Stara planina mountain
The Stara Planina Mountain belongs to a mountain range, and its main crown extends approximately from Zajecar to the Black Sea, for a distance of about 550 km. Also, in the lower part of the main cornice (about 150 km) it represents the border between Serbia and Bulgaria, a major part (400 km) divides Bulgaria into two parts: north and south. The other name for Stara Planina is Balkan, so actually the whole Balkan Peninsula got its’ name after this mountain.
The highest peaks of the main cornice along the border between Serbia and Bulgaria are: Golemi Kamen (1969m), Dupljak (2032m), Midzor (2169m), Golema cuka (1957m), Vrazja Glava (1935m), Tri cuke (1937m), Kopren (1963m) and Srebrna Glava (1932m). In Serbia, the crown belongs to municipalities Zajecar, Knjazevac, Pirot and Dimitrovgrad. The highest peak on the entire mountain is Botev (2376m) and it is in Bulgaria. From the main cornice there are several secluded parts that go to Serbia. Significant peaks on them are: Babin zub (1758m), Zarkova cuka (1848m), Prilepski vrh (1905m), Tupanar (1955m), Lazarevi jaglaci (1874m), Bratkova strana (1943m), Mramor (1760m) and so on.
Total area of the Stara Planina massif which covers Serbia is 1802 square kilometers.
By the decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in 1997 the nature park "Stara Planina", which occupies 142 000 ha is protected by Law. Nature reserves and natural monuments that make this a nature park in the municipality of Knjazevac are "Draganište", "Golema reka" and "Babin zub". On the territory of the municipality of Pirot, they are "Bratkova strana", "Tri čuke," "Vrazja glava", "Smrce", "Kopren", "Hrast luznjak" and "Crni bor".
On the territory of the Stara Planina Mountain, as well as on the territory of mountain Suva Planina, up to 15 years ago, one of the best cheeses in the world was produced. This cheese is called Staroplaninski cheese or Pirot cheese and represented one of the most important export products in Serbia, and it is interesting to say that in the 60’s , this was the cheese that was mostly used for preparing food in the White House. At the pastures of Stara Planina after the Second World War there were up to 500 000 sheep.
Even though throughout history the Stara Planina mountain represented a natural border between Serbia and Bulgaria, it is interesting that the local population on both sides of the mountain in their colloquial speech use only three cases, which is different from the literary language in both of these states. Also, Stara Planina is known in history as the mountain where no major battled were fought.
The entire river basin Stara Planina belongs to the Black Sea. In Serbia, all the rivers flowing from the Stara Planina in Timok or Nisava. Trgoviški Timok springs directly below Babin Zub, while Nišava’s spring is below the peak Kom (2016m) in Bulgaria. Other major rivers and streams are Toplodolska, Visočica, Dojkinačka reka, Jelovička reka, and Rosomačka reka. These rivers and streams are merged as follows: Rosomačka reka flows into Visočica, Jelovička and Dojkinačka merge and then flow into the Visočica, Toplodolska and Visočica come together and make Temščicu, which then flows into the Nisava. In its lower stream Visočica make Zavojsko jezero. The highest waterfalls in the Stara Planina are Čunguljski vodopad, 42 high, and the Pilj vodopad, 64m high in cascades.
There are very little crossings from one side of the mountain to the other that are in use today. On the territory of Serbia the only crossing is at Vrške Čuke, and sometimes they use the riverbed at Saska Vratarnica, Kadi-Bogaz near the village of Novo Gorito and old caravan crossing of Sv. Nikols, which connects the villages Ravno Bucije in Serbia and Cuprene in Bulgaria.