Geographical description of the region
Devetaki plateau is situated in Northern Bulgaria, at the foot of the Balkan Mountain (Stara planina). The northwestern border of Devetaki plateau is clearly defined - shaped edge over Osam River and on the north it extends all the way to the Danube plain.
Bedrock consists of limestone, and exemplifies almost all types of surface and underground karst manifestations - whirlpools, hollows, karst ponds, ravines and caves. The region has some of the largest caves and cave complexes in Bulgaria. The climate of Devetaki plateau is temperate, with an annual rainfall of 500-600 mm. The territory of the plateau is a part of the National Ecological Network Natura 2000. According to the Law on Biological Diversity and the Birds Directive Devetaki plateau was declared an Important Bird Area with a total area of 7892,91 ha. Rock complexes in the area are habitat for many bird species, some of them rare and endangered.
Resources and attractions
The area of Devetaki Plateau falls in the floristic region at the foot of the Balkan Mountain. The main territory of the plateau is a vast field with numerous karst caves and whirlpools. Plant communities are presented by semi dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (important orchid sites) as well as open calcareous or basophilic grasslands. Forest communities are dominated by Pannonian woods with Quercus petraea and Carpinus betulus, and well as Euro-Siberian steppe woods with Quercus spp. – of priority for conservation. Riparian habitats are of the types of Riparian galleries of Salix alba and Populus alba and Riparian mixed forests of Quercus robur, Ulmus laevis and Fraxinus excelsior.
Of the country's total of 55 species of amphibians and reptiles in the region of Devetaki plateau are found 21 species, 9 amphibians and 12 reptiles. From a conservation perspective, those protected species are valuable as some species of snake, southern crested newt, common pond turtle, Hermann's tortoise, etc. In the region of the plateau are found 82 species of birds, most of which fall under the Biodiversity Act. Here one can see the Corncrake (Crex crex), Common Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, white and black stork, cormorant, a variety of types of woodpeckers and larks, herons, falcons and hawks.
There have been found 34 species of mammals with high conservation status – white breast hedgehog, ground squirrel, otter, badger, in the caves of the plateau live nine species of bats, and of particular interest to hunters are the species of: deer, fox, wolf, wild cat, wild boar. Typical karst area Devetaki plateau is rich in caves, some of which can be visited by non-specialists: the Devetashka cave, Garvanitsa cave near the village of Gorsko Slivovo, Futyova cave and Ladder cave near the village of Karpachevo, Kanchova Varpina near the village of Tepava, Pogriz cave near the village of Brestovo, Lajenska cave near Chavdartsi and many more explored and unexplored underground creations of nature.
Of special interest are Krushuna waterfalls in Maarata spot - scenic views and pleasant walk. For lovers of history is the the archaeological site “Gradat“ (meaning The Forified town) near the village of Kramolin and the village of Agatovo, with the exceptional finds from Thracian and Roman times. And the Kakrina inn museum in the village awakens in every Bulgarian sense of pride at the memory of the great Apostle of freedom. Two kilometres from the village of Brestovo is the highest point of the Devetaki plateau - spectacular sight for tourists and visitors.