and the gradual political and economic consolidation of Serbia in the 19th century, there was increased interest in using the Vrnjci mineral waters. The rediscovery and resumed use of these waters are traditionally said to be connected with a story about a sick horse belonging Vrnjci priest Jeftimi Hadži-Popović. The first written information about Vrnjačka Banja is found in a report by Baron Zigmund Herder who was investigating the natural resources of Serbia at that time on the order of Prince Miloš Obrenović. He proclaimed that the mineral waters in Vrnjci were of high quality, comparing them to the famous waters of Karlovy Vary in Czech Republic. On 1st June 1868, the Founding Donors’ Association of the Medicinal Hot Mineral Waters in Vrnjici was formed and 1869 is considered to have been the first official spa season, with capped warm water springs, baths, spa doctors and a great many visitors. More modern hotels and villas were built at the beginning of the 20th century.
Vrnjačka Banja has seven mineral springs, four of which are used in spa therapies. The Topla Voda spring, which is unique because it is the same temperature as the human body (36.5°C), is of the carbonic acid homeothermic type and is used for drinking and bathing. The cold mineral springs, Snežnik (17°C), Jezero (27°C) and Slatina (14°C), are of the alkaline-earth type.The utilisation of the Vrnjačka Banja mineral springs began in 1970. The glass-bottled Vrnjci water was popular and very quickly conquered the market, making its place of origin widely-known.
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Treatment is performed in the Merkur Specialised Treatment and Rehabilitation Hospital which has the latest medical equipment for diagnosis, prevention and treatment and specialist doctor supervision. Patient nutrition is in line with modern dietary principles and besides basic diet types, individual dietary programmes are also catered for. Diabetes post-jaundice recovery, diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts, pancreatic diseases, gastric and duodenal ulcers, non-infectious conditions of the small and large intestines, gastrointestinal conditions, recovery after surgical removal of the gallbladder, conditions post resection of the oesophagus, gallbladder and intestines, chronic gynaecological conditions and infertility, infections of the renal pelvis, bladder and urinary tract, urinary tract stones are all treated in Ribarska Banja spa..
Besides the therapeutic and accommodation services, guests also have the use of saunas, a bowling alley, outdoor and indoor swimming pools and fitness centres. The spa also has several conference halls, the largest of which, in the Zvezda hotel, can seat 1200 people. There are lots of opportunities for sports tourism in Vrnjačka Banja. The Raj sports and leisure centre has three grass football pitches and an athletics track, as well as swimming pools and small sports fields. The ski slope on Goč mountain attracts many winter sports lovers. For those who prefer rivers and fishing, 10 km from Vrnjačka Banja, on the Zapadna Morava river, there is the Podunavačke Bare lakes area, where sporting events also take place. Also, Goč is an ideal place for hunting, with its managed hunting grounds.
Throughout the year in Vrnjačka Banja numerous events are held, such as the Vrnjci Cultural Festivities, the Festival of Film Screenplays, the Book Festival and more besides. The programme of the Castle of Culture, a unique institution comprising a gallery, museum, music hall and arts academy, includes a large number of exhibitions and music and theatre presentations. Vrnjačka Banja guests can go on organised visits to the nearby Studenica, Žica, Gradac, Sopoćani and Đurđevi Stupovi monasteries, as well as the remains of the Ras, Maglić, Brvenik and Koznik fortresses.
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