The surrounding area of Kraljevo is a rich treasury of natural beauty and rarities, cultural and historical values of medieval Serbia and – a natural health resort of mineral water springs.
Mataruska Spa takes a special place in the string of the natural resorts of Kraljevo.
Mataruska Spa is located on the right bank of the Ibar, only 8 km away from Kraljevo (160 km from Belgrade).
It is surrounded by the slopes of the wooded maintains – Stolovi (1375 m), Troglav (1177 m) and Cemerno (1579 m).
Its healing waters were discovered in an unusual way. Namely, in spring of 1897, the Ibar flooded the fields around the village of Mataruga; the flood waters withdrew later on, but instead of the fields for cultivation, there lay a mud pond. With the first warm days, the villagers saw strange vapours above the new mud pond, and noticed that the horses and cows drinking from it were more vigorous.
And so the villagers of Mataruga (later the Spa was named accordingly) discovered the spring of sulphureous water there. They deepened and widened the spring and fenced it with picket fence. It was the first pool where local population bathed and healed themselves. Later on, in 1907 a shareholding society was established so that first spa buildings were constructed – villas, pools, a park, bath…
The mineral water of Mataruska Spa is a hyper-thermae (48° – 52° C), with the strongest concentration of sulphur in southern Europe – 127 milligrams in a litre.
There are multiple applications of this sulphureous healing mineral water: by bathing, vaginal rinsing…
The sulphureous springs, together with the predominantly mild climate – moderately continental – and favourable winds, successfully heal rheumatism, sciatica, gynaecological, stomach, intestinal diseases, inflammation of blood vessels, eczema…
In “Braca Maricic” Institute for prevention, rehabilitation and healing of rheumatic and gynecological diseases and post-operative states, i.e. its specialized departments – the Rehabilitation Centre and Hydro-Therapy Division – modern therapeutical methods are applied. Medical treatments are conducted by a team of doctors, physiotherapists…
“Mataruska and Bogutovacka Spa” Resort also offers treatments with application of healing waters in their moderm facilities by the specialized medical team, in addition to rendering the services of accommodation and catering .
The spacious and nicely landscaped park by the Ibar, with abundant trees and flowers, benches for rest and an attractive fountain, give special charm to this Spa. (The Spa park covers the area of about 15 ha, with almost 1000 trees and about 30 kinds of trees and plants – with a Ginko Biloba tree brought from Labrador,) In addition to this, the surrounding area makes the time spent in the Spa more pleasant and substantial:
a beach has been arranged near the Spa park;
there are also the well known monasteries there – just 3 km away towards Kraljevo there is Zica Monastery (13th century), the prominent spiritual centre of Serbian people, the endowment of King Stefan the First Crowned (1195-1223);
Ljubostinja (41 km), Studenica (60 km), the medieval town of Maglic (20 km); then, there are the mountains – Goc, Stolovi, Troglav, Cemerno; the renowned spas – Bogutovacka (11 km), Vrnjacka (35 km)…
Since 1992, Mataruska Spa and Zica Monastery have been the hosts of a significant cultural event – the all-Serbian spiritual assembly “The Days of Revitalization”, taking place in the middle of July.
The proximity of Kraljevo makes it convenient for the guests of the Spa to visit museums, galleries and numerous cultural, entertainment and sport events.
One of the most appealing of these are the Lilac Days, a cultural-ecological and tourist festivity with a rich programme, which, since 1994, has been held in honour of Helen of Anjou, great educator of Serbia of that time, the French Princess and wife of Serbian King Uros I. (According to popular belief, King Uros (1243-1276) planted the entire Ibar valley with fragrant lilac, in honour of the beautiful Helen, to remind her of her native France, and they still embellish the area.)
In mid July, the village of Ratina – one of the oldest settlements in the region of Kraljevo – hosts the Festival of Folk Creativity of the children of Serbia. The young dancers, musicians and singers from Yugoslavia gather there, as well as their guests from Greece, Bulgaria…
Patients and other visitors to Mataruska Spa have at their disposal:
- the Institute – some 400 beds (“Agens” Dispensary – 200 beds).
- The Natural Health Resort – 560 beds;
- hotels: “Termal” – 210 beds, “Zica” (opened in 1932)- 100 beds…
- Accommodation can also be found in the villas, while there are some 3500 beds in private houses.
In the immediate proximity of Kraljevo, there are other natural health resorts:
- Vitanovacka Spa – the sulphureous water;
- Konarevacka Slatina Spa -the cold alkaline-acidic water,
- Lopatnicka Spa – the springs of sulphureous and radioactive water;
- Sircanska Spa – its curative springs (in addition to the water, the bath mud is also curative) have been in use since 1919…