Pirin

Pirin

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The Pirin Mountains are a mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

 in southwestern Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, with Vihren
Vihren
Vihren is the highest peak of Bulgaria's Pirin Mountains. Reaching 2914 m, it is Bulgaria's second and the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus. The peak is located in Pirin's northern parts. The easiest route is from the Vihren chalet , reaching the summit from the south...

 (2,914 m high) the highest peak, situated at 41°45′50"N 23°25′30"E. The range extends about 40 km northwest-southeast, and about 25 km wide. Most of the range is protected in the Pirin National Park
Pirin National Park
Pirin National Park is a World Heritage national park that encompasses the larger part of the Pirin Mountains in the southwest of Bulgaria. It has an area of about and lies at an altitude from ....

. The mountain is named after Perun
Perun
In Slavic mythology, Perun is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were the fire, mountains, the oak, iris, eagle, firmament , horses and carts, weapons and war...

 (Cyrillic: Перун), the highest god of the Slavic pantheon and the god of thunder
Thunder
Thunder is the sound made by lightning. Depending on the nature of the lightning and distance of the listener, thunder can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long, low rumble . The sudden increase in pressure and temperature from lightning produces rapid expansion of the air surrounding and within...

 and lightning
Lightning
Lightning is an atmospheric electrostatic discharge accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms...

.

To the north Pirin is separated from Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

's highest mountain range, the Rila Mountains, by the Predel saddle while to the south it reaches the Slavyanka mountain. To the west is located the valley of the Struma
Struma River
The Struma or Strymónas is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. Its ancient name was Strymōn . Its catchment area is 10,800 km²...

 and to the east of the Mesta River
Mesta River
The Nestos or Mesta , formerly the Mesta Karasu , is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. It rises in the Rila Mountains and flows into the Aegean Sea near the island of Thasos. It plunges down towering canyons toward the Aegean Sea through mostly metamorphic formations...

s. Pirin is noted for its rich flora and fauna. Much of the area is forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

ed, with the best conifer woods in Bulgaria, holding important populations of the Balkan endemic
Endemic (ecology)
Endemism is the ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. For example, all species of lemur are endemic to the...

 species Macedonian Pine
Macedonian Pine
Pinus peuce is a species of pine native to the mountains of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, the extreme southwest of Serbia, and the extreme north of Greece, growing typically at 1,000-2,200 m altitude. It often reaches the alpine tree line in this area...

, Bosnian Pine
Bosnian Pine
The Bosnian Pine is a species of pine native to Bosnia but is also found in the mountains of southeastern Europe, in southwestern Bulgaria, Bosnia, Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, northern Greece , and locally in southern Italy ,...

 and Bulgarian Fir
Bulgarian Fir
Abies borisii-regis is a species of fir native to the mountains of the Balkan Peninsula, in Bulgaria, northern Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Serbia...

. Animals include the Wolf and the Brown Bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

.

The town of Bansko
Bansko
Bansko is a town and a popular ski resort in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains at an elevation of 925 m above sea level....

, an important tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 and winter sport
Winter sport
A winter sport is a sport which is played on snow or ice. Most such sports are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding. Traditionally such sports were only played in cold areas during winter, but artificial snow and ice allow more flexibility...

s centre, is situated on the northeast slopes of the Pirin Mountains. The town of Razlog
Razlog
Razlog is a town and ski resort in Razlog Municipality, Blagoevgrad Province in southwestern Bulgaria. It is situated in the Razlog Valley and was first mentioned during the reign of Byzantine emperor Basil II....

 lies in Razlog Valley
Razlog Valley
The Razlog Valley is a valley in southwestern Bulgaria located between the high Rila , Pirin and Rhodope Mountains . The nature of the valley was influenced by both the Alpine character of Rila and Pirin and the Mediterranean climate of the Aegean Sea from the south.The valley is located at 865 m...

 between Pirin Mountains to the south and the Rila Mountains to the north.

Geography


Pirin is the second highest mountain range in Bulgaria after Rila (2,925 m) and the eighth highest in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 after the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada (Spain)
The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the region of provinces of Granada and Almería in Spain. It contains the highest point of continental Spain, Mulhacén at 3478 m above sea level....

, the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

, Mount Etna
Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m higher than it was in 1981.. It is the highest mountain in...

