Famous people in Sokobanja
The comedian and satirist Branislav Nusic was the appreciated and frequent guest of the Spa. Even today, his aphorism ‘Sokobanja, Sokograd – you come old, you leave young’ is remembered and mentioned, which he created for his friend the photographer Sinisa Ristic, so that he can sell more postcards.
The regular guest of hotel Moravica was the famous writer – Nobel laureate Ivo Andric. He always stayed in the same apartment no. 144 because of the distinctive view from the balcony. His ‘home in Sokobanja’ has been changed into a small museum. Andric left the following note about the advantageous effect of the spa: ‘I don’t know what is really here, but I know that after 15-20 days in Sokobanja, I work all year in Belgrade as if I have been reborn.’
Isidora Sekulic poetically described the air of Sokobanja, saying: ‘The heart in Sokobanja does not beat, does not throb, but sways.’
Dobrica Eric dedicated his collection of poems Ruza vetrova (The Rose of the Winds) to Sokobanja.
Mesa Selimovic wrote the book ‘Island’ in Sokobanja.
The most famous painter from Sokobanja, according to the poetics of the modernists, left behind a valuable and large art collection in terms of the number of works to his town. Mitrovic immortalized the Sokobanja’s landscape and the temperament of southerners with his colours and themes.
Emilijan Josimovic, the creator of Serbian urbanism, spent the last years of his life in the spa, and it is believed that he tremendously influenced the work of the Society for the Improvement and Decoration of Sokobanja. His grave is still visited by many admirers.
Stevan Sremac, a fruitful writer and a great bohemian, spent his last days in Sokobanja. A memorial plate has been placed on the house where he lived.
For one small place, in terms of population, it is a great honour to be mentioned in the notes of the most famous European travel writers. The famous Evliya Celebi describes the spa and the baths in 1663. Equally famous, Felix Kanitz stayed in the spa three times in 1860, 1864 and 1889. Apart from the notes, he also left a beautiful drawing of Sokograd.
The Prince Milos Obrenovic
Prince Milos Obrenovic is the most commendable for the development of health tourism in Sokobanja. He sent Sokobanja’s thermal waters for analysis to Vienna, raised the first hospital for treatment in Sokobanja, named the first spa doctor and restored the Turkish bath in the centre of Sokobanja. The prince’s bathtub has been preserved in Amam, and has been placed under state protection.
The Metropolitan Mihailo
The Metropolitan Mihailo was born in Sokobanja. He was the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the period from 1859 to 1881, and from 1889 to 1898. The Metropolitan Mihailo left behind several endowments to his hometown. He was the initiator and donor of funds for the construction of the church of St. Transfiguration of the Lord in the centre of Sokobanja. He also built a primary school in Sokobanja in 1894, which bears his name today. He was one of the founders and patrons of the Society for the Improvement and Decoration of Sokobanja and its surroundings, which was founded in 1895.
Stojan V. Zivadinovic was a writer, diplomat, lawyer and journalist, who was born in Sokobanja in 1889 and died in Belgrade in 1942. The Homeland Museum of Sokobanja is nowadays in the former family house of the Zivadinovic, where Stojan grew up. In honour of the unjustly forgotten writer and an honoured man from Sokobanja, a permanent exhibition has been set in the museum – the memorial room of Stojan Zivadinovic. Stojan’s most famous work is a historical novel – the trilogy ‘Karadjordje’.
Ljubisa Bacic was a famous actor, poet and translator, who was born in Sokobanja in 1922 and died in Belgrade in 1999. He took part in numerous children’s TV shows, where he also performed with the famous children’s choir ‘Hummingbirds’. He was a member of Atelier 212, and had a number of episodic roles in film and television. He wrote poetry in a dialect characteristic of the Sokobanja region.
The famous Serbian botanist Josif Pancic studied the vegetation of the Sokobanja region, and particularly, of mountain Rtanj. In 1874, he discovered a new species of Ramonda flower, until then known only in the Pyrenees, and named it ‘Serbian Ramonda’.
Our famous geographer visited the Sokobanja area frequently, and he was particularly fascinated by mountain Rtanj, which is proven by his record: ‘No mountain and no mountain peak in Serbia makes such a deep impression on the observer as Rtanj with Siljak. It bonds calmness, greatness and symmetry.’
Hajduk Veljko Petrović
Hajduk Veljko Petrovic liberated Sokobanja (then Banja) from the Turks for the first time, in 1808, and called it his Banjica. As a sign of gratitude, Sokobanja built a memorial fountain for this hero.