Ibar River

Ibar River

Infobox River | river_name = Ibar

caption = Drainage basin of West Morava (Ibar west of Kos. Mitrovica)
origin = Hajla mountain, eastern Montenegro
mouth = into West Morava at Kraljevo
basin_countries = Serbia, Montenegro,
length = 276 km
elevation =
discharge =
watershed =

The Ibar (Serbian Cyrillic: Ибар; Albanian: "Lumi i Ibrit") is a river in Serbia and Montenegro , with a total length of 276 km. It starts in eastern Montenegro and flows into the Zapadna Morava, central Serbia, near Kraljevo.

It belongs to the Black Sea drainage basin. Its own drainage area is 8.059 km², average discharge at the mouth 60 m³/s. It is not navigable.

Upper course

The Ibar originates from six springs on the Hajla mountain in eastern Montenegro. It flows generally north-east, passing through Ibarac, Rožaje, Radetina and Bać, after which it enters Serbia. Passing through the most southern part of Sandžak, it flows through several small villages, but this is one of the least populated areas of Serbia. In this whole area, the river has no major tributaries, but many short streams flow into it from surrounding mountains. Also, in this part, it represents the route of the one of two main roads connecting Serbia and Montenegro (Jadranska magistrala). At a point near the village of Vitkovići, it turns south and enters Kosovo.

Middle course

Continuing to the south, the river passes through Gazivode, Zubin Potok, Ugljare, Zupče and Šipolje, reaching the Great Kosovo depression and the city of Kosovska Mitrovica. There, it makes a sharp, elbow turn to the north flowing through Zvečan, Slatina, Sočanica, Leposavić, Dren and Lešak, entering central Serbia proper at the village of Donje Jarinje.

At Gazivode, the river is dammed, creating the artificial Lake Gazivode (area 11,9 km², altitude 693 m, depth 105 m). Water from the lake is used for industrial and mining facilities in the Kosovska Mitrovica/Trepča area. Below Gazivode another reservoir is created, Lake Pridvorice. These lakes allow irrigation of an area of 300 km³, and they represent part of plan, never completed, of a huge Ibar-Lepenac Hydrosystem, which was suppose to regulate the Ibar-Sitnica-Lepenac watercourse (including ecological protection, irrigation and power production).

At Kosovska Mitrovica, the river enters a minerals and ore rich area of the western slopes of Kopaonik mountain, which it will follow for over the next 100 km. The area is especially rich in lead, zinc and silver (Stari Trg, Trepča and Leposavić mines).

Right on its elbow turn, the Ibar receives its longest (right) tributary, the Sitnica.

Lower course

Flowing to the north, still following the western side of Kopaonik, the river reaches Raška, Brvenik, Bela Stena, Baljevac, Ušće, Bogutovac, Mataruška Banja, Žiča and Kraljevo, finally emptying into the Zapadna Morava.

Here, the river receives its major tributaries: the Raška, Studenica and Lopatnica, from the left, and the Jošanica.

In this section, the river has carved the 40 km long and 550 m deep Ibar gorge, which is the natural route for the major road in this part of Serbia, "Ibarska magistrala" (Serbian: Ибарска магистрала; Ibar highway), and it is famous for its "pinched meanders" and gigantic whirlpools. The whole area, 110 km long (meridionally stretched) and 15-20 km wide, is known as "Ibarski kraj" (Serbian: Ибарски крај), and is popularly divided into several colorfully named valleys:

* "Dolina istorije" (Serbian: Долина историје; Valley of history), comprising ruins of the medieval city of Maglič, monastery of Studenica, monastery of Žiča, monastery of Gradac, etc;
* "Dolina jorgovana" (Serbian: Долина јоргована; Valley of the lilacs);
* "Dolina banja" (Serbian: Долина бања; Valley of the spas), with many spas and springs, such as Jošanička Banja, Mataruška Banja and Bogutovačka Banja).

The gorge is carved between the mountains of Golija, Čemerno and Troglav, from the east, and Kopaonik, Željin and Stolovi, from the west.

This is a continuation of Kopaonik's mining rich area, including deposits of iron ore (Kopaonik, Raška), nickel (Kopaonik), asbestos (Brvenik), magnesite (Bela Stena) and hard coal (Baljevac, Ušće and Jarando).

The Ibar gained notoriety as being the most polluted river in Serbia (together with its major tributary, the Sitnica), especially for frequent spills of extremely poisonous phenol, which causes constant problems for the population of Kraljevo, since the city uses the river's water for public waterworks.

See also

* List of rivers of Europe
* Rivers of Serbia
* Rivers of Montenegro
* Rivers of Kosovo


* "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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