Myths and gold panning – a place of legends and sourcery
Search for the Golden Fleece
Learn the traditional way of gold panning in the ancient river Pek and it's golden tributaries in seven days
7 days, write for price (depends on group size)
In nature, pure gold is contained in the quartz rocks. Under the influence of precipitation and other external factors, quartz disintegrates, and the golden particles are released and carried away in the waterbeds of mountain rivers. The Homolje area of eastern Serbia is rich with gold, harboring the biggest golden river of Europe – Pek. It’s tributaries originate in the quartz hills, carrying the golden particles with them all the time, and we take you to the place where several masters of the art of gold panning are still alive, to teach you that ancient skill.
We’ll spend seven days (or less, if you choose so) on the golden tributaries of Pek, teaching you the art of finding and extracting pure gold (24 carat), in a fairytale like landscape where time stands still, and people still believe in the dragon guarding the golden fleece! We’ll pass through the canyon where it is believed that the dragon is still hiding, we’ll make a tour of a prehistoric metal mine (the oldest one in Europe!), and also a canyon which is the goal of the most passionate gold searchers.
You’ll experience a dreamworld, beacause this is the place where people still passionately believe in the prechristian gods and mythical creatures! Except the gold quests, we have prepared for you two easy canyoning adventures (no rock climbing, but expect to get wet!), a well as two hiking tours, which will also include gold panning tasks, and let you experience the overwhelming beauty of eastern Serbia.
Tour plan by days
We start our journey to Majdanpek, where we’ll get your rooms in the “Golden Inn” Hotel. After a short break, we’ll be headed towards the prehistoric mine Čoka Oknji, on a hill above Rudna Glava village. After the visit we’ll return to Majdanpek where we’ll visit the local ethno-museum, and have dinner. Participants will receive their personal gold panning kit, that they’ll use in the days to follow.
After breakfast and coffee, at 10:00 we’ll head to Grabova river, which is known for the biggest chunk of gold that was extracted in a gold panning session, weighing an unbelievable 40 grams! In it’s valley ancient underground gold mines can still be found.
From the valley of Grabova river we climb to the Kraku Mustafa peak. The locals still beleive that at daybreak on St. George’s day in May a green light shines from this peak, indicating where the hidden treasure lies!
From Kraku Mustafa we descend into the valley of another famous gold river – Todorova reka (Todor’s river). As we descend we’ll gather the soil from the very stream sources on our way into the buckets that we’ve taken with us. Almost all the time we’ll be walking on quartz deposits, and demonstrate what quartz rocks look like on cross sections.
Upon descending into Todor’s river valley we’ll have lunch in a nice picnic area, where we’ll meet the old gold master who’ll be our teacher in the coming days. After lunch starts our fist lesson – you’ll get acquainted with your gold panning kit, and learn the basic principles of panning the soil that you’ve gathered on our way. In the following days this is something that you’ll be doing on your own. Of course, having the opportunity to ask our gold master whatever is puzzling you.
Return to the hotel.
Depending on the mood and weather conditions, we’ll devote this day to Pek canyon, or the Beli Izvorac cascades.
After breakfast and coffee we start at 10:00 towards the Debeli Lug village, where we’ll enter the Big Pek canyon, which is believed to be the home of the dragon guarding Jason’s golden fleece. Of course, we’ll gather alluvium into our buckets as we’re passing the canyon too, and use it for gold panning when we return from the canyon.
From the canyon surrounded by the amazonian like landscapes we’ll return to the village climbing over a desert-like landscape of Valja Fundata mullock hills of the Majdanpek gold and copper mine, and that contrast that we’ll experience will be the main attraction! Passing through the Pek canyon is a real adventure which requires passing through water, which is in places chest-deep, so we need adequate clothing for that.
We’re returning to the village with our full buckets to Todor’s river where we’ll do the gold panning session with our old gold master.
