Pelister National Park

Pelister National Park is the oldest among national parks of Macedonia which obtained this status in 1948. Pelister National Park is located on northern part of the Baba Mountain in the south-western Macedonia, above the eastern shores of the Prespa Lake, and west of Pelagonija plain, only 7 km away from the city of Bitola. Pelister National Park covers 12500 hectares of the mountain slopes of Baba Mountain at the elevation from 700 to 2600 meters. Baba Mountain stretches direction north-south and makes the natural border between the Bitola Field on east and the Resen Field and the Prespa Lake on the west, spreading its southern part into Greece.

There are many mountain peaks in Pelister National Park higher than 2000 meters of which Pelister /2601 meters/ is the highest. Two stunning glacial lakes of the Pelister National Park, the Big and the Small Lake are especially attractive and called the Pelister Mountainous Eyes. The Big Lake of Pelister Mountain-National Park is set at the altitude of 2218 meters which is one of the highest lakes of Macedonia. Vast panorama from Pelister National Park spreads to the Jakupica Mountain in the north, and to the Selecka Planina Mt and Kajmakcalan peak on the east, and to the Prespa Lake, and the Galicica and Jablanica Mountains to the northwest. From Pelister one can observe the Pelagonija Plain and enjoy the colors of the Prespa Lake.

Flora and fauna of Pelister National Park are rich and diverse with lots of endemic plants and wild animals. The most important among the floral species of Pelister National Park is the molika pine /Pinus peuce/, the autochthonous species of the pine from the tertiary age which can live up to 300 years.

The Pelister features great historical trails dating from the First World War, with reconstructed trenches, bridges and cannon positions, which presents the remembrance of the Battle of Monastir in 1917 during the Salonika /Thessaloniki/ Campaign in World War I. Visitors have lecture “in open” about the Pelister as a very important war and battle field during the First World War, especially at the end of 1916 and beginning of 1917, when both sides of the Central Powers and Entente suffered great losses. The local inhabitants have experienced the most immense agonies with up to thousands shells a day, which were fired on the town of Bitola from the positions on Pelister.

The village of Brajchino is situated 6 km from Lake Prespa in a valley of the foot of Baba Mountain, on the edge of Pelister’s National Park and represents the center of ecotourism of Prespa region. This authentic Macedonian village has maintained its traditional character and an intimate link with its surroundings, which emphasized its “eco” label and had made it became part of the tourist map of the world. Brajchino is a mountain village (at an altitude of about 1000 m above sea level) disturbed only by the roaring sound of the local river and by the evening winds rustling through the trees. It features richness of sparkling springs, dewy and green forests, breathtaking mountain peaks, apples grown at the altitude higher than 1000 meters and outstandingly flavorful strawberries matured at the end of summer. Occasionally you may hear a dog barking, a cock crowing or a cow-bell ringing. The village has about 150 inhabitants and 100 houses. Cattle breeding was a main activity in the past, but has been replaced by agriculture, especially fruit growing. Many families from Brajchino, emigrated to Canada, U.S.A, Australia, and the Scandinavian countries in the middle of the 20th century.

Hidden in the foot of Baba Mountain, while freshened by the clear breeze coming from Pelister Mountain from one side and bathed by benefiting Prespa sun, this village of authentic architecture and warm locals /of those who remained here, since majority had left to overseas countries/ is unique and memorable in terms of its location and natural ambiance. Those benefits are recognized by number of tourists from all over the world who come here to learn “the synthesis of men and culture and nature” while enjoying numerous privileges of small and serene community, where hosts take care of visitors as their own family. Direct contact with the local people and their hospitality makes your stay in Brajchino a unique experience. The people of Brajchino still produce a variety of food for themselves or to sell at the market place: garden vegetables; meat and dairy products from their livestock; honey; apples from their orchards; mushrooms, herbs, and berries from the forest; and fish from the river and from Lake Prespa.

Brajchino is a perfect location for combing outdoor activities on the mountain, with the leisure of the lake. The Mountain Nature Trail is the main natural attraction, leading from the village of Brajchino to Golemo Ezero (glacial “Big Lake”). The trail links the Lake Prespa region with the National Park of Pelister and provides breathtaking views, magnificent landscapes and rare species. Hiking time through Pelister National Park takes approximately 5 -7 hours and mountain guides are a must for hikers not familiar with the region. They will also enhance your experience in the mountains with their knowledge of local wildlife which includes bears, wolves, boars, etc. Ursus arctos – the Macedonia’s brown bear population appears to be a key link in the distribution of one of Europe’s largest brown bear populations, the Dinaric-Pindos population. Even earlier the brown bear had prime role e.g. in middle ages it was what lion was in the antiquity, a forest king that got the main mythological pedestal in the local culture.

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