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Panoramic view of Leskovac
Panoramic view of Leskovac
Flag of Leskovac
Coat of arms of Leskovac
Coat of arms
Location of the municipality of Leskovac within Serbia
Location of the municipality of Leskovac within Serbia
Coordinates: 43°00′N 21°57′E / 43.000°N 21.950°E / 43.000; 21.950Coordinates: 43°00′N 21°57′E / 43.000°N 21.950°E / 43.000; 21.950
Country Serbia
District Jablanica
Settlements 144
 • Mayor dr Goran Cvetanović (SNS)
 • Municipality 1,025 km2 (396 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)[2]
 • Town 60,288
 • Municipality 144,206
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 16000
Area code +381 16
Car plates LE
Website www.gradleskovac.org

Leskovac (Serbian Cyrillic: Лесковац, pronounced [lě̞skɔ̝v̞at͡s]) is a city in southern Serbia. It is the administrative center of the Jablanica District of Serbia. According to the 2011 census, the city has 60,288 inhabitants, while the Municipality has 144,206.


Further information: History of Serbia

Traces of life of the Brnjica culture (8th century BC) is seen at the Hisar Hill (Hisar Leskovac) that was protected by a deep moat with a palisade on its inner side, a fortification similar to that of another fortification on the Gradac[disambiguation needed] site in Lanište[disambiguation needed] in the Velika Morava basin.[3][4] A later Iron Age settlement existed at Hisar dating from the 6th century BC until the 4th century BC.[4] Besides Greek fibula and pottery, Triballi (Thracian) tombs have been excavated in 2005.[5] Archeological findings from the multi-layer sites indicate that the Scordisci and Triballi inhabited the Leskovac valley before the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC.[4] Famous cultural-historic monuments in this area are: the Roman necropolis in Mala Kopasnica originating from 2nd century AD, the Eastern Roman town of Justiniana Prima built in 535 AD. Slavs settled the region in the 6th century, and the town was known as Dubočica.

Odžaklija, the secret church

The Battle of Dubočica took place on September 24, 1454, between the Serbian Despotate and the invading Ottoman Empire, and ended in a Serbian victory. During Ottoman rule Leskovac was part of the Sanjak of Niš.[6] The Jasunje monasteries dedicated to the Virgin of Transfiguration and St. John the Baptist were built in 1499 as an endowment of sister Ksenija. The Church of St. John the Baptist was built in the 16th century. Leskovac became part of Serbia after the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, at which time Serbia also became fully independent from the Ottoman Empire. Full independence from the Ottoman Balkans initially had a negative impact on trade. However, by the end of the 19th century, the town of Leskovac was famous across the Balkans for its workshops which turned hemp into rope. Leskovac was known as Leskofça during Ottoman rule and was bounded to Niş sanjak until 1878.

WWII memorial park and “Goddess of Victory”statue

Soon there were three watermill-driven lace producers in the region. In 1896, the founders of these companies pooled their resources and bought factory equipment for the production of woollen cloth from the German Empire. This was the first factory on the outskirts of the town. In 1903, a factory for hemp processing was built on the riverbank north of the old town centre. Amidst the First Serbian Uprising of the Serbian revolution (1804–1815), a forbidden Serbian Orthodox church was built in the town, through tricking the Turkish lords that the building would instead serve as a residence for the town-priest, and added a chimney, hence its name Odžaklija (Chimney). In 1922, the Teokarević family opened a wool cloth factory in the small town of Vučje near Leskovac. By 1938, the private textile factories of Leskovac town employed 2,560 workers. In the 1870s, there were thousands of hemp-processors in Leskovac, producing up to 150,000 cartloads per year. The city was once known as "Little Manchester", because of its 19th-century textile industry which was second only to that of Manchester, England. The city continued to be a major textile center until the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, but due to the economic isolation of Serbia resulting from ethnic wars, its remote location, and failure to privatize the mills, the industry collapsed resulting in depression of the economy in the area.[7]

From 1929 to 1941, Leskovac was part of the Vardar Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

World War II[edit]

Murals in the city

During the World War II, the city was part of German-occupied Serbia. It was heavily bombed by the Allies in 1944, with estimates of civilian casualties varying from over a thousand to six thousand.[8][9] The heaviest bombing occurred on September 6, 1944 when most of the central part of the town was destroyed.[10] The date is marked annually in the city.

