A mountain treasure of the flat Slavonia region
When one mentions Slavonia, a vast flat area comes to mind. This utterly simplified image of Slavonia is “spoiled” by a wreath of wooded mountains, which act as a giant natural horseshoe encircling the fertile Požega Valley – the Golden Valley. True, there are no impressive cliffs or pointy mountaintops on the mountains of Slavonia but that is precisely why the richness of famous Slavonia woods is even more accentuated. Slavonian mountains have many perks that can thrill their visitors.
The peaks of Papuk, at the time of the Pannonian Sea, towered above its level acting as islands. Nowadays, visible significant evidence of the geological past of this area exists across the entire mountain – its rocks and the fossils encapsulated in these bear witness of the geological turmoil that was nowhere else in Croatia quite so impressive like here. Still, the main natural feature of Papuk is not sharp cliffs; it is rather its extraordinary nature. One must not forget that Papuk is one of the most preserved landscapes in Croatia and its slopes and trails are a peaceful haven for those who wish to experience peace and calm in a wild nature. The idyllic valley of Jankovac, the most beautiful place in the mountains of Slavonia, is a true phenomenon.
Jankovac is the centre of gatherings, socialising and events. In the valley of Jankovac, all located in a rather small area, there are beautiful meadows, two artificial lakes, a mountain spring and a cliff above it with two interesting caves, while below the valley there is a rock with a 30-meter-high waterfall. The entire valley was named after a nobleman from Voćin, Josip Janković, who, lured by his love for wild nature, abandoned the lavish life of Vienna to move to the wooded corners of Papuk.
Jankovac is best explored by strolling through the shade of its hundred-year-old beech forest. The educational Count’s trail begins at the mountain lodge, leads along the lakes, and then slightly ascends through the woods to today’s spring of the creek Jankovac. Two caves are located above this spring – one was the hideout of a thug from Papuk, Maksim Bojanić, and the other is the final resting place of Count Janković. Walking along the Count’s trail you will quickly reach “the graveyard of glassmakers“, a place where the first inhabitants of the Valley of Jankovac were buried – the glassmakers who moved from the area of today’s Austria to this area in the late 18th century. It is definitely worth walking to the waterfall of Jankovac, Skakavac (The Grasshopper), the largest waterfall of Slavonia. Over the course of several thousand years, water formed an impressive travertine barrier on limestone rocks. The size and strength of the waterfall vary depending on the quantity of water. The waters of the Jankovac creek meet the waters of the Kovačica creek at the foot of the waterfall, wherefrom they thunderingly precipitate down the canyon and flow further towards the north.
Two directions are possible to get to Jankovac. The main entrance into Papuk Nature Park is from the southern side in Velika, where there is also an information centre for visitors. Close to the centre, after the Church of St Augustus, there is a thermal spring – Veličke spa, from which several blazed mountain trails lead to the inside of Papuk. On the other, northern side, one can reach Jankovac by a road leading from Slatinski Drenovac. The excursionists who are interested in mountaineering can explore numerous agreeable mountain trails, among which the trail crossing the rocky peak of Lapjak and the trail through Duboka, the valley of the creek Dubočanka, are particularly worth underscoring.