South Morava

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South Morava
(Јужна Морава/Južna Morava)
Juzna Morava.JPG
The river Južna Morava (Southern Morava) near Niš
Native name Macedonian: Јужна Морава, Južna Morava
Serbian: Јужна Морава / Južna Morava
Albanian: Lumi Morava
Bulgarian: Българска Морава, Balgarska Morava
Country  Macedonia
Physical characteristics
Main source Near Skopska Crna Gora in Macedonia
River mouth with the West Morava forms the Great Morava at Stalać, Serbia
43°41′57″N 21°24′18″E / 43.69917°N 21.40500°E / 43.69917; 21.40500Coordinates: 43°41′57″N 21°24′18″E / 43.69917°N 21.40500°E / 43.69917; 21.40500
Length 295 km (183 mi)[1]
  • Average rate:
    100 m3/s (3,500 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Progression Great MoravaDanubeBlack Sea
Basin size 15,696 km2 (6,060 sq mi)[2]

The South Morava or in the past Bulgarian Morava[3][4][5] (Macedonian and Serbian Cyrillic: Јужна Морава, Serbian Latin: Južna Morava, pronounced [jûːʒnaː mɔ̝̌rav̞a]; Albanian: Lumi Morava; Bulgarian: Българска Морава, Balgarska Morava)[6][7][8] 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.


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 gorgeLeskovac valley – Niš valley – Aleksinac valley – Stalać gorge. After breaking through the last, Stalać gorge, it meets the West Morava.

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.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  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 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 113 out of 193 United Nations member states.
  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. ^ Български хроники: история на нашия народ от 2137 пр. Хр. до 1453 сл. Хр. Стефан Цанев, TRUD Publishers, 2008, ISBN 9545288612, str. 346.
  7. ^ Bŭlgaria 20-ti vek: almanakh, Filip Panaĭotov, TRUD Publishers, 1999, ISBN 9545281464, p. 1013.
  8. ^ Сербске Народне Новине, године VII, Чис 41. Четвертак 25 мая. 1844, Пешта [1]
  • 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[edit]