“Tsarichina” – the third largest reserve in the “Central Balkan” National Park covers about 33 sq. km. It is located on the northern slopes of Mount Vejen and it also covers the Bolovandjika watershed. It was declared a biosphere reserve on July 18, 1949, and its goal is to preserve the only Balkan pine habitat in the Balkan Mountains, as well as valuable beech, beech-fir, spruce and spruce-Balkan pine forests and rock habitats. Because of this it is also on record in the Man and Biosphere Program of UNESCO.
The name of the reserve derives form the name of the red aven (Geum coccineum) that locals call “tsarichina”. The plants here number over 600 species, 23 of which are endangered and listed in the IUCN Red List of Bulgaria.
The ridge between Vezhen and Echo is covered by pastures and high mountain meadows. Centuries ago, these territories were deforested by the Karakachan shepherds. Today the forest is gradually regaining its territory.