"Steneto" Reserve

Steneto is established as a nature reserve in 1979. Over the years it has changed its borders, currently occupying an area of 3 578 ha. and is one of the largest in the National Park. It is included in the World Biosphere Reserve Network under the UNESCO Program "Man and Biosphere". The reserve covers the entire upper reaches of the Cherni Osam River and the Kumanitsa River and preserves the natural ecosystems that are not affected by human beings along the rivers.

The highly diversified relief of the reserve and the favorable brown soils predetermine the existence of a huge variety of more than 1000 plant species. Among them are some rare and endangered species: yew, savin juniper, and laurelcherry. The forests primarily contain beech (average age: 250 years) and spruce. Other tree species within the Steneto Reserve include hornbeam, fir, sycamore, and Norway maple. 

“Steneto” Reserve boasts the largest diversity of bird species in the Balkans and is home to some of the rarest among them: the booted eagle, golden eagle, hobby, eagle owl, rock partridge, Ural owl, pygmy owl, Tengmaum’s owl, and most of the woodpecker species known in Bulgaria. The Kumanitsa and Suhata Reka River canyons provide a safe living environment for animal species such as bear, red deer, roe, Balkan chamois, and otter.

Steneto is the placewith the highest number of relict species in the National Park. The fauna is unique and comprises 440 animal and bird species, about 100 of them are under protection.

The karst terrain is dotted with numerous caves including Kumanitsa, one of the longest underwater caves in Bulgaria (1,656 meters), and Raichova Dupka (337 meters), the deepest precipice cave in the country. Places of interest are also the waterfalls in Chernokozhi and Konski dol, thethe stone bridge ”Markova dupka“, etc.

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