Even at its heyday in the mid 1960s so-called Men’s Water – Muška Voda – of Kladanj was a strange campy attraction.
The Balkans, like many other mountainous regions of Europe, have abundance of natural mineral springs. Depending on the particular mineral content, water from many of such springs can have certain health benefits and waters from various locations are recommended as potentially helpful for a wide range of ailments.
Enter Men’s Water of Kladanj, a supposed natural Viagra welling forth from the earth.
Kladaj is a village in east Bosnia, on the slopes of Konjuh mountain. The legend of the amazing powers of the water from the local spring starts with the famous Ottoman 17th century traveler and writer Evliya Çelebi who described the Kladanj spring as a fountain of youth.
In the 1960s a small mountain resort was built near the source and the water was bottled and marketed. Unlike most other brands of mineral water, which were sold in large 1l bottles, this one was sold in half liter square shaped bottles, more akin to hard liquors, probably to emphasize its ‘potency’.
As a marketing ploy the water was even sold bundled with folk music records.
While scientific research did confirm an overall beneficial effect in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar level and intestinal flora it never confirmed any effectiveness of the water as a cure for impotence.
However locals claim that the large number of children in an average family in the region is proof enough of water’s magical properties.