Danube Virtual Museum

National Park "Fruška Gora"

The position and area of the natural resource

National Park "Fruška Gora" is located in the north of Serbia, at the southern edge of the Pannonian Plain. It is the most dominant orographic entity in the plain of Vojvodina in northern Srem, along the very banks of the Danube.

Covering the area of 25,393 ha and a protected zone of 66,090 ha it is the oldest National Park in Serbia, established in 1960.

Natural characteristics

The National Park covers most ridge parts of the mountain massif Fruška Gora, with the highest peak at 539 m asl. It has an elongated lens-like shape, 78 km long and about 15 km wide. From the main ridge there are narrow lateral ridges spreading to the south and the north. Due to accumulated loess they end in mild slopes, while on the north side in steep loess sections towards the Danube.
In terms of geological history, Fruška Gora is a unique natural phenomenon with rocks originating from almost all geological periods, from the earliest Paleozoic, Mesozoic through to Neogene and Quaternary, the youngest in the evolution of the Earth. Preserved fossil fauna of the former Pannonian sea emphasized the unique local charateristics within the Pannonian basin, used for description in the European and global stratigraphy for the first time.
Living world is very rich and diverse given that it originates from the Pliocene, when Fruška Gora was an island in the Pannonian Basin, which significantly soothed the climate and enabled the preservation of many Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean species.

Forests occupy 90% of the National Park, where a third of the total area is made up of linden trees. More than 20 forest communities of pure and mixed oak and beech forest have been discovered, as well as the geographical variations of thermopile forests with Turkey oak, Downy oak and Hungarian oak.
Forests of Sessile oak and hornbeam with broom (Rusco-Querco-Carpinetum) dominate the area, and a relict mixed oak forest with eastern hornbeam (Carpineto-orientalis-Quercetum) of sub-Mediterranean characteristics especially stand out.

The outer boundaries of Fruška Gora loess plateau are overgrown by steppe vegetation of fresh Festucion rupicola rich in rare and relict species. This type of vegetation on Fruška Gora, compared to the typical steppes of Vojvodina, is mostly of mesophilic character, also with forest-steppe characteristics.

The flora of Fruška Gora includes around 1500 species with over 40 plants of protected and strictly protected species of Serbia. From the group of relict species the tertiary relicts stand out, such as: spurge-laurel (Daphne laureola), bellflower (Campanula lingulata), lip ferns (Cheilanthes marantae); and from the xerothermic relics of steppes, Pannonia endemics and sub endemics there are: Tartar greens (Cramb tataria), pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris subsp. grandis), pheasant's eye (Adonis vernalis), Sterbergia colchiciflora and others. A special characteristic of this flora is complemented by more than 30 species of orchids (Orchidacea). Eighteen of them are of international importance. Fruška Gora has been included in the international botanical important plant areas of Central and Eastern Europe (IPA) since 2005.

In the richness of fauna various protected species of insects stand out: stag (Lucanus cervus), horse ant (Formica rufa), oak longhorn beetle (Morimus funereus) and Rosalia alpina. This area is a refuge habitat for Mediterranean and Atlantic species of hoverflies (Syrphidae) of the ancient Peripannonian region.

From the total number of herpetofauna representatives, 13 species of amphibians and 11 species of reptiles, 14 species of them are on the Red List of endangered species of the world. The most endangered colorful salamander (Salamandra salmandra) and hinge (Vipera berus) are rarely encountered in Fruška Gora, requiring urgent action on their reintroduction.

Fauna includes 211 species of birds, of which 130 species nest and create offspring. It is one of the most important nesting areas of rare birds of prey in Serbia and the Pannonian Plain. Among them the most endangered species on the Red List of the world stands out – the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca). Fruška Gora is currently the only active nesting of Eastern Imperial Eagle in the whole Serbia. The significance of the bird fauna has been verified by declaring Fruška Gora as an internationally important bird habitat in Europe (IBA).

