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TREŠNJICA CANYON – HOME OF THE GRIFFON VULTURE and THE RIVER SHARK: Europe’s Last Real Wilderness

There are few places in Serbia, and we can also say in Europe, which have retained the appearance of the Earth as it was before people. Untouched nature, but truly untouched, is only spoiled by the sight of curious tourists who come here to see the world as it once was.

The Tresnjica Gorge, part of the nature reservation, near the small town of Ljubovija located in Western Serbia, right next to the great Drina River, is probably the most beautiful thing you will see in your life. This small river Trešnjica springs on the side of the Povlen Mountain, flows slightly longer than 20 kilometers, and at the mouth of the river Drina has cut an imposing gorge.

The most important inhabitant of this reserve is certainly the Griffon Vulture, King of Heights, the largest bird in Europe, once so common in these parts, and now a true rarity.

To see it, you need some luck and fitness to master the marked mountain trails about 6 kilometers long.

It is not recommended for tourists to go off-road, especially when it is raining, because after heavy rain, there is a risk of torrents here.

The gorge, which sometimes appears as a real canyon, is about 6 kilometers long and in the deepest part is about 500 meters deep.

The mountain and the gorge are overgrown with various endemic species of trees, both deciduous and coniferous.

In the very river Tresnjica, one of the cleanest in Europe, swim the huchen, trout, grayling, chub, carp … And drinking from it, there are wild pigs, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, polecats, hedgehogs … And by the river live otters. Take good care of where you tread, because among the 16 species of reptiles that live here is the dangerous horned viper, the most poisonous snake in this part of the world.

In addition to the griffon vulture, king of the skies over Serbia, there are other birds of prey: the Golden eagle, the Northern goshawk, the Eurasian sparrowhawk, the common buzzard, the short-toed snake eagle, the common kestrel and the peregrine falcon.

Griffon vultures gladly nest in Tresnjica Canyon, as one egg laid by a female is safe in the cliffs of the mountain.

These large birds have a wingspan of up to 3 meters, and if you are lucky you can see them cruising above the mountains, looking for carcasses to feed on.

It is estimated that about 800 griffon vultures are left in the Balkan Peninsula. Of these 800, about 40 are to be found in the Tresnjica Gorge.

In addition to vultures, the biggest attraction of this area, especially for fishermen, is the “river shark”, the huchen, also called “the Drina Queen” here.

It is a powerful, huge and fast fish, with a length of over 2 meters and weighing up to 60 kilograms, the sovereign ruler of the rivers in this part of Serbia.

With strong tail fins, she achieves high speed and feeds on other fish and crustaceans that cannot escape her once she spots them.

This text was published as part of the project “Seven Wonders of Ljubovija” and co-financed by the municipality of Ljubovija.

(Come to Serbia)

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