Krupaj Spring – Milanovac, Serbia - Atlas Obscura

Krupaj Spring

Milanovac, Serbia

Legends of treasure and spirits flow from this this fairy tale-like oasis. 

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According to local lore, there’s much more to this dazzlingly colorful spring than meets the eye.

Legend says the Homolje Mountains swallowed a large amount of gold and hid it in the Golden Cave deep under the Krupaj Spring, where the treasure is guarded by the aquatic spirit of Tartor. Each year, on the “devils day,” the spirit hits the drums and calls other spirits to a celebration.

Only on that day is the entrance to the mystical cave open. Vlach women who want great power enter the river at night to meet the spirit. In return, the spirit demands a prize, usually a beautiful young woman. 

The spring is not only a source of Vlach myths and legends. It’s also an ecological oasis. The hypnotizing turquoise water is surrounded by plants, their branches descending into the cold water like the arms of great forest guardians.

Above the lake rises a picturesque cave, fulfilling the fairy tale-like backdrop. Underneath the lake is a maze of underground canals, which are challenging even for the most experienced divers. The stream of the spring, 1,427 feet (435 meters) long, confluences with the Krupaj River. A dam built near the spring creates an attractive waterfall as well.