Updated: Mar 30, 2021
If you have not visited Tara Mountain and National Park in Western Serbia yet, this article may help you to embark on an adventure and discover all its values and scenes that fascinate every visitor.
1. The natural rarities of Tara
The vast forests (80% of the national park is covered by coniferous and deciduous forests), clear lakes and challenging canyons, unusual rivers, rare plant and animal species and magnificent lookouts make Tara one of the most beautiful mountains in Serbia. With an area of about 25,000 hectares, Tara National Park provides shelter for 1,156 species of plants, 58 species of mammals and 140 species of birds, including extremely rare and relict ones.
Tara is unique in its habitat for an heirloom spruce species named after a prominent Serbian botanist, Joseph Pancic, who discovered it in 1875 in the village of Zaovine. The Pancic spruce is several tens of millions of years old and, as it is very resistant to external influences, survived the Ice Age by finding its refuge in parts of Tara Mountain and the canyon of the Drina River. The study and transplantation of Pancic’s spruce throughout Europe followed. It is also highly regarded as a decorative species, and because of its appearance it is considered the most beautiful conifer of Europe.
Another relic species found by the same botanist is Pancic’s grasshopper, which is characterized by wing stiffness, the inability to fly and its varied colors; it can be green, brown, gray and red.
Another highlight of Tara is the brown bear, which has found its refuge in the dense forests and rough terrain. About 50 bears are located in Tara, all of which are monitored by the NP Rangers. The exact number of bears is hard to determine given the proximity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the bears’ tendency to migrate to both sides of the Drina River and Lake Perucac. The NP Tara Service is responsible for the feeding of brown bears in special feeding areas, which are especially important during periods of food shortages in nature.
The brown bear is considered the largest predator in Europe, can grow up to 2.5m and can weigh up to 300kg. He is an omnivore who mostly feeds on plants, berries, and fruits but also hunts animals. For the last few years it is possible to go on a bear watching tour organized by the park service. You can see how the tour looks here.
Tara is also known for the hundreds of Chamois, a type of goat-antelope, in the National Park. The appreciation of this species is evidenced by its image on NP Tara’s logo. It inhabits hard-to-reach areas of the park, mostly rocky cliffs of the Drina, Derventa, Raca and Brusnica canyons. Its fur is yellow and reddish in summer time but turns to darker shades of gray in winter. It can grow up to 130 cm in length, 80 cm in height