In accordance with Article 73, paragraph 4 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Macedonia related with Article 5, paragraph 7 of the Law on the Presidium of People’s Assembly of the People’s Republic of Macedonia, the Mavrovo Protected Area was originally proclaimed by the People’s Assembly on its session of April 18, 1949 under the Act of Proclamation which says: “Act for Proclamation of the Forest Area around the Mavrovo Field as National Park” (Official Gazette of the People’s Republic of Macedonia No. 10, from May 05, 1949).
According to this Law, the National Park Mavrovo was proclaimed “on account of outstanding natural beauties, historical and scientific values of the forests and the forest land around Mavrovo Field”.
The boundaries of the park were as follows: on east, from the spot elevation point 1,310 m the boundary line ascents along the summit of the locality Vlainitsa, across the spot elevation 1,329 m it continues over the village of Leunovo and across the Sundenski Rid Hill it reaches the spot elevation 1,983 m on the locality Sandaktash, thence it turns to the south up to the spot elevation 1,955 m, and continues to the spot elevation 1,684 m, thence turns to the west up to the spot elevation 1,767 m, whence under acute angle turns to the north to the locality Krstovi, thence turns again to the west running along the summit of the Kichinski Rid Hill reaches the spot elevation 1,548 m, thence descends to the spot elevation 1,020 m, passes the Mavrovska Reka River and ascends to the spot elevation 1,496 m, thence it continues to ascend on the locality Vrben to the spot elevation 1,743 m, thence along the hill top to the spot elevation 1,794 m, thence 26 turns to the spot elevation 1,740 m, and descends to the road Gostivar Mavrovo, thence follows the road toward Gostivar until the spot elevation 1,310 m.
The area of the National Park Mavrovo was 11.750 ha. Within the boundaries of the Park, the villages: Mavrovo, Leunovo, Nikiforovo, Kichinitsa and Vrben were included.
Reproclamation (1952): On April 03, 1952, the boundaries of the National Park Mavrovo have been significantly increased by adoption of the amendments to the Law on Proclamation of the Forest Area around the Mavrovo Field as National Park (Official Gazette of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia No. 23 from April 23, 1952). With these changes to the Law, the area of the National Park Mavrovo has been increased for six times, i.e. from 11,750 ha to 73,088 ha.
Thirty seven settlements of four local regions (Mavrovo Valley, Gorna Reka, Mala Reka and Dolna Reka) within the new boundaries of the Mavrovo Protected Area have been included.
Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of Article 1, of the Law on Proclamation of the Forest Area around the Mavrovo Field as National Park have been amended and say:
The boundaries of the National Park Mavrovo are as follows: The northern boundary of the Park that goes to the East begins at the spot elevation point 2,015 m on the locality Sherupa at the Yugoslavian-Albanian border, thence along an unnamed stream reaches the spot elevation 1,530 m, thence along the Tsrn Kamen Stream to the spot elevation 1,732 m, thence in straight line ascends to the spot elevation 1,916 m. Thence in straight line, the boundary runs upward to the spot elevation 2,216 m and continues to the trig point (triangulation point) 2,385 m on the locality Rasangul, whence begins the eastern boundary that runs to the south.
From the trig point 2,385 m, the eastern boundary runs southwardly along the ridge of the localities Venets, Tsrn Kamen, Fudan Lera, Morava, Digmovska Tsrkva passing across: the spot elevations 2,088 m and 2,224 m, the trig point 2,197 m, the spot elevations 2,150 m, 2,001 m, 1,794 m and 1,710 m, thence passes beside the police station on the locality Vlaynitsa and reaches the spot elevation 1,310 m, thence in a straight line runs to the trig point 1,320 m, continues across the locality Shundeski Rid Hill and reaches to the trig point 1,983 m at the locality Bandaktash, thence continues to the locality Milisher, where it passes across the spot elevation 1,955 m and across the ridge of the localities Kula, Chuknitapanitsa (spot elevation 1,889 m), Tri Groba (spot elevation 2,020 m) reaches the trig point 2,102 m on the Bistra Mountain, whence begins the southern boundary that runs to the west.
From the trig point 2,102 m, the southern boundary line runs westward to the spot elevation 2,024 m, thence across the localities Yavoritsa (spot elevation 1,832 m) and Nevestinski Grob continues along the ridge of the locality Yama (trig point 1,711 m), thence descends to the road Kichevo-Debar and follows the road in direction to Debar downward to the locality Velaytsa, thence along the Mala Reka River to the Boshkov Most Bridge where it passes the Radika River, whence runs to the locality Emishitsa and across the spot elevations 1,627 m and 2,255 m reaches to the Border Post Deli Iseinitsa (border point 12) on the Yugoslav-Albanian border, thence begins the western boundary of the Park that runs to the north.
The whole western boundary of the Park follows the Yugoslav-Albanian border, beginning from the Border Post Deli Iseinitsa thence runs to the north across the ridges of: Gol Krchin, Bolivar, Inoska, Plocha, Korabska Vrata, Kopi Bar, Kula, Zuberi and Kapi Djanit reaching to the spot elevation 2,015 m on the locality Sherupa.
