City of Pirot
The position of this region is conditioned both by a variety of tourist attraction and the tourist route of movement. This region is related to the East-Mediterranean direction, which is the route that connects Western and Central Europe with the Middle Estern Mediterranean. The region of Pirot municipality itself is surrounded by the Balkan Mountains from the north and north-estern side with the highest peak Midzor (2,169 meters).The southern and southwestern edge of the basin is the spurs of Vlach Mountain (1,442 meters) and Suva Mountain (1,809 meters) while the northwest of Pirot basin is surrounded by the spurs of SvrljigMauntain (1,334 meters).
An ancient road, known as Via Militaris (military road) or Caričin drum later,passed trought this area.This city, going troughtdifferent time periods, was named differently. Durin the Roman Empirein the III and IV century, it was named TURRES (tower); among other names are: Pyrgos, Thurib, Momcilov grad and Kale.The name of the fortress in Pirot today is Kale.
In the course of the centuries the most significant branch of manufactoring industry was kilim production as an economic activity. It was the original carpet- weaving production linked to the urban locality which was done by the poor women-weavers. The population was oriented towards cattle-raising as its main occupation. Because of that, large quantities of excellent wool made Pirot a trade hearth of the region. That is how all the conditions for the production of the Pirots’kilim were met: the sheep from Staraplanina ranges yiealded large quantities of excellent wool which was processed and dyed here, the weaving- technique was well-advanced, and the trading activity was highly developed.
Pirot was the centre of the pottery craftswork of Serbia. In the middle of the 19th century there were even 40 pottery workshops in Pirot. Yet at the end of the 20th century the significance of this craft was declining which led to the reduction of the number of potters’ shops to only 32. Since the towns in the north and west of Serbia kept growing rapidly after the liberation from the Turks a number of potters from this area left Pirot having gone northward and westward in search of employment and better earnings.
Peglana - Flattened Saussage
This specific brand of saussage is produced using only the finest meat mixed with spices. Its origins are assumed to date back to the age of the Ottoman Empire. The recipe involves carefully picked slices of chevon, lamb and veal; types generally considered to contain less fat. Most consider donkey meat to be the finest choice. Pork meat is strictly avoided because of two reasons: the first one is that it spoils easily, and the second is linked to its historical background dating to the Ottoman Empire era.
All tendons, fat and other unwanted components are sepparated from the meat, which is then minced and mixed with various spices. Flattened saussage has to contain chilli pepper, at least in subtle traces, because its magic lies in that particular taste. After being stuffed, the saussage's ends are tied, resembling a horseshoe and it is left outside to dry out on the draft.
The preffered temperature for drying the product is between -5 and 5 °C (23 – 41F), with no humidity or frostbite. That is why the ideal time of the year for making the flattened sausage is somewhere between the end of November and the end of December. During the time required for it to dry, the sausages are flattened every two or three days (usually with a glass bottle), which is where they originally got their name from. After this process the sausages assume the form and shape of a horseshoe. This process is also the key to extracting the water from the product, ensuring its longevity.
Without preservatives, additives and artificial colors, without any thermic processing or exposure to smoke, “Peglanakobasica” is an eco-friendly, organic product.
Kackaval – famous cheese in Pirot
Prestigious price EDEN (European Destinations of Exellence) given to Pirot in 2015 was very encouraging for every businessman or business woman who tries to emprove the image of serbian tourism, especially the tourism in Pirot. Pirot was the winner on the national contest, which had a purpose to reward less developed destinations with specific gastoronomy. There were presented local products and brands, such as mentioned flattened saussage, traditional dishes from Stara planina, exellent Pirot’s barbecue...Emphasis was on Pirots’ hard cheese Kackaval, as a worldly famous brand.
Apart from the Kilim (a unique, hand-made rug), the symbol and the hallmark of this town on the coast of the river Nišava is “Kačkavalj,” a dairy product passed onto the villagers of the Visok area by the Sarakatsani (or Karakatsani), a group of transhumant shepherds that inhabited the mountain of “Staraplanina” from the 17th untill the 19th century. These shepherds are assumed to have originated from Greece or the Aromanian (or Cincar) people.
