Peštersko Polje

Peštersko Polje is in the southwest of Serbia. It is found on the Pešter Plateau, at 1150 m above sea-level and is the largest karst polje in Serbia and the highest in the Balkans. The region has a moderate continental climate, with elements of a mountain climate, making it unique in the Balkans. In winter this is the coldest region in Serbia, with temperatures as low as -400C. This has earned the region the local title of the “Balkan Siberia”.

In recent geological times the plateau was filled with water but the lake subsequently drained through underground channels, leaving a flood plain in the lowest depressions. Through the polje flows the subterranean river Boroštica along which peat bogs have formed.

Peštersko Polje is key to the survival of some extremely endangered species, in particular the peat nesting birds Montagu’s Harrier and Corncrake. Other than the north of Vojvodina, this is the only nesting site of this species in Serbia. This is also a feeding-ground for White Stork during nesting and migration seasons.

Aqueous vegetation is closely tied to channels and water-courses and of special significance is the fossil bed of the river Boroštica, with sections which are under water all year round. Important plant species are sphagnum mosses and orchids.

Mammal species present here are the otter and wolf.