Within the boundaries of the National Park Mavrovo the following 37 settlements are included: Mavrovo, Leunovo, Nikiforovo, Kichinitsa, Vrben, Bogdevo, Krakornitsa, Brodets, Zhuzhnje, Nichpur, Nistrovo, Bibay, Nivishte, Grekay, Ribnitsa, Tanushe, Vrbyani, Zhirovnitsa, Vidusha, Trebishte, Bitushe, Velebrdo, Rostushe, Adjievtsi, Prisoynitsa, Skudrine, Sushitsa, Lazaropole, Tresonche, Rosoki, Seltse, Janche, Galichnik, Boletin, Sentse, Volkovija and Belichitsa.
Current Status (2011): The external boundaries of Mavrovo Protected Area have remained unchanged since its reproclamation of 1952, encompassing an area of 72,204.1 ha, by contemporary methodology of calculating, i. E. 73,088 ha, by former methodologies of calculating.
After delineation of the State Border with Kosovo, an additional area of 212.7 ha between the current boundary of the Park and the current State Border with Kosovo at the locality Lukovo Pole has appeared, that is not under protection.
Current Zoning of Mavrovo Protected Area.
The current zoning of Mavrovo Protected Area has been prepared within the frames of the Spatial Plan of National Park Mavrovo that dates from the year 1988. The zoning of the Park includes the following zones:
Zones of Strict Protection (4,417 ha):
Lukovo Pole – Adzina Reka Zone (Southern Slopes of the Shar Planina Mountain): encompasses a surface of 300 ha; significant hydrographic, geomorphologic and conspicuous floristic values: peat-bogs, Macedonian Sedge (Carex rigida macedonica).
Korab Zone: surface area 1,953 ha; encompasses the headwaters area of Ribnichka Reka River and the Mahiamada Hill (above the village of Tanushe) with Macedonian Pine (Pinus peuce), Bosnian Pine (Pinus heldreichii), sub-mountain beech forests, Burnet Saxifrage (Pimpinella saxifraga), species rich meadows above the forest line; the canyon above the village of Zhuzhnye on limestone bedrocks with diverse and rich arctic-alpine vegetation and numerous plant communities, including endemic communities; the area between Golema and Mala Korabska Vrata mountain passes with complex of geologic, relief, hydrographic, floral and landscape values, the headwaters of Shtirovitsa River, Dlaboka Reka River and Ribnichka Reka River.
Strezimir Zone: surface area 183 ha; encompasses the Canyon of Gorna Radika (Upper Radika River) with vertical slopes, serrated ridges and sharp top hills; appearance of European Black Pine (Pinus nigra) and Valerian (Centranthus).
Bogdevska Reka River Zone: surface area 28 ha; a rare appearance of Bog bean (Menyanthes trifoliata) with Moore Grass (Sesleria).
Senechka Planina Mountain and Barich Canyon Zone: surface area 1,953 ha; the Canyon Barich and Senechki Karpi Rocks as geomorphologic rarities; area with diverse flora: Foetid Juniper (Juniperus foetidissima), Turkish Hazel (Corylus colurna), Common Walnut (Juglans regia), Moor Grass (Sesleria spp.), Black Pine (Pinus nigra); locality Ostrovo – biological reserve.
The meliorative zone is divided into six forest management units covered by forests and pastures. Eleven sites for scientific investigations of forests within these units were established.
Tourist-Recreational Zone Mavrovsko Ezero Lake
The Mavrovsko Ezero Lake tourist-recreational zone encompasses the areas of: Mavrovi Anovi, Bunetz, Mavrovo ski terrains, Leunovo, Nikiforovo with the ski terrains Sandaktash and Kichinitsa.
Tourist-Recreational Zone Radika
The Upper Radika Area with the localities Rech and Adzina Reka River.
The Lower Radika Area and Mavrovska Reka River with the locality Trnitsa, the Monastery Sveti Jovan Bigorski (St. John the Baptist) and the villages Janche and Galichnik.
Southern Shar Planina Mountain Area with the localities Tsrn Kamen and Bogdevo.
Korab Mountain Area with the villages Tanushe, Ribnitsa, Zhuzhnje, the ski terrains bellow Golem Korab and from Shilovert to Lukovo Pole.
Deshat Mountain Area with the villages Zhirovnitsa and Bitushe.
Tourist-Recreational Zone Bistra
Seltse, Rosoki and Tresonche Area.
Touristic Sites and Landscapes for short visits and excursions
Mala and Golema Korabska Vrata Passes.
Kabash with Rosi Rimnits.
The Canyon Guri Vran on the Dlaboka Reka River.
The Canyon Barich.
The Canyons at mid and lower flow of the Radika River.
Senechki Karpi Rocks.
Shtirovichka Planina Mountain.
The Upper Radika Canyon.
The road network of the Municipality Mavrovo-Rostushe consisted of the Motorway M4 (Skopje-Kichevo-Ohrid) and the Regional Roads: R409 (Mavrovo-Debar-Struga), R413 (a road that encircles the reservoir Mavrovsko Ezero Lake), R414 (Mavrovo-Galichnik), and R415 (Boshkov Most-Lazaropole). Total length of the Local Roads is 185.6 km, which are with various road qualities. All settlements within the boundaries of the Park are connected by local roads, except the village Zhuzhnye.
All settlements of the Municipality Mavrovo-Rostushe are available for electric energy consumption, except the settlement Nivishte. Nevertheless that all settlements are covered by electric power distribution, most of the local communities (61%) are complaining on the electrical substations and the low quality of the electric power.
