Slovak Paradise National Park
|Slovak Paradise National Park
Národný park Slovenský raj
Stratenská píla tourist resort
|Location||East Slovakia, Slovak Paradise Mts.|
|Area||197.63 km2 (76.3 mi2)|
|Established||18 January 1988|
|Governing body||Správa Národného parku Slovenský raj (Slovak Paradise National Park Administration) in Spišská Nová Ves|
Slovak Paradise National Park (Slovak: Národný park Slovenský raj) is one of the nine national parks in Slovakia, situated in East Slovakia. The National Park protects the area of the Slovak Paradise mountain range, which is located in the north of the Slovenské rudohorie Mountains (Slovak Ore Mountains).
The National Park covers an area of 197.63 km2 (76.3 mi2), and the buffer zone around the park covers an area of 130.11 km2 (50.2 mi2); 327.74 km2 together. Eleven national nature reserves and eight nature reserves are situated in the park. The park offers about 300 km of hiking trails, often equipped with ladders, chains and bridges. The Slovak Paradise contains about 350 caves, but only the Dobšinská Ice Cave, which is since 2000 a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is open to the public.
Park creation and history
The first protected reserve in the area of the Slovak Paradise was founded in 1890. The first protected plant was the edelweiss in 1936.
The name Slovenský raj first appeared in 1921 in the Krásy Slovenska magazine and replaced many names used until that period. On 21 August 1964 the first protected landscape area in Slovakia was established in the Slovak Paradise. The area was recategorized into a national park on 18 January 1988. In 2000 Dobšinská Ice Cave became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parts of the park also belong to the Natura 2000 network since 2004.
The Slovak Paradise creates the northern part of the Spiš-Gemer Karst (Spišsko-gemerský kras). It is bordered by the Low Tatras (Nízke Tatry) in the west, central part of the Slovenské rudohorie Mountains in the south (Stolické vrchy and Volovské vrchy) and the Hornád basin (Hornádska kotlina) in the north and north east.
Rivers and streams have formed many gorges, canyons, valleys, caves, and waterfalls in the Slovak Paradise, with the Hornád River being most important to the area. The most famous gorges are Veľký Sokol, which is also longest at 4.5 km, Suchá Belá, Piecky, and Kyseľ, all of which have numerous waterfalls. Prielom Hornádu is the longest canyon at 11,7 km, and also contains the greatest diversity of species. The highest waterfall is Závojový vodopád (literally Veil Waterfall) at 70 m. The largest water reservoir is Palcmanská Maša, finished in 1956, which covers an area of 0.85 km2. It is used for swimming, water sports, fishing and other recreational activities.
The highest peak is Predná hoľa at 1,545 m AMSL. Havrania skala (literally Raven Rock) at 1,153 m offers a panoramic view. A rock shelf known as Tomášovský výhľad is popular with both climbers and visitors for its unique view situated at 680 m. The lowest point is at the Hornád's surface at 470 m.
Biology and ecology
The Slovak Paradise has the highest concentration of butterflies in Slovakia with 6.06 butterflies per km2. Kopanecké lúky (literally Kopanecké meadows) contain exceptionally rich biodiversity in vascular plants with 75 species per m2.
The National Park contains about 4,000 species of invertebrates, which include more than 2,100 species of butterflies, 400 species of bugs and 150 species of molluscs. Vertebrates are represented by about 200 species, of which 130 are protected. Forty species of mammals include the bear, fox, wolf, wildcat, deer, boar, and marten. The National Park is home to 65 endangered species, including the saker falcon, European otter and European ground squirrel.
Forests cover 90% of the park. The most widespread trees are the beech, spruce, fir and pine. The park is home to 930 species of plants, of which 35 are protected. The park contains 6 endemic plants, which are exclusively native to it and 19 endemic plants exclusively native to the West Carpathians.
The best known tourist centres and resorts are Čingov and Podlesok in the north, Dedinky in the south and the only tourist centre located inside the National Park, Kláštorisko, with ruins of the Carthusian monastery. The most visited places in the park are the Dobšinská Ice Cave and the Suchá Belá Gorge.
The park offers about 300 km of hiking trails and several bike trails. One of the most visited route is "Prielom Hornádu". In the northern part of the Slovak Paradise there are situated two main tourist centres of this region: Čingov and Podlesok. They are connected together with 15 km long attractive marked route, leading through the canyon along the Hornád river. Through the canyon you get following the green marked path of the Mountain rescue service. You will walk through a very narrow valley with 150 m high slopes on the both sides - on some places just a few metres far apart. Foot-bridges, clenches, ladders and chains will help you to end successfully this more than 4 hours long hike in a dangerous hug of rocks, forests and waters of the Slovak Paradise.
- "National Park of Slovenský raj". Slovak Tourist Board. n.d. Retrieved May 25, 2007.
- "Naj v Slovenskom raji (Records of the Slovak Paradise)" (in Slovak). mKs. n.d. Retrieved May 25, 2007.
- "Waterfalls: Slovak Paradise". Slovak Tourist Board. n.d. Retrieved May 25, 2007.
- "Fauna" (in Slovak). mKs. n.d. Retrieved May 25, 2007.
- "Rastlinstvo (Plants)" (in Slovak). Správa Národného parku Slovenský raj. n.d. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved May 25, 2007.
- "Flóra" (in Slovak). mKs. n.d. Retrieved May 25, 2007.
- "Živočístvo (Animals)" (in Slovak). Správa Národného parku Slovenský raj. n.d. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved May 25, 2007.
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