South Morava

The South Morava (Macedonian and Serbian Cyrillic: Јужна Морава, Serbian Latin: Južna Morava, pronounced [jûːʒnaː mɔ̝̌rav̞a]; Albanian: Lumi Morava) is a river in eastern Kosovo[a] and in southern Serbia, which represents the shorter headwater of Great Morava. Today, it is 295 km long, including its source river Binačka Morava.[1] It flows generally in the south to north direction, from Macedonian border to Kosovo and onwards to Central Serbia, where it meets West Morava at Stalać, to create Great Morava.

South Morava
(Јужна Морава/Južna Morava)
Juzna Morava
The river Južna Morava (Southern Morava) near Niš
Native nameMacedonian: Јужна Морава, Južna Morava
Serbian: Јужна Морава / Južna Morava
Albanian: Lumi Morava
Country Macedonia
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationNear Skopska Crna Gora in Macedonia
 ⁃ location
with the West Morava forms the Great Morava at Stalać, Serbia
 ⁃ coordinates
43°41′57″N 21°24′18″E / 43.69917°N 21.40500°ECoordinates: 43°41′57″N 21°24′18″E / 43.69917°N 21.40500°E
Length295 km (183 mi)[1]
Basin size15,696 km2 (6,060 sq mi)[2]
 ⁃ average100 m3/s (3,500 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionGreat MoravaDanubeBlack Sea


The river rises in the Skopska Crna Gora mountain in north Skopje, Macedonia. The streams Ključevska reka and Slatinska reka join together to form the river Golema, which is, after passing the Macedonian-Serbian border, known as the Binačka Morava. After 49 km it meets the Preševska Moravica at Bujanovac, and for the remainder, 246 km, flows as the South Morava.


The South Morava belongs to the Black Sea drainage basin, and its own drainage area is 15,696 km²,[2] of which 1,237 km² is in Bulgaria (through its right tributary Nišava). Its average discharge at the mouth is 100 m³/s and it is not navigable.

South Morava has a composite valley, which means it consists of series of gorges and valleys in this order: Gnjilane valley – Končulj gorge – Vranje valley – Grdelica gorge – Leskovac valley – Niš valley – Aleksinac valley – Stalać gorge. After breaking through the last, Stalać gorge, it meets the West Morava.

Juzna Morava Moravac
South Morava in Moravac

In macro-geological terms, the South Morava connects the Aegean basin with Pannonian basin. This creates a phenomenon named "apparent flow inversion": it seems that the river from one lowland climbs up the mountains and then flows into another lowland. However these two large geological basins are connected by the Grdelica gorge (Serbian: Grdelička klisura/Грделичка клисура). The bottom of the gorge, where the river flows, is much lower than the mountains surrounding it, and of course the river flows downwards through the gorge.

The South Morava used to be 318 km long, and represented a longer and natural (flowing in the same direction) headwater of Great Morava. Historically it sometimes caused severe floods. But the river's meanders have now been shortened by almost 30 km; and today it is shorter than the West Morava. However, the West Morava has always had bigger discharge.

Areas in southern Serbia where the South Morava flows have been almost completely deforested, which has caused one of the most severe cases of erosion in the Balkans. As a result of this, the river brings large amounts of materials to the Great Morava, filling and elevating its river bed, which exacerbates the huge floods of its daughter river.


The South Morava has 157 tributaries. The most important left tributaries are: Jablanica, Veternica, Pusta reka and Toplica. Right tributaries are: Vrla, Vlasina, Nišava (the longest) and Sokobanjska Moravica.


The South Morava has a significant potential for electricity production, and a huge hydroelectrical system (Vlasina- Vrla I-IV power stations) has been constructed in its drainage basin.

To a certain extent, its waters are used for irrigation.

The river valley's most important role is as a channel for transportation. It is the natural route for both railway and highway between Belgrade–Skopje–Thessaloniki. It is part of the Pan-European corridor X, and the route of the E75 Highway.

