Vlasina Lake
Vlasina Lake is a semi-artificial lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

 in Southeast Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

. Lying at the altitude
Altitude or height is defined based on the context in which it is used . As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context...

 of 1211 m, with the area of 16 km², it is the highest and largest artificial lake in Serbia. It was created in 1947–51, when the peat bog called Vlasinsko blato (Vlasina mud) was closed by a dam and submerged by waters of incoming rivers, chiefly Vlasina
Vlasina River
The Vlasina , is a river in southeastern Serbia, a 68 km-long outflow of the Vlasina Lake and a right tributary to the Južna Morava, which also gives its name to the surrounding Vlasina region.- River :...



The lake lies at 42°42′N 22°20′E, on plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 called Vlasina
Vlasina may refer to:* Vlasina , a river in Serbia* Vlasina Lake, a lake in Serbia* Vlasina, a region in southeastern Serbia* Vlasina , a village and a mine in Serbia...

, on the altitude of 1211 m. Its area is shared among municipalities of Surdulica
Surdulica is a town and municipality situated in the southeast of Serbia . In 2011, the population of the town is 10,915, while population of the municipality is 20,265.-Geography:...

 and Crna Trava
Crna Trava
Crna Trava is a village and municipality located in the Jablanica District of Serbia. According to 2011 census, the population of the village is 452 inhabitants, while population of the municipality is 1,661. This is the poorest municipality in the country.-Name:The name of the village in Serbian...

. The plateau is surrounded by mountains of Čemernik
Čemernik is a mountain in southeastern Serbia, near the town of Surdulica. Its highest peak Vrlo osoje has an altitude of 1638 meters above sea level. It is one of mountains that surround the Vlasina plateau and the Vlasina Lake....

, Vardenik
Vardenik (mountain)
Vardenik is a mountain in southern Serbia, near the town of Surdulica. Its highest peak Veliki Strešer has an altitude of 1874 meters above sea level. Vardenik surrounds the Vlasina plateau and Vlasina Lake along with Čemernik and Gramada....

 and Gramada
Gramada (mountain)
Gramada or Crkvena planina is a mountain in southeastern Serbia, north of the Vlasina heights and Vlasina Lake. Its highest peak Vrtop has an altitude of 1721 meters above sea level....

. The lake stretches in the North-South direction, with the length of about 9.5 km and the maximal width of approximately 3.5 km. Its average depth is 10.5 m, while the maximum depth is 34 m, near the dam.
The central part of the lake is wide, 10–15 m deep. Its eastern coastline is jagged, with two bays: larger Biljanina bara and smaller Murin zaliv separated by Taraija peninsula. The southern part of the island, between Bratanov del peninsula and the mouth of Božićki kanal is shallower (2–6 m), with swampy coasts and peat.

The dam is located in the northwestern part of the lake. It is an embankment dam
Embankment dam
An embankment dam is a massive artificial water barrier. It is typically created by the emplacement and compaction of a complex semi-plastic mound of various compositions of soil, sand, clay and/or rock. It has a semi-permanent waterproof natural covering for its surface, and a dense, waterproof...

, built of concrete core and earth-filled cover. It was built from 1946 to 1948, when the water was first accumulated. It is 239 m long, 139 m wide at the base and 5.5 m at the top, and 34 m high (of which 25.7 m is above the ground). The accumulation it creates has around 1.65 km³ in volume. Of those, 1.05 km³ is viable for hydroelectric exploitation. The system of 4 hydroelectric plants called Vrla
A VRLA battery is a type of low-maintenance lead–acid rechargeable battery. Because of their construction, VRLA batteries do not require regular addition of water to the cells....

 (I-IV) lies downstream the lake, on the Vlasina River, with the total capacity of 125 MW. A part of the hydroelectric system is the pump station "Lisina", which pumps in the water from the nearby Lisina Lake, chiefly in summer months. The Vlasina Lake is also fed by numerous creeks, descending from the surrounding mountains. The water level varies, depending on the water influx and drainage of the dam. Two artificial canals enter the lake near the dam: Čemernički kanal from the west and Strvna from east.

