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Among Albania’s many natural parks, the Shebenik-Jablanica National Park, located near the city of Librazhd, remains relatively unknown. The main reason behind this obscurity is because entrance to the park was strictly forbidden during Communism. Yet, this has served the park well! Its 34,000 hectares are all covered by untouched and absolutely gorgeous forests, meadows and blooming flowers. Fortunately, this beautiful place is finally open to all!
You’ll find plenty of reasons to visit this park! To begin with, there’s Rrajca Village, now a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site. The entire area is covered by ancient tall beech forests, part of the European Green Belt of beech forests, and is home to the Balkan Lynx, a rare and endangered mountain cat.
Secondly, the sheer variety of mountain ranges and bodies of water is simply astounding! The many mountain ranges within the park include Shebenik Mountain (2,253 m), the park’s namesake, Kallkan Mountain (2,189 m), and Katrafil Peak (1,760 m) among others. Depending on their preference, visitors can partake in various organized hiking and climbing expeditions. Water sources of all kinds as well as 14 glacial and 3 artificial lakes only heighten the spectacular beauty of the park. All these natural elements combine to create stunning reflections and light effects along your hike.
An interesting tidbit about this park is that it hosts approximately 32% of the entire country’s flora. Just imagine the amount of beauty hidden away here! Recent paths, created by tourism experts, make the expansive area very easy to explore. You will particularly enjoy exploring the hermit caves, scattered throughout the park. One cave of particular beauty, as well as artistic and historical value is that of Koshorishti. Inside it, you will have the rare opportunity to see old paintings with biblical motifs created in the span of many centuries.
If you would like to learn more about this wonderful park, you can visit the Shebenik-Jabllanice Outdoor Adventure Facebook Page. You can either participate in one of their organized tours or organize your own.