Papuk Nature Park

Photo owner Goranpavic – Link

Papuk Nature Park is located in the mountainous forest areas of Papuk, and was declared a nature park on April 23, 1999.
In 2007, due to its valuable geological heritage, Papuk became part of the European and world association of geoparks and became the first geopark in Croatia — Geopark Papuk.

The main feature of the eastern part of Croatia – Slavonia – are lowland plains with large cultivated areas. From that plain, which was once the bottom of the Pannonian Sea, mountains rise almost a thousand meters above sea level. One of these mountains is Papuk – the most beautiful mountain in Slavonia.

The geomorphological, climatic and vegetation characteristics of the Papuk Nature Park provide excellent natural habitats for numerous plant and animal species. Forest vegetation covers more than 96% of the area. The dominant tree species is beech. Almost all representatives of the Central European fauna live here, but 200 years ago this area was also inhabited by bears, wolves and lynxes. Today, the dense forests of Papuk are a habitat and refuge for deer, roe deer, wild boars, foxes and martens… Papuk also provides excellent habitats for many species of birds and is an internationally important area for birds. Ponor Uviraljka is an important wintering ground for bats. Almost 1,300 species of plants (more than a quarter of the entire Croatian flora) grow on Papuk. The most endangered and protected species of plants grow on grasslands and other non-forest areas.

Photo owner Gpavic – Link

Specially protected areas
Within the Papuk Nature Park there are numerous areas that have a higher degree of protection than other parts of the park. They received the status of specially protected areas due to their unusual features that manifest them as unique in the area, region, country or even beyond.

  • Jankovac – due to its exceptional natural beauty, Jankovac was declared a protected forest park in 1955. On Jankovac, the “Count’s Educational Trail” was built, which passes through the most beautiful parts of Park Šume.
    Rupnica – near the town of Voćin in the northwestern part of the Park, there is a unique geological monument of nature, Rupnica. Rupnica was declared the first geological natural monument in Croatia in 1948.
    Sekulinačka planina – about 150 years old beech and fir forest was protected in 1966 as a special reserve of forest vegetation on an area of 8 hectares.
    Old oaks – old oaks were protected as a natural monument in 2005. The height of the trees is about 33 m, and they are about 420 and 500 years old.
    Yew habitat – the yew habitat was protected as a nature monument in 2005. on an area of 0.72 hectares. In the past, Papuk was rich in yew forest, which is confirmed by numerous toponyms (Tisovac, Tisica, Tisov potok).
    Pliš-Mališćak-Turjak-Lapjak – Special floristic reserve named after the four neighboring hills on which it is located.

Photo owner Gpavic – Link

Cultural and historical heritage

On the territory of the Papuk Nature Park there is a large number of archaeological sites and monuments of cultural and historical heritage that indicate the continuity of the settlement of this area since the time of the Younger Stone Age (Neolithic). The natural wealth of basic raw materials such as water, wood and stone ensured favorable living conditions, while the hilly area provided shelter and food. Archaeological remains from the Early Iron Age (750 – 300 BC), collected at the world-famous site near Kaptol, are certainly the most important elements of the archaeological heritage within the Papuk Nature Park. A large number of medieval fortifications, most of which date from the 13th century, testify to the importance of the Papuk area, especially at the time of the advancing Turkish threat. Those ˝old towns˝, of which there are seven on Papuk, besides being historical monuments, are an inseparable component of the landscape. Not far from Orahovica is the most beautiful and well-preserved old town – Ružica, a valuable example of Gothic and Renaissance art in this part of Croatia.

Photo owner Gpavic – Link

Urbanized people’s needs for original and preserved nature are increasing, and trips to nature are one of the best ways to get away from everyday life. Numerous hiking trails allow visitors to walk through picturesque nature that is attractive and different in every season. In summer, excursionists can refresh themselves in the pools with thermal water in Velika and Orahovicko jezera, favorite picnic spots of the inhabitants of Slavonia. Although there are no organized ski areas on Papuk, fans of snow and winter sports can enjoy skiing, sledding or just walking. The Sokoline climbing area, with organized routes, enables sport climbing, and the rock is ideal for training and acquiring basic climbing skills. There are 104 kilometers of marked bicycle paths in the area of Papuk. If you find yourself in the Nature Park near Velika, be sure to take a walk along the educational trail Lapjak, where you will gain basic knowledge about the peculiarities of Papuk with the help of educational boards, and from there you can also go to the top of Pliš, where there is a paragliding airfield, from which you can descend by air, with with an exhilarating dose of adrenaline in the blood. The second is an educational trail in the area of Jankovac, where there is also a mountain lodge that offers accommodation and refreshments to visitors. For organized groups, the Public Institution Nature Park Papuk offers professional guidance in order to get to know the natural and cultural-historical heritage of Papuk, and for children of school age several programs of schools in nature.

Spending a day or weekend in the Papuk Nature Park means getting out into nature, and whatever your interests are: adventure, walking, cycling, fun or just love of nature, we are sure you will find something for you. Wherever you go and whatever you do, please respect nature. Staying in nature does not mean that garbage and waste are left behind, because garbage and waste have no place in nature. The words “leave no trace behind” mean that all waste left behind should be taken out of the Park.

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The text was taken and translated into English from the Croatian Wikipedia – Link