Fitzroy Maclean the head of the British military mission to the Partisans wrote ..... as we watched the whole of Leskovac seemed to rise bodily in the air in a tornado of dust and smoke and debris, and a great rending noise fell on our ears. ..... What was left of Leskovac lay enveloped in a pall of smoke; several buildings seemed to be burning fiercely. Even the Partisans seemed subdued. This was part of Operation Ratweek to attack the enemy withdrawal, and air reconnaissance had confirmed the presence of a strong concentration of armour and motor transport there, although he said the use of 50 ‘Heavies’ or Flying Fortresses did seem rather like taking a sledge-hammer to crack a walnut..[11]

Kosovo conflict[edit]

Main article: Kosovo War

On 12 April 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia a bridge near Leskovac (Grdelička klisura) was destroyed by a NATO aircraft as a passenger train was crossing. The act was highly condemned with the bridge being struck twice (the train itself having been bombed from the first attack).


Leskovac is situated in the heart of the vast and fertile valley of Leskovac (50 km (31 mi) long and 45 km (28 mi) wide), the small Veternica river, at the foot of Hisar, in the central part of the Leskovac valley. Leskovac lies at an altitude of 228 meters, in a basin that covers 2,250 km2 (869 sq mi). Around the valley are mountains Radan and Pasjača the west, Kukavica and Čemernik in the south and Babička Gora, Seličevica and Suva Planina to the east.


Climate data for Leskovac (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.0
Average high °C (°F) 4.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.0
Average low °C (°F) −3.7
Record low °C (°F) −30.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 42.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 13 13 12 13 13 11 8 7 9 10 12 14 137
Average relative humidity (%) 82 77 70 68 69 68 65 66 73 77 81 83 73
Mean monthly sunshine hours 66.6 90.1 145.6 168.0 224.3 255.3 296.8 288.6 207.4 147.3 85.4 50.9 2,026.1
Source: Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia[12]


Central park

Ethnic groups in the municipality (2011 census):

  • Serbs = 133,623
  • Romas = 7,700

In 2011 the city's population was 60,288 of whom majority are Serbs. Other significant ethnic groups include Roma, Macedonians and Yugoslavs. In January 2007, there were an estimated 500 persons of Chinese origin living in Leskovac.[13] Apart from the city proper, there are 143 populated places in the municipality, of which the largest are Vučje and Grdelica, classified as "urban" (town) in census, with about 3000 residents each.[2]

At one time the second largest city in Serbia, today Leskovac is blighted by economic problems with many working age people migrating out of the area.[7]



The city proper of Leskovac is divided into the following local communities (месне заједнице or mesne zajednice):


The largest river in the region of Leskovac is the South Morava River, which flows south to north. Tributaries of the South Morava are: the Vlasina river, which collects water from Lake Vlasina and flows through Crna Trava and Vlasotince; the Veternica river, which flows through Leskovac; the Jablanica river, which springs from the foot of Goljak and flows through Medveđa and Lebane; the Pusta (Deserted) river, which starts on Radan mountain, fills Lake Brestovačko and flows through Bojnik. The river Vučjanka, which springs from the Kukavica mountain, flows through Vučje and is a tributary of the Veternica river. Also known in the Leskovac region are Kozaračka, Predejanska, Kopašnička and Sušica rivers.


Leskovac was the first city in Serbia which had a sanitary landfill. Željkovac depot spreads over 80 hectares and is made by all European standards. In the landfill there is a center for atmospheric water purification, center for the selection and disposal systems for the detection of all types of pollution. Company Por Werner and Weber for Serbia, began construction of the center for collecting and recycling waste, and is the first city in the Balkans, where starting this job.


Traditional dress and dance.




