Strandzha: an adventure for the senses
The Strandzha Nature Park is the largest protected territory in Bulgaria and belongs to the Natura 2000 European ecological network.
Strandzha occupies the most south-eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The park’s exceptional biodiversity is attributable to the Strandzha Mountain’s geological past, its climate, and its crossroad position between Europe and Asia. The Strandzha Nature Park offers easy and natural access to this one-of-a-kind biological heritage that persisted for millions of years.
The park restores the link with the once lost and forgotten Orient – the biological treasure vault of ancient Colchis, which is qualitatively distinct from the rest of Southern Europe’s nature, well known and studied.
The characteristic deep dells and large river valleys amid the rounded ridges are the arteries of the vitalizing humidity that’s fed in daily by the breeze circulation from the sea shore towards inland Strandzha. Strandzha is the live museum of Europe during the Tertiary Period. As climate during the Tertiary was hot and moist, the zelenika shrub (Rhododendron ponticum subsp. ponticum) – the mountain’s emblem, was spread as far North as the Scandinavian Peninsula, while nowadays, within the continent’s boundaries, it’s found exclusively in Strandzha.
As we head off across Strandzha, we remember how it was called by Nikolay Haitov, a great Bulgarian writer – a Labyrinth. A Labyrinth where history from pagan times until now is spanning amidst the green pleated hills of the mountain.
A journey across Strandzha means:
A challenge to all those willing to get acquainted with the treasures of the Strandzha Nature Park, which is a paradise for nature lovers;
A comeback to the Bulgarian Revival and an immersion into the idyllic atmosphere of Strandzha’s villages;
Treks in the midst of wild nature – across places with unforgettable landscapes and to places where huts providing respite are built – accompanied by local tourist guides, on foot, on bike, or riding donkeys and carts;
Recharging with energy from centuries-old oaks and beeches;
Cleansing in sacred springs;
Initiation in magical rites and rituals, such as the fiery mystery of nestinarstvo (firewalking);
Meeting with the millennial history of Thracians;
Lodging in houses 200-years old, bearing the Strandzha spirit;
Indulging in tasty local meals and specialties;
Watching and listening to authentic Strandzha folklore.
Within the park are:
Five nature reserves – Uzunbudzhak, Silkosiya (Bulgaria’s first reserve), Tissovitsa, Sredoka, and Vitanovo;
Fourteen protected areas and many natural attractions;
Bulgaria’s cleanest rivers – Rezovska, Veleka, Mladezhka, Mechi Dol, etc.
The inhabitants of the 21 communities located on the park’s territory are hospitable people who’re inviting you to adventures in Strandzha, home of a distinctive culture and of preserved virgin nature.
The Strandzha Nature Park is under the management of a Directorate (DNP Strandzha) that reports directly to the Executive Forest Agency.
For the visitors’ convenience, two Information & Visitors’ Centres are operated by the DNP Strandzha on the park’s territory:
in the town of Malko Tarnovo,
in the village of Gramatikovo (along with the Forest Collection).
The DNP Strandzha maintains a regularly updated Web page:
www.strandjа.bg . This is the most content-rich source about Strandzha – nature, cultural and historical heritage, itineraries, accommodation, etc.
Directorate of the Strandzha Nature Park
1, Yanko Maslinkov Street
8162 Malko Tarnovo