In case we devote the day to the Beli izvorac cascades we’ll collect our material in the Šaška river, and have a local specialty lunch in a nearby ethno-restaurant. The gold panning session would be in that case in the Valja Prerast river, flowing under the highest natural stone arch of eastern Serbia! Both the Beli Izvorac cascades and the Valja Prerast stone arch are officially protected as natural monuments.
Upon finishing our breakfast, at 10:00 we’ll go directly to Todor’s river for a lesson with Perica, our gold master. He will define your daily tasks, and that will determine our daily movement. You will learn where to gather the alluvium, or in other words, where there is the highest probability that the golden particles are accumulating – both according to the laws of physics, and local beliefs!
As we return, we’ll round up the lesson, so that tomorrow you’ll be able to do it completely on your own.
Trekking along the Falješana reserve – climbing to the Breza ridge, passing by the Danilova vrela waterfalls. The Breza ridge is a beautiful scenic viewpoint, from which we can also observe the surface mine of Majdanpek. From Breza we descend into the Crna reka (Black river) canyon, where we’ll gather our alluvium – this time individually, with the lessons we’ve learned on the previous day.
Depending on the mood and weather conditions, we’ll either have a “wet” day in the Jagnilo canyon, or enjoy the wonders of the mystical Rajko’s cave.
The last day before our gold panning exam we’ll spend in an adventurous way! Right after breakfast at 10:00 we’re heading towards the Jagnilo river, and passing it’s canyon. Experts believe that it’s very rich in gold deposits, which is the reason why the surrounding hills are crowded with hundreds of gold probes. But inside the canyon, the story has a completely different dimension: it’s a dream come through for every treasure hunter (of course, they do it in complete obscurity). You will see the traces of their searches in this mostly picturesque canyon, which ends with Radan’s cave of epic dimensions.
In this area caves have always been places to hide the invaluable treasures. Many seekers have parrished in their darkness, and those who have hidden the treasure have held the locations as top secret, so that nobody would know where to find their treasure. Those were family secrets that grandfathers at the dying hour would reveal to their grandchildren. This is a living phenomena even today!
Jagnilo canyon is very picturesque, and it also requires getting wet, so you should dress adequately. Of course, we’ll be taking our buckets along, and on our way back you can make your own estimation where it would be best to gather our panning material.
In case we choose the second option we won’t get wet, but this is also a place that all gold diggers dream of! Pasko’s river, which flows by the cave, is one of the golden rivers, and Rajko’s cave, with it’s sparkling white calcite jewelry is extremely attractive, giving you the impression that you’re in the court of the ice queen. Rajko, after whom the cave was named, was a local Robin Hood who robbed the rich and gave their wealth to the poor, but people still believe that he has hidden enormous treasure in some secret place in this cave. Nearby is the spring of the Mali Pek river, which is connected to the myth of Jason and the Argonauts.
We’ve learned the technique of gold panning. We’ve learned where to gather our material. And we’ve done it every day, extracting our shining treasures into a glass jar. Today is the day to show our gold master what we’ve learned!
After breakfast we’ll leave the Golden Inn hotel at 10:00 and get to Todor’s river with our working gear. We present the particles that we’ve gathered in the previous days, and then comes the exam! In the end you get your personal certificates that you’ve completed the gold panning course, have a farewell lunch together, and finally, start our way home. But before we leave the enchanting eastern Serbia, we’ll stop by another unique 3rd century archeological site, dating back to Roman times – Kraku lu Jordan. The fortress belonged to the Roman metal district of Metalla Aureliana, so it proves that the Pek valley was an area of great economic interest even in the distant past. This site is regarded as a valuable cultural monument, important for the history of metallurgy and one of the very rare of it’s kind in Europe.
Although the old gold panning masters posess great experience, every one of them states that you also need luck. We wish you a lot of luck, and if you’re lucky indeed and find a chunk of gold – it’s yours to take it home!
• Maximum group size is 25 participants.
• The personal welcome package contains: two t-shirts (or a sweater), a pan for gold panning, a retractable bucket, and metal shovel.
• Lunch is organized by the rivers where we work or hike every day.
You can see the wet trails in this video: