|Elevation||2,292 m (7,520 ft)|
|Prominence||1,275 m (4,183 ft)|
|Native name||Витоша (Bulgarian)|
|Location||Sofia City Province, Sofia Province, Pernik Province|
|Topo map||Vitosha Map|
|Easiest route||Cable car to Aleko (1810 m), chair lift to Malak Rezen (2191 m), easy footpath to Cherni Vrah|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Area||270.79 km2 (104.55 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Water|
Vitosha (Bulgarian : Витоша [ˈvitoʃɐ] ), the ancient Scomius or Scombrus, is a mountain massif, on the outskirts of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Vitosha is one of the symbols of Sofia and the closest site for hiking, alpinism and skiing. Convenient bus lines and rope ways render the mountain easily accessible. Vitosha has the outlines of an enormous dome. The territory of the mountain includes Vitosha nature park that encompasses the best known and most frequently visited parts. The foothills of Vitosha shelter resort quarters of Sofia; Knyazhevo quarter has mineral springs. Vitosha is the oldest nature park in the Balkans. The mountain emerged as a result of volcanic activity and has been subsequently shaped by the slow folding of the granite rock layers and a series of gradual uplifts of the area. It appears dome shaped at first sight, but the mountain, 19 km long by 17 km wide, actually consists of concentric denudational plateaus rising in tiers one above the other. Vitosha is separated into four main parts whose main ridges gather at a crown known as Cherni Vrah ("Black Peak",bulgarian: черни връх). This is the highest point of the mountain at 2290 m and is one of 12 peaks of Vitosha over 2000 m in height. It is the highest massif of Srednogorie mountain chain system, together with Sredna gora, Plana (mountain), Lyulin Mountain, Greben (mountain), Viskyar Mountain, etc. They all are a result of the folding of the earth layers through the Mesozoic, causing also magma sheet-like intrusion (or concordant pluton) that has been injected between layers of sedimentary rock. The lacolithic domed form of Vitosha is a typical example.
Bulgaria's longest cave – Duhlata, with a total length of 18,200 m, is situated in Vitosha in the karstic region near the village of Bosnek.
Since the ancient times of the Thracians a large population has always existed at the base of Vitosha. For the last four thousand years the economy of this large settlement has always been connected, in one way or another, with the neighboring mountain. The name Vitosha comes from the two-peaked, twin ridge mountain, which rises above the Sofia field and has acquired its present shape in stages over many millennia.
A meteorological station was built at the top in 1935, and is still operating. The station also serves as a rest shelter for hikers and is the headquarters for the mountain rescue team. Historical documents show that several centuries ago Vitosha mountain was still covered by the remains of the inaccessible "Great Bulgarian Forest" (Magna Silva Bulgarica). Today, the natural coniferous forests of Vitosha remain only in the reserve Bistrishko Branishte and around Zlatnite Mostove (The Golden Bridges). The Golden Bridges is a stone river consisting of a ribbon of huge boulders running down the mountainside. This scenic spot is located along the Vladayska River in an area of mixed deciduous and evergreen forest. However, this is only one of the stone rivers found in Vitosha and they were once the moraines of ancient glaciers. Their further formation occurred due to the spherical erosion of the sienite rocks and their gradual movement to down stream valleys by the forces of gravity and moving water.
At a time when nature conservation ideas were a long way from the present understanding, some enlightened noblemen took the first step in 1934 by declaring 66 km² of Vitosha a nature park, hence Vitosha became the first park of this kind in the Balkans. During the following year, some of the early Bulgarian reserves, Bistrishko Branishte (subsequently expanded to 10.61 km²) and Torfeno Branishte (7.84 km² respectively), were designated within its boundaries. The park boundaries fluctuated over many years and today it encompasses the entire mountain; an area of 266.06 km². It is the highest massif of Srednogorie mountain chain system, that includes also the mountains of Sredna gora range, Plana, Lyulin, Greben, Viskyar, etc.
Due to a great variability in elevation, a rich diversity of climates, flora and fauna can be found within the park. Research has revealed that on the comparatively small area of the mountain there are 1,500 species of higher plants, 500 species of fungi, 500 species of algae, 326 species of mosses, and 200 species of lichens. Among them 31 species are Balkan endemics and 52 species are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria.
