Kresna Gorge, is situated in south-east Bulgaria along the Struma river. The gorge section is part of the current international road E79 from Sofia to Athens E79 which has been gradually transforming into Struma motorway. Struma motorway is part of Corridor No. 4 linking Dresden, Budapest, Sofia and Istanbul with an additional Sofia-Thessaloniki link.
The 17 km long gorge is designated as Special Area of Conservation site under EU Habitats Directives and included in the Bulgarian Natura 2000 list. The site is situated along the riverbanks of the Struma River in Southeast Bulgaria and passes between the Pirin and Malashevska Mountains. The gorge is located on the border between the continental and Mediterranean climatic zones, which is the reason for such an abundance of rare and endemic species in such a small territory of 16 000 hectares. The unique site provides a home for an extraordinarily high number of rare and endemic species protected according to the EU “Habitats” Directive, including 4 types of habitats, 23 types of birds, 17 species of bats, and 31 species of reptiles and amphibians.
Further at the southern end of the Kresna gorge is situated the town of Kresna. The motorway as planned in 2015 could pass at a distance of 30 metres from outlying homes and the local school. The people of Kresna are going to lose their most fertile agriculture lands, their clean air and the possibilities of tourism development in the region. Diverting the motorway out of the gorge and away from the town will protect the natural environment and will turn the existing road into a tourist route, as opposed to a massive transportation corridor.