, the aforementioned Rila, and Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, located on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, about 100 kilometres away from Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city. Mount Olympus has 52 peaks. The highest peak Mytikas, meaning "nose", rises to 2,917 metres...

 when each is represented by its highest peak only. It has an area of 2,585 km² and an average height of 1,033 m. Pirin is set in the southwest of the country between the Struma
Struma River
The Struma or Strymónas is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. Its ancient name was Strymōn . Its catchment area is 10,800 km²...

 and Mesta River
Mesta River
The Nestos or Mesta , formerly the Mesta Karasu , is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. It rises in the Rila Mountains and flows into the Aegean Sea near the island of Thasos. It plunges down towering canyons toward the Aegean Sea through mostly metamorphic formations...

s, bordering Rila to the north at the Predel Saddle (1,142 m) and Slavyanka to the south at the Parilska Saddle (1,170 m). The distance between these two points is 60 km from the northwest to the southeast and the maximum width of Pirin is 40 km from the town of Sandanski
Sandanski
-Municipality:Sandanski is the seat of Sandanski municipality , which includes the following 54 places:-Honour:Sandanski Point on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after the town of Sandanski....

 to the village of Obidim
Obidim
Obidim is a village in southwestern Bulgaria, located in the Bansko Municipality of the Blagoevgrad Province .As of 2006 it has 141 inhabitants. The village was founded in the 14th century...

. Other neighbouring mountains include Vlahina
Vlahina
Vlahina or Vlaina , meaning "Vlach [mountain]" is a mountain range on the border of southwestern Bulgaria and eastern Republic of Macedonia. The highest peak is Ogreyak at 1,924 m. Nearby towns include Simitli to the northeast in Bulgaria and Pehchevo to the southwest in the Republic of Macedonia....

, Maleshevo
Maleshevo
The Maleshevo Mountain or Maleševo Mountain is situated in southwestern Bulgaria and eastern Republic of Macedonia. It is the third of the five mountains of the Osogovo-Belasitsa mountain group, known also as the Western Border Mountains...

, Osogovo
Osogovo
Osogovo or Osogovska Planina is a mountain and ski resort between southwestern Bulgaria and northeastern Republic of Macedonia,...

 and Ograzhden
Ograzhden
Ograzhden is a mountain shared by northeastern Republic of Macedonia and southwestern Bulgaria, part of the Belasitsa-Osogovo group. It is located north of Belasitsa, northeast of the Macedonian town of Strumica and northwest of the Bulgarian town of Petrich...

 to the west, as well as the Rhodopes to the east.
Geologically and geographically Pirin is divided into three parts: a north, central and south one, which are however not equal in size and tourist attractivity.
  • North Pirin is the largest of the subdivisions and the mountain's downright part. It takes up 74% of the whole range's territory, being about 42 km long and ranging from Predel to the north to the Todorova Polyana Saddle (1,883 m) to the south. North Pirin is the most often visited part of the mountain, the only one to have an Alpine
    Alps
    The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

     appearance, featuring many lakes, resthouses and shelters, and also the one where the highest peak, Vihren
    Vihren
    Vihren is the highest peak of Bulgaria's Pirin Mountains. Reaching 2914 m, it is Bulgaria's second and the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus. The peak is located in Pirin's northern parts. The easiest route is from the Vihren chalet , reaching the summit from the south...

    , is located. It is further subdivided into several parts due to its size: Mramor Part, North Central Part, South Central Part, Polezhan Part, Kamenitsa Part, Sinanitsa Part and Debeli Rid Part.
  • Central Pirin extends between the Todorova Polyana Saddle and the Popovi Livadi Saddle. It constitutes the smallest (7%) and shortest part, being only 7 km long. The highest peak is Orelyak (2,099 m), while the other peaks are under 2,000 m and heavily forested, usually deciduous. There are only two resthouses, Popovi Livadi and Malina.
  • South Pirin is the lowest and most round part, the highest peak being Svesthnik at 1,975 m. It occupies 17% of Pirin and is about 11 km long and wide. Well forested with coniferous and deciduous trees, it is the most rarely visited part of the mountains and thus lacks any resthouses.

