Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness Candidate
Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness is embedded in Vitosha Nature Park. The Bistrishko Branishte Strict Reserve was established in 1934 and has the total area of 1 061 ha. Bistrishko Branishte is located on the north-eastern slope of Vitosha Nature Park in the vicinity of Sofia. The highest point in the reserve is 2 286 m above sea level and the lowest is 1 430 m above sea level.
Over 50% of the territory of Bistrishko Branishte Strict Reserve is covered by predominantly 100 to 120 years old spruce forest. The rest constitutes of meadows, rock formations and several stone rivers in the sub-alpine zone.
The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water through its Sofia Regional Environmental Inspectorate.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The 500 ha Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. There is a potential after finalising the Quick-Audit to expand Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness to the size ca 1 000 ha and increase Wilderness Quality Standard.
- Protected area: Vitosha Nature Park
- Wilderness: Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness – Candidate
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
- Country: Bulgaria
- Size of the protected area: 27 079 ha
- Size of the Wilderness: 500 ha (with potential for enlargement to 1 000 ha)
- First Pre-Audit: 2019
- Wilderness Uniqueness: The area preserves old spruce forests, sub-alpine grass communities, unique rock formations and stone rivers. The habitat is ideal for populations of wolf and brown bear.
- Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 1 000 000
- Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: 6 000
Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness hosts a great biodiversity which includes a large number of endemic and relict species. There are hundreds of species of algae, close to 200 species of lichens and more than 500 mushroom species. Some of the most remarkable plant species present in the Wilderness are the globe flower, anemone and yellow gentian.
The Balkan endemics to be found here are the crocus and fairy flower among others. The Wilderness provides refuge to many animal species of European importance. Among them are the wolf, wild cat, brown bear and the pine marten, as well as the nutcracker, goldcrest, siskin, and some species of woodpeckers.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness attracts many tourists from Sofia and the adjacent villages. Visitors are encouraged to stay on marked trails and enjoy the extensive well-marked trail network for hiking and skiing. Vitosha Nature Park is also a place for practicing various extreme sports, such as alpinism, delta-gliding, para-gliding and mountain biking. These can be officially done outside of Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness.
Currently the Vitosha Nature Park puts a great emphasis on education in ecological awareness, therefore various educative programs are part of the park’s management plan.
- Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness – Candidate
- Vitosha Nature Park
- Address: Bulevard “Knyaginya Maria Luiza” 22,
- Postal code city: 1000, Sofia, Bulgaria
- Phone: +359 02 856 51 52
- Website: www.park-vitosha.org