Niška banja belongs to the II group of the most developed spas of Serbia, which individually, has over 100,000 overnight stays a year, with a relatively developed medical treatment function, a solid material base and a favourable position (closeness to communication flows, city neighborhoods and other factors).
Natural healing factors in Niška Banja are the mild, moderate continential climate, thermal waters, natural mineral mud and medical gases. The healing waters, which originate from 5 springs (“Glavno vrelo”, “Suva banja”, “Školska česma”, “Banjica”, “Pasjača”), belong to the group of alkaline earth homeotherms (36-38°C) which are mildly mineralized and slightly radioactive and with the capacity of 56 liters per second.
Meso relief and microrelief of the Nišava basin, at whose southeast edge is Niška banja, originated from various morphological processes, most of all terraces (in 3 terrace levels), thermal, karst, and recent forms. In fact, Niška banja lies in the basin which is a product of fluvial activity, which has happened time and time again.
The specifity of the morphogeography in a wide area of Niška banja lies in the fact that its form is mostly thermal relief. The main Niška banja thermal had on the upper „terrace“ precipitated a tufa column, seven to eight meters high. This geyser column existed all the way until the beginning of the new spa bath construction (1935), when the hill was removed. Chemically accumulative relief types formed by the extraction from thermal solutions.
The Niš Basin karst terrain is exhibited also in the Niška banja territory. The limestone sandstone surrounds the limestone block Koritnjak, at whose base and on the sides lies the Niška banja, and it isolates it from the limestone mass of Suva planina into a special hydrogeological unit.
The Koritnjak Hill represents a typical landscape covered with karst, in the advanced stage of morphological and hydrological development, on the surface of about 2.5 km2, on which about twenty sinkholes of different dimension have been discovered. Sinkholes can also be found in Niška Banja itself. Thus, in the spa area, forms of anthropogenic geomorphology, 18 to 22 meters high, can be found on the lower terrace whose one section rises above the Nišava plane, and on which there once were karst springs, very rich in calcium carbonate which settled at the bottom of their estuary because it had been pouring out there.
The Koritnjak limestone block is bordered between three faults: Zaplanjski in the northwest, Nišavski in the north and Studenski in the northeast. The Rautovački stream, which has a special influence on the quality of the thermal spring waters of Niška Banja, flows Along the Studenski fault.
Despite the protective measures, on the Koritnjak, in the Niška Banja, region on a relatively small surface, almost all denuding forms can be observed, which suggest an intensive process. These forms related to anthropogenic objects: roads, settlements and arable land, according to the degree of denudation, endanger the southeastern part of the Koritnjak the most. Mainly rifts and springs are there, but also induced watercourses (fourth degree of denudation), which result in the abandonment of arable land.
The Suva Mountain belongs to the Carpatho–Balkan Mountains that stretch from the river Danube in the north to the Zaplanjska–Lužička Valley and the Mountain Ruj in the south. In the east, they stretch from the Bulgarian border and the mountains of the Morava Valley to the west. They have a diverse geological structure due to which are rich in various ores and minerals.
Trem is the highest peak of the Suva Mountain, 1810 meters high and stands opposite of the Sokolov kamen that is 1361 meters high. Both tops are nature’s artworks formed in the distant past the Earth.
On the north side they are cut off with sharp stone edges while on the southern side they are covered with rare vegetation, grass and low juniper bushes, with partial rocky parts. Every year on St. Vitus Day (28 June) mountain climbers from Niš traditionally organize a night climb to the highest peak of the Suva Mountain, Trem.
The climbing tour begins from the starting point at the mountain lodge Bojanine Vode, located at about 960 meters MAMSL, and moves towards the village Kosmovac. After about a mile the tour turns right from the road and the into the woods covered in tall beeches, where it encounters a spring, which is only and the last spring on this route. The path goes gently through the forest with a relatively intermediate slope which increases as we approach the place or a plateau between the Sokolov stone and Trem, known as Maiden’s tomb, 1317 meters above sea level.
About two hours is necessary to arrive to the top of Trem from the Maiden’s tomb and to overcome the height difference of about 500 meters above sea level. The view is impressive, it extends to the massif of Stara Planina with the high Midžor, to the mountain chain of the slightly lower Svrljig Mountains, adjacent to the Sokolov kamen behind which you can see the valley and the city of Niš. Also on the northeastern side the view extends to Babička Mountain beneath which extends Zaplanje, while behind these slopes you can see Leskovac and Vlasotince east of it; almost the entire southeastern Serbia on your palm.
The Jelašnica gourge is a part of the Jelašnica river valley, made by the intense vertical eroding of its waterway into the limestone rock of the west brances of the Suva planina. It is located in the city municipality of Niška Banja in the area of the city of Niš in the Nišava Administrative District, between the villages Jelasnica (north) and the village Čukljenik (south). It is 14 km east of Niš and 3 km from Niska Banja. It is about 2 km long and only 30 meters wide. It connects the Niš basin with the settlements and the tourist destination of Bojanine vode on the north-western slopes of the Suva planina.
Since 1995 the Jelašnica gorge has the status of the “Nature Park I category of protection”, as a natural recource of the Republic of Serbia of exceptional importance, in order to preserve the natural values and endemic and subendemic plant species found there.
The flora of the Jelašnica gorge consists of 39 Moesia, 20 Balkan and 6 Illyrian endemics and subendems. Two tertiary Balkan species of Natalia Ramonda (Ramonda nathaliae) and the Serbian Ramondo (Ramonda serbica) are especially distinguished. Only in Jelašnica and Sićevo gorge is a zone of contact between these two endemic-relict species that builds “a globally important community of Ramondetum nathaliae-serbicae”. The habitats of these plants are cracks in the limestone, north-exposed walls of the Jelašnica gorge, most often in the forest vegenation protection zone, at altitudes from 150 to 300 meters. Ramonda serbica with other plants in this area form relict-chasmophytic communities of which the most important are Ceterachi-Ramondaetum serbicae and a number of communities of the Musco-Ramondaetum serbicae type. Also in habitats where the Serbian ramond overlaps with Natalia’s ramond, in the sympathetic zones, it forms the Ceterachi-Ramondaetum serbicae ramondetosum nathaliae subassociation.
Apart from the Serbian Rammondia (Ramonda nathaliae) and (Ramonda serbica) in the Jelašnica gorge, these next species stand out especially; sage (Salvia officinalis), spurge-laurel (Daphne laureola), Serbian sticky-weed (Parietaria serbica), hybrid blackberry (Rubus corifolius), Adami Safran (Crocus adami), wild pear (Pirus nivalis).