Врање (Serbian)
City of Vranje
From top: Main pedestrian zone, Courthouse in Vranje, County Building, National Museum, Prohor of Pčinja Monastery, White Bridge, Markovo Kale fortress
Flag of Vranje
Coat of arms of Vranje
Location of the city of Vranje within Serbia
Location of the city of Vranje within Serbia
Coordinates: 42°33′N 21°54′E / 42.550°N 21.900°E / 42.550; 21.900
Country Serbia
RegionSouthern and Eastern Serbia
 • MayorSlobodan Milenković (SNS)
 • Urban36.96 km2 (14.27 sq mi)
 • Administrative860 km2 (330 sq mi)
487 m (1,598 ft)
 (2022 census)[2]
 • Rank16th in Serbia
 • Urban
 • Urban density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
 • Administrative
 • Administrative density86/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code+381(0)17
ISO 3166 codeSRB
Car platesVR

Vranje (Serbian Cyrillic: Врање, pronounced [ʋrâɲɛ] ) is a city in Southern Serbia and the administrative center of the Pčinja District. The municipality of Vranje has a population of 74,381 and its urban area has 55,214 inhabitants.

Vranje is the economical, political and cultural centre of the Pčinja District in Southern Serbia. It was the first city from the Balkans to be declared UNESCO city of Music in 2019.[3][4] It is located on the Pan-European Corridor X, close to the borders with North Macedonia and Bulgaria. The Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Vranje is seated in the city, as is the 4th Land Force Brigade of the Serbian Army.


The toponym Vranje is first attested in an 11th-century Byzantine text. The town's name is believed to be derived from vran, a word of Slavic origin meaning swarthy or dark, or the archaic Slavic given name Vran, which itself is derived from the same word.[5]


The Romans conquered the region in the 2nd or 1st centuries BC. Vranje was part of Moesia Superior and Dardania during Roman rule. The Roman fortresses in the Vranje region were abandoned during the Hun attacks in 539–544 AD; these include the localities of Kale at Vranjska Banja, Gradište in Korbevac and Gradište in Prvonek.[6]

During the Middle Ages, in the 9th-11th centuries, the territory of modern-day Vranje was a part of Bulgaria. [7][8][9][10][11]

The first written mention of Vranje comes from Byzantine chronicle Alexiad by Anna Comnena (1083–1153), in which it is mentioned how Serbian ruler Vukan in 1093, as part of his conquests, reached Vranje and conquered it, however only shortly, as he was forced to retreat from the powerful Byzantines.[12] The city name stems from the Old Serbian word vran ("black"). The second mention is from 1193, when Vranje was temporarily taken by Serbian Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja from the Byzantines.[12] Vranje definitely entered the Serbian state in 1207 when it was conquered by Grand Prince Stefan Nemanjić.[12]

Some time before 1306, tepčija Kuzma was given the governorship of Vranje (a župa, "county", including the town and neighbouring villages), serving King Stefan Milutin.[13] At the same time, kaznac Miroslav held the surroundings of Vranje.[14] Next, kaznac Baldovin (fl. 1325–45) received the province around Vranje, serving King Stefan Dečanski.[15] Next, župan Maljušat, Baldovin's son, held the župa of Vranje.[16] By the time of the proclamation of the Serbian Empire, holders with the title kefalija are present in Vranje, among other cities.[17] During the fall of the Serbian Empire, Vranje was part of Uglješa Vlatković's possessions, which also included Preševo and Kumanovo. Uglješa became a vassal of Serbian Despot Stefan Lazarević after the Battle of Tripolje (1403); Vranje became part of Serbian Despotate.

Markovo Kale, ruins of a medieval fortress.

The medieval župa was a small landscape unit, whose territory expanded with creation of new settlements and independence of hamlets and neighbourhoods from župa villages and shepherd cottages.[12] Good mercantile relations with developing mine city Novo Brdo led to creation of numerous settlements.[12] In 1455, Vranje was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, amid the fall of the medieval Serbian state.[12] It was organized as the seat of a kaza (county), named Vranje, after the city and the medieval župa.[12] In the mid-19th century, Austrian diplomat Johann Georg von Hahn stated that the population of Vranje kaza was six-sevenths Bulgarian and one-seventh Albanian, while the city population consisted of 1,000 Christian-Bulgarian families, 600 Albanian-Turkish and 50 Romani.[citation needed] The urban Muslim population of Vranje consisted of Albanians and Turks, of which a part were themselves of Albanian origin.[18]

