BULGARIA’S NATURE: SOME RECORDS
The longest mountain range is Stara planina, known also as the Balkan mountains - 530 km. The whole peninsula is named after it.
The highest mountains are the Rila mountains; their peak Moussala rises to an altitude of 2925 m above sea-level. This is the highest point in the Balkans. The first written evidence of the peak being climbed refers to King Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great.
The vastest lowland in this country, and in the Balkans, is the Upper Thrace (Plovdiv is the metropolis of the region). It is about 180 km long and 50 km wide. Its overall area is 6032 square km.
The largest bay is the Burgas bay at the Black Sea coast. It goes 31 km into the land. At its widest, it measures 41 km, and its deepest point is 25 m.
The largest coastal lake is the Varna Lake covering an area of 18 square km. It is also the deepest - 19 m.
The largest glacial lake is Smradlivoto in the Rila mountains. It covers 21.2 hectares.
The highest glacial lake is Popovoto, in the Pirin mountains, situated at 2715 m above sea -level.
The longest river running across Bulgarian territory alone is the Iskar - 368 km.
The highest waterfall is Raiskoto praskalo /Paradise Sprayer/ - 124 m. It is not far away from Botev peak in the Balkan range. The total number of falls in Bulgaria is nearly 300, 70 of which are state-guarded.
The mightiest Karst spring is Glava panega in the vicinity of Lovech. Its average capacity is 4178 l per second.
The greatest number of mineral springs are to be found in the little town of Velingrad - more than 70.
The only Bulgarian volcano, long ago extinct at that, is Kozhukh (281 m above sea-level). It is not far from the southwestern town of Petrich.
The longest cave is close to the village of Bosnek, in the Vitosha mountain near Sofia - over 15 km. The labyrinths of its galleries have been dug out by six underground rivers. As many as 4000 caves have been investigated and mapped in Bulgaria.
The lowest temperature, measured in an inhabited locality, was registered in the winter of 1947 in the town of Tran, west of Sofia - minus 38.3 degrees centigrade
The highest temperature was measured in the summer of 1916 in Sadovo, near by Plovdiv - plus 45.2 degrees centigrade.
The strongest rain was recorded on 21 August, 1951 in the neighbourhood of the port of Varna, where within only 24 hours there were rainfalls of 342 mm (by way of comparison: the average annual precipitation for the country is 650 mm).
The longest lasting fog occurred in December 1948 in Sofia - 29 days and nights. At that same time, the fogs in Plovdiv and Lom stayed for 28 days. The capital of Bulgaria is also its foggiest city - 33 days annually on the average.
The hottest mineral water is found in the village of Separeva banya near the town of Dupnitza - its temperature is 103,8 degrees centigrade. According to some sources, this is the hottest spring in Europe.
The oldest tree is an oak growing in the village of Granit in the vicinity of Stara Zagora. Its age is estimated at about 1650 years. The crown of this oak-tree covers 1017 square m, the circumference of its trunk is 7,45 m and its height - 23,40 m.
The tallest tree is the 26-metre Baikusheva mura /white fir/ in the Pirin mountains. Its age is about 1300 years.
The tallest cactus grows in the botanical garden of the town of Balchik at the Black Sea coast. The height of this “hedgehog” is 7 m.
The last lion in the Bulgarian lands was killed during the campaign of the Persian king Xerxes (as evidenced by Xenophon).
The last lynx was shot in 1941 in the Rila mountains.
The largest bear in Europe by 1936 fell a victim to man in the neighbourhood of Borovetz, a resort in the Rila mountains. This “record” was recognized at an international hunting exhibition in Berlin.
The last recorded snake bite that led to a human death occurred in 1936.
Bison in the Bulgarian lands disappeared as early as the Middle Ages. In 1961 the reserve near the town of Razgrad acquired 2 couples of wisents and settled them in the Voden forest. Nowadays there are several dozens of bison in different Bulgarian preserves.
The largest amphibian is a turtle which was caught and then set free near the town of Krumovgrad in 1987. It weighed 5 kg, was 35 cm long and of the same height, 29 cm wide and 100-120 years old - i.e. at the age limit of animals of the European fauna. Another turtle of similar dimensions was caught some 80 years ago in the neighbourhood of Kotel, a town in Central Bulgaria.
The rarest animal species is the Black Sea seal of which only 5-6 specimens are left now. They inhabit the caves along the shoreline around the Black Sea capes of Kaliakra and Maslen.
The farthest migration is that of the eels, which live in the Bulgarian rivers, but spawn as far away as the Sargasso Sea, east of Florida, U.S.A.