Geology, relief and peaks in Pirin





By its geological structure Pirin is a massive elevation with granite nucleus (the granite surface is 62%) covered mainly with ancient metamorphous rocks. It forms as a mountain during the Tertiary
Tertiary
The Tertiary is a deprecated term for a geologic period 65 million to 2.6 million years ago. The Tertiary covered the time span between the superseded Secondary period and the Quaternary...

. Its hoisting alternated with long tranquil periods. Glaciation occurred in the beginning of the Quaternary
Quaternary
The Quaternary Period is the most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale of the ICS. It follows the Neogene Period, spanning 2.588 ± 0.005 million years ago to the present...

. According to some scientists there were even two glaciations, during which the lower line of the ice was at 2,200-2,300 metres. These glaciations lead to partial crushings in the granite peaks and gradually formed beautiful alpine edges, moraine fields and vertical cliffs dropping to dizzy abysses. During that very period the granite peaks lowered and the present marble peaks took a leading position in height, because of the specifities of the marble. As a result of the ice many cirques were formed most of which now contain shining glacial lakes.

The main Pirin ridge is clearly distinguished; it begins in Rila
Rila
Rila is a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria and the highest mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkans, with its highest peak being Musala at 2,925 m...

, passes through the Predel saddle and all the saddles as far as the Parilska saddle. It links the separate smaller ridges of the mountain into one system with the highest peaks situated on it. Although it curves a lot, its main direction is from the northwest to southeast and it is also a watershed between the Struma
Struma River
The Struma or Strymónas is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. Its ancient name was Strymōn . Its catchment area is 10,800 km²...

 and Mesta
Mesta River
The Nestos or Mesta , formerly the Mesta Karasu , is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. It rises in the Rila Mountains and flows into the Aegean Sea near the island of Thasos. It plunges down towering canyons toward the Aegean Sea through mostly metamorphic formations...

 valleys. There are many spurs but four of them are so large that they create the appearance of the mountain: Sinanishko, Todorino, Polejansko and Kamenishko.


There are two peaks above 2,900 m, Vihren
Vihren
Vihren is the highest peak of Bulgaria's Pirin Mountains. Reaching 2914 m, it is Bulgaria's second and the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus. The peak is located in Pirin's northern parts. The easiest route is from the Vihren chalet , reaching the summit from the south...

 and Kutelo
Kutelo
Kutelo is the second highest peak in Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria . Like Vihren, which towers to the south, Kutelo is marble but its slopes though sheer are not so rocky and it is not very difficult to climb. Kutelo is a double peak with a small saddle between the two parts, the lower being only...

; seven above 2,800 m; 17 above 2,700 m; 32 above 2,600 m and 40 above 2,500 m. The highest granite peak is the Banderishki Chukar (2,732 m). The 20 highest peaks are:
  1. Vihren
    Vihren
    Vihren is the highest peak of Bulgaria's Pirin Mountains. Reaching 2914 m, it is Bulgaria's second and the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus. The peak is located in Pirin's northern parts. The easiest route is from the Vihren chalet , reaching the summit from the south...

     – 2914 m
  2. Kutelo
    Kutelo
    Kutelo is the second highest peak in Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria . Like Vihren, which towers to the south, Kutelo is marble but its slopes though sheer are not so rocky and it is not very difficult to climb. Kutelo is a double peak with a small saddle between the two parts, the lower being only...

     – 2908 m
  3. Banski Suhodol
    Banski Suhodol
    Banski Suhodol is a peak in the Pirin mountain, south-western Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of Pirin on the main ridge. Its height is 2,884 m which ranks it on third place in Pirin after Vihren and Kutelo....

     – 2884 m
  4. Polezhan
    Polezhan
    Polezhan is the highest granite peak in the Pirin Mountains and the fourth highest after Vihren, Kutelo and Banski Suhodol . The closest mountain hut is Hizha Bezbog named after Bezbog which lies near Polezhan. Depending on weather conditions the mountain hut is about 2-3h from Polezhan...

     – 2851 m
  5. Kamenitsa – 2822 m
  6. Malak Polezhan – 2822 m
  7. Bayuvi Dupki – 2820 m
  8. Yalovarnika – 2763 m
  9. Kaymakchal – 2763 m
  10. Gazey
    Gazey
    Gazey is a peak in the Pirin mountain, Bulgaria situated on a small sideward ridge of the Polejansli Ridge. It is 2,761 m high, which makes it ninth in the mountain. Viewed from Polejan it looks small, rising slightly above the Upper Polejan lake but its western slopes are dizzy as they descent...