According to the last population census of the year 2002, in about 67% households of the former Municipality Mavrovi Anovi, and 95.3% households of the former Municipality Rostushe, the water is provided by public utilities. Most of the piped water supplying systems is managing by the Public Communal Enterprise Mavrovo, while the remainders, by Local Self-governments through community endeavours.
The Public Communal Enterprise Mavrovo is in charge for collecting and disposal of communal solid waste from the settlements around the reservoir Mavrovsko Ezero Lake (former Municipality Mavrovi Anovi), while from December, 2008 and from the village Zhirovnitsa too. As an activity that has significantly strengthened the capacity of the Communal Enterprise was the donation of two tractors with dump trailers, and 61 garbage containers from Oxfam-Italia, within the Project Environmental Protection, Economic Development and Promotion of Eco-tourism in the National Park Mavrovo
Local Communities and Populations
The territory of the National Park Mavrovo is inhabited by 8,618 citizens. With average population density of 11.9 inhabitants per km2, the territory of the Park is an area with low population density, especially compared to the national level population density, which is 80 citizens per km2. There are 42 settlements in the Municipality Mavrovo-Rostushe, 37 of which are within the boundaries of the Park. The size of each village is quite distinguished. The total number of houses is 4,776, of which only 1,969 houses or 41, 2% are using as active households, while the remainder are abandoned, or the owners are not residents. Following the 2002 census data, the total number of residents was 8,618 individuals, 4,297 or 49.4% of which were males and 4,323 or 50.6% females.
The analysis of educational structure shows that the largest portion of the local population has an elementary level of education (51.7%), then 33.4% have graduated secondary school and 7.4% has no formal education at all. Unemployment in the municipality is significant and reaches up to 49%. Concerning the religious affiliation, dominating is the Muslim population, represented by 7,506 inhabitants, or about 87%. The analysis of population ethnic structure shows that 50% of the inhabitants are declared as Macedonians, 31% Turks, and 17% as ethnic Albanians.
The total number of hitherto ascertained species of vascular plants for the territory of National Park Mavrovo is encircled to 1,435 species, 404 of which are included in the category of medical plants.
From biogeofraphical point of view, the territory of the National Park Mavrovo, within the frames of the Republic of Macedonia, represents a core area for development of numerous arcto-mountain and boreal plant species.
Besides the high level of species diversity, another striking feature of the flora in the National Park is its high degree of endemism, represented by 13 endemic species, as well as the presence of rare plant species, 29 of which on national level, only on the territory of the National Park Mavrovo have been recorded.
The most striking feature of Biodiversity in the National Park Mavrovo is its high degree of species diversity. Floral and faunal elements with Ponto-Mediterranean (Eastern-Mediterranean) biogeographic origin are dominant, followed by the Complex of species with Boreal (Siberian) and Oreo-Tundral (Arctic-Mountain) origin, of which the Palaeo-Mountain (relict-mountain) sub-complex is more frequent and abundant in comparison with species of the sub-complex with of Arctic (tundral) origin. The Complex of species with Eremial (steppes, semi deserts/deserts) origin is less represented.
The assessment and evaluation of Biodiversity are made on the basis of numerous representative taxonomic groups of flora and fauna that include in total 3,757 taxa (species and subspecies) represented by: 78 algae, 661 fungi, 151 lichens, 1,473 vascular plants, 1,172 invertebrates, 8 fishes, 11 amphibians, 24 reptiles, 129 birds and 50 mammal species.
Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC) provides Legal Protection under Annex II for 20 species (eight species of invertebrates, two species of amphibians, three species of reptiles and seven species of mammals), which means that the species are of community interest whose conservation requires designation of special areas of conservation.
Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC) also provides Strict Legal Protection under Annex IV for additional 45 species (one vascular plant, seven invertebrates, six amphibians, 18 reptiles, and 13 species of mammals).
The Wild Birds Directive-WBD (Directive 2009/147/EC) of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union provides Legal Protection for 19 species of birds (listed in Annex I), through the establishment of a coherent network of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) comprising all the most suitable territories for these species. Seven species listed in Annex I and one species listed in Annex II of the WBD are included in Category VU (Vulnerable) concerning the European Threat Status of birds (ETS). Two species of birds are included in the Category SPEC1 and seven species in the Category SPEC2 in accordance with the European Conservation Status of Birds (SPECs).
The IUCN Red List of Globally Threatened Species (2011) includes five threatened species, all in the Category VU (Vulnerable), of which three species of invertebrates: Astacus astacus, Austropotamobius torrentium and Parnassius apollo; one species of reptiles: Vipera ursinii; and one species of mammals: Dinaromys bogdanovi.
The IUCN European Red List of Butterflies (2010) includes two threatened species, of which the species Phengaris arion is included in the Category EN (Endangered), while the species Euphydryas maturna in the Category VU (Vulnerable).
The IUCN European Red List of Reptiles (2009) includes one threatened species: Vipera ursinii in the Category VU (Vulnerable).
Within the boundaries of the Park, presence of 115 endemic taxa (species and subspecies) has been ascertained, of which: 13 vascular plants, 86 invertebrates, three fishes, three amphibians, five reptiles and 5 mammals. Of the total number of 115 endemic taxa, 58 taxa are local/national endemics, while the remainder 57 taxa are Balkan endemics.
