Area of outstanding beauty Lepterija – Soko Grad

The theme of love is the foundation for one more legend, this time in the origins ofthe name Lepterija. The River Moravica Gorge is valued as an area of outstanding beauty, Lepterija – Soko Grad, thanks to the outstanding diversity of landscapes, attractive geomorphologic form and appearance, rich and diverse flora and fauna and the cultural and historical treasures of the ancient Soko Grad (Falcon Town) fortress. According to tradition, Zupan, son of the owner of a nearby Vrmdzanska Town, fell in love with Lepterija, daughter of the then ruler of Soko Grad. This love story, like that of Romeo and Juliet, ended with the tragic demise of the two lovers. Today there is a popular resort in a clearing near Sokobanja known as Lepterija, while the weir (now a beach) is called Zupan. From Lepterija, over a wooden bridge across the Moravica, we reach a natural phenomenon known as the Virgin Mary in the Rock. Indentations in this rock form the shape of a mother with child and, according to legend, it was here that the Virgin Mary hid with Christ in her arms, fleeing from the Romans. At Lepterija there are two springs (one hot and one cold), as well as swimming and sunbathing areas. Almost the entire gorge is covered by virtually impenetrable oak forests and scrub land. The area’s most interesting inhabitants are the Great Crested Newt, White-breasted Hedgehog, Dormouse vulture and Least Weasel. In the Moravica Canyon, on a steep and almost inaccessible hill, lie the ruins of medieval fortifications, erected on the foundations of ancient buildings. The area consists of a lower and upper town. Climbing the cliffs to reach the once impregnable Soko Grad is a real adventure for those who want to look from the ancient fortress’s walls and enjoy the magnificent views on offer.