The River Đetinja

The river Đetinja is a left tributary of the Western Morava and it is originates in the northern part of the Kremna valley, on the south – western slopes of the mountain Tara and is made up of 4 smaller rivers.

A picturesque gorge of the river Đetinja, which creates an attractive canyon in its central part, begins no farther than 3 km from the centre of the city. The gorge of the river Đetinja has been proclaimed as the Area of extraordinary beauty and has been marked as the natural resource of great importance. The whole area characterized by a very dynamic morphology with numerous caves, depressions, crevices…. The gorge of the Đetinja is considered an area with a series of ecological peculiarities, both in the biologic and biogeographic sense. Its autochthonous feature and riches can be seen through the presence of a large number of endemic, sub – endemic and relic species of plants , and in terms of the animal world the fauna of daily butterflies is especially significant which represents one of the richest in Serbia – 17 species which are on the list of the Register of daily butterflies in Serbia.

Đetinja is a real mountain pearl with numerous rapids, waterfalls and whirlpools which are a hiding place of the capital samples of stream trout. Mladica and lipljan can also be found there , and 6 kilometers from the city musicarski revir as well.

On the wider territory of the gorge there is also a rich heritage in monuments: well preserved settlement from the period of neolith ” Gradina ” , which is one of the most significant settlements in south – western Serbia , as well as the medieval town and necropolis on the site ” Mala gradina ” .

The beach on the Đetinja under the Old Town is a separate area of unique beauty .It is at the same time the walking area and the health path. This place is an oasis of joy and enjoyment in the very centre of the city.


The water plant on the river Đetinja is situated at the bottom of the Užice Old Town, it was made in 1900 and is one of the symbols of the town of Užice, It was the first electrical plant made according to Tesla’s principles of an alternating current in Serbia, just one year after the first of its kind was built on the river Niagara in America.

And how did it all start? When did the first idea to use power of the water of Đetinja to make electricity appear in Užice?

According to the registered data from XIX century, everything started when the bakers, who paid a lot of money for the steam mill in Čačak, decided to make their own steam mill. They asked for the advice from their fellow man Stevan Čađević the first engineer among people of Užice who worked at that time in the Ministry of Civil Engineering of Kingdom of Serbia. The answer was very interesting. ” No way to build a steam mill! You have no coal, and the steam machines are bound to break down very often. You should build a mill that is using the water turbine. For the turbine you have the water from Đetinja, even more than you would need!”

The bakers of Užice estimated that to build that Mnd of industrial mill would cost them a fortune, that it perhaps would not be payable and decided to delay the whole thing for scfne time. Lots of water ran through the Đetinja River before its power started to be used for industrial purposes. The deed was attributed to the textile workers of Užice.

In the year of 1891 there was opened, or, as it is said in the records, there was established the State Wavering School. Then the idea to build the factory for wavering was born. On the national meeting held on 14th November in 1897, the Joint stock Company was founded, which decided to build the wavering factory. The rules and regulations were accepted for the Stock Company, and from the Ministry of Commerce, according to the existing laws for supporting crafts and workshops they even got some benefits, the first shares were issued and the building of the factory could have started.

To provide cheap and safe flow of energy, the shareholders decided to use waterpower of Đetinja for the machines in the factory. As a representative of the Ministry of National Commerce, the reputable professor of The Grand School and the pioneer of electrification in Serbia, Đorđe Stanojević, visited Užice in 1898.He visited canyon of Đetinja and the place they supposed to build the factory and he found out that there is enough water in the river bed of Đetinja to provide power for the turbines to make electrical currency, and then which would not only be used for tlm wavering machines but also for the city electrification, so then they decided to build the water plant.

The cornerstone was placed by the King Aleksandar Obrenović himself on 15th of May ( it was the 3rd may in Julian Calendar ) 1899. According to the custom in those days; the godfather should place the cornerstone of the house. By placing a cornerstone for the water plant, the King Aleksandar has become its godfather.   The project for building the water plant on Đetinja was made by engineer Aćim Stevović who was originally from Mokra Gora ( at that time he was employed at railways workshop in Niš ). Đorđe Stanojević chose the equipment that would provide application of Tesla’s principles in the work of the water plant and the transfer of electric current. Taking into account how heavy the equipment was which should have been brought from Vienna to Užice, there were six oxen – drawn wagon used to do that. Up to the time, no one had seen such a thing in Serbia. The works on the adjustment of the equipment in the water plant and the major part of the electrification network in the town have finished at the end of July 1900.

The water plant had its pompous opening on 2nd of august, on the Holy Elias Day, one the same date when His Majesty the King was born. The citizen have enjoyed in ” the sea of lights in which whole town was bathing ” .

For its Hundredth Annual, the water plant has been renovated and on the day of Holy Elias in 2000 it was repaired to work again. The old machines by Siemens can make electricity again. In this beautiful building now there is the Technical Museum.

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