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[11] Kaliakra

Dobrich District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar

Coordinates: 28° 24’ 2’’ E, 43° 24’ 49’’ N — Altitude: 66 m — Area: 4731 ha

Description: The region is situated along the coast of Northeast Bulgaria and is named after the cape bearing the same name. It is near the towns and villages of Balchik, Topola, Bozhurets, Kavarna, Balgarevo, Sveti Nikola, Kamen Bryag, and Tyulenovo. The coastal strip is characterised by vertical rock formations with recesses and caves. The terrain is also characterised by terraces, cut by deep gulches and dry hollows with perpendicular sediment walls, and by a lot of landslides. The best-preserved steppe localities in Bulgaria are found in this region. The high rocky shores, the almost complete absence of sand beaches, and the presence of landslides in the area between Balchik and Kavarna account for the comparatively good preservation of nature up to now. The region has terrace structure with well-represented forests on the lower terraces. The vegetation is dominated by grass phytocenoses with scarce participation of tree and bush species. The forests are low-stemmed, dense, unpassable, composed of Prunus mahaleb, Tilia, Pyrus pyraster, Amygdalus, Carpinus orientalis, Ulmus campestris, Acer, Elaeagnus angustifolia, Crataegus monogyna, Quercus cerris, Quercus pubescens, Fraxinus ornus, Populus. The terraces are vertically separated from one another by steep, somewhere 30—70 metre high perpendicular walls. These silver-white walls, composed of friable sediment rocks, have given the name of this part of the region — Srebristiyat Bryag (the Silver Coast). The terraces above the forests are composed of bush (Amygdaleta nanae, Paliurus spina-christi, Jasminum fruticans, Cotinus coggygria, Colutea arborescens) and grass (Artemisieta albae, Agropyreta pectiniformae, Agropyreta brandsae, Brometa riparii, etc.) steppe and xerothermic formations with participation of Agrimonia eupatoria, Agropyron brandzae, Althaea canabina, Artemisia maritima, Artemisia pontica, Aster oleifolius, Bromus commutatus, Bupleurum affine, Centaurea diffusa, Centaurea sostitialis, Cephalaria leavigata, Cephalaria uralensis, Cichorium intybus, Coronilla elegans, Discurainia sofia, Echinops ritro, Eryngium campestre, Euphorbia seguerana, Falcaria vulgaris, Galium humifusum, Gypsophila glomerata, Kochia scoparia, Lactuca saligna, Linaria genistifolia, Linum angustifolium, Lotus corniculatus, Marrubium vulgare, Melica ciliata, Melilotus albus, Odontites serotina, Ononis spinosa, Origanum vulgare, Peganum harmala, Peucedanum arenarium, Potentilla bornmulleri, Reseda lutea, Satureja coerulea, Scleranthus perennis, Silene otites, Teucrium chamaedrys, Teucrium polium. The region north of cape Kaliakra is a plateau with no presence of terrace-like structures, which are found only on Yaylata. It is only there and in the Rusalka Resort that forests consisting of Quercus virgiliana, Q. pubescens, Acer campestre and in some places of Carpinus orientalis have been preserved. The other parts are covered by bush (Amygdaleta nanae, Paliurus spina-christi, Jasminum fruticans, Cotinus coggygria, Colutea arborescens, Syringa vulgaris) and grass (Artemisieta albae, Agropyreta pectiniformae, Agropyreta brandsae, Brometa riparii, Dichantieta ischaemi, Poaeta bulbosae, etc.) steppe and xerothermic formations with ephemerals.

