Nature park Žumberak, Nature park Žumberak, Nature park Žumberak
Nature park Žumberak consists of Samobor highlands and southern Žumberak highlands. Its surface is 350 square kilometres and it is located near Zagreb (the capital city of Croatia) and near smaller towns like Samobor, Jastrebarsko and Karlovac. Žumberak highlands are higher, makes the natural boarder with Slovenia, while Samobor highlands are lower with the highest peak being Japetić with its 880 meters.
The eastern part of the Nature park Žumberak is unique due to its steep and deeply etched valleys with its many streams that run through them and because of its wooden ridges where small villages are located. The central part of the park consists of valleys, hills and fields. Most of the village communities can be found there. The south-east part of the park is densely populated with vineyards. The west part of the park is the least populated because it mainly consists of forests.
Vegetation is forest and grassland. Forests being mainly those of Beech and Oak, while meadows and pasture lands are mostly man-made.
The park’s flora is full of rare and protected plant species such as Balkan daphne, Mouse thorn, Green-winged orchid, Holly, Croation carnation and many others. On the park’s location about 377 species of mushrooms have been recorded. Also, over 168 species of moss have also been recorded in the same location.
The fauna of Žumberak highlands is rich as well. Small mammals can be found, as well as birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and others. Though rare, even large predators can sometimes be seen in the area (bear and wolf). Many species of birds can be found here, the most famous being the Hawk. As part of the fauna, the Dinara karst has a big role. Meaning that in its caves and holes a lot of unexplored invertebrates live as well as many species of bats (our most endangered species of mammals).
Considering that these parts were inhabited since prehistoric days, there are a lot of archaeological remains. The park can be seen through different educational trails.
Places to visit in the park:
- Archaeological park in Budnjak, educational trail 4,2 kilometres long
- Old town Okić, medieval old town near Samobor, well preserved
- Old town Žumberak, in 13th century was the main point of dukes of Carinthia’s lands
- The wall, near village Žumberak, in from of him criminals were executed in Carinthia times
- Hole Jazovka, a karst hole where a mass grave was discovered with victims of
- Mills, today there are only few where once was
- ETNO house under Okić, authentic
- The monastery of the Basilian sisters, Village Sošice, with rich ethnographic collection
- Žumberak uskoks museum, Stojidraga, an etnographic
- Village Cernik, most well-kept village in the park with many traditional houses
- Chapel of saint Petka, Budinjak, near today’s Roman Catholic chapel in Budinjak unfortunately taken down in 1841.
- The chapel of saint Lovro, Mrzlo fields, an early Romanesque chapel, foundations preserved
- Canyon Slapnica, two beautiful waterfalls Brisalo and Vranjački, length of the canyon is 10 kilometres
- Sopot waterfall, part of the upper stream of river Kupčina that falls 40 meters down, near an old mill
- Sveta Gera, the highest point of Žumberak highlands where the chapel of saint Ilije is located
In the park, it is possible to go hiking (347 kilometres long trails), ride a bicycle (a lot of trails), go paragliding, caving, free climbing over Okić, horse riding (organized by the horse club, one day trips or more through fields) and on the Kamenica trail (Plešivica highlands) a 100 year old tradition of a sledding competition is held.
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