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Panoramic view of Leskovac

Coat of arms

Location of the municipality of Leskovac within Serbia

Coordinates: 43°00′N 21°57′E / 43.000°N 21.950°E / 43.000; 21.950Coordinates: 43°00′N 21°57′E / 43.000°N 21.950°E / 43.000; 21.950

Country  Serbia
District Jablanica
Settlements 144
 • Mayor dr Goran Cvetanović (SNS)
 • Municipality 1,025 km2 (396 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)[2]
 • Town 65,290
 • Municipality 144,206
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 16000
Area code +381 16
Car plates LE

Leskovac (Serbian Cyrillic: Лесковац, pronounced [lě̞skɔ̝v̞at͡s]) is a city in southern Serbia. It is the administrative center of the Jablanica District of Serbia. According to the 2011 census, the urban area has 78,030 (city has 65,290) inhabitants, while the administrative area has 144,206.


Traces of life of the Brnjica culture (8th century BC) is seen at the Hisar Hill that was protected by a deep moat with a palisade on its inner side, a fortification similar to that of another fortification on the Gradac site in Lanište in the Velika Morava basin.[3][4] A later Iron Age settlement existed at Hisar dating from the 6th century BC until the 4th century BC.[4] Besides Greek fibulae and pottery, Triballi (Thracian) tombs have been excavated in 2005.[5] Archeological findings from the multi-layer sites indicate that the Scordisci and Triballi inhabited the Leskovac valley before the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC.[4] Famous cultural-historic monuments in this area are: the Roman necropolis in Mala Kopasnica originating from 2nd century AD, the Eastern Roman town of Justiniana Prima built in 535 AD. Slavs settled the region in the 6th century, and the town was known as Dubočica.

The Battle of Dubočica took place on September 24, 1454, between the Serbian Despotate and the invading Ottoman Empire, and ended in a Serbian victory. During Ottoman rule Leskovac was part of the Sanjak of Niš.[6]

The Jasunje monasteries dedicated to the Virgin of Transfiguration and St. John the Baptist were built in 1499 as an endowment of sister Ksenija. The Church of St. John the Baptist was built in the 16th century.

Leskovac became part of Serbia after the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, at which time Serbia also became fully independent from the Ottoman Empire. Full independence from the Ottoman Balkans initially had a negative impact on trade. However, by the end of the 19th century, the town of Leskovac was famous across the Balkans for its workshops which turned hemp into rope. Leskovac was known as Leskofça during Ottoman rule and was bounded to Niş sanjak until 1878.

Soon there were three watermill-driven lace producers in the region. In 1896, the founders of these companies pooled their resources and bought factory equipment for the production of woollen cloth from the German Empire. This was the first factory on the outskirts of the town. In 1903, a factory for hemp processing was built on the riverbank north of the old town centre. Amidst the First Serbian Uprising of the Serbian revolution (1804–1815), a forbidden Serbian Orthodox church was built in the town, through tricking the Turkish lords that the building would instead serve as a residence for the town-priest, and added a chimney, hence its name Odžaklija (Chimney). In 1922, the Teokarevic family opened a wool cloth factory in the small town of Vucje near Leskovac. By 1938, the private textile factories of Leskovac town employed 2,560 workers In the 1870s, there were thousands of hemp-processors in Leskovac, producing up to 150,000 cartloads per year.

The city was once known as "Little Manchester", because of its 19th-century textile industry which was second only to that of Manchester, England. The city continued to be a major textile center until the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, but due to the economic isolation of Serbia resulting from ethnic wars, its remote location, and failure to privatize the mills, the industry collapsed resulting in depression of the economy in the area.[7]

World War II

Main article: Yugoslav Front

During World War II, the city was part of Serbia. It was heavily bombed by the Allies in 1944, with estimates of civilian casualties varying from over a thousand to six thousand.[8][9] The heaviest bombing occurred on September 6, 1944 when most of the central part of the town was destroyed.[10] The date is marked annually in the city.

