Connecting Perls – Western Balkans, Serbia, North Macedonia

CONNECTING PERLS

The city of Leskovac, an important transit centre that connects the south of Europe (Greece), the northwest of Europe through Belgrade, the Adriatic Sea through Pristina and the Eurasian corridor through Sofia and the Black Sea, is located at the heart of the spacious and fertile Leskovac basin, which is 50 kilometres long and 45 kilometres wide. 

The South Morava river flows in the vicinity of the city of Leskovac, and the largest tributaries and the most important watercourses are the Veternica river, the Jablanica river, the Vlasina river, the Pusta River, and the Rupska River. 

The city of Leskovac is surrounded by three artificial lakes: Lake Brestovac, Lake Barje (reservoir for the city’s water supply) and Lake Vlasina.

According to the 2011 census, 144,206 inhabitants live in 144 settlements and the city itself, and after the city of Niš, Leskovac is the largest city in the south of Serbia. The average annual temperature is 11.3 degrees C. The mountains located around the city of Leskovac basin are Radan (1409 m), Goljak and Pasjača in the west, Kukavica and Čemernik (1638 m) in the south, and Babička gora (1098 m), Seličevica (903 m) and Suva Planina in the east. In the north, the city borders the Niš basin and in the south the Vranje-Bujanovac basin across the Grdelica gorge. 

The total length of the motorway (E-75), which connects the West and North of Europe with the South of Europe and the Middle East, in the territory of the city is about 50 km, with five loops (“Brestovac”, “Pečenjevce”, “Vlasotince”, “Grdelica” and “Predejane”). 

The shortest connection with Pirot and Bulgaria from the east and Pristina and the Adriatic Sea from the west is possible through the state corridor IB no. 39, section Ćenovac – Leskovac – Vlasotince loop, the length of which is 17 km. Leskovac is 45 km away from Niš, 280 km from Belgrade, 161 km from Sofia, 166 km from Skopje and 804 km from Athens.

The altitude of the Leskovac basin ranges from 210 to 240 m. It is surrounded by the following mountains: in the east by Babička Gora (1095m), Seličevica (903m) and Kruševica (913m), behind which is Suva Planina (1810m); in the west by Radan (1409m) and Pasjača; in the south by Čemernik (1638m) and Kukavica (1442m).
The city of Leskovac rests on the Hisar hill (the slope of Goljak mountain), one of the mountain slopes that penetrated deepest into the basin. The climate of the city is moderately-continental. It is characterized by extremely or moderately hot summers and moderately cold winters, as well as two transitional periods, spring and autumn.

The average annual air temperature is 11.6°C, the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 2°C, and the warmest month is July with an average daily temperature of 22°C. The average rainfall in Leskovac is 630 mm, in Grdelica it is 795 mm, in Predejane 811 mm, in Crkovnica 744 mm, in Vučje 764 mm and Kukavica 934 mm. On average there is no wind for 160 days a year, and the dominant winds are west and north. The territory of the city is in the Central European time zone, with the usual summer and winter time shifts.

Leskovac is directly included in the integral system of railway traffic. The territory of the city is divided by the main single-track electrified railway Belgrade – Mladenovac – Lapovo – Niš – Preševo – state border, which is a part of Trans-European Corridor 10 and represents the backbone of the railway network of the Republic of Serbia. Apart from the city of Leskovac, four more municipalities are connected to this railway – the municipalities of Crna Trava, Lebane, Medveđa and Bojnik.
Air traffic is present in the form of the sports airport in Leskovac, with modest operating possibilities, and air transport services are provided mainly through the airports in Niš and Belgrade.

Leskovac and its surroundings are very rich in cultural and historical sights. The most famous witnesses of history in this area are Hisar, the town of Skobaljić, then Šop Đokić’s house, Bora Dimitrijević Piksla’s house, Monument to Freedom, Monument to the Unknown Hero and the Memorial Park.
Churches and monasteries occupy an important place in the lives of the inhabitants of the Leskovac region.
Leskovac and its surroundings have significant accommodation capacities in the form of hotels, motels, hostels, villas and boarding houses. This region is also widely known for its gastronomic tradition, which is nurtured by a significant number of restaurants and taverns.

The large number of watercourses and the mountainous environment of Leskovac provide significant opportunities for excursions and spa tourism. The most famous picnic spot is Pasha`s Fountain near Leskovac, while the most famous picnic mountain is mountain Kukavica, which is located in the south of the city.

Leskovac is the host to numerous events that attract large numbers of visitors from all over the country as well as abroad. The most famous events are “Roštilijada” (Grill Festival), “Carnival” and “Leskovac summer”.

Due to the developed network of rivers and habitat preservation, Leskovac is an attractive destination for lovers of hunting and fishing tourism, but also bird watchers. There are six organized hunting grounds in the city surroundings, four fishing rivers, three fishing lakes and several bird habitats.

Petorečje (five rivers) is one of the names for the Leskovac Basin, which indicates the development of the network of watercourses. The biggest river and the basis of the river network is the South Morava river. Other big rivers are the Veternica river, the Jablanica river, the Pusta Reka, the Vučjanka river, and the Vlasina river.

These rivers are used to form the artificial reservoirs of Lake Brestovac, Lake Vlasina and Lake Barje. The rivers and the lakes of the Leskovac region are very interesting destinations for all lovers of recreational tourism, hikers and nature lovers. Institutional support for the development and promotion of tourism in the city of Leskovac is primarily reflected through the engagement and activities of the Tourist Organization of Leskovac, but also the Center for the Development of the Jablanica and Pčinja district.