Where the Sava river flows into the Danube, within a triangle formed by Belgrade, Zemun and the remains of what were once vast swamps and marshes, on the left bank of the Danube, there are two Danube river-islands – the Great and Little War Islands, as well as a number of sandbanks. These form a last oasis of pristine nature, separated by water from the urban centre of Belgrade. This remnant of former Danube wetland is protected under the collective name Great War Island.
The Great and Little War Islands are a unique geological feature which came about when an underwater sandbank ‘surfaced’ during the 16th century. The surface layers of the islands are composed of alluvial sediments from the Danube river. The abundant vegetation is comprised of aqueous and marshland communities, as well as alluvial woodlands that are home to white willow, almond-leaved willow, crack willow, black poplar, green Ash and Amorpha fruticosa.
The abundance of vegetation and large water surfaces here have made this a feeding, nesting and mating site for a great many bird varieties of international importance, such as the Garganey, Ferruginous Duck , Yellow Wagtail, Little Grebe, Squacco Heron and others.
During spawning many species of fish enter temporarily-formed or permanent ponds, either on the island itself or along its shoreline, which is rich in aqueous and marshland plant life. Isolated from human influence, this area, which is subject to the dynamics of the Danube’s changing water levels, has been designated a natural fish spawning ground.
Within this protected natural resource, three protection zones have been designated: a nature protection zone (regarded as a special nature reserve and includes the shoreline of the island), a recreation zone (which encompasses the interior of the island) and a tourism zone (which covers the Lido beach with its planned extension).
The island can only be reached by water, but during bathing season crossing is also made possible via a floating bridge extending from the Zemun Quay. The aforementioned Lido beach is situated on the island and, besides Ada Ciganlija, is the most popular beach in Belgrade.
INFORMATIONJKP “Zelenilo Beograd” Mali Kalemegdan 8, 11000 Beograd tel: +381 (0)11 2630-506 www.zelenilo.rs