Croatian Nature park Medvednica is located above the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb. The forests of Medvednica stretch almost to the very centre of Zagreb, and are rich with a variety of animal life. There are many interesting things found in the Medvednica forest. One eager to explore can travel over many forest paths (accommodated for disabled), see the Veternica cave, the mine Zrinski from the middle ages, the Sljemenska chapel, 500 Horvat stairs etc.
The tallest peak on Medvednica is Sljeme with its height of 1,033 meters above sea level. There, you can go skiing on many ski tracks and every year FIS Ski World Cup Snow Queen Trophy is held there.
The plant life in Croatian Nature park Medvednicais very abundant. In most part it is consisted of thick forests (there are even 12 forest populations depending on the height they are located on). One of the few are Sessile oak, Common hornbeam, Castanea sativa, beech, sycamore etc. There are 91 protected species recorded (yew, Carniolam lily, Golden lily, orchids of Medvednica etc.). At Krumpirište there is a yew tree that is over 1,000 years old.
The mountain got the name Medvednica to preserve the memory of bears (medvjedi) that once lived there. Some time ago, animals like bobcat, wolf, deer, black cock and otter also lived on the mountain. Today, some animals that inhabit these parts are foxes, roes, small rodents (rabbits, mice…), wild boar and a wild cat. The most interesting animals that live there are certainly the bats with 24 known species. They can be found in caves, abandoned mines and other holes. All of the bat species are protected. In the Veternica cave, 18 species were reported.
The forests of Croatian Nature park Medvednica are also rich with bird life: To name a few, many predatory birds can be found (buzzard, hawk, kestrel and digger). There are a lot of singing birds as well (finch, robin…). Near the streams there lives a small bird by the name of White-throated dipper, that never leaves its home near the water. Of coldblooded animal there are frogs, salamanders, snakes (especially Horned viper). Medvednica is also rich with bug life and its meadows are beautifully decorated with a variety of the most beautiful butterfly species.
There are many mountain type springs and streams that travel through Medvednica and are rich with fish life.
In the Nature park Medvednica you definitely have to visit:
Fortress Medvedgrad – built in 1254 after the Tatar invasion, was deserted in 1590 after an earthquake, today it is rebuilt and under the south tower is a memorial for all the fallen Croatian heroes
Fortress Susedgrad – built in the 13th century, famous for the battle that happened right below its walls during the Peasant Revolt
The Veternica cave – more than 7 kilometers labyrinth like halls, 6th biggest cave in Croatia, a habitat for bats
The mine Zrinski – opened in 16th century, renovated for visitors in 2004
In the nature park Medvednica there are around 70 mountain paths with different lengths and difficulty. There are also bicycle paths. All of these paths are marked so no one can get lost.
Educational paths – forest paths Bliznec, geological educational track Miroslavec, 500 Horvat stairs, educational track Bistra, Slani stream (Salty stream).
The Croatian Nature park Medvednica has a couple of mountain lodges: Glavica, Grafičar,Grofica, Lipa, mountain lodge Lojzekov izvor, Kameni svati, Mala Hunjka, Puntijarka, Risnjak, Runolist, Vugrovec, Dom crvenog križa.
There are also two hotels: Tomislavov dom, apartman Snježna kraljica.
The interesting places that also need to be visited are Gorsko zrcalo (smooth and dark limestone rock, over 30 meters tall, a favourite training ground for mountain climbers, waterfall Sopot (9 meters high) and the Kameni Svatovi (dolomite rocks from which stretches the most beautiful view of Hrvatsko zagorje).
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