The whole territory of the Protected Area National Park Mavrovo basically is included in the watershed of the Radika River. The mean annual flow of the Radika River for a period of 50 years (1961-2010), at the measurement point Boshkov Most is 19.63 m3/s. The headwaters of the Radika River are not composed of a single spring, but of large number of small mountain streams that spring up at the slopes and the bottom of the cirque Gorni Def-Velin Beg. Officially the headwaters of the Radika River are represented by a small mountain stream that is forming North-eastwardly of the mountain peak Golema Vratsa, at an elevation of 2,260 m. The total length of the Radika River course is 64.7 km, while the total length of all water flows (Radika River and its tributaries) in the Radika River watershed is 763.4 km.
The Radika River Watershed encompasses an area of 879.8 km2. Larger portion of the watershed surface is on the left side of the river (575.3 km2); while significantly smaller portion is on the right side (304.5 km2).
From hydrological point of view, besides the rivers, on the territory of the Park, other hydrological forms are also present, of which as important natural habitat types we shall mention the springs, glacial lakes, temporary pools, as well as the reservoir Mavrovsko Ezero Lake.
One of the most complex hydropower systems (HPS Mavrovo) is located in the Municipality of MavrovoRostushe. The Mavrovo Hydropower System with its three hydropower plants: HPP Vrutok, HPP Raven and HPP Vrben, and with a total capacity of the reservoirs of 277 million m3 is one of the largest and most complex system in the Macedonian Hydropower systems. It accounts for 42% of the total installed hydropower capacity in Macedonia. The Mavrovo Hydropower system is the largest and the most complex system of hydropower plants in the Republic of Macedonia comprising three hydropower plants with 9 turbines in total, the Reservoir Mavrovsko Ezero Lake, 133.3 km of intake tunnels, pipelines and channels, 91 km of which being closed headrace channels, 36 km of tunnels and 6.4 km of high pressure steel siphons and pipelines, as well as 167 km of access roads for maintenance and facility surveillance.
From geological aspect, the basic substrate of the territory of National Park Mavrovo belongs to the Western Macedonian Geotectonic Unit. The bed rocks, which are of various age and mineralogical structure, could be grouped into three geological formations: Paleozoic metamorphic and magmatic rocks; Mesozoic sediment rocks; and Quaternary slates.
Under the influence of tectonic movements, larger morpho-tectonic forms including mountains, valleys, mountain peaks, mountain saddles, tectonic shifts, while under the influence of external forces a variety of geomorphologic forms had been created.
The Korab Mountain Massif rises from the right side of the Radika River valley, i.e. on the Western side of the National Park Mavrovo, in the far western part of Macedonia, along the Macedonian-Albanian border, from the mountain peak Sherupa (2,092 m) in the North, to the mountain peak Rudina (2,238 m) to the South. The Korab Massif is composed of three mountains that are mutually interconnected in direction from North to the South (Korab, Deshat and Krchin).
The Shar Planina Mountain massif rises in the North-east and partly in the Northern part of the Mavrovo National Park. Within the boundaries of the National Park, only the farthermost South-western parts of this massif are included; southward up to the Mavrovo Valley and Mavrovska Reka River, westward up to the Radika River and northwardly to the watershed with Sherupska Reka River.
The Bistra Mountain rises in the East and South-east part of the National Park Mavrovo, to the South from the mountain pass Vlainitsa (1,310 m); through the Mavrovo Valley and Marvrovska Reka to the mountain pass Yama (1,507 m), the Valley of Mala Reka River and the valleys of its tributaries Garska and Yamska Reka River. Westward the Bistra Mountain stretches to the Radika River and eastwardly to the Kichevo Valley.
Altogether, within the boundaries of the National Park Mavrovo, 86 mountain peaks higher than 2,000 m are present, of which on the Mountain Korab 41, on the Mountain Deshat 7, on the Mountain Krchin 7, on the Mountain Bistra 15, and on the Shar Planina Mountain 16. Of the total number, six mountain peaks are higher than 2,500 m, all of them situated on the Mountain Korab. In the National Park Mavrovo, 23 high mountain passes are present, through which the Park with the neighboring areas is connected. Among them, the highest high mountain passes in the Republic of Macedonia are present, like: Golema Korabska Vrata (2,063 m), Mala Korabska Vrata (2,465 m), Deshat (2,020m), and Sveta Nedela/Suva Bara (2,065m).
Of the most significant relief forms created as a result of external forces, we shall mention the river beds with canyons and the underground karst relief forms (caves). In the National Park Mavrovo, within the Radika River watershed, altogether 16 canyons and 42 caves have been recorded.
Due to specific physical-geographic and orographic conditions, related with the altitude, on the territory of the Park, the following types of climate is present:
- 600-900 m: A belt of warm continental climate, with average annual air temperature from 80C to 100C, and annual average sum of precipitations from 800mm to 900 mm.
- 900-1,100 m: A belt of cold continental climate, with average annual air temperature from 70C to 80C, and annual average sum of precipitations from 800mm to 900 mm.
- 1,100-1,300m: A belt of sub-mountain continental climate, with average annual air temperature from 5.50C to 70C, and annual average sum of precipitations from 900mm to 1.250 mm.
- 1,300-1,650m: A belt of mountain continental climate, with average annual air temperature from 3.00C to 5.50C, and annual average sum of precipitations of 1.250 mm.
- 1,650-2,250m: A belt of sub-alpine climate, with average annual air temperature from -1.00C to 30C, and annual average sum of precipitations of 1.250 mm.
- 2,250-2,764m: A belt of alpine climate, with average annual air temperature from -5.00C to -10C, and annual average sum of precipitations of 1.250 mm.
