Tatra National Park
Tatra National Park formally established in 1954; a little earlier (1947) the so called “Tatra Park” was established here. The Park protects 21164 ha, of which around 50% is strictly protected. In 1992 UNESCO recognized Tatra National Parks – of Poland and Slovakia as “TATRA” trans-border preserve of Biosphere.
Tatra National Park comprises the whole area of Polish Tatras. They have characteristic diversified sculpture of the earth’s surface (drop – 1700 meters) which is composed of sharp mountain peaks (Rysy 2499 meters) post-glacial hollows (e.g. the hollow of Czarny Staw), numerous lakes called ponds (e.g. Morskie Oko with the surface of 34 ha) and caves (the deepest one – Wielka Sniezna – over 780 meters). The Tatras are situated in the well-head area of the Dunajec, they are full of marshy grounds, streams and brookes creating picturesque waterfalls (e.g. “The Mickiewicz Waterfalls”)
The flora has the layer arrangement and differentiation: fir-beech forests in the lower prealps (to 1250 meters), spruce forests in the upper prealps (to 1550 meters), the layer of dwarf mountain pine (to 1800 meters), the layer of dwarf mountain pine (to 1800 meters), the alpine layer (to 2300 meters) and the peak layer. The Tatras are the main centre of endemism, alpine and mountain species are respresented in great number (250 species); there are 85 species of vascular plants which are natural monuments (e.g. the alpine edelweiss Leontopodium alpinum).
The peculiar animal species are: the chamois Rupicapra rupicapra, the marmot Marmota marmota and the bear Ursus arctos. Among the birds nesting here there are two worth mentioning: the golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and the falcon Falco peregrinus. There are almost 700 species of cockchafers and over 300 species of butterflies, e.g. the Apollo butterfly Parnassius apollo.
There are numerous monuments of culture in the Park: the remains of old mining and metallurgy, wayside shrines, sheds, shepherds’ and sport-tourist devices.