National Park “Central Balkan”
The National Park “Central Balkan” is situated in the heart of Bulgaria, in the central and highest parts of the Balkan Mountain. It keeps a unique collection of forest massifs, plant and animal species, historical monuments of global significance for science and culture. Incredible landscapes, rock phenomena, beautiful waterfalls can be seen here.
The highest peak in the Park is Botev peak (2376). The lowest point is situated near Karlovo, on altitude of 500 meters.
The park occupies a total area of 72 021 ha and includes parts of the territories of 5 administrative areas – Lovech, Gabrovo, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv and Sofia. The Park includes 9 natural reservations – “Boatin”, “Tsarichina”, “Kozya Stena”, “Steneto”, “Severen Dzhendem”, “Peeshti Skali”, “Sokolna”, “Dzhendema” and “Stara Reka”. The reservation area occupies an area of 20,019.6 ha. Eight of them (excluding “Kozya Stena”) and “Central Balkan” Park are included in the UN list of national parks and other protected territories. Boatin, Tsarichina, Dzhendema and Steneto are a part of the network of biosphere reservations.
In 2003 the National Park “Central Balkan” became a member of PAN Parks, which is an international appraisal of its well preserved and managed wild nature. In 2004 a holder of the PAN Parks certificate is also the park region.
The PAN Parks certificates are a mark meaning that the protected territory is protected because of the great significance of the biological diversity inside it, but also about its role for public development through sustainable tourism – source of the means of living of the local people.
The PAN Parks Foundation (Protected Areas Network Parks – a network of protected park territories) is a European non-governmental organization, which has the goal to protect the most precious wild nature sites in Europe by building a Network of parks which develop sustainable tourism together with the local communities.
The most interesting park areas for the tourists are North Dzhendem, South Dzhendem, the Rayskoto Praskalo waterfall and Peeshtite Skali (the Singing Rocks).
The Central Balkan is one of the most pleasant places for walking tourism in Bulgaria. Places for relaxation, options for observation of beautiful views and sites are constructed for tourist attraction. Specialized routes are developed – 10 routes for horse tourism, 4 for bicycle tourism, routes for observation of birds, plants, large mammals, general
The visitors of the Central Balkan can enjoy traditional Bulgarian cuisine and the hospitality of the people, as well as the specific folklore and various crafts.