According to the results of the climate scenarios, the average annual rise in temperature on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia will ranges between 1.2°C up to 2025, 2.3°C up to 2050, 3.5°C up to 2075 and 5.1°C up to the year 2100. On the basis of specific emission scenarios for climate change, on the territory of the Protected Area National Park Mavrovo, by the end of 21st century, an increase of precipitations during the winter period is expecting, which could reach up to 6%, while in all other seasons a decrease of rainfalls is projected. The most prominent decrease of rainfalls of -16% is expecting during the summer period.
In the high mountain climate belt on acid parent material (bedrocks), under the influence of mesophilic-acidophilic grass vegetation, by the process of pedogenesis, the hummus silicate soils – rankers have been formed. In the warm continental climate belt, covered by Austrian and Durmast Oak Forests, rendzinas and cinnamon soils are developed. In the cold continental climate belt, under beech forests, distric brown forest soils are present; under beech-fir forests, distric cambisols, while in beech-fir forests under limestone bedrocks, brown soils are present.
The terrain in the Western part of the Country is steep, rough, dissected by developed hydrographic network, in which the processes of linear or deep erosion are dominant. The most erosive area on the territory of National Park Mavrovo is the close watersheds of Ribnichka and Valavicharska Reka River basins. Of the River Watersheds, most erosive are: Golema Reka River and Valavicharska Reka River (Zhirovnichka Reka River and Tairovska Reka River).
Erosion processes with high category of destruction (I and II category), i.e. coefficient of erosion Z > 0.85 are recorded only in the Dolna Reka River region. Erosion processes of Category II are present in the watershed of Ribnichka (Dlaboka) Reka River. The average value of the coefficient of erosion processes for the entire territory of the Protected Area is Z = 0.31, which includes the area in Category IV, i.e. area with low erosion processes. The lowest values of erosion processes (Z = 0.14 до 0.22) are recorded in the watershed of the reservoir Mavrovsko Ezero Lake, while highest value is recorded in the close watersheds of Ribnichka and Valavicharska Reka River basins (Z=0.87).
From biogeographical point of view, the high-mountain belt of the National Park Mavrovo is inhabited by a complex of floristic and faunistic elements of Oreo-Tundral (Arcto-Mountain or Arcto-Alpine) biogeographic origin. The Oreo-Tundral Complex is represented by animal and plant species whose distribution range is restricted to the arctic and sub-arctic region and the high-mountain belt (over the forest belt) of the higher mountains, throughout Central and partly Southern Europe. The Sub-complex of Palaeo-Oreal (Palaeo-Mountain) or Relict – Mountain floristic and faunistic elements, within which are included and the glacial endemic species, is also quite well represented in the high-mountain belt of the National Park Mavrovo.
Notwithstanding the fact that on the territory of the Protected Area National Park Mavrovo, coniferous forests of taiga type (spruce and fir forests) accompanied with birch and aspen trees covers relatively small areas, the Boreal (Siberian) complex of floral and faunal elements is represented by highest level of species richness and population density compared to all other high mountains in the Republic of Macedonia. The Complex of species of Broadleaved Arboreal origin is mostly represented by the Sub-complex of Ponto-Mediterranean (Eastern-Mediterranean) floristic and faunistic elements, which are dominating on National Level, as well as on the territory of the National Park Mavrovo. Within the Park, these species are present mainly on lower altitudes, represented by more sensitive species, while certain Mediterranean species penetrate up to elevations of 1,700 m asl, where only small number of species with wider ecological valence and distribution range are present. The Complex of Eremial Floral and Faunal Elements are mainly consisted of the Sub-Complex of Species whose origin is from the Ponto Caspian Steppes. The distribution of these steppic faunal and floral elements is related with the grassland ecosystems and goes from the lowland grassland areas up to the high-mountain dry grassland ecosystems.
From aspect of aquatic zoogeography, the watershed of the Radika River belongs to the South Adriatic-Ionian Zoogeographic Region, which includes watersheds of the rivers in the South-western part of the Balkan Peninsula, from Montenegro in the North, to Peloponnesus to the South.
The origin of the fauna of Temporary waters is identical with the terrestrial fauna. In the aquatic biotopes on lower altitudes dominating is the Complex of Mediterranean Faunal Elements, while in the numerous temporary/semi temporary pools and ponds, including the glacial lakes on the higher altitudes, the fauna is of various zoogeographic origin, including: Siberian, Steppic, Caucasian, Arcto-Mountain and Palaeo Mountain.
Hitherto, on the territory of the National Park Mavrovo presence of 79 species of algae has been ascertained. The 79 species of algae are classified into eight Phyla, of which the highest number of species belongs to the Phylum Bacillariophyta (diatom algae) represented by 37 species, followed by the representatives of the Phylum Cyanophyta (blue-green algae) with 13 species, the Phylum Charophyta (charophyte algae) represented by 12 species, the Phylum Chlorophyta (green algae) with nine (9) species, the Phylum Heterokontophyta (heterokont algae) with 4 species, the Phylum Dinophyta (fire algae) with 2 species, while each of the phyla Rhodophyta (red algae) and Euglenophyta (Euglenids) are represented by one species. Most of the ascertained species of algae are the first records for the territory of the National Park Mavrovo. Some of them, like the heterocont alga Tribonema intermixtum and the charophyte alga Nitella capillaris are the first records for the whole territory of Macedonia. Both species are recorded in a small aquatic biotope on the locality Toni Voda. The phytoplankton of the reservoir Mavrovsko Ezero Lake shows a dominancy of only four species of algae, all of which are biological indicators for higher levels of eutrophication.
