Name of the proposed Geopark
The name of the geopark is the Djerdap Geopark. Djerdap is the Serbian name for the Danube gorge, which connects the Pannonian and Dacian Basin, passing through the mountain range of the Southern Carpathians. Another name for this gorge is the Iron Gates. Djerdap is also the name of the National Park, founded in 1974. In comparison with the National Park, the Geopark is supposed to encompass larger area, with higher extent of geodiversity and greater number of geosites.
Surface area, physical and human geography characteristics of the proposed Geopark
Djerdap Geopark is situated in south-eastern Europe, in north-eastern part of the Republic of Serbia, along its border with Romania.
The future Geopark covers the area of 1330 km2. This area is by 692 square km larger than the area of the Djerdap National Park. It is situated within two administrative regions (districts) – Borski Okrug (Bor District) and Braničevski Okrug (Braničevo District), and within four municipalities: Majdanpek, Golubac, Kladovo and Negotin. The seat of the Geopark is to be located in Donji Milanovac, 200 km from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.
Future Geopark encompasses the southern part of the Danube Gorge (Djerdapska Klisura – Iron Gates) in the Middle Basin of the Danube. In the downstream part of the Middle Basin, the Danube is cut in the mountain range of the Southern Carpathians, between two large tectonic basins – Pannonian on the west and Dacian on the east. The Danube Gorge is a composite gorge, consisting of four shorter gorges (Gornja Klisura, Gospodjin Vir, Kazan and Sipska Klisura), and three wider parts – basins (next to Liubcova, Donji Milanovac and Orsova). The most upstream and the most downstream parts of the Gorge are characterised by lowland, mildly hilly terrain of the rims of Pannonian and Dacian Plain, respectively. The main orographic units are Golubačke Planine, Šomrda, Liškovac, Veliki Greben and Miroč. Within the mountainous area of the gorge, there are deep river valleys cut by the tributaries of the Danube, except in the limestone areas, which are characterized by dry karstic plateaus (e.g. Štrpsko Korito on Mt. Miroč).
The area has undergone substantial change during the 1970s, when the hydroenergetic system Djerdap was built, damming the Danube River in the Sipska Klisura Gorge, thus forming a throughflow lake. Although the lake caused certain environmental changes in its surroundings, it is by now completely integrated into the landscape, giving it a new dimension and aesthetic value.
Average annual precipitation is 784 mm, which is about 7% higher than the Serbian average. The most intensive rainfall is from April to June, while the driest part of the year is July–September. Average mean annual air temperature is 11.3°C, which exceeds the Serbian average. Small gorges within the Danube Gorge have milder micro-climate, with smaller air temperature oscillations, delayed minimums and maximums, higher precipitation and more balanced distribution throughout the year, which altogether make these gorges more favourable for vegetation growth.
The area foreseen to be encompassed by the Geopark has about 34,000 inhabitants (Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, 2011 Census). The average population density is very low – less than 25 inhabitants per square km. In the last two decades, there has been a constant natural decrease of population, with larger number of deaths than that of births. This is combined with emigration tendencies, resulting in depopulation of the entire area, except in the towns – municipal centres (Golubac, Majdanpek, Kladovo and Negotin). The average number of people per household is 2,8. This number is larger in the households engaged in agricultural production. The settlements along the Danube River are of compact character, squeezed between the Danube River and the mountainous hinterlands. Several settlements within this group were relocated before being submerged by the artificial accumulation. Mountain villages are of dispersed character.
Economy relies on hydroenergy, traffic, tourism, individual agriculture, stone quarrying in Brnjica and copper ore exploitation in Majdanpek (the last is not within the proposed geopark borders, but in the close vicinity). Hydropower plants Djerdap I and II are of highest national significance. Danube is also the backbone of the international, pan-European traffic corridor – the Corridor VII, which connects this area with Western, Central and Eastern Europe. This waterway has the technical conditions for hosting the greatest capacity cargo ships, as well as all kinds of touristic cruisers.
Individual agriculture consists mostly of cattle breeding (dairy products production), based in the majority of cases on the principles of nature-friendly and ecological farming. Other agricultural activities include fishing, collecting of herbs, etc. Forestry management is in charge of the Djerdap National Park and the state-owned Public Enterprise “Srbija Šume“ (Serbian Forests).