Fitzroy Maclean the head of the British military mission to the Partisans wrote ..... as we watched the whole of Leskovac seemed to rise bodily in the air in a tornado of dust and smoke and debris, and a great rending noise fell on our ears. ..... What was left of Leskovac lay enveloped in a pall of smoke; several buildings seemed to be burning fiercely. Even the Partisans seemed subdued. This was part of Operation Ratweek to attack the enemy withdrawal, and air reconnaissance had confirmed the presence of a strong concentration of armour and motor transport there, although he said the use of 50 ‘Heavies’ or Flying Fortresses did seem rather like taking a sledge-hammer to crack a walnut..[11]

Kosovo conflict

Main article: Kosovo War

On 12 April 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia a bridge near Leskovac (Grdelička klisura) was destroyed by a NATO aircraft as a passenger train was crossing. The act was highly condemned with the bridge being struck twice (the train itself having been bombed from the first attack).


Leskovac is situated in the heart of the vast and fertile valley of Leskovac (50 km (31 mi) long and 45 km (28 mi) wide), the small Veternica river, at the foot of Hisar, in the central part of the Leskovac valley. Leskovac lies at an altitude of 228 meters, in a basin that covers 2,250 km2 (869 sq mi). Around the valley are mountains Radan and Pasjača the west, Kukavica and Čemernik in the south and Babička Gora, Seličevica and Suva Planina to the east.


The city proper of Leskovac is divided into the following local communities (месне заједнице or mesne zajednice):

  • Lamele (Ламеле)
  • Solidarnost (Солидарност)
  • Radničko (Радничко)
  • Dubočica (Дубочица)
  • Centar (Центар)
  • Morava (Морава)
  • Hisar (Хисар)
  • Prva južnomravska brigada (Прва јужноморавска бригада)
  • Rade Žunić (Раде Жунић)
  • Marko Crni (Марко Црни)
  • Kosta Stamenković (Коста Стаменковић)
  • Veljko Vlahović (Вељко Влаховић), named after a Serbian-Montenegrin Communist
  • Milentije Popović (Милентије Поповић), named after a Serbian Communist
  • Stojan Ljubić (Стојан Љубић)
  • Moša Pijade (Моша Пијаде), named after a Serbian-Jewish Communist


Climate data for Leskovac (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.0
Average high °C (°F) 4.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.0
Average low °C (°F) −3.7
Record low °C (°F) −30.5
Precipitation mm (inches) 42.2
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 13 13 12 13 13 11 8 7 9 10 12 14 137
 % humidity 82 77 70 68 69 68 65 66 73 77 81 83 73
Mean monthly sunshine hours 66.6 90.1 145.6 168.0 224.3 255.3 296.8 288.6 207.4 147.3 85.4 50.9 2,026.1
Source: Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia[12]

Ecology and Geology

Because it is characterized by a moderate continental climate with very mild winters and moderately warm summers, the region of Leskovac abounds in natural scenery which is exceptional in its diversity and beauty. Numerous mountains, lakes, rivers, spas, canyons and gorges are a distinction of this region.


The largest river in the region of Leskovac is the Južna (South) Morava River, which flows South to North, and together with the Zapadna (West) Morava River forms the Velika (Great) Morava River. Tributaries of the Južna Morava are: the Vlasina river, which collects water from Lake Vlasina and flows through Crna Trava and Vlasotince; the Veternica river, which flows through Leskovac;

The Jablabica river, which springs from the foot of Goljak and flows through Medveđa and Lebane; the Pusta (Deserted) river, which starts on Radan mountain, fills Lake Brestovačko and flows through Bojnik. The river Vučjanka, which springs from the Kukavica mountain, flows through Vučje and is a tributary of the Veternica river. The river Vučjanka, which springs from the Kukavica mountain, flows through Vučje and is a tributary of the Veternica river. Also known in the Leskovac region are The Kozaračka, Predejanska, Kopašnička and Sušica rivers.