The mammal fauna (Mammalia) counts approximately 60 representatives. Among them is a protected group of bats (Chiroptera). From small mammals there are ground squirrel (Spermobilus citelus) and mole rat (Spalax leucodon), both on the Red List of endangered species of the world. Their steppe and pasture habitats are gradually disappearing on the entire area of the Pannonian plain. Among the larger mammals there are jackal (Canis aureus), wild cat (Felis silvestris), red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Most of them are native species except fallow deer and mouflon which are bred in hunting preserves.

Cultural, historical and ethnic heritage

On Fruška Gora there are numerous archaeological sites from the Neolithic, Copper, Bronze Periods, Roman times, and Middle Ages all the way to the Modern period.

Significant monuments of secular architecture are preserved in settlement units such as Sremski Karlovci, Petrovaradin, Irig, etc.

From the sacred buildings the most important are seventeen Orthodox monasteries of authentic architecture, built in the period from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, with rich libraries, repositories and frescoes, which represented great spiritual and economic centers of the time.

The international status of the natural resource

Pro-GEO, IBA, IPA

National Park "Fruška gora"

Geological Heritage of the National Park "Frušla Gora"

Fruška Gora, in terms of morphostructure, represents a non-chained mountain range which extends from east to west reaching a length of about 85 km and a significantly lower width of about 15 km.

Fruška Gora's appearance today is a reflection of its geological history and modern geodynamic processes. Once an island in the Pannonian Sea, today it is a lonely island mountain on the Pannonian plain.

It is a reflection of geological structure of lowland areas of sunken terrain on the Pannonian Plain. Paleozoic (more than 300 million years old) and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks (the time of the dinosaurs 270-65 million years ago), Mesozoic and Tertiary igneous rocks (there are volcanic rocks in Fruška Gora too) and different metamorphites are present at its core. Neogenene layers (Pannonian Sea) and different genetic types of Quaternary deposits (sediments formed during the Ice Age) are spread over the peripheral parts of the mountain - on its slopes and at the foot.

Fruška Gora is characterized by rich geological diversity that makes it a unique geotype in our region. There are numerous sites of fossils, numerous outcrops with discovered geological formations significant for understanding the geological structure and historical and geological evolution of the lithosphere in the Pannonian and the Danubian region. At Fruška Gora, deposits of various mineral resources occur - from semi-precious and ornamental stones, different building materials (cement marl, building stone, clay pits, etc..), coal to geothermal waters.

The largest number of fossil sites on Fruška Gora is related to the Neogene sediments (sediments that were created just before the Pannonian Sea about 20 million years ago as well as those created in the Pannonian Sea during the period of 16-2 million years ago).

Shortly before the rising of the Pannonian Sea in the area of Fruška Gora, a tropical and subtropical climate prevailed, as evidenced by the fossil remains from paleofloristic sites "Vrdnik" and "Janda". These layers can be described as a kind of herbaria that has preserved the remains of tropical-subtropical vegetation for 20 million years. Based on them, we can complement our knowledge of the vegetation of the time, and also paleoecological and paleoclimate conditions.

There are records on the span and the evolution of the former Pannonian Sea and the living world then - sea urchins, clams, corals, snails, fish, etc, found in numerous outcrops of Neogene sediments on the slopes and at the foot of Fruška Gora. The gradual rising of the Pannonian Sea in this region took place about 16 million years ago.

During the Ice Age, Fruška Gora was in a Periglacial zone where strong winds from the north and northeast used to bring huge amounts of fine dust created by the mechanical work of glaciers. Loess is a product of Aeolian accumulation of fine dust during the cold and dry climate. In the warmer climate phase, so-called buried soil was created, which differs from the loess by its darker colour.
In the loess, the remains of many large Ice Age animals such as: mammoths, rhinoceros, giant deer, bison and others were buried.

(Text: Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province)