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Rila National Park

Photo © svetulka

Travel Guide Europe Bulgaria Rila National Park

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Introduction

Rila National Park is the largest national park in Bulgaria spanning an area of 810.46 km² in the Rila mountain range in the southwest of the country. It was established on 24 February 1992 to protect several ecosystems of national importance. Its altitude varies from 800 metres near Blagoevgrad to 2,925 metres at Musala Peak, the highest summit in the Balkan Peninsula. There are 120 glacial lakes, including the prominent Seven Rila Lakes. Many rivers have their source in the national park, including the longest river entirely in the Balkans, the Maritsa, and the longest river entirely in Bulgaria, the Iskar.

Rila National Park is among the largest and most valuable protected areas in Europe. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the park as Category II. Two of the four nature reserves are included in the UN list of Representative Protected Areas, and four of the nature reserves are included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme.

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Geography

The park falls within the Rodope montane mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. Forests occupy 534.81 km² or 66% of the total area. There are approximately 1,400 species of vascular plants, 282 species of mosses and 130 species of freshwater algae. The fauna is represented by 48 species of mammals, 99 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles and amphibia and 5 species of fish, as well as 2934 species of invertebrates, of which 282 are endemic.

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Eat/Drink

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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:55 on Jul 20, 16 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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