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Central Rila Reserve – one of the largest in Europe

The reserve, called Central Rila, is part of the Rila National Park. As a territory, it is the largest reserve in Bulgaria and the Balkans and ranks among the largest reserves in Europe.

Central Rila Reserve

When and for what purpose was it created?

In 1992, the Ministry of the Environment issued Order No. 114, according to which a Central Rila Reserve was established on the territory of Rila National Park. The main purpose of the creation of this reserve is to preserve the ecosystems in the subalpine and alpine parts of the mountain in their original form.

Where is?

The reserve covers the high parts of Central, Eastern and Northwestern Rila , and the total area of which is situated is 12393.7 hectares.

There are numerous peaks on its territory, among which is the highest peak in the Balkans – Musala peak , as well as peaks Golyam Skakvets, Deno, Malak Skakavets and Mancho Peak .

It also includes the valleys of the Beli Iskar, Maritza and Levi Iskar rivers, the Skakavishki, Mursalen and Marichine lakes , as well as many natural landmarks such as caves, rock formations, waterfalls and more.

After the creation of the Central Rila Reserve , several reserves – Skakavets, Golyam Skakavets and Marichini Lakes– are included in its total area , which is on the UNESCO list of Biosphere and Man for biosphere reserves.

Relief, flora and fauna

As mentioned a little above, the reserve covers the high parts of the Rila Mountains and therefore its relief is mostly alpine. The prevailing rocks are granite or granite – gneiss , and the soil is varied and varies from mountain meadow and mountain forest to brown forest soil depending on the height .

Almost 2/3 of the reserve area is occupied by rocky zoos and its remaining area is occupied by extensive coniferous forests (in its lower zones) and squat (in its higher zones).

The largest are the formations of white pine, spruce, fir and white pine , but in addition to these tree species can be seen very rare valuable representatives of the flora such as bell, spotted, goldenrod, Bulgarian charm, cranberry, cartel, juniper , Rila primrose, spring kitten and the extremely beautiful, evergreen alpine rose.

The fauna whose habitat is the reserve is also extremely rich and diverse. In the Central Rila Reserve, fauna representatives such as wild goat, bear, goldenrod, wolf, roe deer, wild boar, red woodpecker, capercaillie, lizard, live lizard, green lizard, viper and many others find their home.

Activities that may be carried out on the territory of the protected territory

In order to protect forest, subalpine and alpine ecosystems, all activities within the reserve are prohibited .

The exceptions are:

  • security activities to protect the reserve
  • scientific and scientific visits to study flora and fauna
  • passing people along marked hiking trails

The zones allowed for crossing are along the tourist routes:

  • Musala Chalet – Borovets Resort
  • Musala Hut – Marishki Peak – Mancho Peak – Zavarchitsa Hut
  • From Granchar chalet to Musala chalet (through Ovcharets peak – Marishki peak – Musala peak)

Traffic on these routes is only done on well-defined and well-marked trails.

Sights on the territory of the Central Rila Reserve

The reserve is blessed not only with extremely beautiful forests and diverse flora and fauna, but also with many natural attractions, some of which are most attractive:

Mount Musala

There is hardly a Bulgarian who has not heard of Mount Musala and who does not dream of visiting it one day. And it could not be otherwise. With its 2925 meters height, Musala not only rises above its other counterparts in the Balkans, but is also the seventh highest peak on the Old Continent.

The good news for beginner tourists who want to conquer it is that although it is the highest, Musala Peak is far less difficult to climb.

The popular climbing routes are quite a few, but the most popular of these is the starting point: Borovets Resort Complex to Yastrebets Chalet with a lift and then on foot to Musala Peak. This route is well suited for beginners as well as more advanced hikers. The length of the route is about 7 km. , the climb time is about 4 hours and the displacement is 571 meters.

Central Rila Reserve

Natural Attraction Black Rock

In the protected area of the Central Rila Reserve, only about 4 km. from the resort “Borovets” rises 135 meters natural landmark Black Rock . The rock formation was declared a natural landmark in 1974 and has been one of the most visited tourist attractions in the reserve ever since.

The black rock has a rather gloomy glory and is not solely due to its black color and its fearsome appearance. Legends tell us that during the Ottoman rule, the Turks threw away anyone who rebelled against them. The Rock was an instrument of terror even after September 9, 1944, when witnesses claimed that inconvenient socialist authorities from nearby settlements were simply led to the rock and pushed there to find their death.

Despite its sinister glory, today the Black Rock is a place for walks, picnics and relaxation, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The natural landmark is reached by a well-marked path, and there are enough signposts, tables and benches along the road for relaxation and view.

Marichi Lakes

The Marichine or Marishka Lakes form a group of four glacial lakes . The lake group is located in the Marichin Circus, which is located between the peaks of Malak and Golyam Bliznak, Peak Mancho, and Peak Marishki Chal.

Maritsa’s lakes are one of the most beautiful Rila mountains , and what makes them popular is that two of them give rise to the Maritsa River (our country’s largest river). The lakes are located on the territory of the same name reserve “Marichini Lakes”, which since 1992 is part of the Central Rila Reserve.

Central Rila Reserve

How to reach Central Rila Reserve?

The closest settlements to the reserve are the town of Samokov, the Borovets resort and the villages of Beli Iskar and Mala Tserkva . When you reach one of them, you have almost reached the reserve. The fastest and easiest way to reach it is from the resort Borovets, which is only a few kilometers from Samokov.

If you are traveling from Sofia, you must first go to Samokov, then continue to the resort of Borovets, which means that you have to go 43 km. in the direction of Sofia – Samokov and then another 4 km. to the resort. From there you can take one of the hiking trails or take the lift to the nearest hut.

If you are vacationing at a hotel in Bansko , then you will have to walk about 60 km until you reach the resort town of Borovets and then continue to the Central Rila Reserve.

It is worth taking a day off from your vacation to visit the reservation . We say it not simply because we have a duty to say something, but because we are convinced that you will remain completely enchanted by the beauty that will be revealed to your eyes.

Whether you stop climbing any of the peaks located on its territory, whether you prefer to take a walk to one of its natural landmarks or have a picnic near a waterfall, rock or lake, the Central Rila Reserve will made you fall in love with him.

We are sure that once you have visited it, you will continue to visit it, because there will always be something on the reserve that will surprise and fascinate you.