War island Kayak Adventure
Challenge yourself as you go kayaking through the biggest rivers in Serbia, Sava and Danube!
Geography: Great War island is river island in Belgrade. It is located at the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers. It has triangular shape and covers an area of 2.11 km². It is low, for the most part marshy and often flooded by the Danube. The main physical feature on the island is the canal of Veliki Galijaš. In time, the canal was cut off from the Danube and effectively turned into a lake, with an area of 0.24 km² and the major natural bird and fish spawning area on the island. However, during the droughty years the lake drains out completely causing damage to the closed eco-system centered around it. Currently some two-thirds of the island are used as a nature preserve for 196 bird species, many of which are endangered. One of Belgrade's beaches, Lido, is located on the northern tip of the island.
History: The island gained its militant name because throughout the history Great War Island was an important strategic point either for the conquest or the defence of Belgrade. For example, in 1521. when Belgrade was under siege by Turkish forces, the majority of their attacks on Belgrade fortress were launched from the island. In liberating Belgrade in 1806 the rebel army headed by Karađorđe also used the island for military purposes, as the Serbian artillery with 500 soldiers was bombing the Kalemegdan fortress from there. During the offensive in 1915. by Austria-Hungary against Belgrade, Austria-Hungary forces used the island to launch their attacks.
When construction of Novi Beograd began in 1948, the city government made a decision to completely destroy the island by using its sand and earth to cover the marshes of Syrmia, where new city was to be built. However, the deposits of alluvial materials continually brought onto the island from the Danube completely prevented this from happening. Instead, the smaller Little War Island served this purpose and was nearly destroyed in the process.
Though officially uninhabited, almost a dozen of people live in small shacks in the island's interior. They are mostly retirees who move to the island during the warm season and maintain their vegetable gardens, while in the winter they return to Belgrade.
Contrast of wilderness and urban environment will be something what you won't forget!