Fruška Gora

Fruška gora (Serbian Cyrillic: Фрушка гора) is a mountain in northern Serbia. Most of the area is administratively part of Serbia, but a small part on its western side extends into eastern Croatia. The area under Serbian administration forms the country's oldest national park. Sometimes it's also referred to as the Jewel of Serbia, due to its largely pristine landscape and protection effort, or the Serbian Mount Athos, it being the home of a large number of historical Serbian Orthodox monasteries.



In Serbian, it is known as Fruška gora (pronounced [frûʃkaː ɡǒra], Фрушка гора), in Hungarian as Tarcal (also Almus-hegy or Árpatarló), in German as Frankenwald, and in Latin as Alma Mons. In Medieval Greek, it was known as Frangochoria.

The mountain's name originates in the old Serbian word "Fruzi" of which singular form is "Frug"; and its adjective is Fruški, which was used for naming the Frankish people.[2] The name of "Fruška Gora" is "Frankish mountain" in English whose meaning is based on describing a historical event, viz, the mountain served as a natural border when Frankish campaigns were set up in the area. In the time of the Roman Empire, its name was Alma Mons, meaning the "fertile mount". It is recorded that during the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus, 276-282, who was born in the nearby Sirmium, the first grapevines on the mountain were planted.[2]


The mountain is a natural geological phenomenon as it is built from the rocks from almost all geological periods.[3] It used to be an island during the existence of the Pannonian Sea. To the north, the mountain is bordered by the Danube river, while to the south it descends into the Syrmian lowlands. Lengthwise, it is approximately 80 km (50 mi) from east to west and is 15 km (9.3 mi) from north to south. Its highest peak is Crveni Čot at 539 m (1,768 ft).[2]


Fruška Gora also divides Syrmia in two geographically distinct parts: Wine Syrmia (upper or mountainous) and Swine Syrmia (lower or lowland). Slopes of the mountain were established as one of the most prestigious vineyards in Hungary, ever since the 15th century. Golden age of the Fruška Gora's viticulture began after 1699 and the Treaty of Karlowitz, when Ottomans were expelled from the area, until the late 19th century.

In Sremski Karlovci, a famous dessert wine called bermet is produced, with protected geographical indication. It is recorded that the crates of bermet were used as the bribe, used by the Serbs to obtain certain privileges from the Austrian empress Maria Theresa. The wine was served at the Russian and British courts, and was on the wine list of Titanic.[2]

The slopes of Fruška Gora are perfectly suited for grape arbors, and wine-makers producing Traminer, Riesling and other wines in the region. After the fall of communism, the Serbian Orthodox Church got 10,000 hectares restitution in the area of their nationalized properties.[4]

National park

A national park Fruška Gora was declared in 1960 and covers an area of 266.72 km2 (102.98 sq mi). It is the oldest modern national park in Serbia.[2]

Plant life

Rich fossil fauna is preserved and almost 90% of the park area is forested. The predominant tree species include linden, oak and beech.[2] The concentration of linden forests is highest in Europe. In time, linden became the dominant tree species, replacing formerly much larger and dominant oak forests, which are considered to be the autochthonous vegetation on Fruška Gora.[5] Altogether, 1,500 plant species inhabits the park, of which 200 are protected.[3] There are also 400 species of fungi. Pannonian plant endemites include Tatar dock (Crambe tataria), broadleaf wild leek and Hungarian leopard's-bane. There are some 30 species of orchids in the park.[2]

In 2016, massive cutting of trees in the park occurred, one of the largest in the mountain's recorded history. Over 10 ha (25 acres) of forest have been cut. Park administration then stated that an autochthonous species of oak will be planted instead. However, they never planted anything and in the future years a thicket of the remaining black locust high shrubs grew instead. The administration, nevertheless, claims that the oaks have been planted. In the spring of 2019, aggressive cutting continued. Apparently indiscriminate cutting, without proper notifications what is being cut and by whom, destroyed hiking paths and orienteering marks. Also, the cutting sections of the forest weren't properly secured and some were completely wrong: beech trees have been cut even though the table stated that oak trees are being cut. According to the environmentalists, regular visitors and recreational athletes, the cutting was never so massive.[6][7][8]

