Natural Park Golden Sands
The park lies 17km. north of Varna, near the Golden Sands resort. It was created in 1943 and covers an area of 1320 ha. According to the IUCN the park is V-th category protected area.
The forests of the park go along the sea coast, surround the Golden Sands resort and in the south touch the forests of the town of Varna.
The relief is hilly, terraced and sliding. Vertical rocks mark the boundary between the sliding areas and the plateau. From these vertical rocks to the sea there are steep ridges. Some of them are: Aladja monastery – Gorno germe, Chiplak tepe – Golden Sands, and Kaleto – Bialata stena.
In the southern part of the park there are natural swampy areas (marshlands). They never dry up, even during the hottest summer months because of the underground waters that provide the marshlands with water. The average altitude is 110m, and the highest point in the park is 269.3 m above the sea level.
On the territory of the park there are 5 tourists routes with different difficulty and duration. The routes pass through old fountains, places for rest, and places that disclose fantastic panorama of the sea.
The administration of the Natural park offers numerous services, such as experienced guides for the routes, educational programs, alternative tourism, and organization of green schools.
The flora of the Natural park “Golden Sands” includes about 500 species of higher plants. Among them the rare plants and those threaten with extinction (21 species) are of the greatest significance.
Trees and bushes occupy 90% of the territory of the park and contribute to its unique landscape. Mixed broad-leaved forests are the prevalent type and oriental Hornbeam, Turkey Oak and Hungarian Oak are the dominant species. There are also silver lime trees, flowering ash, horn beams, maple and others. There are also species of longoz plants – field ash tree, cerris (oak), white poplar, alder tree and others. From the herbaceous species there are horse-tail, orchid, lily of the valley and many others. There are also rare species such as thin veined wormwood and flat-leafed mayweed, as well as species under protection and threatened with extinction such as winter snowdrop, Caucasian primrose, orchid and many others.
In the Natural park live 2 species of amphibian, 8 species of reptiles, 78 species of birds, and 25 species of mammals. There is a rich diversity of reptiles. Among them under protection are grass snake, tortoises and others. The most typical are the blackbirds, thrushes, titmouse, woodpeckers, jays, buzzards and others. From the birds of prey there are buzzards, big hawk, awls, forest owlet and etc.
The mammals are represented by the foes, deer, wild boar, squirrel, hare and etc.
There is a diversity of insects in the park. The most attractive are the stag-beetle, and the butterfly red admiral and others.
The cultural heritage of the park includes monuments from Ancient times and the Medieval period. In the territory of the Natural park Golden Sands there are lots of historical monuments situated: Aladja Monastery – a medieval rock monastery (13 – 14 century), proclaimed a National monument of culture in 1957, Katakombite (“The Catacombs”), located 800 meters southwest of Aladja Monastery - a group of caves situated at 3 different levels, a basilica and an ancient fortress dating back to 4 – 7 century in the place of Kaleto, and remnants of Slavonic settlement in the place of Kozgun cheshma.
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