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Kadjenica cave keeps the memory of a tragic story

A cave, in the village of Dljina near Čačak on the right bank of the Zapadna Morava, one kilometre upstream from Ovčar Banja, Serbia, was the hiding place of the local people fleeing from the Turks, but it was also their tomb as the Turks had set fire at the entrance to the cave. This incident also gave the name to the cave.

During an anti-Ottoman revolt called ‘Hadži Prodanova buna’ in 1814, this refuge in the cave was the shelter for about a hundred people from the surrounding villages, mostly women and children, who hid here in fear of oppression. Turks discovered their hiding place and using straw and wood set it on fire, suffocating everyone inside.

Instead of incense, these people were murdered and suffocated by smoke (kad). To remember their suffering the cave was called Kađenica, the smoke cave.

For more than 120 years, the bones were lying in a cave covered in dust and ashes. Until in 1936, when they were collected and buried in the same cave, in two stone sarcophagi. They were placed in the cave’s church altar apse, under the Crucifixion as a testimony to this sorrowful event.

Just before the war in 1940, a pathway was cleared that leads to the steep entrance to the cave. In front of it stands a cross over 50 meters, that is visible from afar and the sooty rocks above the openings can still be seen, which illustrates the crime that cannot be forgotten.  The access was cleared again in 1991.



 

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