SAR-PLANINA NATIONAL PARK

The Sar-Planina Mountain is a big central Balkan massif 85km long, with more than 100 peaks over 2,000m altitude , of which almost 30 reach even higher than 2,500m. This mountain stands as a border between Serbia and Macedonia, so in the Serbian part, dominating is the Bistre peak that has the altitude of 2,651m.

Almost two thousand plant species are found on the Sar-Planina Mountain, which is almost a half of the Serbian flora, or some 15% of the European. It is also one of most significant European centers of high-mountain endemics. The vegetation is characteristic for the unusual diversity, varying from the sub-Mediterranean to sub-Arctic. The Brezovica ski center, whose tracks run for 40km, descending from 2,522 to 1,718m, is a veritable empire of endemic conifer trees – molika and munika, and in the spring narcissus as well. Besides, in the national park the animal kingdom is rich and diverse. There, it is possible to see about a half of the total Balkan fauna. In the Serbian Institute of Natural Protection they say that the Sar-Planina, with its 150 species of daytime butterflies, is the richest region in Europe, and the case is almost the same in view of birds.

In this national park one can find the monuments that are invaluable for the Serbian history and culture. Besides medieval fortifications, settlements, fasting huts and tombs, there are also many churches and monasteries built from the 13th century on. It is a sad truth, as written in the guide through national parks of Serbia, that the majority of this cultural treasury was burnt or otherwise destroyed from 1999 to 2005 by the Albanian extremists in Kosmet.

To complete the image of the national park Sar-Planina, we need to add the rich and unique folk architecture and folklore, as the reflection of the overall spiritual wealth in the condition of constant historical turmoil and struggle for survival in this magnificent, but also harsh natural environment. It is one of the reasons why this area, we believe, has deserved to be part of the world heritage under the protection of UNESCO.