Slavyanka/Orvilos Mountain

View of the magnificent Ali Botush. © Deyan Vasilev

Names in the national language

Slavyanka (Bulgaria)

Orvilos (Greece)


Location and short description

Slavyanka/Orvilos Mountain is the southernmost extension of the Pirin Mountain range, situated on the border of southwestern Bulgaria and Greece. In Bulgaria, the mountain is formerly known as Ali Botush. The special climate in the area is formed by a combination of mediterranean and continental influences. The high altitudes of up above to 1,400 m contribute to humid or sub humid zones with rough or mild winters.


Special features

The highest peak of “Gotsev Vrah” lays at 2,212 m of altitude. The mountain massif is dome-shaped and has very steep ridges. Slavyanka/Orvilos has a pronounced karst character, which is reflected into over 30 caves, attracting many speleologists. Perhaps there is no other Bulgarian mountain, except probably Strandzha, with so high plant diversity as Slavyanka/Orvilos. The mountain is still largely pristine due to the dense vegetation and lack of road network access. The Biosphere Reserve "Ali Botush" was declared a reserve to preserve the largest Bosnian or Snakeskin Pine forest (Pinus leucodermis) on the Balkan peninsula. Some of the trees in the reserve are more than 400 years old. More than 1,700 vascular plants have been reported for the mountain, including three endemic species: Sedum zollikoferi, Pastinaca argyrophylla and Crepis schachtii.


Main biotop types

Forests of Scots pine, Bosnian pine and beech, extensive meadows



  • Mammals: Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Grey wolf (Canis lupus), Wild cat (Felis silvestris), Golden jackal (Canis aureus)
  • Reptiles: European cat snake (Telescopus fallax), Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca), Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni)
  • Plants: Alpine bladder fern (Cystopteris alpine), Bulgarian fir (Abies borisi regis),Daphne kosanini


Status of protection

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Alibotush (Bulgaria)

Natura 2000 site (Greece)

Slavyanka/Orvilos Mountain

Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (Bulgaria)
Email: bbf(at)

Email: info(at)

Rhodope Mountain Range National Park (Greece)

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