The forests are made up mainly of Norway Spruce and Bulgarian Fir, with some Macedonian Pine, Scots Pine, and at the tree-line, Mountain Pine, and mixed deciduous forest at lower altitudes, mainly beech, birch, aspen and alder. Regarding the herbaceous plants, well established populations of Veratrum album are present in the mountain so as other species commonly called 'lilies'. There are also Orchids as the East European green-winged orchid ( Orchis morio ) that grows in the higher parts. Lungwort ( Pulmonaria officinalis ) is another widespread herbaceous plant in Vitosha and it develops in dank sites under the shade of the forest.
Vitosha Saddle, Rezen Knoll, Komini Peak, and Kikish Crag on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica are named respectively for Mount Vitosha, and for the Vitosha peaks of Malak Rezen and Golyam Rezen, Kominite Peak, and Kikish site.
Vitosha is also the name of:
Bulgaria is a country situated in Southeast Europe and occupies the eastern quarter of the Balkan peninsula, being the largest country within its geographic boundaries. It is bordering Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. The northern border with Romania follows the river Danube until the city of Silistra. The land area of Bulgaria is 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), slightly larger than that of Iceland or the U.S. state of Tennessee. Considering its relatively small size, Bulgaria has a great variety of topographical features. Even within small parts of the country, the land may be divided into plains, plateaus, hills, mountains, basins, gorges, and deep river valleys. The geographic center of Bulgaria is located in Uzana.
The Balkan mountain range is a mountain range in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The range runs 557 km from Vrashka Chuka Peak on the Bulgarian-Serbian border eastward through central Bulgaria to foothills reaching Cape Emine on the Black Sea. The highest peaks of the Balkan Mountains are in central Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev at 2,376 m, which makes the mountain range the third highest in the country, after Rila and Pirin. The mountains are the source of the name of the Balkan Peninsula.
Musala ; from Arabic through Ottoman Turkish: from Musalla, "near God" or "place for prayer" is the highest peak in the Rila Mountains, as well as in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula, standing at 2,925 metres (9,596 ft). With a topographic prominence of 2,473 metres (8,114 ft), Musala is also the 6th highest peak by topographic prominence in mainland Europe. Musala is also the 3rd most topographically isolated major peak in Continental Europe.
Rila is the highest mountain range of Bulgaria, the Balkan Peninsula and Southeast Europe. It is situated in southwestern Bulgaria and forms part of the Rila–Rhodope Massif. The highest summit is Musala at an altitude of 2,925 m which makes Rila the sixth highest mountain range in Europe after the Caucasus, the Alps, Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees and Mount Etna, and the highest one between the Alps and the Caucasus. It spans a territory of 2,629 km2 with an average altitude of 1487 m. The mountain is believed to have been named after the river of the same name, which comes from the Old Bulgarian verb "рыти" meaning "to grub".
Pirin National Park, originally named Vihren National Park, encompasses the larger part of the Pirin Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria, spanning an area of 403.56 km2 (155.82 sq mi). It is one of the three national parks in the country, the others being Rila National Park and Central Balkan National Park. The park was established in 1962 and its territory was expanded several times since then. Pirin National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The altitude varies from 950 m to 2,914 m at Vihren, Bulgaria's second highest summit and the Balkans' third.
The Iskar is a right tributary of the Danube. With a length of 368 km it is the longest river that runs entirely within Bulgaria. Originating as three forks in Balkan's highest mountain range Rila, it flows in northern direction until its confluence with the Danube River. As it flows northwards it fuels the largest artificial lake in the country, the Iskar Reservoir, forms the divide between the Vitosha and Plana Mountains in the west and the Sredna Gora mountain range in the east before entering the Sofia Valley, which contains the nation's capital Sofia. From there the Iskar runs through the Balkan Mountains forming the spectacular 84 km long Iskar Gorge and as it crosses the mountains its water course turns in north-eastern direction at Lakatnik. North of the Balkan Mountains the river crosses the Danubian Plain and finally flows into the Danube between the villages of Baykal and Gigen. Geologically, Iskar is the oldest river in the Balkan Peninsula.
Sredna Gora is a mountain range in central Bulgaria, situated south of and parallel to the Balkan mountain range and extending from the Iskar River to the west and the elbow of Tundzha north of Yambol to the east. Sredna Gora is 285 km long, reaching 50 km at its greatest width. Its highest peak is Golyam Bogdan at 1,604 m (5,262 ft). It is part of the Srednogorie mountain chain system, together with Vitosha, Plana (mountain), Lyulin Mountain, Greben (mountain), Viskyar Mountain, etc.
