Galicica National Park

Galicica National Park

The Mountain range of Galicica was created by tectonic shifts in the Paleozoic period (cca 300 millions years ago) and is rising up right between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. The geological substrate of metamorphic silicates covered with massive spongy limestone characterize the geology of the Mountain. Relatively low mountain ranges to Southwest Albania and the communication of air masses from North to South allow penetration of warm sea currents allowing the influence of the Mediterranean climate. The large amount of water in both Lakes naturally store the heat of the day and lower the temperature difference between day and night, thus creating a moderate – continental climate. This unique interaction of geology, morphology and climatic conditions resulted in establishing an ecosystem with high biological diversity. Over a thousand plant species can be found in this unique climate, 14 of which are endemic only to this mountain. Four floral endemic species are relicts from the Pliocene epoch (cca 5 millions years ago): Morina persica, Stipa mayeri, Ramonda nathaliae, Phelipaea boissieri.

There is an abundance of life on the mountain. During the spring and the summer season over 160 species of butterflies flutter around the mountain. The total population of vertebrates numbers 171 species and are fully recorded and studied.The Mountain is also a sanctuary for 124 species of birds, 19 mammals, 18 reptiles and 10 amphibians. But yet, the true trademark and the spirit of the mountain is the Lynx (Lynx martioni) – Balkan Lynx. This magnificent and elusive animal is indigenous to Macedonia and its population varies between 30 to 35 individuals. Since their number is quite small, mainly resulting from activities of man, a special program to protect and recover the population of the Balkan Lynx has been implemented since 2006.

The park covers an area of 25 000 ha, of which 985 ha are strictly protected zones, making it a place of universal and national significance. The island of Golem Grad, at Lake Prespa has great zoological significance since it is a sanctuary and a nesting place for a huge amount of endangered birds such as the White Heron, cormorant, pelican and the Alpine Swift. The highest peaks of the mountain like Magaro summit, are sanctuaries for the Golden Eagle, the white headed vulture and the grey falcon while the marshes near the village of Stenye (Lake Prespa) is an ecosystem which holds prehistoric life dating back to the tertiary period.

Galicica National Park is a natural treasure of inestimable value. The park is a haven for naturalists and zoologists from all over the world, but also for all lovers of nature and its wonders. Worth mentioning are the 400 km of well marked hiking and biking trails, as well as places for takeoff and landing for lovers of paragliding. The mountain offers excellent conditions for Nordic skiing in winter and a place where speleologists can explore the largest cave on the Mountain, Samatska Dupka.

Remember, if you find yourself passing by it, do not miss visiting it!