During the field investigations of fungi conducted within the project “Environmental protection, economic development and promotion of sustainable eco-tourism in the National Park Mavrovo”, the total number of fungi species on the territory of the National Park has been encircled to 661 species, of which 558 species belong to the Phylum Basidiomycota (mushrooms, puffballs, stinkhorns), 61 species to the Phylum Ascomycota (Sac fungi), 11 species to the Phylum Myxomycota (slime molds) and one species to the Phylum Zygomycota (zygote fungi). Of the total number of fungi ascertained within the territory of the National Park Mavrovo, 267 species have been recorded in beech forests, 128 species in oak forests, 103 species in fir forests, 63 species in spruce forests, 47 species in various forest communities that are developing along the rivers and streams and 51 species in pine plantations. Outside forested areas, 38 species have been recorded on high mountain pastures, as well as 46 species in meadows and along the forest edges. About 20 species of high-quality edible fungi are frequently present within the territory of the Park, which represents a significant part of biological resources in the Country.
For the territory of National Park Mavrovo, presence of 151 species of lichens has been ascertained. From taxonomic point of view, most of the species (145) are included in the Class Lecanoro-mycetes, while only six (6) species are included in the Class Eurotiomycetes.
The lignicolous lichens are represented by 67 species, recorded on branches and trunks (stems), mostly in beech and oak forest communities. The petricolous lichens are represented by 49 species, recorded on limestone and silicate rocks, 25 species of which are present exclusively on limestone rocks, 10 species exclusively on silicate rocks, while the rest of 14 species are present on both limestone and silicate rocks.
The terricolous lichens are represented by 35 species, which are developing on soil, sand, forest litter and plant debris.
Three species of commercial lichens in large quantities are developing within the territory of the National Park, which represent a significant part of biological resources of the Country. Those are the oak lichen (Evernia prunastri), the trunk lichen (Pseudevernia furfuracea) and the Icelandic lichen (Cetraria islandica). All three species are found in large quantities, in particular in oak and beech forests. The oak and the trunk lichen are lignicolous, growing on branches and trunks of various deciduous and coniferous tree species, while the Icelandic lichen is a terricolous species, developing on soil substrates.
If we take into consideration the fact that the running waters in the National Park Mavrovo are represented by the upper and the middlemost flow of the Radika River and its tributaries, i.e. mountain rivers and streams with rapid flow, low water temperature and high level of oxygen saturation, which are natural habitats for salmonid fishes (trout), than it is not surprisingly the presence of four trout species.
All of the three native species of trout: Balkan Brook Trout (Salmo farioides), Montenegro Trout (Salmo montenegrinus) and Glavatitsa (Salmo dentex) are Western-Balkan endemics, i.e. with distribution range restricted to the East-Adriatic watershed.
AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES
General characteristic of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the National Park Mavrovo is the high level of species diversity. Within the territory of the Park, presence of 11 species of Amphibians has been ascertained, which is 73.3% of the total number of species on National Level, represented by 15 species. Of the Reptiles, 24 species have been ascertained, which is 75% of the total number of Reptiles on National Level, represented by 32 species. Three species of Amphibians, as well as five species of Reptiles are Balkan endemic species.
During the field investigations within the frames of this Project, presence of 129 species of birds has been confirmed, 68 species of which are new records for the ornithofauna of the National Park Mavrovo. The presence of the species Guldenstadt’s Redstart (Phoenicurus erithrogaster) within the territory of the Park is the first record of this species for the ornithofauna of Macedonia.
Of the total number of species recorded for the territory of the Park, 19 species are included on the list of Annex I of the EU Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC). Two species of birds are included in the SPEC1 Category, while another seven species of birds are included in the SPEC2 Category. Concerning the European Threat Status (ETS) of the populations of bird’s species, 32 species of birds recorded in the Park are included into one of the three categories of threatened species (V, R, and D).
The total number of hitherto recorded species of mammals for the territory of the Park is encircled to 50 species, which is 59.5% of the total number of mammal species recorded on National Level, represented by 84 species. Among them, five species of mammals are ascertained as Balkan endemic species. Besides the marked acceleration in environmental degradation on National Level, the Protected Area National Park Mavrovo is outstanding in the degree to which forest ecosystems have survived, even in a modified state, with the largest remaining populations of large mammals: Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), Balkan Lynx (Lynx lynx martinoi), Wolf (Canis lupus) and Balkan Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica).
A large portion of the Protected Area National Park Mavrovo is covered by forest ecosystems, encompassing an area of 33,179.15 ha*, which is 45.82% of the total area of the Park. The analysis of the structure and covering of various forest types has shown that the broadleaved woodlands are dominant, encompassing 70.72% of the total area under forests, followed by mixed forests with 18.90%, scrublands with 9.37%, coniferous forests with 0.96%, and forest plantations with 0.05%.
