Obedska bara (The Obed swamp) – The myth and the legend. This swamp has been famous worldwide since the mid 19th century, when stories of a ‘bird heaven’ started. Once a famous ornithological reserve and today a special nature reserve, this vast swamp-forest complex is located along the Sava river in the south of Srem (Vojvodina, Serbia). The greatest value of this area lies in its authentic combination of stagnant tributaries, ponds, pits, swamp vegetation, wet meadows and forests with exceptional diversity of ecosystems and species, especially the endangered ones. Obedska bara is one of the few remaining inundated marshes with distinctive features, such as hundred years old mixed English oak forests, waterfowl colonies and numerous natural rarities. This swamp actually represents a remnant of the former meander of the Sava, located along its old riverbed. The main course of the river now flows more towards the south. The villages Obrež and Kupinovo are located on the banks of the riverbed called “the horseshoe” because of its shape. The higher, dry-land area, intersected by water depressions and habitats of old oak woods is called ‘Kupinske grede’. Obedska bara is famous for its different marsh and forest habitats, numerous species of mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects and exceptional abundance of flora, ichtyofauna and above all ornithofauna.
Owing to its exceptional natural values, Obedska bara has been included in the Ramsar Convention list in 1977. It was the first site of such kind in our country. In 1989 it was declared the international Important Bird Area (IBA).
The Special Nature Reserve “Obedska bara” offers many different choices, for scientific and recreational purposes:
- The Centre for information and education – planned to be completed by the end of May 2011. It is located close to the motel, and intended for the visitors of the SNR “Obedska bara”. The capacity of the Centre is 40 persons. Regarding the motel capacities, there are 15 double bedrooms, one big hall and two smaller halls, and also a summer terrace with the view over the Obed swamp.
- There is a circular education path, total length 7 km, and a waterside pathway, total length 5 km, equipped with 4 monitoring watchtowers. There are also 4 water mirrors, a bird island, porches, direction signposts and information panels. The boats are at the disposal to the visitors, for sightseeing, sports and recreation fishing. The purchase of a bigger vessel (catamaran) for boating and sightseeing is in progress, the capacity of which is 25 persons. At the entrance of the SNR there are two guides for the reception of the visitors.
The circular education path is equipped with 3 porches, tables and benches and is located in the heart of the Reserve. The path provides excellent opportunity of observing swamp habitat with waterfowl, old forest stand, especially of the English oak, and of the rare and medicinal herbs.
The waterside pathway, located on the edge of the swamp, starts from the “Obed Tower”, goes over the small bridge (in the process of construction) and passes by the monitoring watchtower “Matijevica”, from which the waterfowl colonies can be observed. The path ends at the second monitoring watchtower “Spomenik”. All the way, the path goes through the forests of the English oaks and white poplar, allowing for the walking and sightseeing of the Obedska bara, its diversity in flora and fauna, especially the birds.
In the “Horeshoe” of the swamp, there are “water mirrors” and “the bird island”, whose aim is to improve additional feeding to bitata the waterfowl and keeping them in the Obedska bara reserve. There are several significant historical and cultural monuments in the vicinity of the reserve: the “Kupinik” fortress, the church of Mother Angelina and the church of Saint Lucas. The crucial animal species in this area are: the white-tailed eagle, the black stork, the egret, beaver etc. Some of the rare plant species one can find here are: the white and the yellow water lily, calamus, frogbit, pond iris and other.