Vihren (Bulgarian: Вихрен) is the highest peak of Bulgaria's Pirin Mountains. Reaching 2,914 metres (9,560 ft), it is Bulgaria's second and the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus.[2] Although due to the karst topography Vihren is deprived of lakes and streams, a number of Pirin's lakes are located around the peak, as is Europe's southernmost glacial mass, the Snezhnika glacielet.[3] Until 1942 Vihren was known as Eltepe (peak of storms); it was also called Buren (stormy) and Malnienosets (lightning-bringer).[4] The UNESCO World Heritage Site Pirin National Park was originally known as the Vihren National Park.[5] Vihren is included in the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria under No. 2.[6]

Vihren Pirin IMG 0553
Vihren from the north
Highest point
Elevation2,914 m (9,560 ft) [1]
Prominence1,783 m (5,850 ft) [1]
Coordinates41°46′04″N 23°24′03″E / 41.76778°N 23.40083°ECoordinates: 41°46′04″N 23°24′03″E / 41.76778°N 23.40083°E[1]
Vihren is located in Bulgaria
Location in Bulgaria
LocationBlagoevgrad Province, Bulgaria
Parent rangePirin Mountains
Easiest routeHike/scramble from Vihren refuge


Vihren Pirin IMG 8794
A view of Vihren

Vihren is situated in the northern subdivision of Pirin on the mountain's main ridge between the summits of Kutelo (2,908 m) to the north-west and Hvoynati Vrah (2,635 m) to the south-east.[4] It is connected with these two peaks via the saddles of Premkata (2,610 m) to the north and Kabata (2,535 m) to the south.[4] The summit is located between the valleys of the rivers Vlahina reka of the Struma drainage to the west and Banderitsa of the Mesta drainage to the east.[2]

Seen from the town of Bansko, situated at the foothills of Pirin to the north-east of Vihren, the peak looks like a truncated pyramid, and from the south — like а tetrahedral pyramid.[4] The summit is built up marbles[4] and has a karst topography which determines the lack of streams and lakes around Vihren. The closest lakes are the Vlahini Lakes to the south-west.[4] To the north are situated the deep and waterless cirques Golemiya Kazan and Malkiya Kazan, known as the Kazanite (the cauldrons).[4] Below the 450 m-high walls of Vihren facing Golemiya Kazan there is a small glacier called Snezhnika, which is Europe's southernmost glacial mass.[3][7] Its size in summer is 80x90 m.[8]

The average annual minimal temperature varies between –25° and –21°С, while the maximal temperatures are between 15° and 23°С. The mean annual precipitation is 1150 mm; the snow cover reaches depth of 3 m.[6] There is a meteorological station at 1,950 m.[6]


Vihren Peak
Vihren seen above the forests

The wildlife is alpine. The flora of Vihren's slopes consists of herbaceous plants and lichens.[6] Vihren is home to a number of habitats, including alpine and sub-alpine open calcareous grasslands that at inclination of 30–45° at altitude over 2,500 m on the marble bedrock forms phytocenosis dominated by Sesleria korabensis,[9] and alpine and sub-alpine closed calcareous grasslands on very rocky bedrock.[10] With less abundance is the relict plant Carex rupestris; some plant communities have an abundance of Carex kitaibeliana and Sesleria coerulans.[9] There are also Alyssum cuneifolium, Bellardiochloa variegata, Bromus lacmonicus, Cerastium lanatum, Koeleria eriostachya, Onobrychis pindicola, Scutellaria alpina, Sesleria coerulans, etc.[10] Rare or endemic herbaceous plants that grow on the slopes of Vihren are edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum),[11] Pirin poppy (Papaver degenii),[12] Oxytropis urumovii,[13] Alyssum pirinicum,[14] Timmia norvegica,[15] Thymus perinicus,[16] etc.

The fauna includes various bird species, small mammals and abundant populations of chamois.[6]


Vihren Pirin IMG 8898

Vihren is among the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria under No. 2 and stamps to verify the visit can be found in the Museum of Nikola Vaptsarov in Bansko and in Vihren refuge.[6] The summit is part of the initiative of the Bulgarian Tourist Union "Conqueror of the Top Ten Mountain Peaks" to promote mountaineering.[17]

Vihren was first climbed in winter on 9 January 1925 by T.Atanasov, D.Stoykov, V.Baynov and N.Bozhinov.[4] The classical route to climb the peak is from the Vihren refuge (1,950 m) to the south via the Kabata saddle; this route takes three to four hours in summer and is steep reaching denivelation of almost 1,000 m in а short time.[6] Other routes include those from the Banderitsa refuge (1,810 m) or across the knife-edge crest Koncheto from the north. From the Kazanite cirques in the north there is a 400 m-high steep wall which has several tracks from alpine climbing.[4] This wall was first climbed in 1934 by the German alpinists W.Mosel and F.Auer; in winter it was first ascended in 1949 by Al.Belkovski and Vl.Lobodin.[18]

From the top there is a view to almost the whole of northern Pirin, as well as to the mountain ranges of Rila, Rhodope, Maleshevo, Ograzhden, Belasica and Slavyanka.[19]


