Lazar's canyon - Lazarev kanjon

Lazarev Kanjon (‘Lazar’s Canyon’) is in eastern Serbia and is part of eastern Kučaj. Lazarev Kanjon is important for its relief, its water-formed features and its natural life. It was formed by the erosive action of the Lazareva Reka river, a right tributary of the Zlotska Reka river. This magnificent canyon is carved into the limestone of the Dubašnička Ravan, and is joined by the more shallow, smaller canyons of the Milujska Reka and Pojenska Reka rivers, as well as by the Demizloka canyon.

Lazarev Kanjon is one of the least negotiable canyons in Serbia. It is 4.5 km long, 350 to 500 m deep, and at its narrowest is 4 m wide. It is notable for its vertical limestone cliffs with a flattened limestone plateau from which the carving of the valley began. It is also unique for its variety of surface and underground karst relief forms such as karst valleys, sinkholes, karren, kamenica, caves and caverns. More than 70 caves and potholes have been discovered in the area of Lazarev Kanjon, the most significant being Lazareva Pećina and Vernjikica. The area is also of interest for its variety of forms of surface and subterranean waters.

The flora of this region is some 50% more diverse than the flora of the national parks of Kopaonik, Šara and Djerdap, and as much as 5 times more diverse than the flora of Serbia as a whole, which is an indication of its significance as a centre of floral diversity in the Balkans. The plant life is characterised by numerous and varied endemic and subendemic plants, as well as by the presence of 52 relict plant species dating back to various geological eras.

Lazarev Kanjon is a region populated by Italian and Turkish oak, together with oriental hornbeam, though a total of 16 tree and 10 plant communities have been recorded. The territory of the Lazareva Pećina cave is home to 57 tall and short tree species and 27 shrub species. This is a major centre of European deciduous tree species and a rare refuge of the Stankewicz pine. Also very important are the Austrian black pine woods on the canyon cliff-edges and the beech and pine woodlands.

The canyon is home to 35 species of mammal (bats, chamois and others), 96 bird species (Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Eagle Owl, Tawny Owl, Wallcreeper, Yellow-billed Chough, Common Kingfisher, Syrian Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow and others), 9 reptile species, 8 amphibian species and numerous, as yet insufficiently studied species of insect and cave fauna.


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