Danube Virtual Museum

National Park "Đerdap"

The National Park ''Đerdap'' is positioned in the north-eastern Serbia, at the border with Romania. The Park protected in 1974, comprises 63.000 ha including the part of Đerdap gorge area (Gvozdena vrata-Iron Gate) in the middle stream of the Danube river.

It includes parts of the massif of Severni Kučaj, Miroč and Štrbac, 2-10 km wide, and a part of the Danube belonging to the Republic of Serbia. The area of National Park ''Đerdap'' is located on the territory of the municipalities of: Golubac, Majdanpek, Kladovo, and within 16 cadastral municipalities of Golubac, Brnjica, Dobra, Boljetin, Majdanpek, Donji Milanovac, Mosna, Topolnica, Golubinje, Miroč, Petrovo Selo, Tekija, Sip, Davidova, Manastirica, Kladušnica and Podvrška, covering a total area of 63.786,48 ha, out of which 45.454,87 hectares are state-owned land, while the private land amounts to 18.331,60 ha.

The characteristics of the area

The prime attribute and the most remarkable aspect of the relief in this National Park is the grandiose Đerdap Gorge. It is the longest and the largest incising gorge in Europe. The Đerdap Gorge is composed of four smaller gorges and three valleys that are interchanging along the line of almost 100 km.

The most beautiful gorge of the Đerdap is Veliki Kazan. In this part of its course, the mighty Danube is seized between steep, often vertical cliffs that rise even up to several hundred meters above the river, which is not wider than 170 m. Exactly at this point the Danube is the deepest. The depth of 90 m, measured in one of the huge hollows that are present in the Danube riverbed, represents one of the greatest river depths on Earth. The beauty of the canyon leaves an unforgettable impression on all visitors, regardless if it is observed from the river or from the edge of the plateau bending over the canyon. It is only here where it can be seen in a striking manner how Đerdap (Iron Gate) got its name.

The southern hinterland of the gorge is dissected by the erosive activity of a number of the Danube's right tributaries. The canyon of the river Boljetinska Reka is particularly distinct for its attractive and dynamic morphology. The canyon is significant from the aspect of the geoheritage protection, since a complete geological history of Serbia, from Palaeozoic to Cenozoic, can be observed in it. For its beauty, this geological profile is regarded as one of the most representative geological profiles in our country.

The great length and depth of the gorge, different expositions, most variable forms of relief, and a large number of sheltered habitats, caused the Đerdap Gorge to become the major refugium for ancient European plant and animal species.

The area of the National Park is inhabited by more than 1,100 plant species, among which are the Tertiary relics, such as the Turkish filbert (Corylus colurna), walnut (Juglans regia), common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), yew (Taxus baccata), linden (Tilia argentea), Caucasian lime (Tilia caucasia), Balkan maple (Acer intermedium), downy oak (Quercus pubescens), common holly (Ilex aquifolium). The species Tulipa hungarica has a particular place to which the Đerdap Gorge is the only habitat in the world.

The richness of the flora reflects in the rich vegetation as well, primarily the forest vegetation. More than 50 mixed forest and shrubby communities were registered, of which 35 have the relic character.

The National Park is the habitat of more than 150 bird species, such as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), white-tailed eagle (Haliaetus albicilla), black stork (Ciconia nigra), grey heron (Ardea cinerea).

The mammal fauna is also rich. The most attractive species are the brown bear (Ursus arctos), otter (Lutra lutra), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), grey wolf (Canis lupus), jackal (Canis aureus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), chamois (Rupicarpa rupicarpa) and other species.

The National Park "Đerdap" is distinguished from other parks for its unique and exceptionally significant monumental heritage as well. This primarily refers to the archaeological find "Lepenski Vir". During the systematic archaeological activities that preceded the construction of the first Iron Gate dam and formation of the reservoir, remains of a previously unknown prehistoric culture were found on the Danube terrace "Lepenski Vir" on the right riverbank. This finding was a true sensation in archaeological circles. The settlement with sacral buildings of specific construction and shape and sculptures made of huge round pebbles, representing fantastic fish-like creatures, belong to the one of the most complex prehistoric cultures from the period between 7,000 and 6,000 B.C. In the narrow valley in the form of an amphitheatre, complex social and economic relationships were developed, with the most ancient urban structure, sacral architecture, and monumental sculptures on the European continent to date.

A number of monuments bear witness on the time when the Roman Limes - a chain of fortifications, was formed along the Danube. Most remarkable are the remnants of a road, cut into the bare rock and finished during the times of the Roman emperor Traianus. The famous Tabula Traiana today still bears witness on this grand Roman endeavour.

One of the most beautiful sights on the Danube spreads at the very entrance into the gorge. On the steep slopes, at the place where the Danube suddenly narrows, the medieval town of Golubac is positioned, with its impressive cascade of fortifying towers and town walls with loopholes. This is one of the most beautiful and important fortresses of medieval Serbia on the Danube.

Protection regimes

Protection regimes of degrees I, II and III are determined at the area of National Park "Đerdap".

Protection regime of degree I and a total area of 5.121,03 hectares, or 8,03% of the area of National Park " Đerdap" includes the following locations: Golubački grad, Bojana, Klisura reke Brnjice, Tatarski vis, Šomrda, Tilva Toma, Ciganski potok, Bosman-Sokolovac, Čoka Njalta with Pesač, Lepenski Vir, kanjon Boljetinske reke with Grben, Kovilovo, Gradašnica and Veliki and Mali Štrbac with Tabula Traiana.

Protection regime of degree II and a total area of 13.715,39 hectares, or 21,50% of the area of National Park "Đerdap" includes the following locations: Golubačka klisura, Kukurek, Ljubkovska kotlina, Crni vrh, Tatarski vis- Šomrda-Tilva, Toma, Bosman, Pesača, Greben, Štrpsko korito and Velika Peštara.

Protection regime of degree III and a total area of 44.950,05 hectares, or 70,47% of the area of National Park "Đerdap" covers the remaining part of the national park, which is not covered by protection regimes of degrees I and II.

International status

The National Park ''Đerdap'' is on the national list of proposals for the Network of biosphere reserves (UNESCO- MAB project) and protected natural areas of the world natural heritage under protection of UNESCO (UNESCO World Heritage).

IUCN and Europarc: the project "Support to the protected trans-boundary areas" contained in the Action plan "Parks for Life".

It is the Trans-boundary Protected Area in the context of joint protection with Romania and a part of the Network of European trans-boundary natural areas (European Green Belt).

Also, it represents Important Bird Area - IBA and Important Plant Area- IPA.
The park is a part of the European network of protected natural areas- Emerald (Emerald Area).

National Park "Đerdap"

(Text: Institute fot Nature Conservation of Serbia)