     – 2761 m
  11. Todorka
    Todorka
    Todorka is a massive peak in the Pirin Mountains of south-western Bulgaria. It is the only peak of the Todorka side ridge and has a summit elevation of 2746 m above sea level. Todorka is the 11th highest peak in Pirin and is made of granite, and although not rocky, it is steep...

     – 2746 m
  12. Banderishki Chukar – 2732 m
  13. Dzhengal
    Dzhengal
    Dzhangal is a peak on the Bulgarian Pirin mountain range. It is situated in one of the external ridges of the mountain, the Polejan Ridge, between the Dzhangal Gate and Momin Dvor Peak and towers to the west of the Popovo Lake. It is 2,730 m high, which places it in the top 10 peaks in the range...

     – 2730 m
  14. Momin Dvor – 2723 m
  15. Bashliyski Chukar – 2720 m
  16. Bezimenen Vrah – 2712 m
  17. Malka Todorka – 2712 m
  18. Chengelchal – 2709 m
  19. Disilitsa – 2700 m
  20. Kamenishka Kukla – 2690 m

Waters and lakes



Pirin is known with its abundance of water. Many rivers take their sources from the mountains; they belong to the Struma
Struma River
The Struma or Strymónas is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. Its ancient name was Strymōn . Its catchment area is 10,800 km²...

 and Mesta
Mesta River
The Nestos or Mesta , formerly the Mesta Karasu , is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. It rises in the Rila Mountains and flows into the Aegean Sea near the island of Thasos. It plunges down towering canyons toward the Aegean Sea through mostly metamorphic formations...

 catchment areas. The rivers are short, turbulent and with high waters, with high inclination which forms many leaps and rapids. There is only one distinctive waterfall, the Popinolashki waterfall
Popinolashki waterfall
The Popinolashki waterfall is a waterfall in the Bulgaria's Pirin mountain. It is situated at less than 20 km from the town of Sandanski, in a country-side known as Popina laka. It is located at an altitude of 1,230 m on the current of the Bashliitsa river. Its height is estimated at 12 m....

, which is 12 m high. The main ridge is the watershed between the two catchment areas.

Noticeable rivers which flow into the Mesta
Mesta River
The Nestos or Mesta , formerly the Mesta Karasu , is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. It rises in the Rila Mountains and flows into the Aegean Sea near the island of Thasos. It plunges down towering canyons toward the Aegean Sea through mostly metamorphic formations...

 are:
  • Iztok (East) which runs through the Razlog Valley
    Razlog Valley
    The Razlog Valley is a valley in southwestern Bulgaria located between the high Rila , Pirin and Rhodope Mountains . The nature of the valley was influenced by both the Alpine character of Rila and Pirin and the Mediterranean climate of the Aegean Sea from the south.The valley is located at 865 m...

     and have numerous smaller tributaries.
  • Pleshka river, which passes through the village of Dobrinishte
    Dobrinishte
    Dobrinishte is a small town and ski resort in the Blagoevgrad Province, Bansko Municipality, southwestern Bulgaria. it has 2973 inhabitants. It is located 6 km east of Bansko, a famous winter resort. It has an altitude of 850 m and is surrounded by the Rila, Pirin, and Rhodope mountains...

    .
  • Bezbozhka river.
  • Retije river which pours out from the Popovo Lake
    Popovo Lake
    The Popovo Lake is the largest of the eleven Popovo Lakes. The lake and its vicinity is among the most popular places for summer tourism in the Pirin National Park...

    .
  • The rivers Kamenitsa, Breznitsa, Korpitsa.


Noticeable rivers which flow into the Struma
Struma River
The Struma or Strymónas is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. Its ancient name was Strymōn . Its catchment area is 10,800 km²...

 are:
  • Vlachina river which pour out from the lakes of the same name.
  • Sandanska Bistritsa, which forms a large valley, takes many tributaries and runs through Sandanski
    Sandanski
    -Municipality:Sandanski is the seat of Sandanski municipality , which includes the following 54 places:-Honour:Sandanski Point on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after the town of Sandanski....

