The main features of the eastern part of Croatia – Slavonia – are the lowland plains with great cultivated areas. From these plains, which once were the bottom of the Pannonian sea, mountains are rising to almost one thousand meters above sea level. One of those mountains is Papuk – the most beautiful mountain in Slavonia.
The House of Representatives of the Croatian Parliament
passed the Proclamation of the Nature Park Papuk, on April the 23rd 1999, because of iths extraordinary geological and biological variety and valuable cultural an historical inheritance. The activities of the Nature Park Papuk are directed towards the protection, maintenance and promotion of the core values of the Park´s nature and culture.
The Nature Park Papuk covers the largest part of the mountain Papuk, and partially of Krndija in the general direction northwest – southeast. It covers an area of 336 km2 (33 600 ha), and is administrative situated on the area of two counties, the Požeško-slavonska and the Virovitičko-podravska. The municipalities and cities on the area of the Nature Park Papuk are: Kaptol, Velika, Brestovac and the city Kutjevo (Požeško-slaovnska county), and the municipalities Voćin, Čačinci and the city Orahovica (Virovitičko-podravska county).
The mountains Papuk and Krndija belong to the Slavonian mountain chain with a central position in the Pannonian plain area of Slavonia. Although the Slavonian mountains are not higher than 1000 m, their presence in the landscape is very visible, because the surrounding alluvial plains are on an altitude of 100 m above the sea level, and the slopes of the mountains are only about 100 m above the plains. The mountains are mainly covered with forests, and that is what sets them apart from the surrounding landscape, and makes them the most striking features of the eastern Croatia relief. The original forests are well preserved, and the most valuable forests are those of the Pannonian beech and spruce in the higher regions.
Inside the Park are numerous areas with a higher protection level then other parts of the Park. These areas have been given the status of specially protected areas because of their unusual features, manifesting them as unique on the area, region, State or even beyond. Specially protected areas are: the geological nature monument Rupnica, the Forest Park Jankovac, the special reserve of forest vegetation Sekulinačke planine (Sekulinačke Mountains), the nature monument Dva hrasta (Two Oaks), the nature monument Stanište tise (Yew Habitat), and the special floristic reserve Pliš-Mališćak-Turjak-Lapjak.
The area of the Nature Park represents geological the most various area on this part of the Republik Croatia. Following the European and World initiatives about the protection of valuable geological inheritance, associations like the European Geoparks Network (EGN) and the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) were founded. The Nature Park Papuk became member of these mentioned associations in 2007, as first geological Park from Croatia.