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Situated in the very heart of Serbia, Kruševac is a city with a very storied history. The town of pears became the nation’s capital in 1371, just in time for the famous Battle of Kosovo 18 years later. Such violence is long behind Kruševac however, and Lazar’s town is full of fascinating things to see and to do.
Kruševac is best known for its connection to the man who led the Serbs into battle in 1389, Prince Lazar. The town became Lazar’s capital in 1371, and the archaeological park is all that remains of the medieval capital. The lonely Donžon Tower is all that is left of the defensive towers, while the monument to Lazar himself is one of the most recognisable in the country. The Lazarica Church might be the highlight of it all, an outstanding example of medieval Serbian architecture.
Located in the old Kruševac Grammar School, the National Museum in town is another excellent wing of this nationwide institution. The region around Kruševac is the obvious focus, with special attention paid to the cultural and historical development of what was once the most important city in the country.
It was the centre of Serbia that experienced the worst of Nazi aggression in these parts, and Kruševac didn’t escape the violence. The Slobodište Memorial Park was designed in 1965 in order to pay respects to the many killed by the Axis powers, although it is as much a celebration of the indestructible sense of life as opposed to the fragility of that same thing. The largest open air theatre in the country, Slobodište is an integral part of life in Kruševac.
Serbia is a great country to visit for coffee lovers, although the abundance of Turkish (or ‘domestic’ in these parts) coffee means a good Americano can be quite hard to find. Not so in Kruševac. We can say without any regret that the finest such coffee in the country is found here, specifically at the city centre cafe called Kafeterija BUT. A short walk from the main square, it is well worth every single step out. Trust us.
As you would expect from a historically important city like Kruševac, the town is full of monuments paying respect to heroes both modern and ancient. The Monument of Peace was erected in 1997, ironically two years before the country was bombed senseless by NATO, while the Monument to Kosovo Heroes went up in 1882 and is one of the most impressive 19th century statues in Serbia. The aforementioned Monument to Lazar is another delight, while June 2018 saw a memorial to Princess Milica unveiled next to the city market.
It is somewhat surprising considering the historical significance of Kruševac, but the city’s oldest house is a beautiful example of late 18th century urban architecture. The House of the Simić Family is located on the city’s main square at the bottom of its central pedestrian street, and was where the rebellion against Miloš Obrenović began in 1835.
Kruševac is home to an energetic and youthful population, most of whom will make their way to Zakićeva street if the weather and mood allows. This is the main pedestrian street in the city, and predictably lined with bars, pubs and clubs of all shapes and sizes. Grizzly Caffe gets our vote, an unashamed journey back to the ‘90s complete with dingy interior and oversized bear statue by the toilets. If you’re looking to drink the night away in Kruševac, Zakićeva is the place to go.
A little slice of heaven (well, lush greenery to be exact) above the city, Bagdala is the place to go for unbeatable views over Lazar’s town. The city park has been subjected to a few regrettable architectural decisions in recent years, but it remains the best place in town to clear the head and see all of the city at the same time. This is the greenest spot in town, to say the least.
There are a number of interesting galleries to explore in Kruševac, the best of which is probably the Milić of Mačva Gallery. An ode to Serbia’s long history, the focus is on the famous Battle of Kosovo along with the brief time in which Kruševac was the capital of Serbia. The gallery is named after the individual who left the collection to the town, if you were wondering. The same artist was responsible for the famous Obertenje Lazarevo painting, now found at the Trade Union Hall.
This is Serbia, so of course gluttony is on the menu. Kruševac is every bit as foodie friendly as the rest of the country, with the same mix of traditional, contemporary and European restaurants waiting to serve. Everyone will have their favourites, and we’ll doff our cap to the good folk at Kod Krle, an old-fashioned kafana on the road up to Bagdala. Don’t expect any English to be understood, but do expect some of the best grilled meat in the country.