Nature in Bulgaria
Nature in Bulgaria
Bulgaria’s natural terrain is varied, including lowlands, plains, foothills and plateaus, river valleys, basins, and mountains of various altitudes. Around 70% of the country’s area is hilly, while 30% is mountainous. The country’s average elevation is 467 meters, usually decreasing from south to north and west to east. The Balkan Mountain Range is located in the country’s center region, with Botev as its highest point (2,376 m). From south to north, the Iskar River cuts through its western region, forming a magnificent valley more than 70 kilometers long. The northern Balkan Mountains are mostly karst. Vasilyov is the highest mountain in this range (1,490 m).
The western Balkan lowlands and the Srednogorie are located south of the Balkan Mountains (central mountainous region). The Sofia valley, which is home to Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, is the biggest valley in the southern arm of the Balkans. The Zavalsko-Planska Range, the Ihtimansko Srednogorie, the Sashtinska Sredna Gora, and the Sarnena Gora are all included in the Srednogorie.
The Danube valley, with an area of about 31,000 square meters, is located between the northern arm of the Balkans and the Danube River. Its eastern section is characterized by plateaus like as the Dobrudzha plateau, the Plovadia plateau, the Lilyak plateau, and the Shumen plateau. To the north are the Trans-Danube lowlands, which are formed by the Danube river’s terraces.
To the south of Sofia, the Vitosha mountain range climbs to its highest peak, Cherni Vrah (2,290 m). Its foothills stretch into western Bulgaria’s central region, where low-lying and medium-elevation mountains such as Ruy, Milevska, Zemenska, Konyavska, and Verila alternate. The Osogovo-Belasishka mountain range is located west of the Struma River basin and south of Kraishteto. It contains the peaks of Osogovska (Mount Ruen, 2,251 m), Vlahinska, Maleshevska, Ograzhden, and Belasitsa (Mount Radomir, 2,029 m).
Bulgaria’s tallest mountains are located in the Rila and Pirin ranges to the east of the Struma River basin. These mountains average a height of 1,258 meters and cover 60% of their area above 1,000 meters. Rila is home to 31 peaks that exceed 2,600 meters in elevation. Musala (2,925 m), the Balkan Peninsula’s tallest mountain, is situated there.
The Pirin range has two peaks that exceed 2,600 meters in height. The first is Mount Vihren (2,914 m), Bulgaria’s second highest mountain and the third highest on the Balkan Peninsula. In the circuses of these summits, beautiful alpine glacial lakes have developed.
To the east of the Mesta River basin and Rila lie the Rhodope Mountains. There are 11 peaks that exceed 2,000 meters in height, the tallest of which is Golyam Perelik (2,191 m). Each year, thousands of visitors flock to the many natural features — caverns, waterfalls, and alpine lakes.
The Gornotrakiyska Lowlands, the Haskovo Foothills, the middle Tundzha river basin, the Burgas Lowlands, and the Strandzha and Sakar mountain ranges are located between the Srednogorie, Rila, Rhodope, and Black Sea. Eastern Bulgaria is bordered by the Black Sea, where hundreds of kilometers of beaches draw both Bulgarian and international visitors.
Bulgaria is mineral-rich. According to national records detailing the reserves and resources of Bulgaria’s mineral deposits, the country has discovered 163 different types of minerals, seven of which are fuel and energy resources, fourteen of which are ore, seventy-five of which are non-ferrous, and 67 of which are viable as rock covering and construction material.
Bulgaria is situated in the temperate continental latitudes, and its climate is conducive to the development of a variety of tourist activities. The region receives around 2,500 hours of sunlight each year on average. Bulgaria’s climate is affected by the Icelandic minimum, the Azores maximum, and the Eastern European maximum. In very rare instances, Arctic and tropical air currents cross through the nation. The country’s yearly average temperature ranges between 10° and 14°C, with a preference for temperatures between 11° and 12°. This value varies significantly with altitude. Thermal conditions are impacted by the thinner atmosphere at higher altitudes in the mountains, such that the average yearly temperature is below zero over 2,300 meters above sea level (Mount Musala – 2.9°). January has the lowest average monthly temperature in Northern Bulgaria’s lowlands and foothills (-1.4° to -2.0°), while the average January temperature in Southern Bulgaria (excluding the plains) is between 0° and 1-2°. The average January temperature in mountainous areas (1,000–1,200 m) and plains is between –2° and –4°. The lowest temperatures are reported at higher altitudes in February; the average monthly February temperature ranges between -8° and -10°. Musala’s average temperature for this month is -11.6°. The average monthly temperature along the Black Sea coast is above zero in January and February. They range from 0.8° to 2° in the country’s northern coastline, and from 2.4° to 3.2° along the country’s southern coastline. July and August often have the highest monthly average temperatures. They vary from 21 and 24°. Outside of the Balkans’ mountains, the annual July temperature is about 22°, while temperatures in the lowlands and foothills to the south vary between 23° and 24°. Temperatures fluctuate between 12° and 16° in mountain areas (1,000–2,000 m), and between – 5° and 8° above 2,300 m.
