Following the Kolubara River, we first cross a landscape of rolling hills and valleys, to reach the first foothills of the Maljen and Povlen Massif. Valjevo, with almost 60 000 inhabitants within the city limits, is the first stop on the road to Bosnia and Montenegro, and the first city in Western Serbia. Its natural environment and ancient charm make it a perfect first stop for anyone coming from Belgrade. Situated in a basin 185 m above sea level, Valjevo stretches along the banks of the rivers Kolubara and Gradac, surrounded by the wooded mountains of Medvednik, Jablanik, Povlen and Maljen. The natural situation of the region explains its many tourist sites. Its rich vegetation and mild climate make it ideal for hiking, kayaking and caving. As for Valjevo itself, its centuries-old position on the Turkish border - la Ottoman city and Serbian city were separated by a river - and its resistance to the oppressor during the two world wars have left many monuments.
History. Dating from the Paleolithic, the first traces of settlement on the site remain around the caves of Petnička, in an environment very favourable to sedentarisation. A village organized around its lord, or knez, is already mentioned in religious manuscripts in 1019. In the XIVe century, Valjevo is already a small town, seat of a county under the Serbian monarchy of Dragutin and surrounded by several monasteries. In 1459, the Ottomans took it over and in the XVIIIe century, the Austrian and Turkish armies plundered it several times; this did not prevent it from maintaining, thanks to its border position, an intense artisan and commercial activity. At the beginning of the XIXe century, Valjevo will meet a dramatic fate at the time of the Serbian uprisings against the Ottoman occupier. The knez Nenadović and Birčanin having set up the hearth of the uprising against the Turks, bloody battles took place there, which ended with the beheading of the two leaders on February 4, 1804. But the city's spirit of resistance was not to be denied, since a century later, in 1914, it was in its surroundings that the Serbian army defeated the Austro-German coalition armies on the Kolubara, which were five times more numerous.
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