Magical tree roots resembling fabulous forest creatures, ironwood and giant redwood are just a few reasons to spend a few hours of your free time and visit Vrana Park near Sofia. To appreciate the diversity of plant species if you are not a botanist, trust the guides who talk every hour about the secrets of green spaces. The price of the lecture is included in the entrance ticket, which costs 5 leva per adult (approximately 2,5 Euro). There are also family passes and discount tickets available for students and seniors.
The park and its palace and hunting residence were the favorite of the Bulgarian Prince Ferdinand. The ruler had long dreamed of acquiring the property, but his owner Bone Petrov refused to sell his property. In fact, Vasil Levski’s associate managed to obtain the Turkish governor’s mansion from Osman Pasha, buying it for 500 pounds, a colossal amount of his time. Bone Petrov, however, was a gambler, indebted and had to sell the property at a public auction.
Two of the city’s richest bankers, Eshkenazi and Levi, bid for the property. However, for the general surprise, the largest bidder offered the third bidder – court pharmacist of Ferdinand Nikola Stranski. Subsequently, it became clear that the prince was using him to win the race. For the property were paid 56,000 golden leva. The owner changed the property according to his taste gradually and turns it into a huge park with an area of nearly 1000 acres, which is currently.
The name of the park comes from the fact that during its inauguration, a flock of crows landed in front of the celebrators and Prince Ferdinand gave the property the name of the birds – Vrana (Crow in Bulgarian).
The walks invariably start with photos of the giant Chinese glaciers and the lily pond. It, along with the lake of waterfowl, was designed by Hoffman of Austria in the early 20th century. Prince Ferdinand enriched the waters with many exotic plants from China, Japan and Australia. Unfortunately, most of them have not survived to this day.
After that you will hear the history of the bungalow, which is supposed to have been built for recreation near the lake, but is often claimed to be related to Georgi Dimitrov. In the immediate vicinity of the bungalow is the Daalem rock garden, named after the Berlin Botanical Gardens, as it was designed by its then gardener Johan Keller. You will also learn where King Boris’ memorial plaque is, how the park was designed to be seen in three directions by three mountains, how deciduous plants form picture frames of conifers and vice versa.
You will have the chance to learn that the name pine comes from the colour of the resin, not its bark, similar to the name of the black one. Find trees whose trunks are divided into 2.3, and into 9 separate parts without damaging the life of the plants. You will be pleased with a giant redwoods that are babies with their 100 years of age. And if you have a richer imagination, you will see a group of trolls coming to life before your eyes, formed by the outer roots of the trees.
The iron tree and its mottled bark are hidden in the unpaved part of the park, and the path to it is covered with grass, but this does not prevent the adventurers from enjoying the terribly heavy wood, which however floats without problems on the water surfaces. Undoubtedly, everyone will find their favorite plants or just take nice pictures in front of the palace, which for years has been waiting for Sofia residents to visit it when finally will be open for the public.