Kopaonik National Park
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Kopaonik (pronounced [kɔ̌paɔniːk] or [kɔpaɔ̌niːk]; Serbian Cyrillic: Копаоник, Albanian: Kopaoniku, Mali i Kopaonikut); is one of the larger mountain ranges of Serbia. It is located in the central part of Serbia, while a small portion extendeds to North Kosovo. Its highest point, Pančić's Peak, is 2,017 m (6,617 ft) above sea level.
Kopaonik is the major ski resort of Serbia, with total of 25 ski lifts with capacity of 32.000 skiers per hour. A national park spread over 118.1 km2 (45.6 sq mi) of the central part of the Kopaonik plateau was established in 1981..
Kopaonik has a rich historical heritage. The area was an important mining center during medieval times with many[quantify] Saxons operating in the area as miners. During those days there was an intensive trade with Ragusa (Dubrovnik).
Besides old churches and monasteries like Đurđevi stupovi, Studenica monastery, Sopoćani and Gradac Monastery, there are also several early and medieval fortresses that can be found on the heights, built by Serbian dynasties. The nearest Serbian medieval castle is Maglič.
Kopaonik's flora is characterized by a large number of autochthonous plant species (the Balkan beech, fir, spruce, yew, several kinds of maple, pine and oak). The fauna is also diverse but its concentration varies, depending on the quality of the habitat.
Kopaonik's national park was established in 1981. Deciduous forests and native coniferous woodland make up most of the forested land in the park. Kopaonik has many species of birds, such as rock partridge, scops owl, red-backed shrike, and the wood lark. Soil erosion is great threat as there is a lot of logging and deforestation in the park.
The national park is situated on a relatively flat region, at an altitude of about 1,700 m (5,577 ft). This central Kopaonik plateau is called Suvo Rudište. It is surrounded by mountain peaks. To the north and northwest of this plateau stretches Banjski Kopaonik, which is the location of Jošanička Banja spa, whose strong springs' waters reach the temperature of 88 °C (190 °F). Directly below the Suvo Rudište plateau starts the attractive and picturesque valley of the Samokovska River, characterized by its steep run, numerous rapids, falls and gorges.Kopaonik has over 200 sunny days annually and over 160 days covered by snow.
Sports and recreation are key factors to the tourism of Kopaonik. Kopaonik is mainly a destination for skiing and snowboarding. There are various other activities as well, such as tennis. Other features which attract tourists are a luxurious hotel, and entertainment. Kopaonik has many cafes, bars and night clubs.
It has 24 ski lifts, with 70 km (43 mi) of ski slopes for all categories.Curentlly under construction are a gondola,which will connect Brzece and the ski resort; 6 passenger chair lifts and 1 surface lift.
The duration and quality of snowfall and ideal skiing grounds have been attracting a rapidly increasing number of guests. Kopaonik has mild winters with lots of snowfall.
There are on average about 200 sunny days annually with 160 days covered with snow. There is also a music Big Snow Festival from March 23 to March 29 every year. The festival gathers international reggae,jazz and electronic music performers. The ski resort has a Snow Park,for extreme skiers and snowboarders. This mountain range has enormous resources for the development of tourism. The entire park is characterized by its extraordinary natural beauty: vast expanses of grassland, picturesque forests composed of a wide variety of tree species, beauty spots, deep river gorges. The snow blanket lasts a long time on this mountain and in view of its good relief, there are excellent conditions for the further expansion of winter tourism there. The tourist resort on the Kopaonik includes hotels, rest houses, chairlifts, excellent ski slopes, spa's, and many other tourist facilities.
Kopaonik is a meeting place for the Serbian and European elite. Many diplomats and presidents of foreign countries spent their holidays here., The crown prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Novak Djokovic are planning to build hotels and private residences in central Kopaonik.
Kopaonik is well-connected with the main transport routes in Serbia. The central part of Kopaonik with the tourist center and ski slopes are linked with the Ibar highway, and the nearest international airport is in Niš. A public helioport is located in a military base half a mile north of the resort.
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