The lake is most easily accessible from the southwestern side, by a 19 km long section of magistral road M1.13 from Surdulica
Surdulica is a town and municipality situated in the southeast of Serbia . In 2011, the population of the town is 10,915, while population of the municipality is 20,265.-Geography:...

, which itself lies 10 km east of Niš
Niš is the largest city of southern Serbia and third-largest city in Serbia . According to the data from 2011, the city of Niš has a population of 177,972 inhabitants, while the city municipality has a population of 257,867. The city covers an area of about 597 km2, including the urban area,...

Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

 motorway on the E75 European Route
European route E75
European route E 75 is part of the International E-road network, which is a series of main roads in Europe.The E 75 starts from Vardø, Norway in the Barents Sea and runs south through Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Republic of Macedonia to Sitia, Greece on...

. The road extends west, towards the Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n border crossing at Strezimirovci
Strezimirovci is a divided village in easternmost Serbia and westernmost Bulgaria. The Bulgarian half of the village is part of Tran municipality, Pernik Province, whereas the Serbian part belongs to Surdulica municipality, Pčinja District...

, some 20 km away. Along the west shore, the regional road R122 leads across the dam towards Crna Trava
Crna Trava
Crna Trava is a village and municipality located in the Jablanica District of Serbia. According to 2011 census, the population of the village is 452 inhabitants, while population of the municipality is 1,661. This is the poorest municipality in the country.-Name:The name of the village in Serbian...

 in the north.


There are two permanent islands on the lake, along its eastern coast: Dugi del (7.84 ha
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

) and Stratorija (1.82 ha). Along with those islands, one of the lake's most famous features are the floating island
Floating island
A floating island is a mass of floating aquatic plants, mud, and peat ranging in thickness from a few inches to several feet. Floating islands are a common natural phenomenon that are found in many parts of the world. They exist less commonly as a man-made phenomenon...

s, occurring when the water during high levels breaks off the loose chunks of peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

 off the shores, 0.5–2 m thick. Driven by the wind, they float from one shore of the lake to another, carrying the flora and fauna, and serving as the shelter and food source for the fish underneath. For that reason, they are an attractive location for fishermen. The largest such island has the area of 8 ha, and is referred to as "Moby-Dick
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, was written by American author Herman Melville and first published in 1851. It is considered by some to be a Great American Novel and a treasure of world literature. The story tells the adventures of wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod,...

" by the local population. It is overgrown with dense vegetation, including birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 trees. However, most of the time it is anchored along the shores.


The temperature of the water reaches 21-23 °C in the summer months, making for refreshing swimming. It freezes in the winter, and the ice crust can be as much as 2 meters thick. The temperature also varies with location and depth. In the village of Topli Do south of the lake, there is a water factory "Vlasinka", producing the high-quality oligomineral water "Vlasinska Rosa", a renowned brand in Serbia. It was purchased by Coca-Cola Company in 2005.

Biodiversity and protection

The lake's flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 and fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

 are rich, and includes several endemic species. It features over 850 species of flora, 180 species of vertebrate
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata . Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds...

s, including rare species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The lake's surroundings are a mixture of meadows and high-altitude forests, especially birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

, beech
Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

, pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 and juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

 (the former two indigenous, and the latter chiefly introduced by afforestation
Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Reforestation is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally or artificially...

 of the western shore). The indigenous tree of downy birch and yellow beech
European Beech
Fagus sylvatica, the European Beech or Common Beech, is a deciduous tree belonging to the beech family Fagaceae.-Natural range:...

 (characteristic for its ever-yellow leaf color) stand out among the species of trees. Sundew
Drosera rotundifolia
Drosera rotundifolia is a species of sundew, a carnivorous plant often found in bogs, marshes and fens...

 is the only carnivorous plant
Carnivorous plant
Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients from trapping and consuming animals or protozoans, typically insects and other arthropods. Carnivorous plants appear adapted to grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, such as acidic...

 in Serbia and is unique to Vlasina region. Birdlife includes gray heron, tufted duck
Tufted Duck
The Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula, is a medium-sized diving duck with a population of close to one million birds.- Description :The adult male is all black except for white flanks and a blue-grey bill. It has an obvious head tuft that gives the species its name.The adult female is brown with paler...

 and cormorant
The bird family Phalacrocoracidae is represented by some 40 species of cormorants and shags. Several different classifications of the family have been proposed recently, and the number of genera is disputed.- Names :...


