In the back of the capital Zagreb, at more than a thousand meters above sea level, stretches the mountain Medvednica. The mountain is a favorite escape from the hectic city life for many Zagreb residents and is one of the few examples where such a protected area as a nature park borders a city of millions like Zagreb. Through the park you can directly enter the city and vice versa.
Despite its name, today there are no more bears that live on the mountain, but it testifies to the large population of bears that once lived there. In the past, the animal world was much more diverse, which can be seen by the names of the surrounding villages such as Medvedski breg, Vučji dol or Risovo polje. In addition to bears, wolves, lynxes, deer, black grouse and otters also lived there, and today it is home not only to small animals and rodents, but also to large ungulates such as deer and wild boar, and smaller beasts such as wild cats, foxes, martens and weasels can be found. Bats are especially important inhabitants of Medvednica - there are 24 species in the park, 7 of which are on the list of Natura 2000 species. Home to many of them is the cave Veternica, where remains of giant deer and cave bear were found, latter being especially revered by Neanderthal hunters of the Musterian culture.
Apart from the diverse fauna, Medvednica also has a very rich flora. The foothills are covered with sessile oak and hornbeam forests, and above 800 meters high there are Pannonian beech and fir forests. The park is home to 91 strictly protected plant species, one of which is yew. There is a specimen more than a thousand years old at the Krumpirište site. There is a popular belief that yew has great powers, and in the popular Harry Potter series, the magic wand of the powerful wizard Voldemort is made of yew wood.
The medieval fortress of Medvedgrad has been watching over Zagreb for the last more than 800 years. At an altitude of 593 meters it offers an incredible view of the Croatian capital.
Medvednica is permeated with hiking trails and interesting hiking points of interest and sights. The most famous trails are Leustekova, Bikčevićeva and Omladinska which lead visitors from the foothills to the top (Sljeme). Among the interesting sights we can mention Šumar's grave (the place where forester Albin Leustek wanted to be buried), Tiger's eye, Adolfovac, Horvat's stairs, Zrinski mine, French mines and many others.
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