Bulgaria - Stara Planina

The Central Balkan mountain range is spanning from the Black Sea coast through the whole of Bulgaria to the Serbian borders. While the valleys below were inhabited since the ancient times (famous Rose Valley), the steep slopes were protecting the nature from destruction. In 1990s, the Central Balkan National Park (Национален парк Централен Балкан) was declared to protect the unique ecosystem, with many flowers and animals listed on the Red Book of Endangered Species.

Unique ecosystems in untouched nature

The top of the ridge is dominated by high-mountain meadows, which servers as a pasture for semi-wild horses, cows and sheeps. Below, you can observe the centuries-old primeval forests of durmast oak, spruce, beech, and fir.

While the area around Boatin Reserve (Резерват Боатин) is a relatively hiking friendly, many vertical rock faces appears around Tsarichina Reserve (Резерват Царичина) with the Vezhen Peak (Вежен) and changes to almost impassable terrain around Kozia Stena Reserve (Резерват Козя стена).

Just a few roads cut the mountain ridge. One of them, in the Beklemeto Pass (Троянски проход), is dominated by the Arch of Freedom (Арка на Свободата), a 35 meters high sculpture dedicated to the war of independence.

Botev Peak and Dzhendema Reserve

Most of the people visit areas around the majestic Botev Peak (Ботев), a 2,376 meters high mountain named after Bulgarian revolutionary and national hero.

The surrounding Dzhendema Reserve (Резерват Джендема), which means Hell in translation, is dominated by deep canyons, wild streams and a labyrinth of steep slopes. In the heart of the reserve, you can find the highest waterfall, Raysko Praskalo (Райското пръскало), meaning Heaven’s Waterfall.

However, my personal treasure becomes the Stara Reka Reserve (Резерват Стара река): a deep valley with the river of the same name. The narrow path is following the watercourse with rapid white water.