Vranje was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1878, when the town was captured by the Serbian army commanded by Jovan Belimarković.[12] During the Serbian–Ottoman War (1876–1878) most of the Muslim population of Vranje fled to the Ottoman vilayet of Kosovo while a smaller number left after the conflict.[18] The city entered the Principality of Serbia, with little more than 8,000 inhabitants at that time.[12] The only Muslim population permitted to remain after the war in the town were Serbian speaking Muslim Romani of whom in 1910 numbered 6,089 in Vranje.[19] Up until the end of the Balkan Wars Vranje had a special position and role, as the transmissive station of Serbian state political and cultural influence on Macedonia.[20]

In the early 20th century, Vranje had around 12,000 inhabitants. As a border town of the Kingdom of Serbia, it was used as the starting point for Serbian guerrilla (Chetniks) who crossed into Ottoman territory and fought in Kosovo and Macedonia. In World War I, the main headquarters of the Serbian army was in the town. King Peter I Karađorđević, Prime Minister Nikola Pašić and the chief of staff General Radomir Putnik stayed in Vranje. Vranje was occupied by the Kingdom of Bulgaria on 16–17 October 1915, after which war crimes and Bulgarisation was committed on the city and wider region.[21]

World War II memorial.

After the war, Vranje was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in one of the 33 oblasts; in 1929, it became part of the Vardar Banovina. During World War II, Nazi German troops entered the town on 9 April 1941 and transferred it to Bulgarian administration on 22 April 1941. Vranje was liberated by the Yugoslav Partisans on 7 September 1944.

During Socialist Yugoslavia, Vranje was organized into the Pčinja District. In the 1960s and 1970s it was industrialized. During the 1990s, the economy of Vranje was heavily affected by the sanctions against Yugoslavia and the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.


Vranje is situated in the northwestern part of the Vranje basin, on the left waterside of the South Morava.[12]

Vranje is at base of the mountains Pljačkovica (1,231 metres (4,039 feet)), Krstilovice (1,154 metres (3,786 feet)) and Pržar (731 metres (2,398 feet)). The Vranje river and the city are divided by the main road and railway line, which leads to the north Leskovac (70 km), Niš (110 kilometres (68 miles)) and Belgrade (347 kilometres (216 miles)), and, to the south Kumanovo (56 kilometres (35 miles)), Skopje (91 kilometres (57 miles)) and Thessalonica (354 kilometres (220 miles)). It is 70 km (43 mi) from the border with Bulgaria, 40 km (25 mi) from the border with North Macedonia.

Vranje is the economical, political, and cultural centre of the Pčinja District in South Serbia.[12] The Pčinja District also includes the municipalities of Bosilegrad, Bujanovac, Vladičin Han, Preševo, Surdulica, and Trgovište.[12] It is located on the Pan-European Corridor X.


Climate data for Vranje (1991–2020, extremes 1961–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.9
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 4.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.3
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −3.4
Record low °C (°F) −25.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 39.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 12.6 11.5 12.4 12.0 13.1 10.1 8.3 6.7 9.2 9.9 10.7 13.9 130.4
Average snowy days 9.7 8.5 5.2 1.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 3.2 8.1 36.5
Average relative humidity (%) 81.8 74.8 66.6 64.0 66.2 64.5 60.0 59.1 66.3 73.4 79.0 83.4 69.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 74.9 103.7 154.0 181.2 225.9 278.3 320.7 302.6 209.4 158.6 91.6 59.1 2,160
Source: Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia[22][23]
Climate data for Vranje (2010-2022)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 4.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −2.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 52.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 67.7 101.1 151.9 194.3 214.2 256.8 319.5 312.6 216.5 172.3 99.7 67.6 2,174.2
Source: weatheronline.co.uk [24]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
There is no citation available for pre-1948 population.
Source: [25]

The city population has been expanded by Yugoslav-era settlers and urbanization from its surroundings. Serb refugees of the Yugoslav Wars (1991–95) and the Kosovo War (1998–99), especially during and following the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, as well as emigrants from Kosovo in the aftermath of the latter conflict have further increased the population.

According to the 2011 census results, there are 83,524 inhabitants in the city of Vranje.

Ethnic groups

The ethnic composition of the city administrative area (2011 census):[26]

Ethnic group Population %
Serbs 76,569 91.67%
Roma 4,654 5.57%
Bulgarians 589 0.71%
Macedonians 255 0.31%
Montenegrins 48 0.06%
Gorani 43 0.05%
Croats 33 0.04%
Yugoslavs 22 0.03%
Muslims 17 0.02%
Albanians 13 0.02%
Russians 10 0.01%
Others 1,271 1.52%
Total 83,524

Municipalities and settlements

City of Vranje in Pčinja District

The city of Vranje consists of two city municipalities: Vranje and Vranjska Banja.[2] Their municipal areas include the following settlements:

Municipality of Vranje
Municipality of Vranjska Banja

Society and culture


White Bridge, a landmark of Vranje.
Local traditional costume.

