The Đerdap area is the first protected natural are in Serbia to be inscribed on the UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARKS list by the decision of the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO, which was adopted at the plenary session on July 10, 2020, upon the confirmation of the decision of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council on the designation of Đerdap as one of the 15 new geoparks in the world.
Đerdap geopark was established on the basis of the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, PE "Đerdap National Park" and the municipalities of Golubac, Majdanpek, Kladovo and Negotin.
The designation of the area of the Đerdap gorge and its hinterland, parts of the Kučaj and Miroč mountain massifs as a geopark is the result of many years of work and engagement of state bodies, institutions and experts.
On the occasion of the adoption of the Đerdap geopark nomination, the Director of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, Aleksandar Dragišić, M.A, pointed out that "this is a recognition and evaluation of our natural heritage on a global scale, and that Serbia has the potential to nominate more areas according to UNESCO geoparks nominating criteria, since about 80 geomorphological, hydrogeological, speleological and geological sites are in the system of protected areas, while 850 phenomena have been singled out within the geoheritage inventory so far."
At the initiative of the competent ministry, in 2014, an initiative was launched to establish geoparks in Serbia. With that aim, at the end of 2015 the Working Team for the Establishment of the Đerdap Geopark was formed, which prepared an application dossier based on the operational guidelines of the UNESCO Global Geopark Network. The application dossier was submitted to the UNESCO Global Geoparks Secretariat via the National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO. Srđan Marinčić, an expert associate of the Institute, participated in the work of the expert team engaged in the compiling of the application dossier.
With this decision, Đerdap with an area of 1,330 km2 became part of the world network of geoparks, unique, geographically complete areas that include sites and landscapes of international geological importance and with exceptional natural and cultural heritage.
The most important natural phenomenon in the area of the Đerdap geopark is, above all, the Đerdap gorge, the longest gorge in Europe with a length of over 100 kilometers, which consists of four smaller gorges and three valleys: Golubac gorge, Kazan gorge, Ljupkovska gorge, Gospođin vir gorge, Donjomilanovačka valley, Oršavska valley and Sipska gorge. In this area, the Danube deeply cut the strong rocky mountains of the Southern Carpathians, thus revealing exceptional scenery of geoheritage and showing the geological evolution of the Earth's crust on the Danube from the Proterozoic to the last Ice age. Numerous species have a habitat in the area of the geopark, among which there are over 1000 plant species, and the age of the limestone rocks is more than 160 million years.
The cultural significance and heritage of Đerdap is evidenced by the millennial heritage of several civilizations dating from the Mesolithic period, first of all, the largest European settlement Lepenski vir from around 9500-5500 BC, then from the Eneolithic, as evidenced by the oldest mine in Europe Rudna glava near Majdanpek from about 5000 BC, as well as from the Roman, Byzantine and Turkish periods, Trajan's Plaque, Golubac fortress, the fortresses of Fetislam and Diana, and there are also traditional houses, churches and monasteries.
The designation of Đerdap as a geopark enabled the development of practices and models for a unique connection between the protection of geological heritage and regional sustainable economic development of this area.
By expanding the list of 15 geoparks in the world, 161 areas of exceptional international geological importance, which are located in 44 countries, have been included in the world network of geoparks.