Bistrishko Branishte Reserve
Bistrishko Branishte reserve is located within the Vitosha Natural Park. The reserve was declared a protected area by the Council of Ministers by Decree No 15422 of 27 October 1934 to preserve intact the pine forest section and the alpine grass vegetation situated above it. On 1 March 1977 UNESCO declared Bistrishko Branishte a biosphere reserve.
Bistrishko Branishte reserve is situated between 1,430 and 2,282 meters above the sea level on the northeasern slope of Vitosha, under Golyam Rezen peak (2,277 meters) and Skoparnik peak (2,226 meters) within the catchment area of Bistritsa and Yanchevska rivers.
Nowadays the reserve covers a total area of 1,061.6 hectares – 52% forests and 48% plains – subalpine and alpine grasslands. The predominant forest species in the reserve territory is spruce, with beech tinges. Birch, Aspen, and White Fur are also common for the region. The average age of the forest is 100 – 120 years and the average tree height is over 25 meters. The oldest spruce trees are 140 – 150 years old, with a diameter of up to 1.3 meters.
Entering the reserve for a visit is allowed only on the marked paths from Aleko hut to the village of Zheleznitsa and the village of Bistritsa. Permission from the Ministry of Environment and Waters is required for visits outside the marked paths.
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