    .
  • Melnishka river.
  • Pirinska Bistritsa, which serves for a border between Bulgaria
    Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

     and Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

     to the south.


One of the most picturesque parts of Pirin's landscape are 176 crystal-clear mountain lakes which are called the eyes of the mountain in the Bulgarian folklore. All of them have glacial origin and are usually situated at the bottom of spectacular cirque
Cirque
Cirque may refer to:* Cirque, a geological formation* Makhtesh, an erosional landform found in the Negev desert of Israel and Sinai of Egypt*Cirque , an album by Biosphere* Cirque Corporation, a company that makes touchpads...

s surrounded by rugged marble slopes and snow-capped peaks. The largest lake is the Popovo Lake
Popovo Lake
The Popovo Lake is the largest of the eleven Popovo Lakes. The lake and its vicinity is among the most popular places for summer tourism in the Pirin National Park...

, which is also the deepest one in Pirin. Other beautiful lakes include Banderishki Lakes
Banderishki Lakes
The Banderishki Lakes are a large group of lakes in the Pirin mountains, southwestern Bulgaria. They are situated in the Banderitsa valley and mark the beginning of the Banderitsa river. There are 17 lakes in all from which only 5 have names. They are glacial lakes formed on granite basis with a...

, Valyavishki Lakes
Valyavishki Lakes
The Valyavishki Lakes is a group of lakes in the northern parts Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria and includes 10 lakes. They are amphitheatrically situated in the cirque of the same name. The lakes are glacial and lie on a granite bed. They are located between 2,300 and 2,475 m. Their shores are steep...

, Vasilashki Lakes
Vasilashki Lakes
The Vasilashki Lakes are situated in Pirin, Bulgaria in a large cirque between the Todorka and Vasilashki Chukar peaks. The cirque is opened to the east, where it faces the Demyanitsa river in which the water of the lakes pour. This cirque also includes the two lakes Todorini Ochi , whose waters...

, Vlahini Lakes
Vlahini Lakes
The Vlahini Lakes is a group of four lakes in Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria situated at 1.5 km to the southwest from Vihren. The group consists of four lakes the highest of which makes 80% of their total area. The lakes are named after the village of Vlahi, located at much lower altitude.*The...

, Kremenski Lakes
Kremenski Lakes
Kremenski Lakes are a lake group in the Pirin mountains, southwestern Bulgaria composed of two larger and two smaller lakes situated in a narrow but salient cirque of the same name. They are surrounded by the peaks Sivriya and Dzhano and the Kremenski elevation which ends with Kremenski peak.*The...

, Samodivski Lakes
Samodivski Lakes
The Samodivski Lakes is a small group of lakes in Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria, part of the larger group of Popovski lakes. They are situated very close to each other in a small cirque to the south west of the Popovo Lake between the peak Dzhengal, Momin Dvor and Kralev Dvor. They are situated at...

, Sinanishko Lake
Sinanishko Lake
The Sinanishko Lake is a lake in Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria, situated below the Sinanitsa Peak in the small Sinanitsa Cirque at an altitude of 2,181 metres. With depth of 11.5 metres it is among the 10 deepest lakes in the mountain range. It has an elongated shape and an area of 10,100 square...

. The lakes are extremely popular among the tourists. The largest lake in Pirin by surface area is fourth in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, the deepest lake is second in the country, which the highest lake is also the highest not only in Bulgaria but also in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

.

The largest and most important lake groups are:
  • Popovo Lake
    Popovo Lake
    The Popovo Lake is the largest of the eleven Popovo Lakes. The lake and its vicinity is among the most popular places for summer tourism in the Pirin National Park...

    s-11
  • Kremenski Lakes
    Kremenski Lakes
    Kremenski Lakes are a lake group in the Pirin mountains, southwestern Bulgaria composed of two larger and two smaller lakes situated in a narrow but salient cirque of the same name. They are surrounded by the peaks Sivriya and Dzhano and the Kremenski elevation which ends with Kremenski peak.*The...

    -5
  • Banderishki Lakes
    Banderishki Lakes
    The Banderishki Lakes are a large group of lakes in the Pirin mountains, southwestern Bulgaria. They are situated in the Banderitsa valley and mark the beginning of the Banderitsa river. There are 17 lakes in all from which only 5 have names. They are glacial lakes formed on granite basis with a...

