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Pyramidal shape of Šiljak
Highest point
Elevation1,565 m (5,135 ft)
Coordinates43°46′34″N 21°53′36″E / 43.77611°N 21.89333°E / 43.77611; 21.89333Coordinates: 43°46′34″N 21°53′36″E / 43.77611°N 21.89333°E / 43.77611; 21.89333
Rtanj is located in Serbia
Location in Serbia
LocationEastern Serbia
Parent rangeSerbian Carpathians

Rtanj (Serbian: Ртањ, Vlachian: Artan, pronounced [r̩̂ːtaɲ]) is a mountain situated in eastern Serbia, approximately 200 km southeast of Belgrade, between towns of Boljevac on north and Sokobanja on south. It belongs to the Serbian Carpathians. Its highest peak is Šiljak (pronounced [ʃǐːʎak]) (1,565 m), a natural phenomenon of karst terrain.

The north side of the mountain is covered with forests and shrubs, full of autochthonous plant species and plenty of sources of potable water. A hunting ground covers 6368 ha. The most common prey are roe deer and wild boar.


Rtanj is located in eastern Serbia, occupying the south-western, Balkan section of the Carpathian Mountains. Administratively, it belongs to the municipalities of Sokobanja and Boljevac. The most obvious physical feature is the conical shape on top of the mountain ridge, which appears to be perfect. The highest peak is the 1,565 m (5,135 ft) tall Šiljak.[1]

Human history[edit]

Entrepreneur Julijus Minh founded a mine on the mountain in the 19th century.[2] His widow Greta Minh, built a mausoleum in the form of a little chapel dedicated to her husband on the Šiljak peak. The chapel was built in 1932 and was dedicated to St. George. Some 1,000 miners participated in the construction as Minh, in the process of developing the mine, built apartments, school, community health center, cinema, park, etc.[1]

After World War II, the new Communist authorities demolished the chapel's dome with the cross in 1946. In an effort to find the gold and jewels which according to the folk mythology were hidden inside the mountain, the treasure hunters damaged the chapel using dynamite on several occasions since the 1980s, demolishing the remaining walls in the process.[1][3]

The first open-air bio pool in Serbia was built on Rtanj in 2019. It is filled with the mineral-rich water from the natural spring, discovered in 14th century, and needs no pumps. The water is chlorine-free; instead, plants and algae which naturally filter and clean the water are planted in one section of the pool. From this mini-lake, filtered water flows over several small steps into the pool. The shape of the pool is inspired by the Serbian ramonda flower, while the nearby hotel is shaped like a pyramid, mimicking the shape of the mountain itself.[2]



According to the folk legend, the castle of a wizard was situated on Rtanj Mountain, in which a great treasure was guarded. However, the castle has disappeared within the mountain, trapping the wealthy sorcerer inside. Ever since the treasure hunters have been visiting the mountain seeking for the lost gold and gems.[1]

Fringe theories[edit]

In 1971, poet Miodrag Pavlović wrote a poem "Splendid wonder" (Divno čudo). Inspired by the folk myths from the area, Pavlović described Rtanj as an abode of the ancient Serbian gods. In the next decades, additionally influenced by the pyramidal shape of the mountain, Rtanj became popular among the fringe theories supporters. In the 21st century it became a place of regular gathering of the believers in paranormal, which organize groups, symposiums and "surveys" of the mountain.[4]

Most popular theory is that, due to its shape and other "observed" factors (precise pyramidal geometry, golden ratio math, wondrous natural life, strong electromagnetism with fine frequencies, endemic plants, healthy energy radiation, special climate, mystical cultural heritage, naturally radiation-ionized air, Tesla waves), the mountain had to be artificially built. Claims are made that it is a multi-dimensional portal, that a channel leads from the top of the mountain to below the ground being used as a launch pad for alien spaceships and that Rtanj is an "oscillator and resonator of the subtle energy hubs".[4] Alleged sightings of the "flying balls" over the mountain became a common place.[1]

