South Morava

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South Morava (Јужна Морава)
Origin Near Skopska Crna Gora in Macedonia
Mouth with the West Morava forms the Great Morava at Stalać, Serbia
Basin countries Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia
Length 295 km
Avg. discharge 100 m³/s
Basin area 15,469 km²

South Morava or in the past Bulgarian Morava[1][2][3] (Serbian Јужна Морава, Južna Morava; pronounced [jûːʒnaː mɔ̝̌rav̞a]; Macedonian Јужна Морава; Bulgarian Южна Морава or Българска Морава)[4][5] is a river in southern Serbia which represents the shorter headwater of Great Morava. Today, it is 295 km long. It flows generally in the south to north direction, from Macedonian border to Central Serbia, where it meets West Morava at Stalać, to create Great Morava.


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


South Morava belongs to the Black Sea drainage basin, and its own drainage area is 15,469 km², out of which 1,237 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 West Morava.

South Morava in Moravac

In macro-geological point of view, South Morava connects Aegean basin with Pannonian basin. This creates a phenomenon named apparent flow inversion, because it seems that river from one lowland climbs up the mountains and then flows into another lowland. The point connecting these two large geological basins is Grdelica gorge (Serbian: Grdelička klisura/Грделичка клисура), but the bottom of the gorge, where the river flows, is much lower than the mountains surrounding it, so the river flows normally.

South Morava used to be 318 km long and represented longer and natural (flowing in the same direction) headwater of Great Morava. Causing severe floods in history, meandering river has been shortened by almost 30 km until today, so it became shorter than West Morava. However, West Morava has always had bigger discharge.

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


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


South Morava has a significant potential for electricity production, but this has not been used at all. Huge hydroelectrical system has been constructed in its drainage basin, though (Vlasina- Vrla I-IV power stations).

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

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

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Serbien und die Serben ..., Spiridion Gopčević, 1891, p.5
  2. ^ The Russo-Turkish War, R. Grant Barnwell, 1878, p.402
  3. ^ A handbook of Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and adjacent parts of Greece, Great Britain. Naval Intelligence Division, 1920, p.11
  4. ^ Български хроники: история на нашия народ от 2137 пр. Хр. до 1453 сл. Хр. Стефан Цанев, TRUD Publishers, 2008, ISBN 9545288612q str. 346.
  5. ^ Bŭlgaria 20-ti vek: almanakh, Filip Panaĭotov, TRUD Publishers, 1999, ISBN 9545281464, p. 1013.
  • 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]

Coordinates: 43°41′57″N 21°24′18″E / 43.69917°N 21.40500°E / 43.69917; 21.40500