Dzhendema Strict Nature Reserve, Bulgaria

Dzhendema (Djendema) Reserve is a part of Central Balkan National Park. The reserve is also a UNESCO biosphere reserve. In 2017, it was added to the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe World Heritage Site. Dzhendema is the largest (42 km2) virgin forest in Bulgaria1, though it is barely continuous, consisting of three main areas that are connected by narrow “necks”. Altitudes reach from 640 m up to 2200 m. Dzhendema has remained untouched due to its difficult accessibility2.

Most of Dzhendema is covered by almost pure European beech (Fagus sylvatica) forest (photo right). The forest is not tall, growing on steep and stony south-facing slopes. In particularly dry and hot sites, beech is not competitive, which results in a relatively high diversity. In the lower part there are also oak (Quercus) forests, e.g. Q. dalechampii.

A few marked trails run through a small portion of Dzhendema. The most famous sight is the tallest waterfall in Bulgaria, Raiskoto Praskalo.



  1. Veen, P. et al. (2010): Virgin forests in Romania and Bulgaria: results of two national inventory projects and their implications for protection. Biodivers Conserv 19:1805–1819.