The river Đetinja as it runs through the city of Užice
|Main source||Zlatibor, western Serbia|
|River mouth||with Golijska Moravica makes Zapadna Morava, near Požega, Serbia|
|Basin size||1,486 km2 (574 sq mi)|
|Length||75 km (47 mi)|
According to the legend which describes how the Đetinja River got its name, the Ottoman Turks in the times when they ruled these lands, once punished the local Užican people by taking their children and brutally throwing them into the river. Thus the river was named Đetinja rijeka, which in Užican dialect means the children's river. Later rijeka (river) was just dropped out of the river name, leaving only Đetinja (meaning of the children).
The Đetinja River originates from the northern slopes of Mount Zlatibor, in western Serbia. From the source to its mouth, the river flows in the eastern direction. First, it runs through the small Kremna depression, between the Tara and Zlatibor mountains, following the northern border of Mt. Zlatibor.
Đetinja carved a gorge, 8 km long and 300 m deep. At the village of Vrutci, the river is dammed in 1986, creating an artificial Lake Vrutci. The reservoir was supposed to solve the chronic water problems of the fast-growing town of Užice and its industry (in 1961-81, the city population grew by 233%, from 20,060 to 46,733). From the south, Đetinja receives the right tributary of Sušica, coming from the central parts of Zlatibor, and enters the Užice valley. In Užice, Đetinja runs near the mediaeval fortress located on a steep hill surrounded by deep river canyons.
There is also a small hydroelectrical power plant on the Đetinja in Užice, the oldest one in Serbia and Balkan, second oldest in Europe and third oldest in world after Niagara in United States, designed according to Nikola Tesla's principles, built in 1899 and still being in use, but the large hydroelectrical potential of the river is not being used enough.
Near the Užice city centre, Đetinja is dammed to create a public swimming area. The Đetinja continues through the highly industrialized Užice's suburb of Sevojno and the villages of Gorjani and Potpeće.
The river continues on the northern slopes of the Blagaja mountain and the villages of Uzići, Rupeljevo and Rasna and enters the low Tašti field, located between the Blagaja, Krstac and Crnokosa mountains, west of the town of Požega. In the field, the Đetinja receives from the left its main tributary, the Skrapež River, but less than a kilometer after the confluence, it meets the Golijska Moravica River from the south, creating the Zapadna Morava. Since the proximity of the confluences of Đetinja, Skrapež and Golijska Moravica, some sources consider all three rivers to be direct headstreams of the Zapadna Morava. Following the direction of the course, the Đetinja is a natural headstream of the Zapadna Morava, but since Golijska Moravica is 23 kilometres longer, the latter is usually considered as the main headstream.
- 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
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