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Shumen Plateau Nature Park

In order to preserve and save the valuable plant and animal species, the characteristic plateau-like landscape, and the diversity of sites, 3 395,8 hectares of the area of the Shoumen plateau have been established as a protected natural territory. Since 1998 the park has been categorized as a Natural park.

The Shumen plateau is the most typical and highest one among the residual plateaus in Northern Bulgaria. Its highest point is 502 m above sea level and is situated in the site Turnov tabia. The average altitude of the plateau is 350 m. The relief is plateau-like. The ridge is plain and hilly, and the slopes are precipitous, with characteristic valley incisions (boazi - gorges) in certain places. The typical karst relief is represented by various surface and underground forms. There are over 60 caves. The most attractive one is the cave Bisserna. There are no rivers running on the plateau surface, but many karst springs empty at its foothills.

Over 550 higher plant species grow on the plateau. They are from 245 genera and 64 families. 90% of the area is covered with tree species. Mixed deciduous forests predominate. They include Miziyski beech, Hornbeam, Turkish oak, Durmast oak, Maple, Oriental hornbeam and others. The original vegetation consisted of Miziyski beech (Fagus silvatica moesiaca). In order to preserve this tree specie, in 1980, the Bukaka reserve was established. There have been registered 9 protected species, 3 endangered species and 12 rear plant species in the park.

More than 109 species of vertebrates inhabit the park. There are 28 species of mammals, 61 bird species, 14 species of reptiles 6 species of amphibians. The mammals are represented by: royal stag, deer, boar, fox, badger, hare, squirrel, and others. From the birds, there could be seen: great tit, chaffinch, song thrush, cuckoo, buzzard, and others. Several lizard species, viper, grass snake and others represent the reptiles. The amphibians are represented by frogs, salamander, etc. The park gave shelter to 11 protected animal species.

Naturally fortified and protected, the Shumen plateau has been settled for many years. There have been many fortresses, settlements, monks dwellings, rock churches and monasteries. The most significant historical and archaeological site is the Shumen fortress. There are relics from several Thracian settlements (4th 2nd c. BC) in the park as well. Many preserved rock monasteries, churches and monks dwellings, scattered about the slopes of the plateau, are connected with the religious and cultural life of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

The Shoumen Fortress Staria Grad - is situated 3 km to the west of Shoumen. It covers the area of 28 decares and takes the shape of a polygon. The fortress is an elaborate complex of dwelling, religious, and defense buildings, which give evidence that the fortress was overbuilt many times during the ages. Today, the fortress is a well-studied, preserved, and partly restored archeological reserve.

The Monument The Founders of the Bulgarian State rises in the southeastern part of the Shoumen plateau. It was built in honor of the 1300th anniversary of the establishment of the Bulgarian State. It was designed by the artist Krum Damjanov and unveiled on September 28, 1981. It tells stories about the most important moments from the First Bulgarian Kingdom, the historical progress of the Bulgarians, their awakening as a united people, and about the establishment of their state organization.

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