Piatra Craiului (Rock of the King) Massif was declared as natural reserve on 28 of March 1938 (Official Journal no. 645). The Ministry Council took this decision "due to the unique character of the massif, where rare species like: Dianthus callizonus, Hesperis nivea, Minuartia transilvanica, Leontopodium alpinum are living, and also because of landscape beauty".
In 1938, when the natural reserve was set up, it was only on 440 ha. This surface increased in 1972, at 900 ha, nowadays the special conservation area (core area) covers 4879ha, and the buffer zone stretches on 9894 ha. In 1952(the year when the first forest management plan was set up in the Piatra Craiului area) around 17.2% from the entire massif surface was designated for conservation purposes. In 1990 Piatra Craiului is declared national park trough Ministry of Agriculture Order no 7 along with other 12 national and natural parks in Romania.
The entire Piatra Craiului National Park (PCNP) is located in the Meridional Carpathians, and it also includes parts of the neighboring mountain passes Rucăr-Bran and Rucăr-Zărneşti. The Piatra Craiului National Park stretches over the counties of Braşov and Argeş, including areas belonging to the towns of Zărneşti, Moeciu (Măgura and Peştera villages), Bran, Rucăr and Dâmbovicioara. The PCNP area is located between the coordinates of 450 22’ 1.73" and 450 34’ 49.55" North latitude and 250 08’ 51.61" and 250 21’ 57.21" East longitude. The entire park area is 14773 ha, 7806 ha being located in the Braşov County and 6967 ha in the Argeş County.
The Piatra Craiului mountains form a narrow and saw-like ridge, which is about 25 km long. The highest elevation in the massif is the "La Om" Peak with 2238 m. The ridge is regarded as one of the most beautiful sights in the Carpathians. The two-day north–south ridge trail is both challenging and rewarding. Starting at either Plaiul Foii in the north-west or Curmătura in the north-east, walkers climb up to the ridge before following a somewhat precarious path along the narrow spine. The descent at the southern end leads into a karst landscape of deep gorges and pitted slopes where water penetrating the rock has carved a series of caves.
In the national park area about 300 fungi species, 220 lichen species, 100 different mosses, 1170 species of superior plants (a third of the number of all plant species found in Romania), 50 Carpathians endemic species and also two endemic species for Piatra Craiului can be found. There are also 2 endemic species of spiders, 270 butterflies species, amphibians and reptiles, 111 birds species (50 listed in the Bern Convention and 6 in the Bonn Convention), 17 bats species, chamois and other large herbivores and also many large carnivores (wolves, brown bears, lynx) living in the national park.
Infos and photos from Parcul Naţional Piatra Craiului and Wikipedia.
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