MANIFESTATIONS AND EVENTS
1. The Pirot Flattened Sausage Fair
This gastronomic event is one of the biggest events in the region, and its main goal is to preserve and promote traditional and geographical origins of Pirots` flattened sausage. Beside that guests can try many kinds of this ironed sausage, they can also try Pirots` hard cheese (Kackaval), homemade honey, homemade wine… Many people are interested in this event, especially people from thenearby Bulgaria and Macedonia. Few years ago this fair made a record with over 5000 people. Every year the Pirot Flattened Sausage Fair have one or few VIP personalities which promote Pirots` ironed delicacy. This event is placed in the sports arena `Kej`, usually during the last weekend in January.
1. Wine, Brandy and Traditional Cuisine Fair
This fair is placed in the hall of the Cultural Centre in the Izvor village, 4 km from Pirot. This village is known by excellent homemade wine and brandy. This village has a brand of red wine called „Ružica“. This is exellent opportunity for guests to try good wine and brandy, also the great traditional cuisine. Food is presented by local industrial housewifes from the Womens’ Association of the village. The fair is held in February.
2. Lamb Fair Krupac
Lamb is well-known brand of Pirot, aside of pirots’ flattened sausage, pirots’ hard cheese Kackaval, pirots’ kilim and pirots’ pottery. Lamb Fair is placed in the village Krupac, a place famous by cattle-breeding, so it was metter of time when Krupac will get an event like this. This is great opportunity to taste pirots’ lamb prepared in various ways and many gastronomic food products such as: smoked meat, flattened sausage, cabbage rolls with lamb meat… This event is held in April.
3. The Marathon on Staraplanina mountain- Kopren 24h
Kopren 24h is an event that gathers nature lovers, professional and amateur cyclists and mountaineers. This Marathon is placed on the longest mountan race in Serbia. The path has three directions so there are three races with the centre in the Dojkinci village, 40 km from Pirot: „Midzor“ 122km, ”Kopren” 72 km and “Bratkovastrana” 36 km. This race startsin June, at midnight between Friday and Saturday.
4. International Folk Festival
International Folk Festival is dedicated to the folklore and traditional dancing skills. It is the part of the Cultural summer activities. This event starts with a parade of participantsthrought the town going all away to the main square where they present a part of their dancing skills. Later they go to the sports arena, where they perform their entire choreography. Every year there are many participants from all over the world: from nearby Bulgaria and Macedonia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Mexico, Argentina. Pirot is colored with many bright colors these days and this is a great opportunity to meet new cultures and make new friends. International Folk Festival take place in August.
5. Refresh (Osveženje) Festival
Althought the cult of food is very popular in entire Serbia and in Pirot, there are many popular events dedicated to the music, folklore, youth, sport… Refresh Festival is an event dedicated to the music, especially to the contemporary music. Music bands who perform on this Festival are mostly rising music bands, but there are both famous guests from entire Serbia, Bulgaria… The Festival take place in August, in the medieval fortress “Kale”, at the entrance of the town.
6. Cheese fest Pirot
It was metter of time when Pirot will get his first event dedicated to his famous brand- hard cheese called Kackaval. This is the great opportunity for all guests to taste Kackaval and many sorts of cheese that are made in Pirot. This event take its place in September 9th, in etno complex nearby Pirot called “Nisavskadolina”.
By the regulation from 1997 Staraplanina was put under protection and proclaimed Nature park. As such it was put into the first protection category. This whole area is characterized by numerous flora and fauna , and especially those endemic ones and that is why they make this area specific and interesting from all aspects, especially from the aspect of tourism.
The characteristic endemic species of flora are: drizzle, edelweiss, gentian, white water lily, Pancics’ absinthe, the smallest pine tree in Europe grows here, curve pine tree, spruce, English oak in the area of the village Sopot, black pine tree in the area of the village Rsovci and other species.
When fauna is in question, the following birds can be seen: grouse can also be seen only on Tara, white eagle, golden eagle, bustard owl etc. There are 160 bird species, and 92 are natural rarity. Concerning other animal species, there are: bears, roe deer, wild boar, fallow deer, otters, chamois, mole rat, pine marten, wolf, fox etc. "Arbinje" has been under protection from 1985 in the area of Stara planina mountain and it is known as "Spruce" region, "Three small hills" - a place where curve pine tree grows, "Bratko's side"- a place where spruce, juniper and blueberry grow and a place where grouse can be seen, "Devil's head"- a place where beech and maple grow, "Kopren"- a place where drizzle grows.