The country’s rainfall is unevenly distributed. The average annual rainfall varies significantly across places – from 500-550 mm in the Danube river and Gornotrakiyska plain to 1,000-1,400 mm in the alpine regions. Bulgaria’s yearly snow cover is insecure and varies significantly according to elevation and geographic location. Snow cover lasts from December to March in the lower regions of the nation, but just a month along the Black Sea coast and in the land south of the Balkan Mountains, from January to February. Occasionally, snow occurs at other periods of the year (in November or April, for example). However, these locations are virtually entirely devoid of permanent snow cover. Due to the regular rise of the air temperature above 0°, snow melts many times during the winter. In steep alpine locations, a continuous and deep snow cover develops. Snow lasts 4-5 months between 1,000 and 1,500 meters, and 7 to 9 months above 2,000 meters.
The country’s climate may be classified as temperate-continental, continental-Mediterranean, transitional, Black Sea zone, and mountain zone. The optimal circumstances for winter tourism in our mountains include a thick snow cover and cooler temperatures, which prolong the snow’s life. The few rainy days during the busy tourist season, ample sunlight, moderate temperatures, the comparatively warm sea water, and the absence of gusty winds all contribute to the growth of recreational activities along the Black Sea coast. Additionally, both the invigorating mountain air and the iodine-rich beach air are good. Additionally, our nation is mineral water-rich. Mineral springs are classified into three types based on their thermal level: cold springs (hypothermal with temperatures up to 20°), warm springs (20–37°), and hot springs (hyperthermal with temperatures more than 37°). The country’s chilly springs are located in sites such as Narechen (Asenovgrad region), Shipkovo (Troyan region), Ovcha Kupel (Sofia), Smochan (Lovech region), Voneshta Voda (Gabrovo region), and Merichleri (Simeonovgrad region), among others. Thermal waters account for the lion’s share of Bulgaria’s mineral waters. The spring with the greatest temperature is in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria’s and continental Europe’s only geyser fountain (103o). The most famous thermal springs in the Balkan Mountains are in Varshets, Barziya, Montana, Lakatnik, and Opletnya; in the Sofia region, there are Bankya, Gorna Banya, Knyazhevo, Ovcha Kupel, Sofia, and Pancharevo; in Srednogorie, there are Strelcha (40°), Hisarya (49.5°), Bankya (51.1°), Pavel Banya The most prevalent kind of mineral water in Bulgaria is nitrogen-rich thermal water, which can be found in locations such as Sapareva Banya, Simitli, Narechen, and Momin Prohod. Carbonated acidic waters originate from springs in Mihaylovo, Slivenski Mineralni Bani, and Stefan Karadzhovo; the Sofia valley has waters with a high hydrogen-sulfide concentration. Half of the thermal waters have a radioactivity level more than 15 emans/l, including the Klisura spring (200 emans/l) and the Strelcha spring (250 emans/l). The springs of Momina Banya (560 emans/l) and one of the springs in Narechenski Bani (1,300 emans/l) have been found to have very high radioactivity.
Bulgaria’s tiny geographical range and near to the Danube River and Black Sea, together with the Balkan Mountains’ position and proximity to the Aegean Sea, provide ideal circumstances for short river arteries and minor river systems. The Iskar River is Bulgaria’s longest river (368 kilometers), drains into the Danube, and originates in the Rila Mountains. The Lom, the Ogosta, the Vit, the Osam, and the Yantra are other significant rivers that drain into the Danube. The rivers that run directly into the Black Sea originate in the Danube valley’s easternmost reaches, the northern arm of the Balkans, the Balkan Mountains, and Strandzha. These rivers are the Batovska, Devnya, Provadiyska, Kamchia, Dvoynitsa, Fakiyska, Izvorska, Ropotamo, Dyavolska, Karaagach, Veleka, and Rezovska. The Maritsa is Bulgaria’s biggest river within the Aegean drainage basin (321 km long, with an area of 21,084 square km). The Arda, the Tundzha, the Mesta, and the Struma are other significant rivers.