The mountain ecosystems with 35,604 ha, or 49.17% occupy the largest area of the Park, developing on elevations from 1,800 to 2,764 m asl. The average annual air temperature in this belt ranges from 0°C to -4°C, while the average annual sum of precipitations is 1,250 mm. The aquatic ecosystems encompass an area of 1,704 ha, or 2.35% of the total area of the Park. The reservoir Mavrovsko Ezero Lake encompasses 75% of the total aquatic surface in the Park; 10.3% belong to the planned future reservoir Lukovo Pole; 1.1% to the planned future reservoir Boshkov Most; 13.1% of the aquatic surface is covered by the rivers and streams. Summarized, it is 99.5% of the total aquatic surface of the Park. The remainders 0.5% belong to aquatic surfaces covered by glacial lakes and temporary pools.
The vegetation of the National Park Mavrovo is represented by 41 plant communities, of which: 23 forest communities, three (3) meadow plant communities and 13 communities of high-mountain vegetation.
Forest ecosystems are represented by 25 forest communities, of which: four (4) coastal floodplain forest communities, 15 typical forest communities in the belt of oak and the belt of beech forests, and six (6) forest communities of coppice forests. Meadow plant communities within the territory of the Park are represented by three (3) plant communities, of which two (2) are lowland meadow plant communities and one (1) is mountain to subalpine meadow plant community. Almost 50% of the Park area (356 km2) is covered by high-mountain vegetation. The high-mountain vegetation is composed of 13 clearly defined plant communities. The plant species of high-mountain vegetation are represented by various floral elements, among which, the autochthonous tertiary floral elements are most significant.
In accordance with the natural features and dominant elements, the following four (4) landscape types on the territory of the Park have been ascertained: Riverside, Forest, High-mountain, and Mavrovo Landscape as a separate landscape type. On the basis of their visual and aesthetic features, landscapes of outstanding natural beauty and landscapes of special scenic quality have been identified. Within the category Landscapes of outstanding natural beauty, 12 landscapes are included, while in the category Landscapes of special scenic quality, 11 landscapes are included.
General Information on Cultural Heritage
The significant number of locations, registered on the territory of Mavrovo National Park contributes to the continuous development of an organized way of living. The chronological limits of recorded archaeological locations encompass a period from late classical period until the late medieval period. However, the biggest concentration of archaeological locations belongs to the medieval period and offers valuable data on the quality of life of the medieval population on this territory.
The importance of the archaeological artifacts and the more representative field findings impose the need of creating permanent forms and types of their presentation for the purpose of cultural affirmation of the region. Archaeological heritage, as a basic component of the cultural identity of the region, should be treated as one of the most important segments in planning of future project activities.
The cultural heritage of Mavrovo National Park, which is represented by sacral monuments, reflects the most important dimensions of the local population’s creative contribution in shaping the cultural identity of the area, rich in representative objects and marked with high achievements and realizations of art. The parallel existence of the Christian and Islamic sacral buildings, which suitably contribute to the architectural and artistic traditions cherished throughout the centuries, witnesses about the creative cohabitation of different cultures, united in their creative existence today. Marked with the skill of the craftsmen – builders, and enriched with the magnificent vividness of the decorative components, they are real representatives of specific dimensions and features of the complex cultural identity of the region.
In the line of the oldest sacral objects is the most representative monument of the architectural and artistic heritage of the region, the monastery complex Saint Jovan Bigorski (St. John the Forerunner Bigorski Monastery). Inheriting the religious values of the old location of worship from the 11th century, and built on the foundations of older, medieval buildings, the monastery, which was restored starting from the end of the 18th and in the first decades of the 19th century, represents a compact architectural unity which is a real example of this area’s cultural identity with its building and art qualities.
Also, the church dedicated to the Saint Apostles Peter and Paul in the village of Tresonche deserves a special place, and represents a location of exceptional importance for realizing the traditional values of the regional cultural environment. The basilica with three-nave disposition (mid-19th century), with an additionally built open porch, is extraordinarily related to the morphology of the ground, creating exciting and impressive unity with the picturesque area.
Nonexistence of appropriate marking of sacral objects, which would point the way to their location, is one of the reasons for making it difficult to find them and arrive at particular locations.
Compared to the relatively large concentration of Christian sacral objects, the cultural heritage related to the Islamic monuments shows drastically more reduced range. Unfortunately, in the archive documentation of the Republic Institute for Protection of Monuments of Culture, there is only scarce information about them, which, together with the lack of appropriate research treatment and nonexistence of relevant expert literature, disables their evaluation in the context of general contribution to the Islamic heritage for the region’s cultural image.
Profane Objects and Traditional Architecture
The profane objects include part of the region’s cultural heritage which is significant in its size and important in its meaning. They reflect the specific forms of living from the past and also reflect the complex picture of various factors that have influenced the manner of creating the architectural look of the urban and the rural areas of this territory. The richness of the preserved fund and the specific forms of profane buildings and objects of traditional architecture contribute to the characteristic presentation of the building traditions, cherished during the 19th century.
The structure of the rural settlements which are on the territory of Mavrovo National Park shows various characteristics, originating from the field configuration, the climate features of the region, and the manner or organization of life. In addition, the region mainly has compact and semi-compact rural settlements, while the villages of dispersed type can be rarely seen. The fact that majority of the villages represent mountain settlements, points out the appropriate way of their organization as rural units, with architectural profile defined by the elements of chronological development of construction buildings, whose lower limit can be placed in the first half of the 19th century. Not neglecting the conclusion that the architectural look of the villages in the region has gone through particular changes, still, a certain number of settlements has preserved its original structure, which reflects the functional and esthetic value of the local building specifics. It mostly refers to the villages in the area of Dolna Reka and in the region of Mala Reka, whose architectural features are achievements of the craftsmen from the local builders’ guilds. Located in the picturesque area with dynamic natural qualities, these rural settlements represent exceptional examples of the traditional masonry, characterized with the values of the local cultural matrix.