Historical name

Till early 20th century and beyond it has been also known as Bulgarian Morava (Bulgarian: Българска Морава, Balgarska Morava; Serbian: Бугарска Морава, Bugarska Morava).[3][4][5] This historical name derives from the Ottoman times when it was considered that as a whole the river was a natural border between Bulgarians from the east side, and Serbs and Albanians from the west one.[6][7][8] Detailed ethnographic map of the mixed then (Albanian, Serbian and Bulgarian) population of the western bank of Bulgarian Morava Valley was made by Hahn and Zach in 1861.[9]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently recognized as an independent state by 99 out of the 193 United Nations member states. In total, 112 UN member states recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 13 later withdrew their recognition.
  1. ^ a b Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Serbia 2017 (PDF) (in Serbian and English). Belgrade: Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. October 2017. p. 16. ISSN 0354-4206. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b Velika Morava River Basin, ICPDR, November 2009, p. 2
  3. ^ Serbien und die Serben, Spiridon Gopčević Publisher Elischer, 1891, pp.5 - 6.
  4. ^ The Russo-Turkish War, R. Grant Barnwell, 1878, p.402
  5. ^ A handbook of Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and adjacent parts of Greece, Great Britain. Naval Intelligence Division, 1920, p.11
  6. ^ Drezov K. (1999) Macedonian identity: an overview of the major claims. In: Pettifer J. (eds) The New Macedonian Question. St Antony’s Series. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 47-59.
  7. ^ J. von Hahn, Bulgarians in southwest Moravia, edited by A. Teodoroff-Balan, Sofia, September 1917, Al. Paskaleff & Co. publishers, pp. 2-3.
  8. ^ Ethnic Mapping on the Balkans (1840–1925): a Brief Comparative Summary of Concepts and Methods of Visualization, Demeter, Gábor and al. (2015) In: (Re)Discovering the Sources of Bulgarian and Hungarian History. Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia; Budapest, p. 85.
  9. ^ №20. The Ethnological Map by von Hahn and Zach (1861).
  • Mala Prosvetina Enciklopedija, Third edition (1985); Prosveta; ISBN 86-07-00001-2
  • Jovan Đ. Marković (1990): "Enciklopedijski geografski leksikon Jugoslavije"; Svjetlost-Sarajevo; ISBN 86-01-02651-6

External links

Arbanaška River

Arbanaška River (Serbian: Арбанашка река / Arbanaška reka) is a river located in the municipality of Prokuplje, Serbia. Its source is near the village Arbanaška, and it flows into the Toplica at Donja Toponica.

Battle of Vranje

The Battle of Vranje, or the Liberation of Vranje (Serbian: Ослобођење Врања / Oslobođenje Vranja), represented one of the final stages of the second phase of the Serbian–Ottoman War (1876–78). At the beginning of the war, the Serbian army began the offensive in what is today South Serbia. After the Battle of Grdelica, the Serbian army managed to break into the Masurica Valley leaving the road to Vranje open and unguarded. At the same time, many rebellions broke out in the Serbian-Ottoman border areas, including in the Vranje region, against Ottoman authority. To help the rebels, the Serbian command decided to send Lieutenant Stepa Stepanović to form a special rebel battalion.

General Jovan Belimarković was the commander of the Serbian Army; his forces were deployed east of the South Morava River. The leader of the Ottoman forces was Division General Asaf Pasha whose forces were deployed west of the South Morava River. Officially, the battle began on 26 January 1878, when Serbian forces began to move to the west side of the river; it culminated in a great battle on 31 January. About 22,000 Serbian soldiers participated in the successful liberation of the town.

During the battle, Lieutenant Stojičević, who was killed in Devotin just north of the town, was cited for his bravery. Major Radomir Putnik was tasked with pursuing the retreating Ottoman forces as they moved towards Bujanovac and Preševo.

After the Treaty of San Stefano, citizens of Vranje feared that the area would be conceded to the Principality of Bulgaria. A letter was sent to Serbian Prince Milan Obrenović with the plea not to withdraw the army from Vranje. It officially became part of Serbia after the Congress of Berlin in 1878.

Binačka Morava

Binačka Morava (Macedonian and Serbian Cyrillic: Биначка Морава; Albanian: Morava e Binçës) or ("Mirusha") is a river which flows in southeastern Kosovo and North Macedonia. It flows generally in the southwest to northeast direction, from Macedonian border to Bujanovac, where, after 49 km, meets Preševska Moravica, to create South Morava.


Bujanovac (Serbian Cyrillic: Бујановац, pronounced [bǔjanɔvats], Albanian: Bujanoc) is a town and municipality located in the Pčinja District of southern Serbia. Situated in the South Morava basin, it is located in the geographical area known as Preševo Valley. It is also known for its source of mineral water and spa town Bujanovačka banja.

According to the 2011 census, due to the boycott of Albanians. the largest ethnic group in the town were Serbs, while the largest ethnic group in the municipality were Albanians.


Grdelica (Serbian Cyrillic: Грделица) is a town in southern Serbia. It is situated in the Leskovac municipality, in the Jablanica District. The total population of the town was 3,194 people as of the 2011 census. For census purposes, Grdelica is divided into two adjacent parts, southern "Grdelica town" (Grdelica varoš; population 2,136) and northern "Grdelica village" (Grdelica selo; 1,058).Grdelica lies at the South Morava river, on the mountainous terrain at the entrance of the Grdelica Gorge. It lies at an important transport route, on the main road and railway corridor linking Serbia with Macedonia and Greece. As of 2016, the section around Grdelica is the last part of the A1 motorway to be completed to a full dual carriageway profile.

It is the largest settlement on the route from Leskovac to Vranje, and it was a seat of a municipality until absorbed by the Leskovac municipality in the 1960s.

