Leskovac (Serbian Cyrillic: Лесковац) is a city and
municipality located in southern Serbia at 43.00°
North, 21.95° East.
It is the administrative center of the
is accessible from Belgrade by the
E75 motorway to Thessaloniki in Greece.
Archeological finds from 2005 show that Triballians lived in the
area before the Romans came in the 1st century, there are several
graves found at the Hisar Hill
Leskovac was the second largest city (after Belgrade) in the
Principality of Serbia but
was ruled as a kaza (township) until 1878.
In 1867 the
removal of Ottoman army garrisons from the cities, acquiring
sovereingty, which was internationally recognised at the Congress of Berlin
in 1878. Full
independence from the Ottoman Balkans
initially had a negative impact on trade. However, by the end of
the 19th century, the town of Leskovac was famous across the
Balkans for its workshops which turned hemp into rope. Leskovac was
known as Leskofça during Ottoman rule and was bounded to Niş
sanjak until 1878.
Soon there were three watermill-driven lace producers in the
1896, the founders of these companies pooled their resources and
bought factory equipment for the production of woollen cloth from
This was the first factory on the outskirts
of the town. In 1903, a factory for hemp processing was built on
the riverbank north of the old town centre. In 1922, the Teokarevic
family opened a wool cloth factory in the small town of Vucje near
Leskovac. By 1938, the private textile factories of Leskovac town
employed 2,560 workersIn the 1870s, there were thousands of
hemp-processors in Leskovac, producing up to 150,000 cartloads per
initially known as Dubočica, was once known as "Little Manchester",
because of its 19th century textile industry which was second only
to that of Manchester, England.
Monument of Liberty WWI
city continued to be a major textile center until the collapse of
communism in Eastern Europe, but due to the economic isolation of
Serbia resulting from ethnic wars, its remote location, and failure
to privatize the mills, the industry collapsed resulting in
depression of the economy in the area.
World War II
During World War II
, the city was part
of Nedić's Serbia
. It was
heavily bombed by the Allies
in 1944, with
estimates of civilian casualties varying from over a thousand to
head of the British military mission to the Partisans wrote
..... as we watched the whole of Leskovac seemed to rise bodily
in the air in a tornado of dust and smoke and debris, and a great
rending noise fell on our ears. ..... What was
left of Leskovac lay enveloped in a pall of smoke; several
buildings seemed to be burning fiercely. Even the
Partisans seemed subdued.
This was part of Operation Ratweek
to attack the enemy withdrawal, and air reconnaissance had
confirmed the presence of a strong concentration of armour and
motor transport there, although he said the use of 50 ‘Heavies’ or
rather like taking a sledge-hammer to crack a walnut.
On 12 April 1999, during the NATO bombing
a bridge near Leskovac (Grdelička klisura) was
destroyed by a NATO aircraft as a passenger train was crossing. The
act was highly condemned with the bridge being struck twice (the
train itself having been bombed from the first attack).
Panoramic view of Leskovac from Hisar
Population through history
- 1900: 13,641
- 1905: 13,647
- 1910: 14,266
- 1921: 15,250
- 1931: 17,632
- 1941: 20,500 (estimate)
- 1948: 20,913
- 1953: 24,553
- 1961: 34,396
- 1971: 45,478
- 1981: 67,110
- 1991: 72,487
- 2002: 94,758 (110.240)
Demographics of the municipality
river view trade court
Siroka carsija by night, seen from S15
Ethnic groups in the municipality (2002 census):
- Serbs = 155,011
- Roma = 4.327
Demographics of the town
In 2002 the town's population was 94,758of whom the majority are
primarily Serbs (89,125). Other significant ethnic groups are Roma
(4,327), Macedonians (168), Yugoslavs (108), and others (including
Greeks, Bulgarians, etc). In January 2007, there were an estimated
500 persons of Chinese origin living in Leskovac.
At one time the second largest city in Serbia, today Leskovac is
blighted by economic problems with many working age people
migrating out of the area.
The city proper of Leskovac is divided into the following local
communities (месне заједнице or mesne zajednice
-(Barbecue week) - is a
grill-meat festival that has been organized in Leskovac for many
years, which takes place each year at the beginning of September.
During the event, the main bulevard is closed for traffic, night
and day for five days, and all its way there are grill-stands
constructed, to create many temporary restaurants. Many visitors
from all over Serbia and many tourists come to Leskovac to enjoy a
good grill and entertainment. The organisers hold competitions,
such as in making the biggest burger - the pljeskavica
. The festival is the highlight
of the season in Leskovac.
In 2009 Leskovac officially became a International Carnival city,
admitted by The Association of European Carnival cities, which has
over 50 members from Europe and America. The Leskovac Carnival is
held in a time of Rostiljijada festival.Around 1200 people take
part in the carnival, of which one third part from abroad.The City
Government considers to separation this event in 2010. as a special
tourist event which gonna be introduced as a special offer of the
Theater Marathon, takes place every year in November and lasts 9
days.It is running performances of National Theaters from all over
Serbia.This event takes place in Nardonom Theater in
Leskovac Internatonal Film Festival
First International film festival was held in 2008.The idea of the
film in the city is not that new. In 1996, a group of enthusiasts,
with chairman Rade Jovic, organized the Festival which were shown
films of domestic production.Today, many years later, Leskovac host
an International Film Festival.The Festival presents awards in 3
categories:- "Golden hazelnuts" - Best Director- "Hazelnut leaf" -
critics awards- "Vox populi" - Audience Award.
Leskovac is the first city in Serbia which has a sanitary landfill.
Željkovac depot spreads over 80 hectares and is made by all
European standards. In the landfill there is a center for
atmospheric water purification, center for the selection and
disposal systems for the detection of all types of pollution.
Company Por Werner and Weber for Serbia, began construction of the
center for collecting and recycling waste, and is the first city in
the Balkans, where starting this job.
* Miodrag Stojković, Genetiker
* Jelena Božilović, Wissenschaftler, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
* Gojko Mitic, Schauspieler
* Maja Miljković, Basketball-Spieler
* Darko Filipović, Sänger
* Mija Kulic, Ingenieur, Maler, Talkmaster