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Đavolja Varoš – Devil’s Town

42.9925° N, 21.4072° E

  • They say the Devil comes in many disguises. Some choose to see him as a serpent, some as a man, and some as a hoof-footed, ram-horned hell beast with a bad case of sunburn. But regardless of your theological beliefs (or absence of them), we bet you’ve never pictured Old Nick quite like this before.

    Those happening across this surreal spot on southern Serbia’s Radan Mountain could easily be forgiven for thinking they’d stumbled into some netherworld dimension or other, given the bizarre appearance of these towering orange tentacles bursting from the ground. On second glance, they might also notice that several of these protrusions come complete with black caps at their apex – smoky black boulders of varying shapes and sizes which are the result of volcanic activity stretching back thousands, if not millions of years ago.

    But these 202 top-hatted turrets, worn into twisted forms by the weather and winds of the region, aren’t all Devil’s Town has to tempt us into visiting. Even more intriguing (and rarer still) are the two springs which trickle inconspicuously alongside these mystically entitled ‘earth pyramids’ – one containing water so high in minerals it’s a wonder Popeye hasn’t upped sticks to the area, and another so acidic it would make the blood of H R Giger’s finest creations seem insipid. The properties of these waters even cause their waters to run red, adding even more heft to the weird and wonderful weight of the site.

    Various legends endure about the true nature of these all-natural phenomena and, perhaps unsurprisingly, most place Mephistopheles and his minions front and centre of the story. Some have theorised that the rock stacks’ fluctuating sizes represent the power plays of demons fighting each other in the depths below, while others insist the pillars represent a wedding party, frozen forever in time after crossing paths with Satan himself. Seems the Devil really is in the detail after all.

IMAGE CREDIT: Rudolf Getel
March 17th 2015