Djerdap National Park covers an area of 63,786 hectares of north-eastern Serbia, land whose abundant and diverse wildlife has long been famous, being first mentioned by travellers many centuries ago. The Djerdap Gorge (the Iron Gates) was cut out of the Carpathian mountain range over millions of years as the Danube drained the Pannonian Sea. Nowadays, Djerdap is the biggest mountain breakthrough in Europe, consisting of four gorges and three valleys with an overall lengthover 100 km.
The ancient oak and beech forests of Djerdap National Park preserve their rich stocks of game – deer, boars, badgers, martens, hares, wild pigeons and doves, and the rocky cliffs of Djerdap Kazan are home to mountain goats, eagles and falcons. Bear and lynx still wander the wooded vastness of Djerdap National Park, and there are also numerous wolves, jackals, foxes and wild cats. The huge expanse of Lake Djerdap is inhabited by many various swamp birds, and small game is bred on the cultivated land beside it.
Notable species of the region include lynx (Lynx lynx), a nocturnal predator famous for its sharp hearing and eyesight, and the Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides), which returns from its African wintering grounds to nest in the area. It has a distinctive brown back, and its wings are white underneath. Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna) is the largest kind of hazel tree, growing up to 25 m tall with a trunk 1.5 m in diameter. The purple berries of the European nettle tree (Celtis australis) provide food for many different animals.
To take a walk through Djerdap National Park is to feel the breath of history. For thousands of years, people here have survived at a confluence of historical forces. The story starts with the eight-millennium
old Lepenski Vir, a prehistoric fishing settlement which was the center of a complex culture. The Romans bridged the Danube and cut the road through the Djerdap Gorge. Tabula Traiana and Diana Palace survive as witnesses to the power and wealth of the ancient Roman Empire. The legend of the beautiful girl Golubana still lives in the greatest Sesir kula of Golubac fortress.
A hike along any of the nine well-marked trails, all with spectacular viewpoints along the way, bestows a sense of freedom and leaves enduring memories. The Sokolovac plateau dominates the view of Gospodjin Vir gorge, rising to a height of 625 m. At the top are broad meadows ringed by deciduous forest and covered with flowers in spring. The geological formations of Greben have earned it the reputation of being the most beautiful hill in the Balkans despite its modest height of 119 metres. For the more adventurous, the view from the 358-metre peak of Kovilovo, the “roof of the world”, extends down the 25 km-long Donjomilanovacka valley from Greben to Golubinje. Trips to the top of Ploce (355 m), Veliki Strbac (768 m) and Mali Strbac (626 m) give strong impressions of the awesome power of nature at work in the Djerdap Gorge. The gateway to the Djerdap region is Baba Kaj rock, 132 kilometres downstream from Belgrade, near Golubac Fortress. For centuries, it has served as an inspiration for poets and painters, as well as a beacon for tired boatmen.