Outstanding Natural Landscape "Klisura reke Gradac" (Gradac river gorge)


Protection category ΙΙ – protected area of regional, that is, of great importance


1268 ha


Protection degree III


The City of Valjevo with cadastre municipalities: Degurić, Lelić, Brangović, Bogatić, Kovačice, Bačevci, Gornje Leskovice and Belić.


This area has quite a long history of protection. The first legal act on protection was adopted by the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia on December 14th, 1958. With this document Baćina cave with its colony of bats was put under protection. The following act, at the initiative of the Petnica Research Station, was adopted by the Municipal Assembly of Valjevo in 1984 and pertained to the protection of the narrow part of the Gradac river gorge, measuring 877 ha. Finally, in 1998, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia prepared a study that classified Gradac river gorge into category II - Natural resource of great importance.


In 2001, the Municipal Assembly of Valjevo adopted the Decision on the Designation of the Outstanding Natural Landscape "Klisura reke Gradac" (Gradac river gorge) (Official Gazette of the Municipality of Valjevo, No. 1/2001).


Ecological Society "Gradac" Valjevo


The Gradac river, a tributary of the Kolubara, flows through the Valjevska podgorina region, where, in the area of the Lelić and Valjevo karst, it cuts a deep gorgeous - canyon valley, almost 23 km long. The Gradac river gorge is a very attractive environmental unit and one of the most attractive areas in this part of Serbia. Landscape characteristics are reflected primarily in the geomorphological features of the gorge. Regardless of the immediate vicinity of Valjevo, the economic center of this part of Serbia, the gorge has largely been preserved from construction and other forms of degradation, due to which the overall landscape features of this natural resource remained unaltered. Besides certain parts of the gorge that are almost impassable or those that are les inaccessible, in which several rural households with neatly cultivated fields, orchards and meadows are situated, the surroundings of the Ćelije monastery also draws the attention of an observer. The spacious natural amphitheater enclosed in the east by the cliffs, the large forest complex, the picturesque stream of the Gradac river and the peace and quiet that reign here make a memorable impression on every visitor. A special quality of the gorge is the large number of spatially small sites with pronounced environmental values, as well as many natural viewpoints, that is, elevations from which it is possible to view not only certain parts of the gorge, but also the wider area.
The main characteristic of this gorge is the pronounced meandering of the lower part of the valley. The trapped meander curves, with the opposite ranging limestone meander promontories up to 60 m high, have in some places narrowed the valley bottom to only 5 m. The depth of the gorge is from 150 to 300 m. In addition to the typical limestone cliff ornamentation, represented by steep, jagged faults and talus slopes, the sides of the valley are carved with a combination of dry valleys, gullies and ravines. The landscape dynamics is additionally complicated by dry valleys with sinkholes, deep and short valleys of many side tributaries of the Gradac river, numerous caves, pits, abysses, springs, alluvial terraces and cascades over which Gradac flows. The banks of the Gradac river and its tributaries are overgrown with shrub communities of bitter willow (Salix incana), purple willow (Salix purpurea) and grey alder (Alnus incana), whereas the drier sides of the gorge are overgrown with mixed forests and thickets of oaks (Quercus cerris, Q. frainetto, Q. petraea), common hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), hop-hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and other species. The wildlife of this gorge is also diverse. In the waters of this river occur brown trout (Salmo trutta), grayling (Thymallus thymallus), golden spined loach (Cobitis aurata), and in the forests and rocky fields, among others, occur great tit (Parus major), hoopoe (Upupa epops), European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), mallard (Anas plathyrhynchos), yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis), bank vole (Myodes glareolus), otter (Lutra lutra), hare (Lepus europaeus) and other species. The significance of the gorge is contributed by the medieval monastery Ćelije with the church dedicated to St. Archangel Michael, as well as the remains of a medieval fortress near the village of Branegović.