Ibar (river)

Other name(s) Ибар, Ibër, Ibri
Country Montenegro, Serbia
Main source Hajla mountain, Rožaje, eastern Montenegro
River mouth into West Morava at Kraljevo
Physical characteristics
Length 276 km (171 mi)

The Ibar, also known as the Ibër and Ibri (Albanian: Ibër, Ibri, Serbian Cyrillic: Ибар, pronounced [îbar]), is a river that flows through eastern Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo,[lower-alpha 1] with a total length of 276 km (171 mi). The river begins in the Hajla mountain, in Rožaje, eastern Montenegro, passes through Kosovo and flows into the West Morava river, Central Serbia, near Kraljevo.

It belongs to the Black Sea drainage basin. Its own drainage area is 8,059 km2 (3,112 sq mi), 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 Raška District, 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 (Ibarska 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 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 or 4.6 sq mi, altitude 693 m or 2,274 ft, depth 105 m or 344 ft). 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 km², and they represent part of plan, never completed, of a huge Ibar-Lepenac Hydrosystem, which was supposed 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 follows for the next 100 km (62 mi) or so. 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 (25 mi) long and 550 m (1,804 ft) deep Ibar gorge, which is the natural route for the major road in this part of Serbia, the Ibar highway. This stretch of the river is famous for its pinched meanders and gigantic whirlpools. The whole area, 110 km (68 mi) long (meridionally stretched) and 15–20 km (9–12 mi) wide, is known as Ibarski kraj (Serbian: Ибарски крај), and is popularly divided into several colorfully named valleys:

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 from 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.

Planned development

Serbia plans to build ten hydro electric power dams on the Ibar river.[1]

See also

Notes and references


  1. Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received recognition as an independent state from 110 out of 193 United Nations member states.


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Coordinates: 43°43′39″N 20°44′58″E / 43.72750°N 20.74944°E / 43.72750; 20.74944

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