In this context, we could mention the village of Bitushe, located in the area of Dolna Reka; the village of Rosoki in Mala Reka; the neighboring village of Selce; the village of Tresonche in Mala Reka that offers a slightly different image of the organization of housing units and possesses different and unique urban setting compared to the villages of this region as a mountain settlement of dispersed type; the village of Galichnik which, with its rural structure, represents organic unity of several ensembles – separate neighborhoods, connected in a unique architectural unity with the remarkably fitted architectural look of the old houses, related to the dramatic landscape environment. Among the rural settlements, characterized with an extraordinary vividness of the architectural look, we could mention the villages of Lazaropole, Gari and Janche, perfectly fitting into the authentic mountain landscape.
Traditional Crafts and Skills
The development of crafts, the quality of the craftsmen’s production and the features of the traditional manufacturing are significant part of the cultural existence of Mavrovo National Park, which reflects the local population’s specific way of living and contributes to the maintenance and cherishing the genuine elements of the ethno-cultural stratigraphy of the area. Appearance of certain crafts and development of skills was related to the specific organization of life in different settlements, and has taken place in close correlation with the local characteristics of the region, resulting in extensive picture of craftsmen activities and rich production of traditional forms of local manufacturing. Change in lifestyle conditions, modern life dynamics and introduction of new production means and technologies that simplify and accelerate the process of making, have made a contribution for the large part of registered crafts to be altered, some of which even to disappear completely, and others have been integrated in the manufacturing and industrial production.
It can be concluded that it is a fact that majority of traditional crafts have completely disappeared, and have given their place to the modern industrial production.
Certain continuation can be observed only in the development of particular crafts techniques (cooperage, carpentry, goldsmith or silversmith craft), whose production shows quite a reduced scope and limited product sales.
Regarding the traditional skills, which used to be cherished as specific forms of traditional production, today we can register: weaving, embroidery, carpet making, and woodcarving, which, although “modernized” in terms of the modern materials and raw materials used, have retained the traditional characteristics of making. In that context, the first one that should be mentioned is the making of traditional folk costumes, which show exceptional vividness of the decorative elements and colorful variety.
It can be concluded that the rich fund of authentically preserved folk costume, as well as the representative scope of its continuous production, are a solid base for planning more organized ways for its presentation in form of ethnographic collections of special character, which would popularize this, in many of its characteristics, most representative traditional skill in the municipality.
The possibility of using this skill in the production of souvenirs with the traditional features of the folk costume could be utilized for different kinds of activities in the context of affirmation and popularization of the ethnological heritage, within the organized tourist offer.
Weaving of various types of fabrics, especially wool processing in the traditional way from the past, also represents one of the registered skills, which are still being maintained in the modern rural conditions of the settlements in the region, although in a very reduced scope. The existence of traditional looms, registered in some of the villages of Reka region, still enables production of woolen handiwork of considerable quality, representing constituent part of the interior home decoration.
Adequately planned activities for designing, production and distribution of these products would enable their suitable sale on the wider market and would provide affirmation to part of the traditional production in this region. From the aspect of the possibility for using the traditional skills in the planned activities for development of cultural heritage tourism, the woolen handiworks could become an integral part of the interior design of the accommodation facilities, reflecting the appropriate relationship with the traditional values of the characteristic local environment.
Local Customs and Folk Tradition
One of the components for shaping the general cultural image of the region is the existence, maintenance and treatment of the living heritage, which contains the various segments of the local myths, spoken traditions, ancient legends, rituals, seasonal rites and customs related to wedding and funeral ceremonies and religious holidays. Condensing in itself the extract of the folk beliefs throughout the centuries, these elements reflect the specific “myth” of the local population, embedded in the sociological concept of modern living. Cherishing the living heritage, which commemorates the ancient forms of folk traditions through the contemporary practice of worship, represents one of the important features of the cultural identity of this region, reflecting the various dimensions of its ethno-cultural stratigraphy.
In the existing literature, both expert and popular one, there is a rich fund of information on the folk tradition of the region whose richness and variety have been subject to admiration of travel writers and chroniclers, and have become part of the research of many historians and ethnologists. Originating from the religious music heritage, which in certain areas (Mijak region) it has ancient chronology and reaches the medieval period, the folk existence of this region has developed in several types of traditional singing, whose sounds have been kept as a music tone of the contemporary folk events. Exceptionally inspirational shepherd, wedding, and migrant workers’ songs, love lyric poetry and rite melodies, as well as the instrumental matrix for folk dances, represent valuable relic from the remote past time of folk tradition. However, as a result of the disappearance of the folk groups and fading away of traditional folk events, the characteristic music heritage of the region lives through a more compact form of performance during the period of seasonal rites and days of religious holidays.
The event that could best define the genuine forms of traditional customs in the region, and the devoted care for their continuous maintenance, is the magnificent ritual of the Galichnik Wedding Festival (Galichka svadba), which every year, on the religious holiday St. Peter, takes place as a ceremony of national character.
Revitalization of the events from the old customs and their wider affirmation, as well as reanimation of the rich folk tradition, in the context of more organized forms of presentation, would contribute to permanent preservation of the traditional qualities of the ethnological treasury in particular kinds of cultural presentation in public.