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Donnerstag, 20. Juli 2017

Mavrovo - Macedonia's forest kingdom

National parks are ‘the real deal’ in every country. They are regions with various natural eco-systems of national significance and geographical units renowned for their otherworldly beauty and rare natural occurrences. Being what they are, they an authentic representation, heritage and history of a country.

Despite protecting certain endangered plants and animals from being extinct, the national parks – mostly unchanged and preserved ecological regions with genuine natural values and one-of-a-kind features in which humans live side by side with nature – aim to allow experts to study natural units and ways to preserve them.
Macedonia has three national parks, namely Mavrovo, Pelister and Galicica. An initiative has been already launched to name the part of the mountain range of Shar Mountains belonging to Macedonia a national park.

Of those, Mavrovo is the largest national park in the country. It covers an area of 73,080 hectares, i.e. 72,204 hectares according to new calculations, lying at an altitude from 600 meters to 2,764 meters.

Of the total area of the national park, 46% is covered by mainly fir forest. One can say that its residents are representatives of all animal species living in the country. In addition to 25 forest communities, also 3 meadow units and 13 units of mountainous vegetation has been registered. In fact, within the frontiers of the Mavrovo National Park, wherever you go, you will be blown away by its breathtaking beauty.
Spectacular views of ravines, canyons, caves, rivers, waterfalls and lakes can be found here. Mala Radika (Small Radika) is also here featuring its beautiful bridge with a lovely name, Deer’s Leap, the highest and the most beautiful waterfall in the country with water falling from Mount Korab from 130 meters above sea level, also the magnificent waterfall Duf, a total of 16 mountain lakes, one more beautiful than the other, etc.

The murmuring of leaves, of clear rivers, the sounds of nature, the crystal clear air, peace and serenity are all synonyms for this forest kingdom in Macedonia.

High mountains and vast grasslands
The forest areas surrounding Mavrovo Plain were declared a national park for the first time in 1949. In 1952, the borders of what has been known as a protected area were significantly expanded due to the unique natural beauties, the historic and scientific significance of the forest. 

Today, the Mavrovo National Park functions in three zones: a highly protected zone, a eco-meliorative zone and recreational zones, including Mavrovo Lake, Radika and Bistra. It encompasses 38 villages with the River Radika dividing it into two equal parts. 

Despite being amazingly beautiful, which played a crucial role to declare it a national park, Mavrovo is also the location of many churches and monasteries. One of the most renowned is St. John Bigorski – one of the most beautiful and valued spiritual temples in Macedonia.

It borders with Mount Bistra, on the south with Shar Mountains, Deshat and Korab. Korab alone has 54 summits above 2,000 meters with the highest one, Great Korab, touching the clouds at 2,764 above sea level.

Mavrovo is also widely known for its lush, green pastures, which bring about associations of white herds of sheep.

The idyllic landscapes in Mavrovo are also characterized by rivers and brooks of rare beauty with Radika leading the way, followed by the rivers Strazimirska, Vrvenska, Ribnicka, Adzina and Duboka with all its canyons and ravines.

Korab is the only Alp-like zone of 2,200 meters above sea level in the country.

Home to all types of game
Game, most notably bears, goats, wild boars, rabbits, wolves, deer, live in the unfamiliar forests of the Mavrovo National Park.

Eagles, hawks, lynxes, blue herons, otters, martens and bears are under permanent protection. In fact, fifty types of mammals live across the territory of the national park. It constitutes close to 60% of the total of 84 types registered in the country. They include five types of mammals, which are considered to be of immense importance because they have been designated an endemic species in the Balkans: the brown bear, the Balkan lynx, the wolf and the Balkan goat.

For the park, the 129 types of birds, eleven species of amphibians and 24 types of reptiles are invaluable. Three species of amphibians and five types of reptiles are designated as Balkan endemic species.

The waters of Mavrovo National Park feature three autochthonous species of trout – the Radika trout, the Garska Trout and the Glavatica that are included in the category of Western Balkan endemic species. Algae, represented with 79 species and subspecies, are also indigenous types. The National Park is also famous for lichen, 151 species to be precise. Also, 661 members of the fungus family live in Mavrovo.

What they are significant for is the fact that close to 20 top quality fungus species that can be cooked thrive in the National Park, thus being considered an important part of the biological resources in Macedonia. Plants, 1,435 species with most of them being medical plants, make up the natural heritage of the Mavrovo National Park as well. 

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