Timber was transported outside of the park and was sold by the park administration. They responded that everything is being part of the planned action, that park has to think about the "economic part" of its existence (as the government is allocating small amounts of money to the park) and that trees will be "replenished later" because the cut ones were old. Members of the commission which participated in the planning said that even more trees should have been cut as 80% of the forest is over 80 years old. Only 3% of park's territory is under the strict protection (some 800 ha (2,000 acres) of forest at Papratski Dol locality). The trees have been cut right along the border of this area, clearing the land which surrounds it. Citizens responded that national park is not a tree farm where the trees should be "replaced" and that protected forests can't be perceived as a feedstock. Director of the park said that he doesn't know how much trees they cut and planted, but numbers officially published by the park in 2018 show that in an undefined period they planted 50,000 seedlings, but 100,000 trees have been cut. Also, the park's plan for 2019 envisioned almost 100 time more money for cutting the trees than for the planting of the new ones.[6][7][8]

By the 2010s, the predominant cultivated plant on the foothills of the mountain and the surrounding vast fields, became the rapeseed.[5] In March 2020 it was announced that saffron was discovered on the mountain. There are some 20 species of saffron living in Serbia, but they never populated Fruška Gora. The discovered species is woodland crocus, it was found on only one location, but already spread to several thousand individual plants.[9]

In 2020 60,000 new trees will be planted in the park.[10]

Animal life

Protected insect species include Balkan goldenring, certain species of dragonflies and hoverflies, and Hungarian ground beetle, which already went extinct in some other European countries.[2] Park is also the habitat of 13 amphibian species and 11 reptilians, of which 14 are protected, among them fire salamander and European adder.[3]

Park is home to 211 bird species. Symbol of Fruška Gora is eastern imperial eagle, today with only 2 or 3 remaining breeding couples. There are 60 mammalian species, of which 17 are protected, including edible dormouse, European pine marten, European polecat and Mediterranean water shrew.[2] Out of 30 species of bats which live in Serbia, 15 inhabits the mountain and all are under strict protection.[11] In January 2018, for the first time after the 1960s, additional mouflons were introduced in the park. 30 animals were relocated from Slovakia, which raised the number of mouflons in the park to 70.[12]



There are traces of human habitation in this area that date from neolithic times. Before the Roman conquest, Illyrians and Celts[2] inhabited this region. In 31 AD, this area was conquered by the Romans and was included into Pannonia province. The Danube river was a border of the Roman Empire (limes), and on the northern side of the mountain several Roman border fortresses were built.

In the Early Middle Ages, this area was settled by Quadi, Huns, Goths, Gepids, Slavs and Avars. The Franks expelled Huns, Avars, Gepids and Lombards from this area and formed the southern border of the Frankish Empire, ultimately giving its name to the mountain.[2]

It was later inhabited by Bulgarians, Pechenegs and Hungarians. In the 11th century, when Christianity was split between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, both communities had their churches in this region. A very important group of Serb medieval monasteries was formed on the mountain.[citation needed]


Since the 19th century, during the Austro-Hungarian period, cities developed so as the trade and crafts. Settlements on the mountain itself developed, designed in the typical folk tradition. Two most distinct settlements, in terms of architectural inheritance, are Sremski Karlovci, which grew into the center of the political and cultural life of the Serbs in Austria and, later, Austria-Hungary, and Irig, one of the most developed Syrmian settlements since the 18th century.[citation needed]

During the time, the area was part of the Hun Empire, the Ostrogothic Kingdom, the Gepid Kingdom, the Lombard state, the Byzantine Empire, the Avar Khaganate, the Frankish Empire, the Bulgarian Empire, Lower Pannonia, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, Austria-Hungary, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, the Kingdom of Serbia, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro, and now is within the Republic of Serbia.[citation needed]

During World War II, this area was occupied by the Axis Powers, and Fruška Gora was an important center of Partisan resistance movement. A liberated partisan territory was formed in this region.[citation needed]

