Date updated: 04/02/2023
Muránska planina is a massif located in the centre of Slovakia, it is a National Park. On its territory there are mountain ranges and surrounding territories.
The total area of the Muranska Planina is 203 square kilometres. And almost the same amount is set aside as a buffer zone. These lands attract tourists from all over the world. Above all for its unique nature. There is a very wide variety of flora in the national park. And some plants, such as the daphne, for example, belong to the endemics. That is, they can be found only in this area and nowhere else in the world. There are over three dozen such endemics in the Muranska Planina National Park.
There are also wild animals in the park. Some of them are dangerous predators - lynx, bear and wolf. Tourists are forbidden to walk outside the marked routes. For those who do decide to venture further afield, it's best to enlist the help of local guides.
History of the Muranska Planina
The land where the Muranska Planina National Park is located dates back to the Mesozoic era. In other words, even dinosaurs walked on them at one time. This is confirmed by various archaeological finds made in the mountains.
In the medieval times, when modern Slovakia was only a small part of the Kingdom of Hungary, the territory was considered protected. There were few settlements there, only solitary scattered villages. The people who lived in them were mainly involved in farming, hunting and fishing. And also served the noble lords, including royalty, who built their suburban residences in Muranska Planina.
After the Second World War, all the land was given to the state. The Mouranska Planina became a protected area. Officially, this status was granted to it in 1976. It meant that any private construction was forbidden on the territory, and all new objects appeared only with the permission of the authorities.
At the end of 1997 the status was upgraded to a national park. This allowed all the unique natural treasures to be taken under protection. The boundaries of the protected area, which covers more than 200 square kilometres, were also finalised at that time.
Climate in Muranska Planina
Slovakia's climate is one of its many pluses. It is not hot in summer and not cold in winter. Therefore the flow of tourists doesn't diminish almost all year round. The rainy season will last for at least a couple of months in the autumn.
This is also true for the central part of Slovakia, which is home to the Muranska Planina National Park. Summer temperatures reach a maximum of 23 degrees. And in winter it does not drop below -2 degrees. All this creates very comfortable conditions for long walks. After all, many tourists go to "Muranska Planina" just for them.
There are also rarely strong winds in the national park. Except maybe high up in the mountains. And if you are going to climb any of the peaks, you should bring some warm clothes. The same applies to those who prefer not to climb up, but to go down into the numerous caves.
The geography of the Muranska Planina
As we have already said, the territory of the Muranska Planina National Park was formed millions of years ago. The local mountains are made up of dolomite and limestone. And the central part of the park is occupied by karst formations. They stretch for 25 km and are almost covered with caves. There are more than 150 of them in the park. But all of them are closed for tourists. Only professional speleologists dare to go down into them and they need a special permit first.
The karst plateau is quite high. Its highest point is Mount Fabova Hola. It reaches a height of 1439 metres above sea level. The lowest part of the park is the area of the Muranka River. It is only 400 metres above sea level.
Flora and fauna
There are about 50 different water bodies in the national park. These include rivers, lakes, waterfalls and so on. They create excellent conditions for the development of the local flora. Indeed, the territory of "Muranska Planina" is literally dotted with dense forests. These are mostly beech and beech-fir forests. And high up in the mountains, spruces are more common.
Botanists have discovered a total of almost 1.5 thousand different plants. And several dozens of endemics - those that grow only in a few places on earth, and sometimes only in one. Among such unique plants in the "Muranska Planina" are Daphne arbuscula and Daphne arbuticum.
The fauna is no less rich. For example, the Muranska Plateau is famous for breeding a special breed of horses. They were obtained after crossing the Nordic and Hutsul breeds. The result is horses which are confident in the mountains. They are small in stature, with very strong legs. Tourists can go for a ride on these horses.
Among the wild animals that inhabit the "Muranska Planina" are the brown bear, the wolf and the lynx. The whole families of otters can often be seen on the banks of the reservoirs. Since there are hundreds of caves in this park, the main dwellers of the underground are bats.
The birdlife in the national park is also quite interesting. You can find interesting and rare specimens among birds. For example, the mountain bunting, saker falcon, lesser spotted eagle, rock owl and rock eagle.
The sights of "Muranska Planina"
The Muranska Planina National Park is visited primarily for hiking in the fresh air. The locals have developed hundreds of different trails that vary in difficulty and length. Some are great for families with children or for senior citizens, while others are suitable only for the physically fit.
The main natural attractions of Muranska Planina:
Fabova hoľa - the highest mountain in the National Park. Its height is 1439 metres. There are several viewing platforms from which you can enjoy a great view of the entire park. It is also the mountain where the daphne, which grows nowhere else in the world, is found. The Rimava River also originates on the mountain.
Bobačka is the largest and most extensive cave system in the park with a total length of 3036 m and a depth of 142 m.
Važecká jaskyňa is another underground cave, which lies 500 m deep. Its interior is decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. There are several spacious halls, which are given quite bizarre names. For example, one hall is called the Bandit Chamber. There is also a small underground lake. The temperature inside the cave is only +7 degrees Celsius, so one should remember to wear warm clothes.
As for historical attractions, the number one spot in the national park are the ruins of the Muráň fortress (Hrad Muráň). It is situated in the southern district at an elevation of 938 metres. It dates back to the 13th century. But it did not manage to survive up to now as a whole. Visitors can see a part of the walls and the large entrance gate. But of course, if one compares the pictures depicting the castle in ancient times and its modern form, there is very little resemblance.