Grdelica has a football stadium (the name of the football team is "FK Jedinstvo"), a basketball court, and a swimming pool. "Desanka Maksimović" is the name of the primary school. Woodworks "Danilo Bošković" and "Textile Industry Grdelica (TIG)" are two major factories.

Jablanica (river)

The Jablanica (Serbian Cyrillic: Јабланица, pronounced [jablǎnitsa]) is an 85-kilometre-long (53 mi) river in southern Serbia. A left tributary of the South (or Južna) Morava river, it gives its name to the region of Jablanica and to modern Serbia's Jablanica District, with the region contributing about one third of the district's area.


The Jerma (Serbian: Јерма) or Erma (Bulgarian: Ерма) is a river in southeastern Serbia and western Bulgaria. Though not very long (72 km), it is notable for passing the Serbian-Bulgarian border twice.


The Kosanica (Serbian Cyrillic: Косаница) is a river in southern Serbia. It is a southern, right tributary of the Toplica near Kuršumlija. The river is 34 km long and gives its name to the area it flows through, which constitutes with the south part of Kuršumlija municipality in south Serbia.

List of rivers of Kosovo

This is a list of rivers in Kosovo.

Binačka Morava

Dečani Bistrica









Peć Bistrica

Prizren Bistrica



South Morava

White Drin

Morava Valley

The Morava Valley (Serbian: Поморавље / Pomoravlje, pronounced [pɔmɔ̝̌raːvʎe̞]), is a general term which in its widest sense marks valleys of any of three Morava rivers in Serbia: the West Morava (West Morava Valley), the South Morava (South Morava Valley) and the Great Morava (Great Morava Valley). In the narrow sense, the term is applied only to the Great Morava Valley (Serbian: Велико Поморавље / Veliko Pomoravlje). The Serbian term follows the general manner of coining river valley names in Serbian using the prefix po- and suffix -je, meaning literally "(land) along the Morava". Morava valley lies in the central Balkans, at the crossroads which lead eastwards, towards the Black sea and Asia Minor, and further south, down the Vardar river into the Aegean sea.

Moravian Serbia

Moravian Serbia (Serbian: Моравска Србија / Moravska Srbija) is the name used in historiography for the largest and most powerful Serbian principality to emerge from the ruins of the Serbian Empire (1371). Moravian Serbia is named after Morava, the main river of the region. Independent principality in the region of Morava was established in 1371, and attained its largest extent in 1379 through the military and political activities of its first ruler, prince Lazar Hrebeljanović. In 1402 it was raised to the Serbian Despotate, which would exist until 1459 (de jure until the 1560s).

The adjective Moravian does not imply that the state (Moravian Serbia) is affiliated in any way with the region of Moravia in the present-day Czech Republic. The term Moravian Serbia refers to the fact that the state comprised the basins of the Great Morava, West Morava, and South Morava rivers in present-day central Serbia.


The Nišava or Nishava (Bulgarian and Serbian Cyrillic: Нишава, Serbian pronunciation: [nǐʃaʋa]) is a river in Bulgaria and Serbia, a right tributary, and with a length of 218 km also the longest one, of the South Morava.

Pusta River

Pusta River may refer to:

Pusta River (South Morava), a river in Serbia, tributary of South Morava

Pusta River (Vlasina), a river in Serbia, tributary of Vlasina

Pusta (Crișul Negru), a river in Romania, tributary of Crișul Negru

Pusta River (South Morava)

The Pusta River (Serbian: Пуста река / Pusta reka, "Desolate River") is a river in southern Serbia, a 71-km long left tributary to the South Morava. It also gives the name to the Pusta Reka region in its valley.

Sokobanjska Moravica

The Sokobanjska Moravica or simply Moravica (Serbian Cyrillic: Сокобањска Моравица or Моравица) is a river in central eastern Serbia, a 58 km-long right tributary to the Južna Morava river.

Stalać Fortress

Stalać Fortress is a historic fortress in the town of Stalać (pronounced [stǎlaːtɕ]). It is located 10 km north of present-day Kruševac, on a hill overlooking the confluence of West and South Morava.

Toplica (river)

The Toplica (Serbian Cyrillic: Топлица, pronounced [tɔ̂plitsa]) is a river in southern Serbia. The river is 130 km long and gives its name to the region it flows through, which constitutes most of the modern Toplica District of Serbia.

Vlasina (river)

The Vlasina (Serbian Cyrillic: Власина), is a river in southeastern Serbia, a 70 km-long outflow of the Vlasina Lake and a right tributary to the Južna Morava, which also gives its name to the surrounding Vlasina region.

West Morava

West Morava (Serbian: Западна Морава / Zapadna Morava, pronounced [zâːpadnaː mɔ̝̌rav̞a]) is a river in Central Serbia, a 184 km-long headstream of the Great Morava, which it forms with the South Morava. It was known as Brongos in antiquity.

Kosovo articles


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