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Not far from Negotin, only 30 km away, is a well – hidden oasis where time stands still and the nature is abundant. A place that makes a man easily wish to betray civilisation and give in to it forever – The Vratna complex.
By opening the gate, an entirely different world is entered. In the wonderful area of the Vratna basin, on its very exit from the gorge, there are huge stones that make gigantic stone gates, created by the river’s erosion. Nature built them without hammer and chisel and as such they are unique in Europe.
There are only two similar places in the world. The first gate to the monastery is called ” Veliki prerast” , the second ” Mali prerast” and the third ” Suvi prerast” .
The area of Vratna represents an oasis of pure, untouched nature. In the hardly accessible canyon of the river Vratna there are three up to now unexplored caves.
The cave nearest to the third gate is about 400m long. The second cave is somewhat shorter but more attractive, for within it a small lake of extraordinary beauty is hidden. The third cave is the largest and most complex, intertwined with numerous passages and tunnels. It is presumed that about 10 species of bats live within, still unanalysed.
As an oasis of tranquility, fresh air and nature undisturbed, a place where even the silence has a colour and a scent of its own which can be inhaled, Vratna represents one of the most beautiful tourist sights in eastern Serbia.
In 2007, a reevaluation has been conducted and the area with the gates has been declared a protected natural park.
According to the folk relation, these natural gates enchanted the world – replete monk Nikanor so much, that in the time of despot Stefan he took residence in an impervious cave, prayed to God and fasted there for years, until he died, far from everyone, as a saint.