Cherni Vrah is the summit of Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria. Rising to 2290 m, the peak is the fourth highest mountain summit in the country after Musala, Vihren, and Botev Vrah.
Klisura is a small town in the Karlovo Municipality of the Plovdiv Province in central Bulgaria. It is situated in a valley surrounded by the Balkan Mountain range and Sredna Gora. As of 2005, its population has numbered 1,478 people and it is located 105 km to the east of Sofia, 35 km west of Karlovo and 25 km northeast of Koprivshtitsa.
Bistritsa or Vitoshka Bistritsa, is a river in western Bulgaria, tributary of Iskar River.
Golyamata Gramada is one of the largest stone rivers on Vitosha Mountain, Bulgaria. The feature is situated in the upper valley of Vitoshka Bistritsa River in Bistrishko Branishte Nature Reserve, extending near 1 km, and up to 300 m wide. The stone river is ‘descending’ from elevation 1900 m above sea level at the foothills of Golyam Rezen Peak to 1550 m off the track between Bistritsa village and Aleko site (1810 m), the most popular tourist centre on Vitosha Mountain accessible also from Sofia by gondola lift.
Golyam Rezen is a peak on Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria. Rising to 2,277 m, the peak is second to the mountain's summit Cherni Vrah situated 900 m to the west. Golyam Rezen hosts an Air Traffic Services facility, as well as military communications installations. The precipitous east slopes of the peak are a popular rock climbing site, overlooking Bistritsa River Valley in Bistrishko Branishte Biosphere Reserve.
Bistrishko Branishte is a nature reserve in the Vitosha Nature Park on Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria.
Selimitsa is a peak rising to 2,041 m west of Torfeno Branishte Nature Reserve in northwestern Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria. The northern slopes of the peak are occupied by the ski runs of Konyarnika Ski Centre. Linked by tracks to Kumata Chalet and Zlatnite Mostove Tourist Centre to the north, Selimitsa Chalet, Kladnitsa Monastery and Kladnitsa Village to the west, Matnitsa River valley and Chuypetlovo Village to the south, and the mountain's summit Cherni Vrah to the east.
Torfeno Branishte is a nature reserve on Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria, along with the Bistrishko Branishte reserve. The reserve has a surface area of 728.8 ha comprising the parts of Big Plateau and the Kapaklivets Plateau between the peaks of Cherni Vrah (2290 m), Ushite (1906 m), and Chernata Skala (1869 m), including the upper watersheds of the Vladayska, Boyanska and Dragalevska Rivers.
Plana is a mountain in western Bulgaria, bounded by Sofia Valley to the north, Iskar River to the east, Samokov Valley to the south and southwest, and Vitosha Mountain to the northwest. The summit Manastirishte rises to 1338m.
Skoparnik is the third highest peak of Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria. Rising to 2,226 m, the peak is situated 1.5 km south of Golyam Rezen Peak (2,277 m), and 2 km southeast of the summit Cherni Vrah (2,290 m). The peak is bounded by the Bistrishko Branishte Biosphere Reserve to the east, and a prohibited drinking water catchment area to the west, and is part of the divide between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, with the Vitoshka Bistritsa draining its eastern slopes to flow into the Iskar River and eventually to the Danube River, and the Struma River draining the western slopes to flow into the Aegean Sea.
Golyam Kupen is a peak rising to 1,930 m in Vitosha Mountain, Bulgaria. The peak is situated on the southern border of Bistrishko Branishte Biosphere Reserve, on the watershed between Vitoshka Bistritsa to the north and Selska Reka to the south, rivers flowing eastwards to the villages of Bistritsa and Zheleznitsa respectively, and eventually to Iskar River.
The Sub-Balkan valleys are row of 11 valleys running from the Bulgarian border with Serbia east to the Black Sea. They are separating the Balkan mountains from a chain of other mountains known as Srednogorie which includes Vitosha and Sredna Gora. There is great abundance of mineral waters. They are divided into two parts: Western (higher) and Eastern (lower). The western valleys include: Burel Valley; Sofia Valley; Saranska Valley; Kamarska Valley. The eastern valleys are: Zlatitsa Valley; Karlovo Valley; Kazanlak Valley; Tvarditsa Valley; Sliven Valley; Karnobat Valley;Aytos Valley.
The Rodope montane mixed forests is a terrestrial ecoregion of Europe defined by the WWF. It belongs in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome and the Palearctic realm.
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