Nature Park Papuk- Croatian first Unesco Geopark
What were once islands in the long forgotten Panonian Sea are now mountains in the Slavonija valley. One of those mountains is Papuk – the most beautiful mountain in Slavonia. Nature Park Papuk proclamed in 1999. is located on the hillsides of Papuk and Krndija. It is preserved due to its rich cultural and historical heritage, and its geological and biological diversity, best seen in the Park Forest Jankovac and nature monument Rupnica. Papuk has become a part of the European and Global UNESCO Network of Geoparks and the first Geopark in Croatia exactly due to its valuable geological heritage. View from the highest peak which is located at 953 meters above sea level extends over Virovitica- Podravina County to Hungary and over Pozega-Slavonia County all the way to Bosnian Posavina. Idyll of snow cover, green spring attire or foggy dawn can best be experienced from one of many viewpoints on Papuk, such as Točak, Mališćak, Nevoljaš, Petrov vrh….....
Due to the various geologic, microclimatic and terrain conditions, but also because of the variety of soil in the Nature Park Papuk, we can find 13 sorts of forest communities, covering about 96% of the area. These forests provide suitable habitat for numerous animal species. Geomorphological, climate and vegetation characteristics of Papuk Nature Park provide excellent natural habitats for numerous plant and animal species. Almost all representative species of the Central European fauna live here, but 200 years ago this area was also inhabited by bears, wolves and lynx. Today, the lush forests of Papuk provide habitat and refuge to deer, roe deer, wild boars, foxes and martens. Nature Park Papuk offers excellent habitats for numerous bird species and it is a very important international area for birds. The Uviraljka abyss is an important wintering area for bats. Almost 1300 plant species (more than a quarter of the whole Croatian flora) grow in the Nature Park Papuk. The most endangered and protected species of plants grow on grasslands and other non-forest areas.
Geological diversity is one of the most important natural features of the Nature Park Papuk. Apart from the geochronological characteristics, geology of Papuk is characterized by exceptional lithological diversity resulting from igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary processes in the geological past. This interesting geological feature of Papuk is supported with interesting geosites with valuable fossil findings and rare karst areas in this part of the continental Croatia with all the morphological forms such as sinks, caves, sinkholes, etc. The most important geological site of the Nature Park Papuk is Rupnica which is unique in columnar jointing of volcanic rocks. Rupnica was declared the first Croatian geological monument of nature in 1948. Due to its valuable geological heritage Papuk has become a part of the European and Global UNESCO Network of Geoparks and the first Geopark in Croatia in 2007.
A large number of archeological sites and culturally and historically important monuments are located in the area of Nature Park Papuk, which proves that this area was continuously inhabited since the Early Stone Age (the neolithic).
The natural abundance of basic raw resources like water, wood and stone has ensured livable life conditions, while the hilly area provided shelter and food.
A large number of medieval fortresses signify the importance of the Papuk area, especially in the time of the Turkish threat. Most of them are from the 13th century.
Apart from being historical monuments, these "old towns" are also an inseparable component of the landscape. There are 7 of them on Papuk.
The most beautiful and well preserved "old town" is Ružica, located near Orahovica. It is a valuable example of gothic and renaissance art in this part of Croatia.
Miles of hiking and equestrian trails, two sports climbing rocks, many educational trails and a paraglide runway. With these facilities Papuk offers great possibilities for recreation and is a perfect place for active holiday throughout the year. A day or a weekend in Papuk Nature Park can be spend whether you want adventure, walking, cycling, entertainment and visit to numerous events, or just enjoying the beautiful nature.
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