Biogradska Gora ( Montenegro )

Biogradska Gora is a forest and a national park in Montenegro within Kolašin municipality. It is the site of one of the last three rainforests in Europe. The landscape is one of mountain ridges, glacial lakes, and temperate forest.

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Biogradska Gora is located in the mountainous region of Bjelasica in the central part of Montenegro between the rivers Tara and Lim, and is surrounded by three municipalities: Kolašin, Berane and Mojkovac. It is the most northeasterly of the five national parks in Montenegro.

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Kokino ( Macedonia )

Kokino

Kokino is a Bronze Age archaeological site in the Republic of Macedonia, approximately 30 km from the town of Kumanovo, and about 6 km from the Serbian border, in the Staro Nagoričane municipality.

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It is situated between about 1010 and 1030 m above sea level on the Tatićev Kamen summit and covers an area of about 90 by 50 meters, overlooking the eponymous hamlet of Kokino.

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Mirusha Park (Kosovo)

Mirusha Park

Mirusha is a regional park located in the central part of Kosovo on the eastern side of the Metohija plain.The area has been put under protection in 1975 as a special nature reserve, with an area of 190.21.55 ha by a decision of municipality of Rahovec and Klina.

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Photo by Ben Njeri – Wikipedia

Features

Mirusha park is most famous for its canyon in which flows the river Mirusha that creates series of karst lakes and waterfalls arranged one after another in cascades.

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Santorini (Greece)

Santorini

Santorini is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera.

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It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2011 census population of 15,550.
The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2 (34.990 sq mi).[2] Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.

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Mljet (Croatia)

Mljet

Mljet is the most southerly and easterly of the larger Adriatic islands of the Dalmatia region of Croatia. The National Park includes the western part of the island, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero, Soline Bay and a sea belt 500 m wide from the most prominent cape of Mljet covering an area of 54 km2.

Mljet is also well known for it’s two salted lakes – Veliko and Malo Jezero that are located at the north end of the island.

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Mljet is the first larger island one come upon while sailing the Croatian Adriatic from the direction from south to north. It is Croatia’s greenest island with its Mediterranean vegetation, clear and clean sea, gentle sandy shoreline and a wealth of underwater sea life.

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Belogradchik Fortress (Bulgaria)

Belogradchik Fortress in Bulgaria

The Belogradchik Fortress ,also known as Kaleto (Калето, “the fortress” from Turkish kale), is an ancient fortress located on the north slopes of the Balkan Mountains, close to the northwestern Bulgarian town of Belogradchik,and is the town’s primary cultural and historical tourist attraction, drawing, together with the Belogradchik Rocks, the main flow of tourists into the region.

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It is one of the best-preserved strongholds in Bulgaria and a cultural monument of national importance.

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Old Bridge – Mostar

Old Bridge in Mostar

Mostar is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina . Inhabited by 105,797 people, it is the most important city in the Herzegovina region, its cultural capital, and the center of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation .
Formerly one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, and today suffering geographical division of ethnic groups. The city was the most heavily bombed of any Bosnian city during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the breakup of Yugoslavia.

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At the beginning of the war, air strikes destroyed many important buildings and structures, including the cultural and spiritual icon: The Old Bridge (Stari Most).

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Albanian Alps (Prokletije)

Albanian Alps (Prokletije)

Prokletije is a mountain range on the western Balkan peninsula, extending from northern Albania to Kosovo and eastern Montenegro. Its peak in Albania, Maja Jezercë at 2,694 m (8,839 ft), is the highest point, and the 7th highest peak in Albania.

The Valbona River Valley lies in the eastern part of the Albanian Alps.

A national park of 8,000 hectares, it is one of the most beautiful natural areas in Albania. The park lies about 22 km from the alpine city of Bajram Curri. Before entering the valley there is the spring (vrellen) of Shoshan, located only 3 km away from Bajram Curri.

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This spring rushes through limestone fissures on its way to the Valbona River creating an attractive canyon, 2-3 m wide and 50 m deep. After entering the valley, there are several picturesque villages.

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Nature and natural resources

Nature and natural resources

Most of the area is covered by mountain ranges running from the northwest to southeast. The main ranges are the Balkan mountains, running from the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria to its border with Serbia, the Rhodope mountains in southern Bulgaria and northern Greece, the Dinaric Alps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro, the Šar massif which spreads from Albania to Macedonia, and the Pindus range, spanning from southern Albania into central Greece and the Albanian Alps.

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*Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Meteora, Greece

The highest mountain of the region is Rila in Bulgaria, with Musala at 2925 m, Mount Olympus in Greece, the throne of Zeus, being second at 2917 m and Vihren in Bulgaria being the third at 2914 m. The karst field or polje is a common feature of the landscape.

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Politics and economy in the Balkans

Politics and economy in the Balkans

Currently all of the states are republics, but until World War II all except Turkey were monarchies. Most of the republics are parliamentary, excluding Romania and Bosnia which are semi-presidential.

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All the states have open market economies, most of which are in the upper-middle income range ($4,000 – $12,000 p.c.), however, Greece has high income economies (over $12,000 p.c.), and is also classified with very high HDI in contrast to the remaining states which are classified with high HDI.

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