Roštiljijada (Barbecue week) is a grilled meat festival that has been organized in Leskovac for many years, and takes place annually at the beginning of September. During the event, the main boulevard is closed for traffic for five days, and food stands are put up along the streets. The event brings visitors from all over Serbia as well as tourists. According to the TOL (Tourism Organization of Leskovac) in 2013, over 700,000 people visited the event.[14] The organisers hold competitions, such as making the biggest burger, the Pljeskavica. The festival is the highlight of the season in Leskovac.

International Carnival[edit]

In 2009 Leskovac officially became an International Carnival city, admitted by The Association of European Carnival cities, which has over 50 members from Europe and America. The Leskovac Carnival is held at a time of Roštiljijada festival. Around 1200 people take part in the carnival, of which one third part from abroad. The City Government considers to separate this event in 2010. as a special tourist event which will be introduced as a special offer of the city.

Theater Marathon[edit]

Theater Marathon takes place every year in November and lasts 9 days. It runs performances of National Theaters from all over Serbia. This event takes place in National Theater in Leskovac.

Leskovac International Film Festival[edit]

The first Leskovac International film festival was held in 2008. The idea of the film in the city is not that new. In 1996, a group of enthusiasts, with chairman Rade Jovic, organized the Festival which were shown films of domestic production. Today, many years later, Leskovac host an International Film Festival. The Festival presents awards in 3 categories:

  • "Golden hazelnuts" - Best Director
  • "Hazelnut leaf" - critics awards
  • "Vox populi" - Audience Award.

Cultural heritage[edit]

Crkva svete trojice


Leskovac rail station

Leskovac is a traffic junction. International trains traveling from Europe to Skopje, Thessalonica and Athens pass through this city. Nineteen trains stop in Leskovac every day. The railway came to Leskovac in 1886. Leskovac today has one of the newest and most modern railway stations in Serbia.

Bus traffic is also very well developed, bearing in mind that Leskovac has been criss-crossed with roads. The most important is the E75 road which connects the borders of Hungary and Macedonia. Regional roads lead from Leskovac to Priština, Pirot and Bosilegrad. The distance from Leskovac to Niš is 45, to Belgrade 280, and to Sofia 155 kilometres (96 miles).

Leskovac has a regional airport, which is commonly used for sporting and agricultural flights. Also in summer the airport is used for air taxi. The nearest international airport is Niš Constantine the Great Airport located 45 km (28 mi) north of the city.

Notable people[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Leskovac is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Municipalities of Serbia, 2006". Statistical Office of Serbia. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  2. ^ a b "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia: Comparative Overview of the Number of Population in 1948, 1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002 and 2011, Data by settlements" (PDF). Statistical Office of Republic Of Serbia, Belgrade. 2014. p. 450. ISBN 978-86-6161-109-4. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  3. ^ Stojic 1986, 61–62. YU
  4. ^ a b c http://scindeks-clanci.nb.rs/data/pdf/0350-0241/2004/0350-02410454193S.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2005&mm=07&dd=26&nav_id=173384
  6. ^ Godišnjak grada Beograda. Museum of the Belgrade. 1977. p. 116. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "A Serbian Region Unravels With Its Textile Industry", article by Nicholas Wood in the New York Times, January 29, 2007
  8. ^ History of Leskovac
  9. ^ Needless and thoughtless bombing
  10. ^ Godišnjica savezničkog bombardovanja Leskovca
  11. ^ Maclean, Fitzroy (1949). Eastern Approaches (pp486-7). Jonathan Cape, London. 
  12. ^ "Monthly and annual means, maximum and minimum values of meteorological elements for the period 1981-2010" (in Serbian). Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  13. ^ "Discussion Paper: The cost of non-Europe. Textile towns and the future of Serbia," European Stability Initiative, January 18, 2007, at http://www.esiweb.org/index.php?lang=en&id=156&document_ID=83
  14. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=sr&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=es&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fjugmedia.info%2F2014%2F01%2F08%2Ftol-prihod-od-rostiljijade-dva-miliona-dinara%2F

See also[edit]

External links[edit]