For some New Age believers, the pyramidal shape of the mountain is due to it containing an alien pyramid emitting mystical energies. Many people have flocked here prior to the predicted 2012 Mayan Doomsday, believing it will protect them.[4][5]

Vrelo locality is described as the source of magnetic energy. The results were "confirmed" by the radiesthesia surveys, as attested by the plaque on the small stone pyramid. People stand in the hole in this area, filling themselves with energy. They claim that the prehistoric people recuperated their energy on this spot and that animals sleep on this spot during winter and that strange appearances which allegedly show on the photos taken here are because of the time travelers.[2]


Rtanj from its northern side

The mountain is home to Rtanj catmint (Nepeta rtanjensis), endemic species of the Nepeta genus. Discovered in 1974, it grows only on the Rtanj. In 2020, a postage stamp with the image of the plant was issued, celebrating 125th anniversary of the Museum of Natural History in Belgrade.[6]

Rtanj tea[edit]

A widely known traditional product of Rtanj is the "Rtanj tea", a herbal tea made of winter savory. It is celebrated for its antiseptic and aromatic properties, and is allegedly an aphrodisiac,[7] which gave the plant a local moniker đipikur ("jump(ing)-dick"). Allegedly, the plant also has bronchodilatory and antioxidant effect and the virility is enhanced because of the flavonoids which stimulate the production of testosterone.[4] Before it gained its modern reputation, it has been used by the local population as a remedy for bronchitis, asthma, coughing, children's respiratory inflammations and for gerontology problems.[1]

By May 2019, the massive summer harvesting of winter savory on Rtanj was banned by the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia until the species recovers. The plant has been over-harvested in general, but it was especially damaged as, instead of the former harvesting using knives or scissors, the harvesters began massively pulling out the plants from their roots.[1]

Medicinal and aromatic wildly grown herbs picked on the Rtanj and the mountain Ozren, which is on the opposite, southern side of Sokobanja, account for the majority of the Serbian export of these commodities, which in 2018 reached €3.3 million.[8]


Rtanj was placed under the state protection in May 2019 when it was declared a natural monument ("Special nature reserve Rtanj").[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Slavica Stuparušić (16 May 2019). "Rtanj, novo zaštićeno prirodno dobro" [Rtanj, new protected natural monument]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 8.
  2. ^ a b c Mirjana Nikić (11 October 2019). Биобазен у знаку рамонде [Bio pool in the mark of ramonda]. Politika-Moja kuća (in Serbian). p. 2.
  3. ^ Srđan Cvetković (13 January 2020). Чишћење Србије од "народних непријатеља" 1944-1953, део 25 - Стигла је "дарована слобода" [Cleaning of Serbia of the "enemies of the people" 1944-1953, part 25 - The "awarded freedom" arrived]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 25.
  4. ^ a b c d Slobodan Kljakić (5 August 2018). "Занимљива Србија: Ртањ и ртањско биће" [Interesting Serbia: Rtanj and Rtanj's Entity]. Politika-Magazin, No. 1088 (in Serbian). pp. 19–21.
  5. ^ Tanquintic-Misa, Esther (11 December 2012). "2012 Mayan Doomsday Countdown: Serbia's Mount Rtanj is Alternate Refuge". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  6. ^ Сто двадесет пет година Природњаког музеја у Београду [125 years of the Museum of Natural History in Belgrade]. Politika (in Serbian). 9 November 2020. p. 30.
  7. ^ Rtanj bez čaja, Politika, 2008-03-29
  8. ^ Dragoljub Stevanović (21 April 2019). "Lekovito bilje kao posao - Nanu i kamilicu najviše kupuju Nemci" [Medicinal herbs as business - Germans are the major buyers of mint and chamomile]. Politika-Magazin, No. 1125 (in Serbian). pp. 3–5.

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