Vranje was an important Ottoman trading site. The White Bridge is a symbol of the city and is called "most ljubavi" (lovers' bridge) after the tale of the forbidden love between the Muslim girl Ajša and Christian Stojan that resulted in the father killing the couple. After that, he built the bridge where he had killed her and had the story inscribed in Ottoman Arabic. The 11th-century Markovo Kale fortress is in the north of the city. The city has traditional Balkan and Ottoman architecture.

The well-known theater play Koštana by Bora Stanković is set in Vranje.

Vranje is famous for its popular old music. The best known music is from the theater piece with music, Koštana, by Bora Stanković. This original music style has been renewed recently by taking different, specific, and more oriental form, with the contribution of rich brass instruments. It is played particularly by the Vranje Romani people.

Vranje is the seat of Pčinja District and, as such, is a major center for cultural events in the district. Most notable annual events are Borina nedelja, Stari dani, Dani karanfila (in Vranjska Banja), etc.

Vranje lies close to Besna Kobila mountain and Vranjska Banja, locations with high potential that are underdeveloped. Other locations in and around Vranje with some tourist potential include Prohor Pčinjski monastery, Kale-Krševica, Markovo kale, Pržar, birth-house museum of Bora Stankovic.

Largest hotels are Hotel Vranje, near the center and Hotel Pržar overlooking the city and the valley. The city has traditional Serbian cuisine as well as international cuisine restaurants and many cafes and bars.

Culture institutions

The Museum of Vranje


The city has one top-flight association football team, Dinamo Vranje.


Pumpkins in the suburb village of Vlase.

Vranje is located in southern Serbia, on Corridor X near the border with North Macedonia and Bulgaria. The distance from Thessalonica international harbor is 285 km (177 mi); distance from the international airports of Skopje and Niš are 90 km (56 mi). Vranje has a long tradition of industrial production, trade, and tourism and is rich in natural resources, such as forests and geothermal resources.[27]

Until the second half of the 20th century Vranje was a craftsman town. The crafts included weaving, water-milling, and carriages craft. With the beginning of industrialization in the 1960s, many of these crafts disappeared. In those years, many factories were opened, such as the Tobacco Industry of Vranje (Serbian: Дуванска индустрија Врање), Simpo, Koštana (shoe factory), Yumco (cotton plant), Alfa Plam (technical goods), SZP Zavarivač Vranje and others.

The most common industries in the city of Vranje are timber industry, clothing, footwear and furniture, food and beverages, agricultural, textile industry, chemical industry, construction industry, machinery and equipment, and business services. There are more than 2,500 small- and medium-size companies. To potential investors there are industrial sites, with plan documents and furnished infrastructure. Among the companies with business locations in the city are British American Tobacco, Simpo, Sanch, Mladenovic D.O.O, Kenda Farben, Danny style, OMV and Hellenic Petroleum.[27]

As of September 2017, Vranje has one of 14 free economic zones established in Serbia.[28]

Historical statistics
Official Yumco logo

As of 1961, there were 1,525 employees; in 1971, there were 4,374 employees; and in 1998, there were 32,758 employees.[citation needed] Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, and due to sanctions imposed on FR Yugoslavia during the rule of Slobodan Milošević, the number of employees began to drop; factories which employed a large number of people closed, among whom are Yumco and Koštana. As of 2010, there were only 18,958 employed inhabitants and 7,559 unemployed.[citation needed] As of 2010, the city of Vranje has 59,278 available workers.[citation needed] In 2010, the City Council passed the "Strategy of sustainable development of the city of Vranje from 2010 to 2019," for the achievement of objectives through a transparent and responsible business partnership with industry and the public.[27]

As of 2020, a total of 24,509 people were employed. A total of 5,921 people (19.46%) were unemployed.[29]

Economic preview

The following table gives a preview of total number of registered people employed in legal entities per their core activity (as of 2020):[29]

Activity Total
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 181
Mining and quarrying 246
Manufacturing 8,141
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 163
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 424
Construction 705
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 2,957
Transportation and storage 1,017
Accommodation and food services 755
Information and communication 201
Financial and insurance activities 310
Real estate activities 21
Professional, scientific and technical activities 741
Administrative and support service activities 320
Public administration and defense; compulsory social security 1,435
Education 1,643
Human health and social work activities 1,787
Arts, entertainment and recreation 444
Other service activities 350
Individual agricultural workers 84
Total 21,925

Notable people

A statue of Borisav Stanković in his hometown of Vranje.
A bust of Justin Popović