The lake is home to numerous species of fish. The species include brown
Brown trout
The brown trout and the sea trout are fish of the same species....

 and Ohrid trout, perch
Perch is a common name for fish of the genus Perca, freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae. The perch, of which there are three species in different geographical areas, lend their name to a large order of vertebrates: the Perciformes, from the Greek perke meaning spotted, and the...

, minnow
Eurasian minnow
The Common minnow is a species offreshwater fish. It is a member of the carpfamily oforder Cypriniformes, and is the type species ofgenus Phoxinus. It is ubiquitous throughout much of Eurasia,...

, barbel, grass carp
Grass carp
The grass carp is a herbivorous, freshwater fish species of family Cyprinidae, and the only species of the genus Ctenopharyngodon. It is cultivated in China for food, but was introduced in Europe and the United States for aquatic weed control...

, common carp
Common carp
The Common carp is a widespread freshwater fish of eutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers in Europe and Asia. The wild populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, but the species has also been domesticated and introduced into environments worldwide, and is often considered an invasive...

, crucian carp
Crucian carp
The crucian carp is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, or the smaller minnows. They inhabit lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers throughout Europe and Asia. The crucian is a medium-sized cyprinid, which rarely exceeds a weight of over 3.3...

, tench
The tench or doctor fish is a freshwater and brackish water fish of the cyprinid family found throughout Eurasia from Western Europe including the British Isles east into Asia as far as the Ob and Yenisei Rivers. It is also found in Lake Baikal...

, roach
Rutilus is a genus of fishes in the family Cyprinidae, commonly called roaches. Locally, the name "roach" without any further qualifiers is also used for particular species, particularly the Common Roach Rutilus (Latin for "shining, red, golden, auburn") is a genus of fishes in the family...

 and others. Ohrid trout was stocked and it successfully adapted to the environment, making it a popular destination for fishing.

By the decision of Government of Serbia
Government of Serbia
Officially the Government of the Republic of Serbia is the executive branch of government in Serbia.-Current government:The current government was elected on 7 July 2008 by the majority vote in the National Assembly of Serbia and restructured on 14 March 2011...

 in 2006, the Vlasina region is protected as a nature preserve of special interest of category I. The total protected area is 12741 ha, of which 9.6 are in the 1st level of protection (islands of Dugi Del and Stratorija), 4,354 in the 2nd level and 8,377 in the 3rd level of protection.


Current tourist capacities include around 300 beds in hotels "Vlasina" and "Narcis", offering a modest range of services. Along with regular tourists, they often host sporting teams from Serbia and abroad, as the lake is a popular destination for summer training due to its high altitude. Sporting grounds include a large football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 field, small sports field and weightlifting room.

An ambitious project for development of tourism is planned for the Vlasina area by the country's Development plan and the Ministry of Tourism, and it is included in the "21 projects for the 21st century" plan. The planned facilities include a new tourist center Novi Rid, with 1000 beds and shopping center, tourist center Krstinci with 350 beds, center "Džukelice" for summer sports, a marina
A marina is a dock or basin with moorings and supplies for yachts and small boats.A marina differs from a port in that a marina does not handle large passenger ships or cargo from freighters....

 for sailboat
A sailboat or sailing boat is a boat propelled partly or entirely by sails. The term covers a variety of boats, larger than small vessels such as sailboards and smaller than sailing ships, but distinctions in the size are not strictly defined and what constitutes a sailing ship, sailboat, or a...

s (motorboats are forbidden on the lake), a number of ski lifts and facilities for Nordic skiing
Nordic skiing
Nordic skiing is a winter sport that encompasses all types of skiing where the heel of the boot cannot be fixed to the ski, as opposed to Alpine skiing....


External links

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