Vihren Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Vihren.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "List of Ultra Prominent Peaks of Europe". Ultra Prominent Peaks. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b Geographic Dictionary of Bulgaria 1980, p. 112
  3. ^ a b Grunewald 2010, p. 129
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dushkov 1972, p. 42
  5. ^ "History". Official Site of Pirin National Park. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Vihren Peak". Official Site of the Bulgarian Tourist Union. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  7. ^ Geographic Dictionary of Bulgaria 1980, p. 230
  8. ^ Dushkov 1972, p. 80
  9. ^ a b "Alpine and Sub-alpine Open Calcareous Grasslands". Red Book of Bulgaria, Volume III. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Alpine and Sub-alpine Closed Calcareous Grasslands". Red Book of Bulgaria, Volume III. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Leontopodium alpinum". Red Book of Bulgaria, Volume I. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Papaver degenii". Orbel Magazine. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Oxytropis urumovii". Red Book of Bulgaria, Volume I. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Alyssum pirinicum". Red Book of Bulgaria, Volume I. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Timmia norvegica". Red Book of Bulgaria, Volume I. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Thymus perinicus". Red Book of Bulgaria, Volume I. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Top Ten Peaks". Official Site of the Bulgarian Tourist Union. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  18. ^ Dushkov 1972, pp. 42–43
  19. ^ Dushkov 1972, p. 43


  • Мичев (Michev), Николай (Nikolay); Михайлов (Mihaylov), Цветко (Tsvetko); Вапцаров (Vaptsarov), Иван (Ivan); Кираджиев (Kiradzhiev), Светлин (Svetlin) (1980). Географски речник на България [Geographic Dictionary of Bulgaria] (in Bulgarian). София (Sofia): Наука и култура (Nauka i kultura).
  • Душков (Dushkov), Добри (Dobri) (1972). Пирин. Туристически речник [Pirin. Tourist Dictionary] (in Bulgarian). София (Sofia): Наука и култура (Nauka i kultura).
  • Grunewald, Karsten; Jörg Scheithauer (2010). "Europe's southernmost glaciers: response and adaptation to climate change" (PDF). Journal of Glaciology. International Glaciological Society. 56: 129–142. ISSN 0022-1430. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.

External links

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Georgi Krumov Bachev (Bulgarian: Георги Бачев) (born 18 April 1977 in Blagoevgrad) is a Bulgarian former football player and currently manager.

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List of mountains in Bulgaria

Mountains constitute a significant part of Bulgaria and are dominant in the southwest and central parts. Bulgaria's highest mountains are Rila (highest peak Musala, 2925 m; the highest in the Balkans) and Pirin (highest peak Vihren, 2914 m). The large mountain chain of Stara planina (Balkan Mountains) runs west-east across the entire country, bisecting it and giving the name to the entire Balkan peninsula. Other extensive mountains are the massifs Rhodopes and Strandzha in the south.

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Pirin National Park

Pirin National Park (Bulgarian: Национален парк "Пирин"), originally named Vihren National Park, encompasses the larger part of the Pirin Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria, spanning an area of 403.56 km2 (155.82 sq mi). It is one of the three national parks in the country, the others being Rila National Park and Central Balkan National Park. The park was established in 1962 and its territory was expanded several times since then. Pirin National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The altitude varies from 950 m to 2,914 m at Vihren, Bulgaria's second highest summit and the Balkans' third.

The park is situated in Blagoevgrad Province, the nation's south-westernmost region, on the territory of seven municipalities: Bansko, Gotse Delchev, Kresna, Razlog, Sandanski, Simitli and Strumyani. There are no populated places within its territory. Two nature reserves are located within the boundaries of Pirin National Park, Bayuvi Dupki–Dzhindzhiritsa and Yulen. Bayuvi Dupki–Dzhindzhiritsa is among the oldest in Bulgaria, established in 1934 and is included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme. The whole territory is part of the network of nature protection areas of the European Union, Natura 2000.

Pirin is renowned for its 118 glacial lakes, the largest and the deepest of them being Popovo Lake. Many of them are situated in cirques. There are also a few small glaciers, such Snezhnika, located in the deep Golemiya Kazan cirque at the steep northern foot of Vihren, and Banski Suhodol. They are the southernmost glaciers in Europe.

Pirin National Park falls within the Rodope montane mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. Forests cover 57.3% of the parks area and almost 95% of them are coniferous forests. The average age of the forests is 85 years. Bulgaria's oldest tree, Baikushev's pine, is located in the park. With an approximate age of about 1,300 years it is a contemporary of the foundation of the Bulgarian state in 681 AD. The fauna of the Pirin National Park is diverse and includes 45 species of mammals, 159 species of birds, 11 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibia and 6 species of fish.

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Vihren (village)

Vihren is a village in the municipality of Sandanski, in Blagoevgrad Province, Bulgaria.

Vihren refuge

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Vladislav Zlatinov

Vladislav Zlatinov (Bulgarian: Владислав Златинов; born 23 March 1983) is a Bulgarian footballer who plays as a forward who plays for Pirin Blagoevgrad. He is a product of CSKA Sofia's youth system and was the Bulgarian Second Division's top scorer for 2004 with 21 goals.On 10 March 2017, Zlatinov joined Bansko but left the club at the end of the season. In August 2017, Zlatinov joined Gamma Ethniki side Mylopotamos. In January 2018, Zlatinov returned to his hometown club Vihren.In June 2018, Zlatinov made another return to Pirin Blagoevgrad where his brother Petar was appointed as manager.

Zdravko Lazarov

Zdravko Lazarov (Bulgarian: Здравко Лазаров; born 20 February 1976) is a Bulgarian retired professional footballer who is the current manager of Vihren Sandanski.

Lazarov's professional playing career as a winger spanned nearly 30 years, during which he played for 15 different clubs in Bulgaria, Turkey and Russia.

Lazarov was capped 31 times for the Bulgarian national team, scoring 3 times. He appeared in the 2004 UEFA European Championship.

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