Devetashko Plateau – Protected Area, Birds Directive
The Devetashko Plateau is situated in northern Bulgaria, in the Northern Balkan Mountain, northwest of the town of Lovech. Nine villages lie on the territory of the plateau – Agatovo, Brestovo, Gorsko Slivovo, Devetaki, Kramolin, Krushuna, Kakrina, Karpachevo and Tepava. They fall within the territorial borders of three municipalities – Letnitsa, Lovech and Sevlievo.
The Devetashko Plateau consists mainly of limestone cliffs. Almost all types of surface and underground karst forms can be seen here – whirlpools, karst wetlands, ravines, caves. One of the largest caves and cave complexes in Bulgaria are located here. The highest point of the Devetashko Plateau is about 2 kilometers from the village of Brestovo.
The climate of Devetashko Plateau is temperate continental.
Semi-dry grasslands and shrubland (orchids) can be seen here. The dominant species are the Pannonian oak forests (Quercus petraea) and hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), Euro- Siberian steppe oak forests (Quercus spp), and mixed riparian plain oak forests (Quercus robur), white elm (Ulmus laevis) and white ash (Fraxinus excelsior).
The area of Devetashko Plateau is inhabited by 9 types of amphibians and 12 types of reptiles such as Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissima), Southern crested newt (Triturus karelinii, Strauch), European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni), etc.
The territory of Devetashko Plateau is a part of the national ecological network of Natura 2000. According to the Law on Biological Diversity and the Birds Directive, Devetashko Plateau was declared an ornithologically important place with a total area of 7,892.91 ha. Many rare and endangered bird species can be seen in the rock complexes. 82 bird species can be found here, such as Corn Crake (Crex crex), Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Short-toed Snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus), White stork (Ciconia ciconia) and Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), Cormorant (Phalacrocorax), a diversity of Woodpeckers (Picidae) and Larks (Alaudidae), Egrets (Ardea), Falcons (Falco) and Hawks (Accipiter).
34 types of mammals have been identified, such as Southern White-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor), European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus), European otter (Lutra lutra), European bedger (Meles meles), in the caves of the plateau live 9 bat species (Chiroptera). Roe deer can also be found in the area (Capreolus capreolus), foxes (Vulpes vulpes), wolves (Canis lupus), wild cats (Felis silvestris), wild hogs (Sus scrofa).
Devetashko Plateau is rich in caves, a part of which are open for tourists. Most attractive for the tourists is the Devetashka Cave. Also interesting are the caves Golyama Garvanitsa and Malka Garvanistra near the village of Gorsko Slivovo, the Futyova Cave, the Stalbitsa cave near the village of Karpachevo, the Pogris cave, Chukata peak – 556 meters altitude.
Among the other interesting tourist sites are the Slivovsko Kale, the church in the village of Agatovo (with one of the heaviest bells in Bulgaria), the church “St. George the Martyr” in the village of Brestovo. Quite an interesting tourist site to visit is the Krushunski Waterfalls in the Maarata area.
Also interesting is the museum of Kakrinsko Hanche, where the great Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski (1837 – 1873) was caught by the Ottoman soldiers.
The villages in the Devetashko Plateau successfully develop country tourism. Accommodation is offered in cozy farmhouses in 6 of the villages – Gorsko Slivovo, Devetaki, Kramolin, Krushuna, Kakrina, Karpachevo. You can also rent a bicycle in the village of Tepava.
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