The flora only on cape Kaliakra comprises more than 450 species. As a whole, the vegetation is very similar to that of the Crimean Peninsula. A great part (116 out of 359) of the grass plants species are steppe-pontian elements. Some grass plants, which are typical for cape Kaliakra, are: Artemisia pedemontana, Asphodeline lutea, Crithmum maritimum, Goniolimon besseranum, Iris pumila, Limonium meyeri, Medicago falcta, Nepeta ucranica, Opopanax bulgaricum, Paeonia tenuifolia, Scandix australis, Stipa lessingiana, Silene caliacrae (local endemic). The inaccessible vertical slopes between the sea and the plateau are real jungles consisting of Cotinus coggygria, Ficus carica, Jasminum fruticans, Pistacia terebinthus, etc. There are considerably large marshes and places grown with Typha latifolia and Phragmites australis in Bolata Dere.

The region around Balchik is studied very well. The first investigations were done by Caradja (1929, 1930, 1931). The main reason for its inclusion is the presence of important populations of 9 of the target species [see a list below], especially Lycaena dispar and Melitaea aurelia.

Target species: Thymelicus acteon, Pyrgus cinarae, Lycaena dispar, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Glaucopsyche alexis, Maculinea arion, Plebejus sephirus, Melitaea trivia, M. aurelia.

Srebristiyat Bryag — walls composed of friable sediment rocks with bush formations (Photo S. Beshkov, July 2005).
Srebristiyat Bryag, walls composed of friable sediment rocks with bush formations

Coastal cliffs of Kaliakra Cape. Habitat of Pseudophilotes vicrama (Photo S. Beshkov, 2005).
Coastal cliffs of Kaliakra Cape

Protection & threats: Part of the territory of Kaliakra is protected. There are two acknowledged reserves: Kaliakra Nature Reserve, comprising the land of Balgarevo Village, and Yailata Archaeological Reserve, comprising the land of Sveti Nikola Village. The natural steppe localities in the region are highly sensitive to human activities because of the shallow soils and vulnerable vegetation. The human presence and grazing lead to ruderalisation and substitution or destruction of the natural vegetation. The most serious threat for the region comes from the already developed megalomanic projects for the construction of windpower parks, resort complexes, and golf field. Some construction activities are already under way. It is the government’s duty before the European community to stop them and not to permit the commencement of new ones.

Other remarks: In 1989 cape Kaliakra was declared an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. In the region of Balchik there have been established 136 bird species, 42 of which were included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria. Because of its European importance for the preservation of rare and endangered habitats, plants and animals, it was declared a CORINE area in 1998. The fauna is very similar to that of the Crimean Peninsula. A number of species, which in Bulgaria are known as montane, have been established here too. The moths on Srebristya Bryag comprise the following taxa: Autophola asiatica argentea, Autophila dilucida argentea, Auchmis detersa argentea, Oncocnemis michaelorum, Caradrina pertinax argentea, Dichagyris melanura albida, Dichagyris renigera argentina, Dichagyris flavina pretiosa, Agrotis obesa nivea, Meganola albula nivalis, etc., which are local endemics. All they (except Dichagyris flavina pretiosa) are silver-white as the rocks themselves. Other interesting and rare species found in the region are: Triodia amasinus dobrogensis, Catopta thrips, Lemonia balcanica, Lasiocampa quercus, Nychiodes waltheri, Eupithecia variostrigata, Sphingonaepiopsis gorgoniades, Hyles gallii, Hyles hippophaes, Pandesma robusta, Clytie syriaca, Panchrysia aurea, Oxicesta geographica, Cryphia ochsi, Cryphia amasina, Acontia titania, Pyrrhia purpurina, Pyrrhia victorina, Eutelia adoratrix, Mycteroplus puniceago, Proxenus lepigone, Chortodes morrisii, Oxytripia orbiculosa noctivolans, Lacanobia praedita, Hadula odontites, Hadena persimilis, Euxoa cos crimaea, Euxoa conspicua, Nola cristatula, Nycteola siculana, etc. For Sphingonaepiopsis gorgoniades, Pandesma robusta, Oxytripia orbiculosa noctivolans and Hadena persimilis the region is the only locality in Bulgaria.

Map of Kaliakra area
Map of Kaliakra area.