Bulgaria’s natural lakes (coastal, glacial, karst, landslide, by-river, and tectonic) are located around the Black Sea and Danube coasts, as well as in the Rila and Pirin mountain ranges’ alpine areas. The coastal lakes are classified into three groups based on their location and hydrographic characteristics: the Dobrudzha lakes (Durankulak Lake, Ezerets Lake, Shabla Lake, Shabla Tuzla, Nanevo Tuzla, and Balchik Tuzla); the Varna lakes (Varna and Beloslav Lakes); and the Burgas lakes (Burgas Lake, Atanasovsko Lake, Mandrensko Lake and Pomorie Lake, Alepu, Arkutino and Stomoplo). Glacial lakes occurred as a consequence of glacial activity in the Rila and Pirin mountains during the Quaternary epoch. There are around 260 of these lakes. They are found at an elevation of 2,000-2,600 meters at the bottoms of circuses, circus terraces, and trough valleys. Gorno Polezhansko Lake in the Pirin is the highest (2,710 meters above sea level), while Lokvata Lake is the lowest (1,858 meters above sea level). Gorno Ribno Lake in the Rila range is the longest (801 m). Over half of the lakes have an area of less than 10 hectares, with the biggest, Smradlivo Lake in the Rila range, reaching 212 hectares; Popovsko Lake in the Pirins, is around 112 hectares). The majority of these lakes have a maximum depth of 2-5 meters, with the deepest reaching 37 meters in the Rila range’s Lake Okoto. The Seven Rila Lakes, the Marichini Lakes, the Urdini Lakes, and the Ribni Lakes are the most renowned lakes in the Rila Mountains; the Vasilashki lakes, the Popovi lakes, the Vlahinski lakes, and the Banderishki lakes are the most famous lakes in Pirin. The most significant tectonic lakes are Skalensko Lake (in the Stidovski sector of the Eastern Balkan Mountains), Kupensko Lake (in the Balkan Mountains’ center area), Panichishte Lake (in the Rila Mountains’ northern section), and the dammed Rabishko Lake. Srebarna is the only significant lake amid the coastal lakes and marshes (a UNESCO natural heritage site). Along the Black Sea coast north of Varna and near the Aladzha Monastery, typical landslide lakes may be observed. The Smolyan lakes are situated north of the city in a wide landslip region and comprise of three big lakes and a few smaller ones.
Near the Shabla Tuzla, the Tuzlata, Varna Lake, Pomorie, Atanasovsko Lake, and the Mandra dam are medicinal mud deposits. Turf deposits have been discovered near the Batak dam in the Rhodopes, in the hamlet of Baykalovo in the Konyavska Mountains), in the town of Straldzha in the Tundzha River valley’s middle section), near Varna Lake, and in the village of Sadovo in the Gornotrakiyska lowlands). There are deposits of curative mud in the springs of Marikostinovo village in the Sandanski-Petrich valley; in the city of Banya in the Karlovo valley; in the canals of Ovcha Kupel in Sofia; in the cities of Velingrad and Asenovgrad; in the towns of Slivenski Bani, Starozagorski Bani, and Haskovski Bani; in the towns of Sapareva Banya, Blagoevgrad
The country’s ideal temperature and natural attractions have resulted in the construction of 142 resorts, 26 of which are sea resorts, 56 of which are mountain resorts, and 58 of which are balneological resorts, not to mention the many balneological and spa institutions.
The nation has a wide variety of soil types. Black soils, gray forest soils, maroon forest soils, vertisols, yellow soils, brown forest soils, mountain meadow soils, alluvial meadow soils, swamp soils, salty soils, and humus carbonate soils are all types of soils. Bulgaria’s area is separated into three sections according to its soil composition: northern Bulgaria, southern Bulgaria, and mountainous zones.
Bulgaria is Europe’s second most biologically diversified country. There are about 12,360 plant species, with 3,700 being higher species. 763 of these are included in Bulgaria’s Red Book of rare or endangered species. Around 750 plant species have been classified as medicinal, with 70% of them being commercially beneficial. Each year, the nation exports around 15,000 tons of herbs. Forested areas cover around four million hectares, or 36.85 percent of the country’s land area. Oak and beech are the most common deciduous broad-leaved woodlands. Oak woods are found up to 1,000 meters in height, whereas beech forests are found mostly in the country’s central mountain regions. At the lower sections of the rivers Batova, Kamchiya, Ropotamo, and Veleka, dense woods have evolved. Natural coniferous woods occur at elevations of up to 2,200 meters above sea level and are particularly abundant in the Rhodope Mountains. They are mostly made up of spruce, fir, and white pine. The Slavyanka and Pirin Mountains are home to black fir, whereas the Central Balkans, West Rhodope, Middle Pirin, Rila, and Vitosha are home to white fir.
Bulgaria has about 27,000 kinds of invertebrates and over 750 species of vertebrates. There are 397 species of birds, 207 species of freshwater and Black Sea fish, 94 species of mammals, and 52 species of amphibians and reptiles. Throughout the nation, seven zoological areas are identified, four of which are located in the Mediterranean climate zone. Bulgaria is home to European, Euro-Siberian, and Mediterranean flora and fauna, and the Mediterranean climate has had a significant impact on the evolution of several species. Bulgaria’s cave fauna is home to more than 100 species. Sport and commercial fishing are both attracted to the Black Sea fish populations.
The country has three national parks: Pirin National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Rila National Park, and Central Balkans National Park. Additionally, eleven natural reserves have been established: Belasitsa, Balgarka, Vratsa Balkan, Golden Sands, Persina, Rila Monastery, Rusenski Lom, Sinite Kamani, Strandzha, and the Shumen Plateau.