Central Balkan National Park
Central Balkan National Park is one of the most valuable and largest protected natural areas in Europe. The main purpose of its creation is to preserve the utmost unique landscapes, flora and fauna of the Central Stara Planina, and related traditions.
Central Balkan National Park occupies an area in the heart of Bulgaria, in the central and highest parts of the mountain called Stara Planina. The total area of the Central Balkan National Park is 71, 669.5 hectares, with an area of total area of 20, 000 hectares on which are made 9 Reserves. These protected areas are Botain, Tsarichina, Kozya stena, Steneto, Severn Djendem, Peeshti Skali, Sokolna, Djendema and Stara Reka.
The Central Balkan National Park protect the exceptional and diverse self- regulating biological systems. Its area reaches a length of about 90 km, its average width is 10 km. Forests cover 44 000, 8 hectares of the total area of the Central Balkan National Park, and treeless areas cover 27 668, 7 hectares. 70% of ecosystems are natural here. In the extremely beautiful and naturally rich area of the park is also the highest peak of Stara Planina - Botev Peak, with its 2376 m altitude.
The lowest point of the Central Balkan National Park is close to Karlovo and is at about 500 m altitude.
The established vegetation in this protected area is an amazing treasure that should be protected by all possible means. The vascular plant species available in the Central Balkan National Park are more than half of the flora of Bulgaria. Of these, 10 species and 2 subspecies are found only in this place and nowhere else in the world.
The greater part of the park is covered with beech forests, spruce, fir, hornbeam, etc. The animal world is also one of the great values of the Central Balkan National Park. In this part of Stara Planina live 70% of invertebrates and 62% of vertebrate animal species in Bulgaria. 224 species are included in the vast wealth of ornithological park. Some species are extremely rare, which is a prerequisite for the importance of the Central Balkan National Park, to the rest of the World.
With its 8 Reserves, Central Balkan National Park is on the List of Protected Areas of the United Nations and 4 of the reserves - Boatin, Tsarichina, Steneto and Djendema and are part of a global network of biosphere reserves, under the program "Man and Biosphere", by the UNESCO organization. It is listed among the Important Bird Areas of BirdLife International and is part of the European Union’s program CORINE Biotopes.
Since 2003, the Central Balkan National Park is a certified member of the European network of protected areas – the PAN Parks. Central Balkan National Park is one of the 100 national tourist sites of the Bulgarian Tourist Union, along with two other national parks in Bulgaria - Rila National Park and Pirin National Park.
As one of the main national parks, Balkan is a charming place for many lovers of natural beauty and resources. For their convenience and enjoyment the parks department takes care permanently of the good maintenance of the roads and travel routes, shelters, bridges, protective facilities, places for short holidays and places to view birds and wild animals. There are 10 routes for horse riding, 4 for cycling, routes to monitor the bird world, plants, large mammals, as well as cultural-historical, cave and alpine routes.
The territory of Central Balkan has 20 chalets with a total capacity of 1434 beds. In bad weather three tourist shelters are available, with a total of 40 beds.
Central Balkan National Park is part of a movement founded in 1966, called the 100 National Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.