Sunset at Kriva Palanka, Osogovo Mountain. © Fatih Kaya
View of the Osogovo Mountain. © Macedonian Ecological Society
View of the Ruen Peak. © CC BY-SA 3.0

Name in the national language

Osogovoski Planini (Bulgaria, North Macedonia)


Location and short description

Osogovo Mountain is located at the border of Bulgaria and North Macedonia. About 2/3 of the mountain lies in North Macedonia and the rest in Bulgaria. The geographical location of Osogovo is another factor that influences the diversity of the natural habitats. The mountain falls within the climate transition between the continental and mediterranean climatic influence. This combination of diverse factors determines the uniqueness of Osogovo and its natural habitats. Over 20 natural habitat types according the EU Habitats Directive are preserved in the area. Typical for the mountain is that the dry forests and pastures can be found mainly on the southern slopes located in Macedonia, while the hygrophilous vegetation is typical for the northern slopes located in Bulgaria. The mountain is characterized by prevailing beech forest vegetation, coniferous forests, deep valleys, and small rocky complexes.


Special features

The highest mountain peaks in Osogovo are Ruen (2,251 m) and Choveka (1,334 m). A cave known by the name “The big cavе (Golyamata peshtera)” is located in the southeastern lower parts in the Bulgarian side of the mountain in the vicinity of the village of Iliya and covers an area of 0.5 ha (length 54 m; height from 3 to 20 m). Evidence of human presence in the cave date back to the chalcolithic period. Among the specific forms of relief in Osogovo Mountains are cirques at 1,850-2,000 m above sea level – e.g. a large cirque north of Tsarev Vrv (Bulgaria) and several smaller east of Kitka Ridge (North Macedonia). Interesting glacial moraines and by-river screes are found in Osogovo. There are several waterfalls worth mentioning, such as the ones on the rivers of Orizarska and Durachka (North Macedonian) as well as on the tributaries of Struma River (Bulgaria).


Main biotop types

Dry oak forests, beech forests, subalpine grass communities and shrubs and alpine grass communities



  • Mammals: Grey wolf (Canis lupus), Carpathian lynx (Lynx lynx carpathicus), Brown bear (Usrsus arctos)
  • Birds: Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Black stork (Ciconia nigra), Long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus), Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo)
  • Amphibia: Alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris)


Status of protection

Natura 2000 sites, Strict Nature Reserves, Natural monuments (Bulgaria)

Protected Area, Proposed Emerald site (North Macedonia)

Important Plant Area, Important Bird Area, Prime Butterfly Area (Bulgaria and North Macedonia)


Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (Bulgaria)
Website: https://biodiversity.bg
Email: bbf(at)biodiversity.bg 

Macedonian Ecological Society (North Macedonia)
Website: https://mes.org.mk
Email: contact@mes.org.mk


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