Rila National Park - Bulgarian wonderland stimulates local economy

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The largest national park in all of Bulgaria, the biologically diverse Rila National Park is nestled in one of the highest regions of the magnificent Rila Mountains

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If rare species of wildlife or significant historic sites strike your fancy, Rila National Park is for you. Rila is a derivation of the word roula, which to the natives means "much water." 

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Rila National park is aptly named, with 120 lakes, many of which began around the Ice Age. Additionally, this Bulgarian outdoor recreation haven boasts several dozen mountain peaks 6000 or more feet high, and countless caves and waterfalls. From its many precipices, visitors can take in the park's natural beauty and the day to day lives of its nearly 60 different species of animals

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The park offers four nature reserves, whose 40,000-acre total makes up one fifth of the Rila National Park's entire land. Of these four Reserves - Parangalitsa, Central Riva, Skakavitsa and Ibar - nearly all are forestland. Each has its own special draw, however. 

At Parangalitsa, for example, visitors can view some of the oldest spruce trees in Europe, while the much-younger Central Rila Reserve offers a terrain of jagged rocks and cornices reminiscent of the rough Alpine mountains

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This 18-year-old Rila National Park is sure to appeal to those who love the outdoors, and marvel at the history of earth's fauna and wildlife. Nor are recreation and history the only lures for visitors. The giant outdoor playground also provides water and jobs to residents of nearby communities. Half of the adults who live nearby wander through the park regularly, picking wild fruit and plants with medicinal properties, to sell. 

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