Sochinsky National Park - Diversity in Landscapes, Plants and Animals

Sochi is a popular vacation destination and one of its greatest attractions is the remarkable Sochinsky National Park. Beautifully situated amongst the Great Caucasus Mountain Range, a meeting point of mountain terrain and subtropical landscapes, Sochinsky National Park boasts a diversity of plants and animals. Sochinsky ensures the preservation of the regions biodiversity whilst providing visitors with access to this lovely natural zone.

Sochinsky National Park was established in May 1983 as the Soviet Union's first. The Russian park has been separated into three zones namely a strictly protected area of about 71 700 ha, a protected area of 42 500 ha and a regulated area of 77 100 ha. Some 80 000 patrons make their way across the 48 trails traversing the park's terrain. There are a number of great attractions in the park, from caves to mineral springs and archaeological sites.

Sochinsky National Park has a diverse landscape creating a great habitat for plants and animals alike. The southeastern area is dominated by high mountains which drop quickly to sea-level in the northwest. Mt. Aibga stands at a height of 2 396m, a glorious sight to see. The mountain ranges of Sochinsky are marked by moraines, hanging valleys are cirques. Rivers and streams flow throughout the park many dotted with lovely waterfalls. Caves, sinkholes and underground rivers have formed over the years, with the largest cave named Vorontsov's Cave creating a complete underground network. Due to the varied terrain of Russia's Sochinsky National Park the climate differs greatly. Summers tend to be extremely hot whilst winters seldom have below freezing temperatures.

Some 95% of the Russian national park is deciduous mountain forest featuring subtropical characteristics. Vegetation belts within the park change throughout as altitude and climate differs. Low lying areas see humid mixed forests with tree species such as oaks and maples dominating. Beech forests take over between 800m and 1500m above sea-level. These slowly mix with dwarf forests which then lead to sub-alpine and alpine meadows. These meadows in Sochinsky are home to 819 plant species. Sochinsky National Park encompasses a variety of rare and unique plants such as trout-lily, peony, orchids and turkscap lily.

Sochinsky provides a fantastic habitat for many animals, several of which are endemic to Caucasus. In the alpine meadows you will discover European red deer, chamois and Caucasian tur. The forests are home to roe deer, wolves, foxes, badgers, hares and lynxes. Autumn sees brown bears in the forests, seeking sustenance for winter hibernation. Bird watchers can look out for some of the park's 126 bird species such as osprey, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, firecrests, bearded vultures and short-toed tree-creepers. Keep your eyes peeled for the Sochinsky Park's 17 reptile species including the Caucasian viper, Greek tortoise, whip snakes and European legless lizards.

Over and above the natural wonders of the Sochinsky National Park in Russia, there are also 114 cultural and historical monuments. Ancient dwellings, burial sites, medieval shrines and fortress ruins have been found. Sochinsky National Park truly provides visitors with a magnificent wildlife adventure, a chance to get in touch with nature and history.

 



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