Saturday, 21 July 2012 23:15
Vitosha is a mountain massif, on the outskirts of Sofia. It is one of the tourists 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 national park that encompasses the best known and most frequently visited parts.
The vegetation of Vitosha Natural Park is extremely rich and diverse. About 500 species of freshwater algae, 805 mushroom species, more than 360 lichen and moss species, 1,489 higher plant species have been recognized.
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").
Ten of the Vitosha peaks are situated at an altitude of over 2,000 meters, as the highest of them is Cherni Vrah (2,290 meters). It rises in the central part of the mountain. Struma River springs from Vitosha. This is the longest river in southwest Bulgaria.
The stone rivers (also known as moraines) and the screes are typical for the Vitosha Park. The stone river in the locality of The Golden Bridges (1,390 meters altitude) is impressive. There are many tourist paths in this part of the mountain: leading to the Kopitoto peak, “Momina Skala” hut and “Septemvri” hut. The Golden Bridges is one of the most often used starting points for Charni Vrah peak.
Being in close proximity to the capital, it is very convenient for residents or guests of Sofia to visit.
Vitosha is the highest ski resort of Bulgaria. The mountain is good for skiing in the winter and trekking in the summer.
There are two ski centers in the mountain– Aleko and Konyarnika. Aleko they are situated at an altitude of 1,800 meters, its tracks are north, and conditions are available for night skiing. The Konyarnika is situated at an altitude of 1,507 meters. The total length of the tracks on the mountain is 29 km, as the longest of them is 5 km long, and the maximum displacement is 780 meters. The tracks are suitable for advanced, as well as for beginner skiers. The required installations are available on all ski tracks: a number of seat lifts, one cabin lift, starting from the outskirts of Vitosha and almost reaching the mountain top.
The Nature Protection Information Center “Vitosha” is the first one of the range of informational and educational centers on the protected territories in Bulgaria. It is situated at a distance of about 1 km from the Dragalevtsi residential area, in close proximity to the Dragalevski Monastery. The center offers a permanent exposition, tourist information, a rich video collection, an observation tower, a base for conducting green schools, education practicums, an exhibition area, a library, etc.
The National Park Information Center is situated in Sofia, on Vazrazhdane Square, 17 Antim I Str. It provides information about the protected territories in Bulgaria and the world. Tourist cards and specialized issues dedicated to the diversity of plant and animal species in the Bulgarian parks can be bought there.