Medvednica mountain that rises north of Zagreb, with its highest peak Sljeme, which is located at 1035 meters above sea level. The Nature Park lies in the western part of Medvednica, on an area of 179.4 km2.
In 1981 the western part of Medvednica was declared a nature park. Within the park there are eight separate forest reserves. Three trees are protected by law as a natural monument: Gupčeva linden in Gornja Stubica, the old yew at Šupljak and old yew near Horvatove stube.
Perhaps at the first glance flora of Medvednica seem monotonous and poor in species, especially considering that most of the content is in the zone of beech forests. But that is not the fact. Flora of Medvednica is very rich, varied and interesting. Even 81% of the territory of the Park is covered in 12 different forest communities, which hide more than 1,200 plant species.
The diversity of plant world of Medvednica is mainly the result of climatic and geological changes that have taken place in the Earth’s history. Medvednica is a transitional area where types of different plant-geographical regions encounter. Also, human activities have created meadows, vineyards, orchards, arable land with natural habitats along the numerous springs and streams, increases the biodiversity with its species.
Previously in the forests of Medvednica lived wolves, lynx and bears for which the mountain, but also a number of its sites, got its name. Despite its proximity to almost a million inhabitants’ city, on Medvednica conditions for the development of an extremely rich and diverse wildlife are preserved. In the Park area are still present wild cat, wild boar, deer, fox, marten, rabbit and others. Especially rich group are bats of which as many as 24 species are recorded. On Medvednica about seventy species of birds are nesting.
It’s a fortune to have near a large urban centre an island of greenery, peace and tranquillity. Mountain Medvednica has always been an integral part of the lives of the people in its surrounding. The first traces of people inhabiting its slopes date from the Neanderthals who were finding their shelter in the cave Veternica, the underground Medvednica beauty. Today Veternica cavern, the longest cavern in northern Croatia, is inhabited by bats, so far recorded even 14 species, and it is also open to visitors.
The Park has ample evidence of coexistence of man and mountain from religious buildings such as the chapel of Our Lady Queen of Croats, castles in Gornja Bistra and Golubovac or two medieval cities – Medvedgrad and Susedgrad.
Because of its exceptional natural beauty and proximity of the capital, it has become a favourite resort of the inhabitants of Zagreb.
Since Medvednica is traditionally exceptionally well visited, in the Park were developed numerous and various facilities for visitors – from educational trails and programs, Info Centres, to major tourist attractions such as the medieval Rudnik Zrinski (mine), cave Veternica, and future new jewels of the Park – Centre for visitors of Medvedgrad.
On Medvednica there are about 70 hiking trails and 9 interconnected circular bike trails. The highest peak of Medvednica, Sljeme is known ski resort, with arranged and well-equipped tourist facilities, which will the World Cup “Snow Queen” takes place, which includes women’s and men’s slalom.
The Nature Park is popular resort place which can be reached by car, public transportation-bus, walking, hiking or by bicycle.
From Zagreb it is only 7 km away, or 20 minutes car ride.