In the base of Rtanj mountain lies a town of the same name, founded by the famous Münch family. In the beginning of 20th century, The Münchs became owners of mine near Rtanj and the first mine was opened in 1902. The Münch family invested a lot in Rtanj infrastructure. Mining at Rtanj was suspended during wars, but it was followed by intense development. Stone coal was of the first class. Simultaneously with ongoing mining operations, new mining deposits were explored. Explorations that were carried out at the time showed that deposits in Rtanj would last for at least 20 years. Many qualified staff, such as engineers, surveyors, supervisors were working in the mine. Rtanj mine became a modern mining company. According to information from 1922 the share of Rtanj mine in total Serbia’s coal production for the year was between 15 and 20 percent.
The Münch family built cosy apartments for the workers and their families, organized a private school, opened a health clinic, a grocery store and a cinema within Sokolski dom with a gym and football field. The Münch family put much effort into development of the town. First of all, they invested in a large park, with more than 150 species of trees and bushes and a greenhouse. The workshop, which was a part of the mine, built furniture, which was given to workers free of charge when they moved into their apartments.
Immediately after the First World War, the old Samuilo Münch got ill, went to sanatorium in Vienna, where he died in 1919. His oldest son Julius took over the management of the mine, together with his brothers Adolf and Aleksandar. Greta and Julius had no children, but were very charitable and generous to miners and their families.
Julius Münch committed suicide under unresolved circumstances in his apartment in Belgrade, and Greta continued to manage the mine together with Julius’s brothers - Adolf and Aleksandar. In a memory to her husband, Greta built a small church - chapel dedicated to St. George at the top of Rtanj mountain. The church was built by 1000 workers and consecrated in 1936. Some 20 years ago the chapel fell victim to Rtanj legends. It was demolished by dynamite in an attempt to find a long-lost treasure. There is an ongoing initiative to rebuild the chapel. The popular film “Petrijin venac” (eng. Petrija’s Wreath), starring Mirjana Karanović was filmed at this location.
The Münch family owned Rtanj Mine for 40 years. This period is known for economic and social development, both of those living of the mine and for their families, as well. This area, so wisely designed, speaks of the past times and people who used to live here.