Kresnensko Defile (Kresna Gorge) – Protected area

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The Kresna Gorge is located in the Blagoevgrad area, south of the town of Kresna. It was formed from the incision of Struma river between the Pirin and Malashevska mountains, where the river sculpted a beautiful 16-kilometer long canyon.
The area of the Kresna Gorge is characterized by a typical transitional–Mediterranean climate. The winters are mild, with an average temperature in January + 2.4° С; summers are hot with an average temperature in July + 24.7°С. Main road E79 passes along the Struma river.
The Kresna Gorge is home to a variety of plant and animal species, some of which are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria (a list of endangered species in the country).
The Tisata reserve is situated near the gorge. It was declared a natural landmark by decree No 6663 of 17 October 1949 by the Ministry of Forestry. The largest habitat of juniper (Juniperus excelsa) in Bulgaria is located in the reserve.
The region of Kresna gorge and that part of Struma river are popular among the extreme sport lovers. In spring and early summer, when the waters of Struma are high, the Kresna gorge is a preferred rafting and canoeing spot.
The towns of Kresna, Sandanski, and Petrich are situated in the area of the gorge. Sandanski is popular among tourists for its SPA and relaxation opportunities. Petrich is situated very close to the border with Greece. There are two interesting landmarks nearby – the Samuilova fortress and the Rupite area.

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