Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct,.mw-parser-output .geo-inline-hidden{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}43°03′04″N 20°03′21″E / 43.051166°N 20.055833°E / 43.051166; 20.055833
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Highest point
Elevation 1,492 m (4,895 ft)[1]
Coordinates .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct,.mw-parser-output .geo-inline-hidden{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}43°03′04″N 20°03′21″E / 43.051166°N 20.055833°E / 43.051166; 20.055833
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Pešter is located in Serbia

Official name Pestersko polje
Designated 19 March 2006
Reference no. 1656[2]

The Pešter Plateau (Serbian: Пештерска висораван, romanizedPešterska visoravan; Albanian: Rrafshnalta e Peshterit), or simply Pešter (Serbian Cyrillic: Пештер, .mw-parser-output .IPA-label-small{font-size:85%}.mw-parser-output .references .IPA-label-small,.mw-parser-output .infobox .IPA-label-small,.mw-parser-output .navbox .IPA-label-small{font-size:100%}pronounced [pɛ̌ʃtɛr]; Albanian: Peshter), is a karst plateau in southwestern Serbia, in the Raška (or Sandžak) region.

It lies at the altitude of 1150–1492 m, (Kuljarski vrh) at 1492 meters. The territory of the plateau is mostly located in the municipality of Sjenica, with parts belonging to Novi Pazar and Tutin.


The name of the region comes from the common Slavic word for cave (Church Slavonic: пещера, romanized: peštera).

In the speech of people native to the area, the original feminine gender of the word is preserved despite the loss of the -a ending (nominative Pešter, genitive and locative Pešteri), but in standard Serbian the gender is masculine (nominative Pešter, genitive Peštera, locative Pešteru).[3]


Pešter Plateau landscape with cattle

The plateau is actually a large field (Peštersko polje) surrounded by mountains of Jadovnik (1734 m), Zlatar (1627 m), Ozren (1693 m), Giljeva (1617 m), Javor (1519 m), Golija (1833 m), Žilindar (1616 m), Hum (1756 m), Ninaja (1462 m) and Jarut (1428 m).

With the area of around 50 km2, the Pešter field is the largest field in Serbia, and the highest one in the Balkans.[4] The rivers of Uvac, Vapa, Jablanica and Grabovica flow through this plateau.[5]

In the geologic past, the field was a large lake, of which only a small lake (in Sjenica) near the village of Tuzinje remained.[4] The soil is mostly karst interspersed with pastures. Economy of the area relies primarily on cattle breeding, chiefly sheep.

Pešter is famous for its dairy products, especially the “Sjenica cheese” (Sjenički sir), as well as lamb and pršut (or prosciutto).[5]

The plateau is sparsely populated: most settlements are on the edge of the field, and the remainder is settled only during summer months.[4]

Pešter is famous for its microclimate, which is particularly harsh in the winter months, and due to this, it is often called the “Siberia of Sandžak”.

The lowest temperature in Serbia since measurements are taken, −39 °C (−38 °F) is measured at Karajukića Bunari village on 26 January 2006, beating the previous record of −38.4 °C (−37.1 °F) measured in Sjenica in 1954.[6]

In the near geological past, the field used to be a highland lake, which gradually drained through karst ruptures, leaving marshy remnants in the lowest parts, around the flow of the sinking river Boroštica.[7] Those areas are home to a wet peatbog habitat that’s unique for a karst area.

On the 1st of May in 2006, Ramsar included the wetland area of 3,455 hectares into its list of wetlands of international importance.[8]

Pešter is home to a number of endangered plant species, such as Fumana bonapartei, Halacsya sendtneri, and Orchis tridentata. The only nesting place of Montagu’s harrier in Serbia is in this area.[8]


In 1700 the High Porte of the Ottoman Empire instructed the Pasha of Peja to pacify Rugova, resulting in 274 families being displaced from Rugova to Pešter.[9] At that time, some members of the Shkreli and Kelmendi have begun migrating into the Pešter region.

