About the reserve
Steneto Reserve was designated on April 5, 1979. With an area of 3,578.8 hectares, it is the second largest Reserve in the Central Balkan National Park (next to Djendema). It is located near the Cherni Ossam River source, in the Troyan section of the Balkan Mountains. Part of the reserve lies on the southern slopes of the Central Balkan Ridge, comprising the localities of Ibche Dere, Kasiyat Chamlak, Djafar Dere, and Kobilin Dol. The Reserve was created specifically to preserve the pristine magnificence of the Steneto Gorge. It is also included in the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program.
Steneto Reserve boasts the largest diversity of bird species in the Balkans and is home to some of the rarest winged creatures: 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 haven to mammalian species such as bear, red deer, roe, Balkan chamois, and otter.
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. The Reserve is home to over 1,000 species of plants, about one-third of the entire Bulgarian fauna. Among them are some rare and endangered species: yew, savin juniper, and laurelcherry.
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.