The Vitosha Natural Park is located in Vitosha Mountain. Vitosha is a dome-shaped mountain with highest peak Cherni Vrah (2 290 m). The mountain occupies an area of 278 km2 with an average altitude of 1 500 m. The mountain has a plateau-shaped wide ridge and steep slopes going down towards the Sofia Valley. From Vitosha Mountain spring the rivers of Struma, Palakiriya, Matnitza and others. Typical for the mountain are the stone rivers. The Vitosha stone rivers are river valleys full of chaotically assembled huge stone blocks among which flows the river at a great depth. The stone blocks are formed of magma rocks, mainly syenite and granite and have the sizes of 1 -500 m3.
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The Vitosha natural park includes almost the whole mountain. In 1934 it was proclaimed for a park, covering an area of 26 606 hectares. On the territory of the park there are two reserves: Bistrishko branishte and Torfeno branishte. Of greatest environmental interest are the natural spruce forests and the biggest turf complex in the country with thickness of up to 2 meters. From the existing 40 monasteries in the period before the Middle Ages today in the region are preserved only two - The Dragalevtzi and Kladenetz monasteries.
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On the territory of the park is situated the Boyana Church as well. There is no other European capital in such a close proximity to a mountain. The Viennese scientist Hohshteter, who has visited Bulgaria in XIX c. exclaims: "Sofia and Vitosha are inseparable as Naples and Vesuvius".
The "Bistrishko branishte" Reserve is located at a height of 1 400 -2 283 m above the sea level. It was proclaimed for a reserve in 1934 and has a protected area of 1 061,6 hectares. On the territory of the reserve there is a spruce forest, Siberian juniper, green alder, tufts of dwarf pine and high-grass meadows. Here can be seen a great number of endemites. The reserve is the habitat of the bear, the feather-legged screech-owl, the black woodpecker and other species. Bistrisko branishte is a biosphere reserve.
The "Torfeno branishte" Reserve was proclaimed for a reserve in 1935 and covers an area of 784,10 hectares. The reserve is established with the purpose of protecting the rare high-mountainous plant and grass types of the Alpine sort as well as the turfs in their natural condition. Torfeno branishte is located in the region of the town of Sofia.
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