Visiting Ljubičevo and Požarevac

On a big estate near Požarevac, which the reputed Serbian ruler Prince Miloš Obrenović gave as a gift to the people, there is the oldest horse-farm in Serbia with the largest number of trophies. It was named after the Prince’s wife, Princess Ljubica. Apart from breeding thoroughbred English horses, the Horse-farm of Ljubičevo is refined with verdure, bicycle paths and trim tracks, the adventure park, etc. Yet, a close encounter with noble animals is the most beautiful experience it offers.

We have recently visited Ljubičevo. Our host was Mirko Stojanović, the director of the Horse-farm, a veterinarian by profession, and a lover of horses deep in his soul. We had our conversation at the café of the Horse-farm’s, within whose complex there is also a nicely equipped souvenir shop.
Given the fact that this year is the 160th anniversary of the existence of the estate, we asked our host to present to us its history in brief: “The estate was bought by Prince Miloš in 1853. Then, the estate had the name The Morava Agricultural Good since it is located by the riverbank of the Great Morava. Just before his death in 1860, he had decided to endow the people with it. Upon proposal received from his heir, Prince Mihailo, the estate was named Ljubičevo because the Prince wanted also to pay reverence in that manner to his mother, Princess Ljubica.
The Horse-farm has undergone many changes. At the beginning of the past century, it grew into a breeding ground of a European rank and had about 500 horses, but during the wars, it suffered severe losses. During the Great War, for example, it gave the army almost all of its horses, which went to the Albanian rugged ground never to return. The establishment of the Horse Games of Ljubičevo in the 1960s gave fresh impetus to its development. During the 1990s, it was faced with a downfall; but, as you can see, that time is behind us. We renew ourselves day after day. We’ve got about sixty gallopers, two Lipizzaner horses we hitch up in the fiacre, we’ve renewed the stables and the horse-riding and equestrian dressage school. We’ve set ourselves two equally important goals – to be the first-rank breeding ground and a significant tourism destination of Požarevac at the same time.

The Trophy hall and the Monument to Ljubičevac

The golden era of the Horse-farm can to some extent be perceived in the renovated Trophy Hall. Mirko Stojanović shows us the most significant decorations of the racing horses that were partly collected after a period of deterioration. “We’ve had quite many widely known horses. The most famous among them are Ljubičevac, Kastor, Ramoz, the mares Jasmina, Sairiya… The people interested in the particularities of our history may find the publication One Dynasty, One Horse-farm by authoress Iva Vitanović. Our insignia and the place where visitors most often take photos is the monument to Ljubičevac, the horse that won the Triple Crown, the most valuable achievement in the gallop sports, in 1974. That success was also repeated by the mare Tina – ‘the lady as fast as the wind’. We also put up a memorial plaque in memory of Vicenzo, the horse that was ‘born for great achievements’, as has remained recorded,” proudly emphasizes our collocutor.
When asked who is in charge of breeding the horses today, he says: “We’ve got a great trainer – the jockey Željko Ilić. A horse trains for years before we let it go on the track. There is also a horse-riding and equestrian dressage school for wintertime trainings. Ljubičevo has always been a seed-plot of good horses, the genetic center for the thoroughbred English horse in our country.”

A warm encounter with noblewomen and noblemen

In the spacious Prince Ljubica park, numerous paths intersect, leading to the enclosed meadows on which the immaculately groomed mares with their foals graze separated from the studs. Mirko Stojanović knows every single detail about them, strokes them and explains to us what some of their gestures mean. We ask him what else visitors can experience in Ljubičevo: “We’ve arranged the Adventure Park and the trim track with physical exercise equipment. The paths are intended to both pedestrians and cyclists. Our offer also includes fiacre rides. Our focus is on family tourism. We plan to plant a green maze made of box shrub, with interesting attractions, and also to build accommodation capacities. For that reason we’re also arranging the circular track for recreational horse-riding, which passes through the old ash- and oak-tree forest. All those who come here will for sure leave with nice impressions, breathe the fresh air, relax their eyes in the views of the greenery, and come to love horses – the noblest animals that man has.”

What else to visit in Požarevac?

There are the archaeological and ancient collections in the main building of the Museum in the center of the city. The permanent setting enables the visitors to see the preciously valuable original frescoes from the tombs of Viminacium. The rare collection of the silver jewelry of the village of Bare also attracts attention. There is a lapidarium with ancient sculptures, sepulchral steles, sarcophaguses, and so forth. Info:

Viminacium, the capital city of the Roman Province of Moesia Superior, which was hidden underneath the plough fields for almost two thousand years, is located in the nearby town of Kostolac. The discoveries after the excavation of the forgotten “Balkan Pompeii” amazed the world. Today’s archaeological park and the legionary camp Viminacium is a place where visitors may see not only valuable findings such as the Mausoleum and the Thermae, but they may also experience the ancient world in the ambience of the replica of the Roman Fairy and the Amphiteater.

The peace negotiations were being held between Austria and Venice, on the one hand, and the Ottoman Empire, on the other, on the Hill of Tulba in 1718. It is exactly there that a replica of the Emperor’s tent was placed, with the negotiators represented by the waxwork figures sitting in it, in order to present to visitors the actual actors of this important historical event as authentically as possible. Info:

Milena Pavlović Barili was one of the most interesting persons of the artistic Europe between the two wars. She lived in Rome, Paris and London. While living in New York, she also practiced fashion illustration. After her premature death, Milena’s mother Danica rearranged their family house, turning it into a memorial gallery. Even today, visitors may feel the atmosphere of Milena’s home and see her capital works streaked with visions, phantasies, allegories, and so on.

Text: Milena Mihaljčić
Photo: Ruzana Sazdić
Info: Tourism organization of the city of Požarevac