The National Park of the Slovak Paradise
The Slovak Paradise is a unique carst mountain situated in the Eastern Slovakia. The area of 19 763 hectares (+ 13 011 hectares of the protected zone) consists of plains, deep gorges, canyons, and many carst forms such as sink holes, reefs, rock towers, formations and caves.
The most famous cave of the Slovak Paradise is Dobšisnká Ice Cave, that belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage. You can find the biggest cave system Stratená jaskyňa here as well.
The National Park Slovak Paradise spreads over the couple of Slovak districts: Spišská Nová Ves, Poprad, Rožňava and Brezno. The very first attempts to make this area protected are known from the 1920s. The first sign of the success was the prohibition of timber logging in 1931, also considered as the first official legislative step towards the protection of the Slovak Paradise. The Slovak Paradise was declared to be the first preserved area in 1964. Later in 1988, January 18th, the Slovak Paradise was declared to be the National Park.
Fauna and flora in the Slovak Paradise
The area is appreciated for its rare natural wealth concentration. It’s a pride of the Western Carpathian vegetation. You will find over 1 000 of types of embryophytes there, 120 types of bryophytes, 300 types of fungus and 80 types of lichens. Unfortunately, there’s already a couple of endangered species such as Iris Aphylla, Ligularia Sibirica, Daphne Cneorum. 92% of the National Park area is covered by trees. Most of them are Abieto-Fagetum, mostly beech, spruce, fir, maple. Pines can be found on steep limestone reefs. If you are lucky, you can find a rare English Yew in the Prielom Hornádu Canyon or in one of the gorges. The vegetation in the Paradise is very rich indeed. You can find Asarum Europaeum, Galium Odoratum as well as some endangered species here, such as Lilium Martagon and Cypripedium Calceolus. Cortusa Matthioli and Soldanella Carpatica are tend to grow in gorges. Warm limestone slopes are a home for thermophilic species such as Pulsatilla Slavica – a symbol of the Slovak Paradise, and Iris Aphylla. The butterflies (2 162 species at the moment) represent more than a half of fauna species, Parnassius Apollo is one of the significant ones. Approximately 160 species of fauna are particularly protected animals in the Slovak Paradise area. The Golden eagle and Eurasian otter are critically endangered species as well as the lesser spotted eagle, Western capercaillie and Northern crested newt. Mountain predators are also endangered. For instance the Eurasian lynx, Grey wolf and Brown bear. There are many hogs, deer, foxes and rabbits living in the Paradise as well. Chamoises is a special, very rare animal in the Paradise, and it was artificially released to the Paradise in 1963. Different species of bats live in the Paradise’s caves.
The best of the Slovak Paradise:
- The highest point: Predná hoľa: 1545 m.
- The lowest point: Hornád’s water level near by Smižanská Maša: 470 m.
- The biggest reservation: the National Nature Reserve Kyseľ (949,97 hectares) together with Sokolia Valley.
- The longest gorge: Big Solok – length: 4,5 km long, depth: 300 m, more than 50 caves.
- The longest canyon: Prielom Hornádu: 11,7 km long from the Throat of Hornád through Podlesok pri Hrabušiciach to the Smižanská Maša bridge, the canyon is famous for the richest vegetation diversity (460 flora species).
- The highest waterfall: Veil Waterfall in Sokolia Valley: higher than 70 m.
- Dobšisnká Ice Cave was discovered in 1870 by Eugen Ruffínyi and his team and that is actually the time (the second half of the 19th century), when the tourism in the South of the Slovak Paradise began to develop.
- The initial pathways in the South of the Slovak Paradise will take you to the Dobšinká Ice Cave and Občasný prameň (Occasional Spring). The tourism in the North of the Slovak Paradise came alive by building the Košicko-Bohumínska railway in 1889. The first tourist centre was built in 1889 at Tomášovsky View. The initial pathways were built on the way to Kláštorno, Glac and right bank of the Hornád River.
- In 1898, Róth M., Filarzsky N., Karoliny M got through the Veľký Sokol (Big Falcon) for the first time.
- The territorial division of the Slovak Paradise National Park
- 11 national natural reservations Kyseľ, Piecky, Sokol, Suchá Belá, Prielom Hornádu, Tri kopce, Holý kameň, Hnilecká jelšina, Stratená, Vernárska tiesňava, Zejmarská gorge
- 9 nature reservations: Čingovské Hradisko, Kocúrová, Malé Zajfy, Ostrá skala, Vyšná Roveň, Barbolica, Mokrá, Muráň, Havrania skala
- 4 natural monuments: Hranovnícke pleso, Čertova diera (Devil’s Hole), Medvedia jaskyňa, Občasný kameň (Occasional Spring)
- 1 protected area: Knola
- 1 national natural monument: Dobšisnká Ice Cave.
The Administration of the Slovak Paradise National Park – the National Nature Preservation of the Slovak Republic
The Administration of the Slovak Paradise National Park headquartered in Spišská Nová Ves is an organizational institution of The National Nature Preservation of the Slovak. The institution is in charge of the mapping and the protection of nature of the Slovak Paradise National Park. The institution publishes scientific publications, organizes educational activities and, last but not least, it develops the sustainable tourism within the area of the National Park. The National Park has been actively cooperating with the Regional Tourism Organization of the Slovak Paradise and Spiš since 2017. More information about the activities and service can be found at www.npslovenskyraj.sk.