Special Nature Reserve "Jelašnička Gorge"

Jelašnička Gorge, about 10 km away from Niš, is situated on the territory of villages Jelašnica and Čukljenik. It originated through intensive vertical carring of the Jelašnica River into calcareous rocks. The highest point is 580 AMSL ("Radov Kamen") and the lowest is 293 m.

The gorge is narrow with steep sides. Its parts are arranged in a sequence of grades and are disintegrated into rocky bluffs, single teeth, contexture and columns by water erosion. Rich morphological ornaments, which give the gorge a very attractive appearance, are fulfilled by specific forms of karst erosion: windows, cliffs, carities and caverns in the rocks. Windows Kupina and St. Ilija are distinct by their size, beauty and the bizzareness of their position.

The region of Jelašnička Gorge, as a habitat of relic and endemic species, is especially important in the life study of the Balkan Peninsula. The symbol of this gorge are two tertiary Balkan species: the Serbian phoenix flower (Ramonda serbica) and Natalie's ramonda (Ramonda Nathaliae). Besides Sićevačka Gorge, Jelašnička Gorge is the only locality in the Balkans where a contact zone is established between these two endemo-relic species. The started natural values of the Jelašnička Gorge region are the reason that part of it (on an area of 115.73 ha) was put under protection as the Special Nature Reserve "Jelašnička Gorge" in 1995 in order to preserve: the habitat and natural rareness of the two abovementioned endemo-relic species; 39 Moesic, 20 Balkan and 6 Illyric endemisms and sub-endemisms and the specific natural value of Jelašnička River Gorge with rich and diverse morphological ornaments.

The Special Nature Reserve "Jelašnička Gorge" is managed by SE "Srbijašume", FE "Niš".