The territory of the region is located at the boundary-lines of West Carpathians, East Carpathians and Pannonian area. The nature of Upper Šariš is rich and diverse. The territory falls within the area of Low Beskydy Mountains.
The whole territory is lying in the mild temperature zone, in the areas of mild continental climate, warm and cold and with average annual air temperature of 6 to 8°C (43 - 46°F). Average annual precipitation is ranging from 700 to 800mm (27.5 to 31.5inches). The annual number of days with snow cover is 80 to 100 days. Maxim snow cover in the northern part is of 80cm (31.50inches). For the rest of the territory it is 40cm (15.7inches).
The greater territory surrounding the city of Svidník is drained by the river Ondava that begins in Ondava Highlands by the village of Ondavka. Its major tributaries are Ladomírka, Chotčianka, Vojtovec and Brusnička. Drains are smallest in winter months and maximum since April till May. Water reservoir called Great Domaša can be found on the river of Ondava.
The territory of the region boasts of riches such as mineral springs. Altogether there are 89 mineral springs registered in the districts of Bardejov, Svidník and Stropkov. The most famous mineral springs can be found at Bardejov Spas. Six out of the eight mineral springs spring right from the central part of spa parks. The water of individual springs named “The Main”, “Medical”, “Hercules”, “Elisabeth”, “Klara”, “Napoleon”, “Anna” and “Alexander” varies in its chemical composition that gives it therapeutic value and allows us using them for various healing effects.
In the past there also used to be spas at the village of Cigeľka. The mineral spring of salty iodoboron mineral water can be found there. The mineral water of Cigeľka is being bottled.
The system of mineral springs also occurs at the village of Šarišský Štiavnik. The most important spring called “Juice” (Šťava) with the flow rate of Q=25l/s can be found at the former child sanatorium and convalescent centre. Other famous and popular mineral springs are found in Radoma, Dubové, Gribov, Havranec and Chotča.
Fauna and flora of the region
Territory of the Upper Šariš region is located at the boundary-lines of West and East Carpathians, so it comprises the elements of both West and East Carpathian fauna. While cultivated steppe is subject to more significant anthropic influence that triggers substantial changes in biotopes and their zoocenoses (animal communities), the mountainous areas are left more or less untouched of which the evidence is in preserved animal communities.
The species spectrum is affected by the interference of The East Carpathians PLA (Protected Landscape Area) because there exists Carpathian endemisms (endemism is the ecological state of being unique to a particular geographic location). The region has recorded the incidence of invertebrates and vertebrates. Invertebrate species belong to Palearctic, European, Tropical, Mediterranean, Carpathian, Oriental, Eurasian, Holarctic and Euro-Siberian species (e.g. Clouded apollo, Rosalia longicorn, Maculinea arion, Carabus glabratus, Sympetrum pedemontanum). The vertebrates are in the region represented by species of the classes that mostly belong to the Palearctic species but there can be also found the Carpathian endemism – Carpathian newt (Triturus montandoni).
The birds represent the largest class as to the number and generic diversity. The species spectrum is subject to the presence of water reservoir Domaša that represents important resting area in spring and autumn migrations of bird species and it is an important biotope for breeding of water birds and birds living partly on water.
There is a special list which comprises of rare, bioindicatory and otherwise noteworthy animal species that in most cases are first found species of fauna in Slovakia, tyrphophil and ripicol species attached to the same type of biotope (peat dogs, gravel shores) and there is also registered incidence of Carpathian endemisms. The whole territory of Upper Šariš region is marked with considerable floristic uniformity and you can also come up to thermophilic and East Carpathian species.
The substantial part of the region was once covered with contiguous forests that were from the most parts disforested and transformed to arable land, meadows, pasturelands and orchards. The riparian forests, oak-hornbeam and beech forests were the most affected areas. The rest of the riparian forests have been preserved as shore riparian vegetation around the watercourses.
The typical flora specie of Ondava river basin is Veronica Filiformis that greatly spread to humid places of alluviums, village gardens, lawns and ditches. The other species include Open Clover, Yellow Iris and Thalictrum Lucidum. The northern part is a significant for the incidence of Ranunculus Strigulosus, Acetoaa Thyrsiflora and Bunias Orientalis.
The territory is mostly covered with secondary birch-pine forests, beech and oak, fir-spruce forests and rose-blackthorn shrubberies.
The northern part of the region along the state border is next to the protected areas of nature in the Republic of Poland (Magursky National Park and Jasielsky Landscape Park). Within the region there are following protected areas: (NR – Nature Reserve, NNR – National Nature Reserve, PA – protected area).