“I toured the whole world, but could not find a place like Jagodina” – the words of Jovanča Micić, the famous character from the comedy of Branislav Nušić “Around the World”. Also immortalized in a movie, this merchant from Jagodina, who won this award at the sweepstakes in early 20th century, was the predecessor of tourism and the symbol of the city which in its six-century history was named Jagodina twice and Svetozarevo once.
According to the legend, it was named after a waitress – Jagoda, although some believe it is after the fruit of the same name (strawberry). In the period 1946-1992 the city was named Svetozarevo, after a socialist and hero of the Second World War Svetozar Marković.
Jagodina is a city of laughter, good hosts and kind people. It lies on the banks of the Belica River, in the flatlands that span on both sides of the Morava River. In the past few years, after Belgrade, it is one of most visited tourist destinations, especially when guests from abroad are concerned. Besides the Serbs from the Diaspora and guests from former Yugoslav republics, there are tourists coming from Austria, Japan, Russia, England, Australia and USA. And all of them are surprised by the town offer.
Besides nice wooded environment, in the vicinity of the city are monasteries Jošanica, Ravanica and Kalenić, all significant monuments of the medieval culture, while the valuable items of the older historical periods are kept in the Homeland Museum. However, Jagodina is better known for the Wax Figures Museum, displaying the figures of 28 people who have marked the Serbian history, culture, science, sports and politics. Some of the featured people are from the early medieval times, like St Sava and Emperor Dušan, through those from the periods under the Turks or First World War, to Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andric and poet Desanka Maksimović, Patriarch Pavle, and modern-day sport stars like Vlade Divac and Aleksandar Djordjević. This museum also displays the original costumes, arms, copies of rare books, models of monasteries and battle banners, all those things that reflect the times when these greats lived and worked. Another place with good visitors’ turnout is the Museum of Naïve Painting, with works done by artists from all over the world.
Jagodina is the only city in Serbia that has the aqua-park with six swimming pools, among which one is of the Olympic proportions, and the toboggan system is 400 meters long. Within the compound of this park are the courts for futsal, basketball, handball, volleyball, skateboarding and table tennis. It is also the third city in Serbia that has the zoo with 80 animals, living on two hectares. The zoo is ordered according to world standards and belongs among the best looking ones in Europe, so the visitors say it is a piece of the Garden of Eden on Earth.