National Park “Central Balkan”

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Central Balkan National Park is one of the three national parks in Bulgaria. Established in 1991, today it is the third largest protected area in the country – 720 square kilometres. It is located in the highest part of the Central Stara Planina Mountains and includes three parts of the mountain range – Zlatishko-Tetevenska Mountain, Troyan Mountain and Kalofer Mountain. The Directorate, a regional body of the Ministry of Environment and Water, manages the park in order to preserve and maintain the biodiversity, to protect wildlife and to provide opportunities for scientific and educational activities as well as for the development of tourism and environmentally friendly livelihood.

Within the boundaries of the national park there are 9 reserves – Boatin, Tsarichina, Kozya Stena, Steneto, Stara Reka, Dzhendema, North Dzhendem, Singing Rocks and Sokolna. According to the classification of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the park is a protected area of the second category, and the reserves in it – of the first.

The Central Balkan NP is a major part of the National Ecological Network (NEN). Due to its preserved habitats and exceptional biodiversity, since 2008 the Central Balkan has been a protected area under the two main directives in the nature protection legislation of the European Union – for the protection of wild birds and for the protection of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna and is part of the coordinated European ecological network of Natura 2000 sites.
In 2006 Central Balkan became a certified member of the Federation of European Natural and National Parks (EUROPARC).

In 2009 the national park was awarded the European Diploma for Protected Areas and became the first and the only winner of this prestigious international award in Bulgaria.
In 2017 Central Balkan NP along with the territory of five adjacent municipalities – Troyan, Sevlievo, Pavel Banya, Karlovo and Anton, was declared as a Biosphere Park Central Balkan within the UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. The new biosphere park covers four of the park’s biosphere reserves – Boatin, Tsarichina, Steneto and Dzhendema, which had joined the programme in 1977. Again in 2017, the most representative beech forests in the nine reserves of the national park became part of the transnational composite nature UNESCO World Heritage site Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

The Management Plan of the Central Balkan National Park, 2016-2025 – the main document for management of the Park, defines the special Nature-friendly tourism zone in the service of the visitors. The zone includes tourist routes with a total length of 580 km.

The diverse relief, the high mountains, the colorful meadows and the centuries-old forests attract visitors to the Central Balkan all year round. The easy access from the Fore-Balkan – from the north, and from the Valley of the Thracian Kings – from the south, contributes to the high attendance of the Park.
The zone of nature-friendly tourism offers a network of routes and sites that make the stay of visitors easy and promotes their informed behavior in the protected area. Facilities and signs at the entrances to the park and to the reserves make people aware of the natural riches and the importance of the protected area, as well as with the rules in it. Seventy (70) routes lead to remarkable places in the park – centuries-old forests, spacious alpine meadows, rugged peaks, impressive waterfalls, panoramas of picturesque landscapes typical of the mountain relief. An attractive opportunity is to cross the park on the ridge of the Central Balkan Mountains, following the primary hiking route of the European system connecting the Black Sea with the rest of Europe, known as E3 Kom – Emine. The specially built eco-trails Byala Reka and Vidimsko Praskalo, the interpreted routes Water Holes and On the Way of the Balkan people, the interpretation complex Forest and the visitor’s information centre Vezhen, help visitors to understand and experience nature in a simple and exciting way.

Virtual map