Đerdap national park
Đerdap National Park
The Đerdap National Park (Serbian: Национални парк Ђердап / Nacionalni park Đerdap) stretches along the right bank of the Danube River from the Golubac fortress (Serbian: Голубачки град / Golubački grad) to the dam near Sip, Serbia. It spreads over 640 square kilometres and the park management office is in the town of Donji Milanovac on the Danube.
The main feature and attraction of the Đerdap National Park's natural beauty is the Đerdap gorge - the famous Iron Gate - the grandiose gateway through the southern slopes of the Carpathian mountains where the longest and biggest river accumulation in former Yugoslavia is located.
The Đerdap gorge, which is some 100 kilometers long (from Golubac to Tekija), is actually a compound river valley made up of four gorges (Gornja klisura, Gospođin vir, Veliki and Mali kazan and Sipska klisura), separated from each other by ravines. In Gospođin vir, one of the greatest river depths in the world has been measured (82 m). The cliffs of the canyon in Kazan are about 300 meters high while the riverbed in this part is narrowed down to 150 meters.
The territory of the national park is filled with a series of other important features: abundant and diversified animal and especially plant life, attractive surroundings and landscapes, cultural and historical monuments and other anthropogenic tourist attractions, including a lake formed by the erection of a hydroelectric power plant "Đerdap". The plant was finished in 1972, being fourth-largest in the world at the time (according to the staff at the power plant). It was a big collaboration project between Yugoslavia and Romania. The power plant employs a large number of the residents of the nearby town of Kladovo. The "Đerdap" power plant record power production was in 1980 of over 7 terawatt-hours (TW·h) electric power. With the building of the second power plant "Đerdap II", the original power plant became better known as "Đerdap I". The plans to build "Đerdap III" have not been fulfilled at this time.[when?]
The national park is dotted with many natural and cultural values which are included in a special protection programme: Lepenski Vir (the 8,000-year-old archaeological site with exceptionally important traces of settlements and the life of the Neolithic man), the Golubac fortress, the Roman fortress Diana in Kladovo, remnants of the road, tables and bridge built during the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan, forest reserves and natural monuments.
The Đerdap National Park has become one of the most visited tourist regions in Serbia especially after the construction of the dam and the formation of the large lake. The gorge and the hydroelectric power plant can be visited from Belgrade and other cities downstream from it. There are a number of tourist points in the park with hotel and other facilities, offering tourists rest and swimming and tours of the cultural and historical monuments and natural values. Though the Danube river is quite polluted by international standards, fishing is still very popular. Some large specimens of catfish have weighed in at over 100 kilograms (220 lb).