Dragacevo is a small town nested in the very heart of Western Serbia. Many perople say that it is the most picturesque area in Serba, and it has been well-known as »little Switzerland« for a long time. It is placed among and guarded by the bosoms of magnificent mountains: Ovcar, Jelica, Troglav and Golubac, through which flows the river Bjelica, the upper course of which is fast, and the lower is quiet. The Dragacevo area spreads among the towns Cacak, Kraljevo, Ivanjica, Arilje and Pozega on area of 661 km2, and it comprises 49 settlements, out of which 47 are village settlements and two are town settlements (small towns Lucani and Guca).
You can reach this area from four directions:
- via Cacak and the Jelica mountain;
- from Kraljevo via the village Kaona;
- from Ivanjica via the Kotraza village;
- from Uzice, Pozega and Cacak from the road which leads along Ovcar-Kablar gorge, and from which the road parts off from the main road and leads along the valley of the river Bjelica.
From Belgrade, you can reach Dragacevo via Gornji Milanovac and Cacak (about 140 kilometres). Dragacevo was probably named after the river Dragacica which springs at the bottom of Jelica mountain and disgorges into the Bjelica river in Guca. According to the second traditional folk belief, it was named after Dragas, an aristocrat in the Middle Ages, the time when czar Dusan ruled in this country. The inhabitants of Dragacevo were mostly immigrants. The more intensive immigration to Dragacevo – from Montenegro, Herzegovina and Stari Vlah had started at the end of 17th century, and it lasted by the end of 19th century. Thus, it is not wonder why the speech of the people in Dragacevo is basically jekavian dialect. Recently, however, there has been a strong influence of ekavian dialect both in speech and writing.
According to the register from 2002, there are 24.614 inhabitants in Dragacevo. The number of households, according to the same register, is 8.374. People from Dragacevo are very hospitable. In all families, each guest is entertained with a special respect. They are curious and talkative, they like humour, stories, jokes… During all seasons, Dragacevo offers the most diverse possibilities for rest and recreation: untouched nature, reveilles (morning gatherings), and twilight gatherings in the villages… Moreover, this mountainous area has been well-konwn by hard-working and hospitable local residents, clean and healing water springs, beautiful and rich orchards, woods and pastures, which are situated at 550 metres above sea level.
The beauty and importance of the old buildings in this area, wooden cottages, semi-cottages, outbuildings, dairy stores, sheds in which brandy is made and water mills represent a unique monumental whole. Buildings made of wood adorn almost every courtyard in the country. Owing to this favourable geographical and transit position, Dragacevo has good prerequisites for the development of tourism. Monumental rarities and versatile natural beauties are attractive for turists for sightseeing, picnics and recreation, and they allow the development of tourism in this area.
Dragacevo is far well-know by its natural monuments and natural rarities: caves, trunks and woods, which are preserved by the state. It comprises “two English oaks – Djurdjevak” in Donja Kravarica village, and “Dragacevo trunks” which consists of nine tree trunks in different villages of Dragacevo, all of which, due to their old age, attractive scenery and biological value, were proclaimed to be protected natural resources by the state. Dragacevo is rich in monuments. Churches in Dragacevo shared the same destiny as people from Dragacevo. They were built, but bullies destroyed them, the invaders – especially the Turks. During the days of freedom, people renewed or built them again.
In Dragacevo, there haven¢t been any churches from the time before the First Serbian Uprising. But, during the time of Karadjordje¢s Uprising, and after that, especially since 1815, the old churches have been renewed and the new ones built. Churches in Goracici, Tijanje, Guca, Kaona, Kotraza and Vica remained ever-lasting cultral monuments. In Dragacevo area, there are also many monasteries dating from 16th till 19th century. They were religious, spiritual and cultural centres of this area. In 1960, F. Kanic, a writer who wrote about his travels, called the Ovcar-Kablar gorge »a Serbian Holly Mountain Athos« because of many monasteries. In the area of Dragacevo there are three monasteries: Sretenje (visitation of the Virgin), Svete Trojice (Holly Trinity) and Preobrazenje (Transfiguration). Since 1945, there have not been any churches built in Dragacevo. However, during the last decade of 20th and at the beginning of 21st century, this picture changed – churches were built in Lucani, and in villages Donji Dupac (two), Zeoke, Kotraza and Lisa.