The Kelmendi chief had converted to Islam, and promised to convert his fellow tribe members as well. A total of 251 Kelmendi households (1,987 people) were resettled in the Pešter area on that occasion, however five years later, the exiled Kelmendi managed to fight their way back to their homeland, and in 1711 they sent out a large raiding force to bring back some other from the Pešter region as well.[10]

The remaining Kelmendi and Shkreli converted to Islam and became Slavophones by the 20th century, and as of today they now self-identify as part of the Bosniak ethnicity, although in the Pešter plateau they partly utilized the Albanian language until the middle of the 20th century particuarily in the villages of Ugao, Boroštica, Doliće and Gradac.[11]

Factors such as some intermarriage undertaken by two generations with the surrounding Bosniak population along with the difficult circumstances of the Yugoslav Wars during the 90s made the local Albanians opt to refer to themselves in censuses as Bosniaks, in order to avoid persecution by the Serb-dominated government.[12] Shkrelis continued to migrate from Rugova to the territory of Pešter until the 19th century.[13]

Catholic Albanian groups which settled in the early 18th century were converted to Islam in that period. Their descendants make up the large majority of the population of the Pešter plateau.


See also[edit]


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  1. ^ Mountains in Serbia Archived 2010-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}“Pestersko polje”. Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ Sinan Gudžević. “Pešter i Velež” (in Serbo-Croatian). Novosti (Croatia). Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b c “Prirodni resursi” (in Serbian). Official web site of municipality of Sjenica. Archived from the original on 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  5. ^ a b “Sjenica-Pešter” (in Serbian). Tourist organization of Serbia. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  6. ^ “Minus 39, oboren rekord” (in Serbian). Glas Javnosti. 2006-01-27. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  7. ^ “Peštersko polje”. Serbian Tourist Organization. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10.
  8. ^ a b “The Annotated Ramsar List: Republic of Serbia”. Ramsar Convention. Archived from the original on 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  9. ^ Rahimi, Shukri (1987), Rugova-Monografi etnografike (E kaluara historike e Rugovës), Prishtinë, Kosovë: Akademia e Shkencave dhe e Arteve të Kosovës (Seksioni i Shkencave Shoqërore), p. 16
  10. ^ Elsie 2015, p. 32.
  11. ^ Elsie, Robert (30 May 2015). The Tribes of Albania: History, Society and Culture. I.B.Tauris. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-78453-401-1.
  12. ^ Andrea Pieroni, Maria Elena Giusti, & Cassandra L. Quave (2011). “Cross-cultural ethnobiology in the Western Balkans: medical ethnobotany and ethnozoology among Albanians and Serbs in the Pešter Plateau, Sandžak, South-Western Serbia.Human Ecology. 39. (3): 335. “The current population of the Albanian villages is partly “bosniakicised”, since in the last two generations a number of Albanian males began to intermarry with (Muslim) Bosniak women of Pešter. This is one of the reasons why locals in Ugao were declared to be “Bosniaks” in the last census of 2002, or, in Boroštica, to be simply “Muslims”, and in both cases abandoning the previous ethnic label of “Albanians”, which these villages used in the census conducted during “Yugoslavian” times. A number of our informants confirmed that the self-attribution “Albanian” was purposely abandoned in order to avoid problems following the Yugoslav Wars and associated violent incursions of Serbian para-military forces in the area. The oldest generation of the villagers however are still fluent in a dialect of Ghegh Albanian, which appears to have been neglected by European linguists thus far. Additionally, the presence of an Albanian minority in this area has never been brought to the attention of international stakeholders by either the former Yugoslav or the current Serbian authorities.”
  13. ^ Glasnik Etnografskog instituta. Vol. 20. Naučno delo. 1980. p. 74.
  14. ^ Velović Popović, Bojana M. (2021). “Морфолошке одлике глаголских облика говора Тутина, Новог Пазара и Сјенице” [Morphological features of verb forms in speech from Tutin, Novi Pazar and Sjenica] (PDF). Српски дијалектолошки зборник (68): 197–199.

External links[edit]

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