Central Balkan National Park

The Central Balkan National Park is situated in the highest parts of the Middle Balkan Mountain. Under protection are self-regulating environmental systems, possessing exceptional biological diversity, cohabitations and habitats with rare and protected species, historical monuments of international significance for science and culture.

The greater part of the Park is covered by centuries-old beech, spruce, fir, hornbeam and durmast forests. The vascular plants encountered on the Park's territory are more than half of Bulgaria's flora. Out of these, 10 kinds (genera) and 2 sub-kinds (species) are met exclusively in the Central Balkan area and nowhere else. Healing plants number 166 kinds, out of which 12 are protected by law. The Park's wild plant heritage is supplemented by 229 kinds of moss, 256 kinds of mushrooms, 188 kinds of algae. This part of the Balkan Mountain is inhabited by 70% of invertebrate and 62% of vertebrate wildlife in Bulgaria. The avian world is represented by 224 species, among which such that give the Park a status of an ornithology-important place on international scale. More than 130 species of higher plants and animals, encountered in the Central Balkan, are included in the Bulgarian and international Red List of Threatened Species.

The Park includes vast summit meadows, a chain of rough peaks, out of which 20 above 2,000 metres altitude, rock fences, crevices, caves, deep canyons and high waterfalls. The Central Balkan is the place of choice of tourists, nature lovers and natural scientists.

The Central Balkan National Park is created to preserve the exceptional wildlife of the Balkan Mountain, as well as the traditions and employment of the local population. The preservation of this wealth has been guaranteed through giving the area a national park status in 1991, and the creation of a specialised management structure - a Directorate, which is a regional body of the Ministry of Environment and Waters. To preserve wildlife, the Directorate works in co-operation with local organisations, volunteers and mountain friends.

The Central Balkan is one of the largest protected areas in Europe; it has second category under the classification of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The park and 8 of its reservations are on the United Nations List of Protected Areas, and 4 of them are part of the global network of biosphere reserves under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program.

In 2003, the Central Balkan National Park became a member of the European network of national parks, PAN Parks - international recognition for its well-preserved and managed wildlife. As of 2004, the park has obtained a PAN Parks certificate, while in 2005 the top 12 tourism entrepreneurs in Bulgaria became business partners of the PAN Parks Foundation and the Central Balkan National Park.

The PAN Parks certificate is an indication that the protected territory has been preserved because of its high importance as a biologically diverse area, but also because of its role in society development through sustainable tourism - a source of employment for the local population.

Natura 2000 is an EU-wide environmental network, which includes key territories for protection of wildlife and habitats. The requirements for its establishment are set up by the European Commission's Directive 92/43 for preserving natural habitats and wildlife.

Official page of «Central Balkan National Park»

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