    -16
  • Vasilashki Lakes
    Vasilashki Lakes
    The Vasilashki Lakes are situated in Pirin, Bulgaria in a large cirque between the Todorka and Vasilashki Chukar peaks. The cirque is opened to the east, where it faces the Demyanitsa river in which the water of the lakes pour. This cirque also includes the two lakes Todorini Ochi , whose waters...

    -12
  • Valyavishki Lakes
    Valyavishki Lakes
    The Valyavishki Lakes is a group of lakes in the northern parts Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria and includes 10 lakes. They are amphitheatrically situated in the cirque of the same name. The lakes are glacial and lie on a granite bed. They are located between 2,300 and 2,475 m. Their shores are steep...

    -10
  • Chairski Lakes
    Chairski Lakes
    The Chairski Lakes are a group of nine glacial lakes in the Pirin mountain, south-western Bulgaria. They are located in a large cirque called Chaira in the valley of the river Sandanska Bistritsa. They are situated between the peaks Mozgovishki and Prevalski Chukar at an altitude between 2,200 and...

    -10
  • Vlahini Lakes
    Vlahini Lakes
    The Vlahini Lakes is a group of four lakes in Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria situated at 1.5 km to the southwest from Vihren. The group consists of four lakes the highest of which makes 80% of their total area. The lakes are named after the village of Vlahi, located at much lower altitude.*The...

    -5
  • Malokamenishki Lakes-20
  • Prevalski Lakes-4
  • Bashliiski Lakes-4
  • Tipitski Lakes
    Tipitski Lakes
    The Tipits Lakes are located in northern Pirin. They are situated in the Tipits cirque. The Upper lake has surface area of 17,7 decares and is 2,3 m deep; while the Lower lake has area of 15,9 decares and depth of 9 m. There is also a smaller lake which drys up. The two bigger lakes are not...

    -2


There are also many lakes which are not part of groups: Sinanishko, Bezbozhko, Dautovo and others.

There are also tiny glaciers (ice which does not melt throughout the year) in the Golemiya Kazan
Golemiya Kazan
Golemiya Kazan is part of an area below Vihren called Kazanite in Bulgaria's Pirin mountain range. It is composed of two cirques, Malkiya Kazan , which is the lower one and is grassy, and Golemiya Kazan , situated at 2,400 m and stony. The size of the Big Cauldron is 1,200 m by 1,100 m...

 (The Big Cauldron) under Vihren
Vihren
Vihren is the highest peak of Bulgaria's Pirin Mountains. Reaching 2914 m, it is Bulgaria's second and the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus. The peak is located in Pirin's northern parts. The easiest route is from the Vihren chalet , reaching the summit from the south...

 (90x40 m) and Kamenitsa.

Nature




Pirin has rich and varied flora and fauna. More than 1,300 plant species have been found up to this moment, which is roughly 1/3 all plant species to be found in the country; 320 lichen species; several hundred algae species. There are 18 endemic plant species which include Pirin Poppy, Pirin Meadowsweet, Pirin Thyme, David Mullein and other. Many plants are extremely rare and under protection such as the beautiful Edelweiss
Edelweiss
Edelweiss , Leontopodium alpinum, is a well-known European mountain flower, belonging to the sunflower family.-Names:The common name comes from German edel, meaning "noble", and weiß "white", thus signifying "noble whiteness".The scientific name Leontopodium is a Latin adaptation of Greek...

. The vegetation is vertically zoned into three elevation lines: tree, subalpine and alpine. The tree line is covered predominantly with coniferous species such as European Black Pine
European Black Pine
Pinus nigra, the European Black Pine, is a moderately variable species of pine, occurring across southern Mediterranean Europe from Spain to the Crimea, in Asia Minor and on Cyprus, and in the high mountains of the Maghreb in North Africa....

, Scots Pine
Scots Pine
Pinus sylvestris, commonly known as the Scots Pine, is a species of pine native to Europe and Asia, ranging from Scotland, Ireland and Portugal in the west, east to eastern Siberia, south to the Caucasus Mountains, and as far north as well inside the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia...

, Macedonian Pine
Macedonian Pine
Pinus peuce is a species of pine native to the mountains of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, the extreme southwest of Serbia, and the extreme north of Greece, growing typically at 1,000-2,200 m altitude. It often reaches the alpine tree line in this area...

