Oct 05

The Devil’s Town (Orasul Diavolului)

The Devil’s Town is a wonder of nature located in the southern part of Serbia. In fact, the uniqueness of the natural monument has contributed extensively to the fame this specific monument had gained – in as much that the Devil’s Town is a strong candidate for the natural wonders officially recognized throughout the world.

The Devil’s Town is actually a rock formation which has been listed in the aforementioned race back in 2010 and had managed to remain in the competition until the very end, only to lose during the final voting session. But this event triggered the collective effort to enlist the natural monument in the World Heritage Program developed by UNESCO.


The Devil’s town, or Djavolja Varos (the Serbian ecquivalet of the name), is located on the slopes of Mount Radan, a mountain renowned for the increased number of mineral and therman springs that traverse it. The region abounds in minerals which means that the landscape is devoid af any type of vegetation. Another characteristic of the region is that it is prone to errossion. This natural phenomenon heavily contributed to the uniqueness of the landscape.

The landscape is striking due to the gloomy imagery conveyed. In fact, this comprises 202 figurines made out of earth that measure as much as two meters, all having some sort of lids on top. These are actually andesite formations, which represent a form of rock that has emerged as a consequence of a powerful volcano erruption that occurred milions of years ago. These formations have pressed the earth for years on end and the result was the distorted forms of relief that appeared.


The process of formation for the Devil’s Town was a mystery for many years and due to the fact that no scientific explanation was provided, a considerable number of legends emerged. According to one such folklore, the figures are actually the ruins of churches which have been devastated by evil spirits. This story was nurtured by the constant change that occurred in the landscape. The errosion of the soil led to the modification in shape and size of the rock formations and the locals actually bellieved that these were moving by themselves – thus the myth of devils lurking in the region grew.

These myths were the ones to give the name to the natural monument. The Devil’s Town has become renowned only in the later years, when it has become a tourist attraction. In fact, this is the sole touristic objective located on the European continent which is comparable to the Garden of the Gods (located in the US) in terms of mesmerizing beauty.


Among the legends that revolve around this specific place, there are some which are better known than others. For instance, it is widely believed that the earthen figures represent devils which have been petrified, rebels or even a wedding party that had suffered the same fate. The mythical tales have had a base on which to develop themselves. The region is also rich in streams of red water, a coloration given by the iron minerals that descend from the slopes of the mountain, and these again having contributed to the gloomy décor tourists are presented with.


In mid-20th century, the Devil’s Town has been declared a natural monument protected under the law. In 1995, the state had issued a degree according to which the Devil’s Town was declared a monument of exceptional importance. Since then, many projects have been initiated in order to transform the Devil’s Town into a site of touristic interest: a road was built so as to permit circulation in and out of the region and all the necessary facilities were developed (water, illumination and aparking space). These improvements have contributed extensively to the increase of the number of tourists that come to the area. At present, the Devil’s Town is visited by 50.000 people on a yearly basis.

Aug 21

Schonbrunn Palace (Palatul Schonbrunn)

Vienna definitely has a lot to offer to the wandering tourist, interested in exploring the world, or at least a small segment of it, and in enticing the eye with wonderful monuments and the mind with the impressive historical facts, stories or legends that revolve around the respective touristic attraction.

One of the places which are worth visiting in Vienna is Schonbrunn Pallace, a beautiful edifice, emblem of the Rococo architectural style. Since the second half of the 20th century, from the 1960s onward, the construction has been recognized as the important cultural monument it is and the one of the main tourist attractions in the Austrian capital city.



Not only is the palace an impressive construction which clearly emphasizes the tasteful sense for architecture and style shared by the successive monarchs from the Habsburg dynasty that owned the palace, but there are also the surrounding gardens which should be mentioned. These exude taste and richness, also alluding to the ambitions of their owners through the specific arrangement followed in their creation.

The domain was initially used as a hunting ground for the court and the Roman Emperor in power, Maximilian II, also ordered that a mansion be constructed on the premises. The present name attached to the palace was originally used to describe the artisanal well which supplied the court with the necessary water. Schonbrunn is actually translated as “beautiful spring.”


It was under Eleonora Gonzaga, the wife of Ferdinand II, that the palace was erected. She had decided to retreat to this place after the demise of her husband and had given order for the imperial building to be erected – this occurred between 1638 and 1643.

The gardens are definitely worth your attention. Why? Because they consist of beautiful Greek and Roman sculptures, fountains, a botanical garden, a French garden and an English garden. Probably the most enticing aspect of the park is the maze.



There is a feeling almost indescribable about this specific labyrinth as it allows visitors to venture within the green network of alleys and solve its mystery. The maze has been arranged especially for the purpose of entertaining the tourists and offering them a one-of-a-kind experience. There are numerous games available within the hedges, addressed both to adults and children, which put the mind to work in the attempt to solve riddles.


The labyrinth extends over a surface of 2.700 square meters. Some are drawn to the different types of activities it offers such as the “pole climbing” game in which an individual climbs up a pole and rings a bell upon reaching the top, or the kaleidoscope which allows people to view themselves in different shapes and colors – due to the reflection conveyed by the multiple mirrors which form the kaleidoscope. But probably the majority is interested mostly in discovering the “secret of the labyrinth” and in traversing the maze, reaching their destination – on a specially arranged platform from whence the entire maze can be looked upon.

But the estate includes much more than just the palace and the gardens. There is an Orangerie, which was constructed back in 1755, and a palm house which are bound to capture your eye.



The immense beauty of the Schonbrunn Palace brought about its recognition as a monument which is worth inscribing on UNESCO’s World Heritage List – something which occurred in 1996.

With so many things to offer it is no wonder that the palace is visited by millions of tourists. In 2010, 2.5 million visitors came to the Schonbrunn complex. People can buy tickets in advance if they access the official website of the palace. This will give you the certainty that they will be able to take a tour of the ensemble in a specific day and at a given time. Besides visiting the already mentioned attractions, one can also indulge himself/herself with a concert of classical music where the partitions of Mozart as well of other classics can be heard.