During the fourth and fifth decades of the 19th century, the first chemical tests of medicinal waters from some sources in the territory of the Principality of Serbia began. Those first steps towards balneology cannot be observed without the comprehensive context of the creation and birth of certain political, administrative, economic, and social conditions, with the aim of forming a modern Serbian state. The changes that were reflected in the modernization of the state administration included the transformation of education, healthcare, the military and other structures of society. Many researchers believe that following the development of healthcare, especially balneology, we can also follow the beginnings and development of tourism. More precisely, the beginnings of tourism in Serbia should be sought in its spas. From the so-called folk spas, real spas are created, the waters of which have been continuously tested and which have been hygienically arranged over time. Then Vrnjačka Banja, Banja Koviljača, Sokobanja and Bukovička Banja stood out.
Mataruška Banja, as a health resort and tourist destination, began to develop in the first years of the 20th century. Although it is one of the youngest spas, due to its special natural resources and characteristic geographical-spatial structure, its development followed an upward trajectory, especially in the years between the two world wars, when it was formed as a climatic health resort for rest and recovery.
At the exhibition “Mataruška Banja: Beneath the Cold Linden Trees, Near the Fast Ibar River…”, the audience will have the opportunity to learn through postcards, photos, objects and documents, about the genesis of the origin and development of Mataruška Banja: from the discovery of healing water, through the interwar years boom and rise, then systemic and ideological changes in socialism, when it developed into a modern health resort, in accordance with the standards of modern balneology and rehabilitation, until the beginning of the nineties of the 20th century, when it experienced a kind of setback. In addition to the chronological presentation, the exhibition provides an insight into the original urban and regulatory plan, panoramas of settlements, architectural projects of spa baths, hotels and villas, the appearance of tourist and hospitality facilities, health and healing institutions, representative spa villas, and visually evoking the culture of living, clothing, as well as and scenes of rest and recreation. Part of its story is made up of portraits of famous people (doctors, photographers, architects, merchants, teachers…) who, with their actions and suffering, left a permanent mark on his physiognomy, as well as the characters of those “ordinary” people, mostly nameless, who spent some time in the Spa for the sake of healing health problems, but also for beautiful, joyful life moments.
The author of the exhibition is Suzana Novčić, museum advisor of the National Museum Kraljevo.