History of Leskovac

textile industry


Sop Djokic's hause in 19th.


Sop Djokic's hause now


Monument fallen fighter before


Monument fallen fighter now


Leskovac was once known as "Little Manchester" because of its 19th century textile industry. The city continued to be a major textile centre until the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. However, Leskovac's own industry collapsed due to the economic isolation of Serbia during the wars of the 1990s, its remote location, and the failure to privatize the socially-owned textile mills, leaving the local economy in deep depression.

In 1860, Leskovac was the second largest town after Belgrade in the semi-independent Principality of Serbia. In 1867 the Principality expelled the Ottoman army, securing its sovereignty, which was confirmed in 1878. By emancipating fully from the Ottoman Balkans the trade impact was initially negative. However, by the end of the 19th century, the town of Leskovac was famous across the Balkans for its workshops which turned hemp into rope.

Soon there were three watermill-driven lace producers in the region. In 1896, the founders of these companies pooled their resources and bought factory equipment for the production of woolen cloth from the German Empire. This was the first factory on the outskirts of the town. In 1903, a factory for hemp processing was built on the riverbank north of the old town centre. In 1922, the Teokarevic family opened a wool cloth factory in the small town of Vucje near Leskovac. By 1938, the private textile factories of Leskovac town employed 2,560 workers In the 1870s, there were thousands of hemp-processors in Leskovac, producing up to 150,000 cartloads per year.

Monument of Liberty

The city, initially known as Dubočica, was once known as "Little Manchester", because of its 19th century textile industry which was second only to that of Manchester, England. The city continued to be a major textile center until the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, but due to the economic isolation of Serbia resulting from ethic wars, its remote location, and failure to privatize the mills the industry collapsed resulting in depression of the economy in the area.

Kosovo Conflict

On 12 April 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia a bridge near Leskovac (Grdelička klisura) was destroyed by a NATO aircraft as a passenger train was crossing. The act was highly condemned with the bridge being struck twice (the train itself having been bombed from the first attack).