9.00 Start from the parking behind the Congress Centre of the American University – Blagoevgrad
9.00 – 10.00 – Transfer to Kresna Gorge.
10.00-11.30 Stop point and collection in the Kresna Gorge.
The Kresna Gorge is situated along the Struma River, which passes there between the Pirin, Vlahina and Maleshevska mountains. The gorge starts at the Simitli Kettle and ends at the town of Kresna, going deep into crystalline shists and granites. Tipical for the stop point habitats include: Forests of Grecian juniper (Juniperus excelsa); Xerothermic meadows and pastures of Chrysopogon gryllus, Bothriochloa ischaemum and Festuca valesiaca; Sub-Mediterranean pseudo-steppes with annual herbs; Balkan pseudomaquis; Prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) scrub. Habitat classification is according EUNIS and Red Data Book of the Republic of Bulgaria, Volume 3, Natural habitats (Biserkov et al. (Ed)) More detailed information - in the electronic version at http://e-ecodb.bas.bg/rdb/en/vol3/. Part of the territory of the gorge is under the protection of the Tisata Reserve and its buffer zone. According to the Bern Convention it is declared a CORINE site and will be part of the European Union NATURA 2000 Network. The gorge is of worldwide importance for the conservation of the habitats of the Grecian juniper and the Oriental plane forests. It is also a biological corridor for the migration of large mammals between the mountain ranges of the Balkan Peninsula as well as a very important bird migration route (Via Aristotelis); part of its territory defined as ornithologically important place according to BirdLife International criteria. Regarding the Hemiptera – 419 heteropteran species are reported from the Kresna Gorge. Twelve of the Heteroptera species collected in the region are endemics and for the species: Velia pelagonensis, Phytocoris strimonensis, Dichrooscytus bureschi, Orthotylus bureschi, Orthotylus junipericola balcanicus, Pilophorus dianae, Psallus milenae, Isometopus longirostris and Ischnocoris bureschi Kresna Gorge is type locality.
11.30-12.30 Transfer to Rozhen vill.
12.30 – 14.00 Lunch and wine in a local restaurant and winery.
14.00 – 16.30 Visit of the Rhozhen Monastery and collection in the region.
The Rozhen Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God (Bulgarian: Роженски манастир "Рождество Богородично", Rozhenski manastir "Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno") is the biggest monastery in the Pirin Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria. It is one of the few medieval Bulgarian monasteries well preserved until today.
The typical habitats in the area are: Xerothermic meadows and pastures of Chrysopogon gryllus, Bothriochloa ischaemum and Festuca valesiaca; Pyramids in sand-clay rocks; Sub-Mediterranean pseudo-steppes with annual herbs; Balkan pseudomaquis; Forests of Oriental plantain (Platanus orientalis); Prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) scrub. The region comprises the landmark of the Melnishki Piramidi, declared as a protected area in 1978 for the purpose of preserving the uniqueness of these earth formations. Because of its European importance for the preservation of rare and endangered habitats, plants and animals, the place of Melnishki Piramidi was declared a CORINE area in 1998. In 2005 this territory was declared a place of ornithological importance by BirdLife International. There have been found 113 birds species, 12 of which were included in Red Data Book of Bulgaria. Also, the region is extremely rich in reptiles.
16.30 – 18.00 - In the late afternoon we will continue our trip towards the beautiful town of Melnik – a picturesque historic village.
Two options for arrival in Melnik:
First - transfer by bus from Rozhen Monastery to the centre ot Melnik.
Second – walking from the Rozhen Monastery to Melnik – 1 hour.
18.30 – start from Melnik
19.30- 19.45 – arrival in Blagoevgrad