University Botanical Garden
The University Botanical Garden in Balchik was established in 1955 by Acad. Prof. Daki Jordanov on the territory of the park of the former summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania. Today, the Botanical Garden spreads over an area of 190,000 m² and accommodates collections with over 3500 plant species. It is a site much visited by tourists. Moreover, it is a Monument of Culture, a protected area under PAA (the Protected Areas Act) and a Washington Convention Rescue Center.
At the University Botanical Garden there are separate differentiated parts:
The Greenhouses display a permanent exhibition of cacti, succulents and sub-Mediterranean species which is the largest in the Balkans. On a covered area of 800 square meters can be seen over 2600 species representatives of the plant families Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae. The exhibition is impressive not only because of the diversity of species but also due to the fact that it contains more than 400 world-protected species of this group and some unique species such as the Galapagos cactus. The oldest specimens in the collection are large-sized cacti and succulents over 70 years of age. In the botanical garden attractively is presented the transition between Mediterranean vegetation and desert plant dwellers.
The Park Area, along with the buildings (managed by the Ministry of Culture), currently has the status of an Architectural & Park Complex – a monument of garden and park art. The historic core has been built at the time of the Romanian Queen as a landscape. Along the coast, characterized by great differences in elevation, there are terrace gardens, designed in a geometric style in combination with water elements: waterfalls, canals and water mirrors. The gardens are interconnected by walkways, stairs and tunnels supported by stone walls constructed with the typical Balchik stone – a unique architectural solution adapted to the terrain and the water regime of the area.
In the beautifully landscaped ground floors and corners of the garden are planted spring and summer annual flowers, alpine and water flora, ferns, rare and protected species, creeping plants, liana, flowering and evergreen shrubs. Of interest to professionals and tourists are the exotic species successfully introduced in the garden – the ancient Ginkgo, the Metasequoia (by the way, an individual with such size and age outside its natural habitat can be seen only in the Royal Botanic Garden in London), the Candy and the Para Rubber Tree, the Holm Oak or Holly Oak, the evergreen Magnolia grandiflora and others.
A garden adapted for visits by people with disabilities was opened in connection with the 50th anniversary of the University Botanical Garden – Balchik. On an area of 11,000 m2 acres, the visitors can enjoy the beauty of seasonal blossom combinations, alpine corners, water areas, cacti and succulents in beds made of typical Balchik stone. The layout of the alley network is consistent with the requirements for the accessible public environment. In a special place, blind people can smell the aroma and feel by touch different plant species which are described in Braille. The collection of winter resistant cacti, often covered with snow in our climatic conditions, attracts the visitors. The Green Chapel makes an impression with its simple structure, on top of which the green plants are sculpting a temple.
In 2005, the area of the garden was declared a protected area – “a characteristic landscape, created by the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.”. Here, professionals and amateurs can observe the natural ecosystems and appreciate the rich biodiversity of the region.
The University Botanical Garden in Balchik is not only one of the beautiful corners of Bulgaria. It is also a place for research and scientific activities, practical training of students, initiatives related to environmental education and art. A Balkan Environmental Center operates in the Botanical Garden, too.
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