In eastern Serbia, there is a mountain with a pyramid and it is a favorite place of aliens in this part of the world. Joke aside, Rtanj is a mountain that may or may not resemble a pyramid, and as far as aliens are concerned - we haven't met them. One thing is for sure - the climb to the mountain Rtanj is a favorite place for hikers! And you can stay in one of hotels at Rtanj.
How to get to Rtanj
Rtanj is some 210 km away from Belgrade (~ 2.5 hours drive). The road to get there is not difficult, mostly by the E75 highway, which is in a pretty decent condition. After the exclusion near Paraćin, you pass several local roads and reach the village of Rtanj.
Although there is a small town nearby (Boljevac), which certainly offers a larger selection of accommodation - you can find accommodation in Rtanj village. There are several options available here, but keep in mind that you have to book in advance because the place is quite popular, especially on weekends. The newly opened hotel called Ramonda is attracting more and more tourists.
The ascent to the mountain Rtanj is attractive on weekends for all those who are interested in homeopathic treatments, ordinary mountaineers, nature lovers, food lovers and UFO lovers.
Because the village Rtanj is basically at the bottom of the mountain, and right next to the start of the hiking trail, it's obvious why this is good choice for accommodation. However, there are no markets or shops (of any kind) in the village. This excludes households that sell home-made goods such as brandy, honey, sweets, herbs, teas (Rtanj tea is an excellent homeopathic remedy).
Since there are no shops and restaurants, it would be good to provide supplies of drinks and food as well as the necessary equipment as needed.
Ascend to the top Siljak
Most people take the Southern Hiking Trail - which is easier. It is about 15 km in both directions, and the total ascent is about 1000 m. Hiking to the top should take about 3-4 hours at a moderate pace, plus a slightly shorter descent time (about 2.5h). As for the difficulty of the trail - it is 4 out of 10 on the scale of difficulty of hiking trails.
Since the ascent to Mount Rtanj is one of the moderately physically demanding trails, we will explain the step-by-step sections to help you prepare well! The first part of the trail is a dirt road that leads you to a wooded area. This is followed by a rocky "goat trail", with a lot of dense vegetation. That part of the trail can be slippery and muddy in case of rain. The good thing about this is that you are not directly exposed to the sun, but be careful how you walk because there is a possibility of slipping.
At the end of the "goat trail" you will reach one of the bases where you can take a good look at the mountain for the first time. You can see the clouds at the top, and a little further ahead, are the bases of the real "pyramid". The view is magnificent.
As you go further to the top there are no more trees and leaves - just grass, flowers and rocks. Keep in mind the important fact that the temperature noticeably decreases as you climb.
Half an hour from the top, you enter the "cloudy area" where the air is thinner and the wind is stronger. It's finally coming the peak Silljak at 1565 m.
At the top is located a small dilapidated chapel - It is said that it was built by the wife of the owner of the Rtanj mine after her husband committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. That was in 1935. In 1968, the Rtanj mine was shut down. Most of the people who lived in Rtanj, worked in the mines and then lost their jobs. They were searching of gold, when the chapel was damaged and looted.
After a break at the top you are ready to return.
Tips for ascending the Mount Rtanj
Consider the mandatory use of hiking shoes Also read and learn more about useful supplements for longer hiking. Using appropriate footwear can help you reduce the pressure on your toes and heels. Also make sure you have one with you windproof jacket - It will be hot at the base, but at the top it is a completely different story. A spare T-shirt is also a good idea. Temperatures vary widely and you will sweat quickly as you climb. Many hikers use trekking poles. These things can help relieve back pain, provide stability on slippery parts of the road and help you use your upper body more on higher bases. In addition to taking care of your bones with these helpers, make sure to stimulate your body with a sufficient amount of vitamins!
Bring water with you, at least one liter. In addition to water, consider to bring half a liter of some of the nutritious natural drinks.
Watch out for animals on the road - the viper and the hinge are some of the venomous snakes that live there. But more often you will come across shiny bugs on the ground. Try not to crush them. Especially if they are mating.
Take a few spare plastic bags with you to pick up trash if you come across it and be careful not to throw trash.
After descending from the mountain you can go to the nearby village Ilino and enjoy local specialties. Ascending the mountain Rtanj is certainly one of the unforgettable adventures.
For those who like a little more adventure we recommend that you go in the summer to Rtanj night ascend, where you will experience a spectacular sunrise and see the shadow of the pyramid, after dawn.
If you prefer and enjoy winter hiking, the real challenge is ascend to the top of Šiljak in winter. Rtanj winter ascent is adventure only for the more physically fit, due to the difficult conditions of movement through the snow and strong wind. But, if you are lucky enough to have the sun, Rtanj will be shown to you in its full beauty, especially if you choose the ascent on the north side, and the descent on the south side. From the equipment, you will need a layered warm winter wardrobe, waterproof deep hiking boots, poles, leggings, gloves, a hat, a scarf and a spare cover.