On 28 March 2003, police revealed that former Serbian president Ivan Stambolić had been assassinated by eight men on the mountain. At the time Slobodan Milošević was still in power. It was later determined that Milošević had given the order for Stambolić's murder.[citation needed]


Edreš Hill was used as the quarry by the prehistoric people for their tools. There are numerous Roman remains, like the fortress Acumincum near Slankamen and Bassianae, Roman town near Donji Petrovci. The town was fortified with the ramparts and square towers. Within the walls, the objects with the heating and sewage systems were discovered, so as the walls painted with frescoes and floor mosaics. In 1952, at the locality of Bikić Do, a Roman vault was discovered with 11,500 coins, including ones from the reign of Constantine the Great.[2]

Attractions from the later period include the Tower of Vrdnik, the only remaining part of the medieval fortress, the Rivica Watermill and Stražilovo, where the remains of the poet Branko Radičević were reinterred from Vienna in 1883.[2]

Population and settlements

In 1991, the population of the Fruška Gora region numbered at 114,263 people. Settlements in the area include 23 villages, as well as several towns, which are located around the mountain. These towns are: Šid, Beočin, Petrovaradin, Sremska Kamenica, Sremski Karlovci and Irig.



There are over a dozen Serbian Orthodox monasteries located on Fruška Gora. In the eighteenth century the monasteries became the home of monks from Rača monastery in the Bajina Bašta municipality by the Drina River. These monks were writers famous for their illuminated manuscripts.

Fruška Gora Monasteries were declared Monuments of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1990, and are protected by the state.

Ottoman documents mention 35 monasteries, of which 16 survived and are still active today. Due to the such large number of monasteries on one place, Fruška Gora is colloquially called Serbian Mount Athos.[2] The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church officially declared Fruška Gora the Holy Mountain on 12 October 2003.[13]

List of monasteries:

See also


  1. Jovan Đokić. "Katalog planina Srbije". PSD Kopaonik Beograd. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011.
  2. Dimitrije Bukvić (24 July 2017), "Pod krilima orla krstaša", Politika (in Serbian), pp. 1, 8
  3. Aleksandra Mijalković (18 June 2017), "O očuvanju naše prirodne baštine: najbolja zaštita u naconalnim parkovima", Politika-Magazin (in Serbian), pp. 3–6
  4. Crkva neće novac za šumeArchived 28 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. D.S. (17 May 2020). Занимљива Србија: Војводина - Церство поља, река и птица: Липе на Фрушкој гори [Intereting Serbia: Vojvodina - Realm of fields, rivers and birds: Linden trees on Fruška Gora]. Politika-Magazin, No. 1181 (in Serbian). p. 21.
  6. Milan Srdić (17 March 2019). "Seča drveća na Fruškoj gori, planinari se bune" [Cutting of trees on Fruška Gora, mountaineers are objecting] (in Serbian). Radio Television Serbia.
  7. Nataša Kovačev (23 June 2019). "Seča drveća na Fruškoj gori: Ko kontroliše rad Nacionalnog parka" [Tree cutting on Fruška Gora: who controls National park] (in Serbian). N1.
  8. Snežana Kovačević (25 June 2019). "Seča šuma na Fruškoj gori - plansko upravljanje ili pustošenje" [Forest cutting on Fruška Gora - planned management or desolation]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 9.
  9. Slavica Stuparušić (3 March 2020). "Otkrivena nova vrsta šafrana na Fruškoj gori" [New species of saffron discovered on Fruška Gora]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 8.
  10. "Национални парк Фрушка гора обележиће 60 година постојања садњом 60.000 садница". Politika Online. Retrieved 2020-11-03.
  11. Snežana Kovačević (27 August 2017), "Kako zavoleti šišmiša", Politika-Magazin, No. 1039 (in Serbian), p. 24
  12. Slavica Stuparušić (6 February 2018). "Sve vise muflona na Fruškoj Gori" [More and more mouflons on Fruška Gora]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 08.
  13. S.Kovačević (8 August 2017), "Fruška sveta gora nije u turističkoj ponudi Srbije", Politika (in Serbian), p. 08