Flora and fauna

The natural resources of the Leskovac region are favorable for a great diversity of plant and animal life. The most widespread of animals are: roe deer, wild boar, hare, partridges and pheasants, while the plant world is noted for a very diverse presence of medicinal and other useful plants. The first floristic investigations in this territory were carried out by the founder of Serbian botany Josif Pancić towards the end of the 19th century.

Together with hicillaborators he found an exceptionally rare plant at Ostorzub, the endemorelict lovorvišnja, zelenoče (Prunus Laurocerasus). For over one hundred years this plant occupied the attention of botanists from all over the world, because until then, it was only found in Bulgaria, and 2-3 other localities.

Because of this Ostrozub was declared a strict natural reservation. The Leskovac region possesses more than 50 other rare (mostly medicinal) plants, oedemas etc.


Leskovac is the first city in Serbia which has a sanitary landfill. Željkovac depot spreads over 80 hectares and is made by all European standards. In the landfill there is a center for atmospheric water purification, center for the selection and disposal systems for the detection of all types of pollution. Company Por Werner and Weber for Serbia, began construction of the center for collecting and recycling waste, and is the first city in the Balkans, where starting this job.





Roštiljijada (Barbecue week) is a grilled meat festival that has been organized in Leskovac for many years, and takes place annually at the beginning of September. During the event, the main boulevard is closed for traffic for five days, and food stands are put up along the streets. The event brings visitors from all over Serbia as well as tourists. The organisers hold competitions, such as making the biggest burger, the Pljeskavica. The festival is the highlight of the season in Leskovac.

International Carnival

In 2009 Leskovac officially became an International Carnival city, admitted by The Association of European Carnival cities, which has over 50 members from Europe and America. The Leskovac Carnival is held in a time of Rostiljijada festival. Around 1200 people take part in the carnival, of which one third part from abroad. The City Government considers to separate this event in 2010. as a special tourist event which will be introduced as a special offer of the city.

Theater Marathon

Theater Marathon, takes place every year in November and lasts 9 days. It runs performances of National Theaters from all over Serbia. This event takes place in National Theater in Leskovac.

Leskovac International Film Festival

First International film festival was held in 2008. The idea of the film in the city is not that new. In 1996, a group of enthusiasts, with chairman Rade Jovic, organized the Festival which were shown films of domestic production. Today, many years later, Leskovac host an International Film Festival. The Festival presents awards in 3 categories: - "Golden hazelnuts" - Best Director - "Hazelnut leaf" - critics awards - "Vox populi" - Audience Award.


Leskovac is a traffic junction. International trains traveling from Europe to Skopje, Thessalonica and Athens pass through this city. Nineteen trains stop in Leskovac every day. The railway came to Leskovac in 1886. Leskovac today has one of the newest and most modern railway stations in Serbia.

Bus traffic is also very well developed, bearing in mind that Leskovac has been criss-crossed with roads. The most important is the E75 road which connects the borders of Hungary and Macedonia. Regional roads lead from Leskovac to Priština, Pirot and Bosilegrad. The distance from Leskovac to Niš is 45, to Belgrade 280, and to Sofia 155 kilometres (96 miles).

Leskovac has a regional airport, which is commonly used for sporting and agricultural flights. Also in summer the airport is used for air taxi. The nearest international airport is Niš Constantine the Great Airport located 45 km (28 mi) north of the city.


Ethnic groups in the municipality (2011 census):

  • Serbs = 133,623
  • Romas = 7,700

In 2002 the city's population was 63,185 of whom the majority are primarily Serbs (57,661). Other significant ethnic groups include Romas, Macedonians, and Yugoslavs. In January 2007, there were an estimated 500 persons of Chinese origin living in Leskovac.[13]

At one time the second largest city in Serbia, today Leskovac is blighted by economic problems with many working age people migrating out of the area.[7]

Notable people

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Leskovac is twinned with:


See also

External links

  • The City of Leskovac - Official web site
  • Grad Leskovac - Official city portal
  • Dom zdravlja Leskovac
  • Hotel ABC Leskovac
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