International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Serbia

Twin towns – sister cities

The city of Vranje is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ "Municipalities of Serbia, 2006". Statistical Office of Serbia. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia: Comparative Overview of the Number of Population in 1948, 1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002 and 2011, Data by settlements" (PDF). Statistical Office of Republic Of Serbia, Belgrade. 2014. ISBN 978-86-6161-109-4. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  3. ^ "UNESCO designates 66 new Creative Cities | Creative Cities Network". en.unesco.org. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Vranje među kreativnim gradovima Uneska". www.novosti.rs (in Serbian (Latin script)). Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  5. ^ Đorđević, Jadranka (2001). Srodnički odnosi u Vranju (in Serbian). Belgrade, Yugoslavia: Ethnographical Institute. p. 20. P. Skok ime mesta Vranje izvodi iz reči vran, fvrana, pridjev, određeno vrani, baltoslav. i praslav....poimeničen u sr.r. Vranje (Srbija)... M. Zlatanović smatra da je naziv Vranje postao od sloveskog ličnog imena Vran
  6. ^ Janković, Đorđe. "The Slavs in the 6th century North Illyricum". Projekat Rastko (in Serbian). Belgrade. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  7. ^ Ivanišević 2013, p. 450.
  8. ^ "Euratlas Periodis Web - Map of Europe in Year 900".
  9. ^ Fine, John V. A.; Fine, John Van Antwerp (29 December 1991). The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0472081493. Retrieved 29 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ The Late Medieval Balkans, p. 48
  11. ^ The Late Medieval Balkans, p. 54
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bazić 2008, p. 254.
  13. ^ Blagojević 2001, p. 26.
  14. ^ Синиша Мишић (2010). Лексикон градова и тргова средњовековних српских земаља: према писаним изворима. Завод за уџбенике. p. 76. ISBN 978-86-17-16604-3.
  15. ^ Starinar 1936, p. 72: "... сродника и наследника кнеза Балдовина. Кнез Балдовин je из времена краља Стефана Уроша III Дечанског (1321 — 1331). Пре њега je, изгледа, био y Врањи тепчија Кузма, a пре овога казнац Мирослав (свакако онај исти који ce помиње y ..."
  16. ^ Blagojević 2001, pp. 41, 52.
  17. ^ Blagojević 2001, p. 252.
  18. ^ a b Jagodić, Miloš (1998). "The Emigration of Muslims from the New Serbian Regions 1877/1878". Balkanologie. 2 (2). doi:10.4000/balkanologie.265. S2CID 140637086. para. 6. "According to the information about the language spoken among the Muslims in the cities, we can see of which nationality they were. So, the Muslim population of Niš and Pirot consisted mostly of Turks; in Vranje and Leskovac they were Turks and Albanians"; para. 11. "The Turks have been mostly city dwellers. It is certain, however, that part of them was of Albanian origin, because of the well-known fact that the Albanians have been very easily assimilated with Turks in the cities."; para. 26, 48.
  19. ^ Malcolm, Noel (1998). Kosovo: A short history. London: Macmillan. p. 208. ISBN 9780333666128."Vranje itself became a major Gypsy centre, with a large population of Serbian-speaking Muslim Gypsies. After the nineteenth- century expulsions of Muslim Slavs and Muslim Albanians from the Serbian state, these Gypsies were virtually the only Muslims permitted to remain on Serbian soil: in 1910 there were 14,335 Muslims in the whole kingdom of Serbia (6,089 of them in Vranje), and roughly 90 per cent of the urban Muslims were Gypsies."
  20. ^ Bazić 2008, p. 255.
  21. ^ Mitrović 2007, pp. 222–223.
  22. ^ "Monthly and annual means, maximum and minimum values of meteorological elements for the period 1991–2020" (in Serbian). Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia. Archived from the original on 21 April 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  23. ^ "Monthly and annual means, maximum and minimum values of meteorological elements for the period 1981–2010" (in Serbian). Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia. Archived from the original on 20 July 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Climate: Vranje, Serbia". Weatheronline.co.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  25. ^ "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia" (PDF). stat.gov.rs. Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  26. ^ "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia" (PDF). stat.gov.rs. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  27. ^ a b c Агенција за страна улагања и промоцију извоза Републике Србије (СИЕПА) – Град Врање
  28. ^ Mikavica, A. (3 September 2017). "Slobodne zone mamac za investitore". politika.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  29. ^ a b "MUNICIPALITIES AND REGIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA, 2021" (PDF). stat.gov.rs. Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. 25 December 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  30. ^ "Miasta partnerskie i zaprzyjaźnione Nowego Sącza". Urząd Miasta Nowego Sącza (in Polish). Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  31. ^ "Međunarodna saradnja". www.vranje.org.rs. Retrieved 4 July 2021.


Further reading