, Bosnian Pine
Bosnian Pine
The Bosnian Pine is a species of pine native to Bosnia but is also found in the mountains of southeastern Europe, in southwestern Bulgaria, Bosnia, Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, northern Greece , and locally in southern Italy ,...

, Spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

, Bulgarian Fir
Bulgarian Fir
Abies borisii-regis is a species of fir native to the mountains of the Balkan Peninsula, in Bulgaria, northern Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Serbia...

 and reaches approximately altitude of 2,000 m. Up to 2,500 m is the subalpine line, dominated by Mountain Pine
Mountain Pine
Pinus mugo, the Mountain Pine or Mugo Pine, is a high-altitude European pine, found in the Pyrenees, Alps, Erzgebirge, Carpathians, northern Apennines and Balkan Peninsula mountains from 1,000 m to 2,200 m, occasionally as low as 200 m in the north of the range in Germany and Poland, and as high...

 and Juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

 whose size decrease as the altitude rises. The alpine line is situated above 2,500 m, covered with grass, moss, lichen and abundant in Bilberry
Bilberry
Bilberry is any of several species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium , bearing edible berries. The species most often referred to is Vaccinium myrtillus L., but there are several other closely related species....

. The vegetation around the streams and the lakes is more specific with Pinworm
Pinworm
The pinworm , also known as threadworm or seatworm, is a nematode and a common human intestinal parasite, especially in children...

 being common. The most famous tree in Pirin is the Baikushev's Pine
Baikushev's Pine
The Baikushev's Pine is a coniferous tree from the species Bosnian Pine situated in Pirin, southwestern Bulgaria. It is named after its discoverer, forest ranger Kostadin Baikushev, and is located near the Banderitsa refuge...

, names after the forest-guard who found it. This tree is more than 1,300 years old which makes it almost as ancient as Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

.

There are more than 2,000 invertebrates (spider
Spider
Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs, and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms...

s, centipede
Centipede
Centipedes are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metameric animals with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs from under 20 to over 300. Centipedes have an odd number of pairs of...

s, insects, snail
Snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...

s) and 250 vertebrate species. The latter include 177 bird, 45 mammal and only 6 fish species. Many of these are endangered and need special protection: Imperial Eagle
Imperial Eagle
An Imperial Eagle is a heraldic eagle used by an empire, notably:*the military standard of the Roman Empire, see Aquila .*the Byzantine imperial eagle*the German Reichsadler...

, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker
Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker
The Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides tridactylus, is a medium-sized woodpecker.The adult is 21.5-24 cm in length. It is black on the head, wings and rump, and white from the throat to the belly; the flanks are white with black bars. The back is white with black bars, and the tail is black with the...

. The most common animals include: Chamois
Chamois
The chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, is a goat-antelope species native to mountains in Europe, including the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the European Alps, the Tatra Mountains, the Balkans, parts of Turkey, and the Caucasus. The chamois has also been introduced to the South Island of New Zealand...

, Brown Bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

, Wolf, Roe Deer
Roe Deer
The European Roe Deer , also known as the Western Roe Deer, chevreuil or just Roe Deer, is a Eurasian species of deer. It is relatively small, reddish and grey-brown, and well-adapted to cold environments. Roe Deer are widespread in Western Europe, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, and from...

, Fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

, Eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

s and Falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

s, Capercaillie
Capercaillie
The Western Capercaillie , also known as the Wood Grouse, Heather Cock or Capercaillie , is the largest member of the grouse family, reaching over 100 cm in length and 6.7 kg in weight. The largest one ever recorded in captivity had a weight of 7.2 kg....

.

In order to protect the rich wildlife in the mountain the Vihren National Park was created in 1962, which was renamed Pirin National Park
Pirin National Park
Pirin National Park is a World Heritage national park that encompasses the larger part of the Pirin Mountains in the southwest of Bulgaria. It has an area of about and lies at an altitude from ....

 in 1975. It has an area of 403,32 km². The park protects the largest forests of Macedonian and Bosnian Pine in the country as well as many rare and endemic species. There are several nature reserves which account for 15% of the total area. The National Park was designed a UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

World Heritage Site in 1983.

External links