15 placesIn Bulgaria That Look Too Magical To Be Real
They don’t call it “Incredible Bulgaria” for nothing.
1 . Ovech Fortress – Provadia
Ovech is a stone fortress the remains of which still stand on a ship-shaped plateau east of Provadiya, some 53 km west of Varna and 410 km east of Sofia. The fortress can be reached both by car (coming from the east) and on foot (the Ovech eco trail). The Ovech eco trail is a picturesque hiking trail which starts from the city center of Provadia and goes along the western slope of the plateau. There are benches along the way which makes it suitable for the elderly as well.
2. Stone Forest, Varna
Natural phenomenon “Stone Forest” is better known with its Bulgarian name “Pobiti kamani” which could be translated as “stones beaten into the ground”. Seven large and several separate small groups are located on the north and south from the Beloslav Lake. These are numerous limestone pillars as high as 10 m, hollow or solid cylinders, truncated cones and single rocks and cliffs.
The most famous and impressive is the group named “Center – South”. It is located 18 km west of Varna and numbered about 300 large and small columns, up to 6 m high, rising mainly south of the old road to the town of Devnya.
3. Madara Rider
The Madara Rider, representing the figure of a knight triumphing over a lion, is carved into a 100-m-high cliff near the village of Madara in north-east Bulgaria. Madara was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Bulgaria’s conversion to Christianity in the 9th century. The inscriptions beside the sculpture tell of events that occurred between AD 705 and 801.
4. Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari
Discovered in 1982 near the village of Sveshtari, this 3rd-century BC Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb has a unique architectural decor, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The 10 female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decoration of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands. It is a remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getes, a Thracian people who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers.
5. Krushuna waterfalls
The Krushùna Falls (Krushùnski Vodopàdi as they are pronounced in Bulgarian) are a karst cascade located near the village of Krushùna, some 34 km from the historical town of Lovech in north-central Bulgaria. The falls, located in an area known as Maarata, are the biggest travertine cascade in the country, unique with its picturesque scenery, lush vegetation, numerous round-shaped terraces and small natural pools with mineral water.
6. Devetashka cave
Devetashka cave is an enormous cave in Bulgaria, which has provided shelter for groups of humans since the late Paleolithic era, and continuously for tens of thousands of years since then. Now abandoned by humans, it remains a site of national and international significance and is home to some 30,000 bats.
Devetashka cave, which is known as Devetàshka peshterà in Bulgaria, is located roughly 18 kilometres north of Lovech, near the village of Devetaki. It is a karst cave formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks and characterized by sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage systems.
7. Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo
In the valley of the Roussenski Lom River, in north east Bulgaria, a complex of rock-hewn churches, chapels, monasteries and cells developed in the vicinity of the village of Ivanovo. This is where the first hermits had dug out their cells and churches during the 12th century. The 14th-century murals testify to the exceptional skill of the artists belonging to the Tarnovo School of painting.
8. Bolata Bay
Bolata Bay is located 2 kilometers from Kaliakra Cape and 76 kilometers north of city Varna. The Bay is surrounded by rock formations with caves. In the past, there was a military base, associated with fortified fortress and inaccessible slopes of Kaliakra Cape. Nowadays it is a picturesque lagoon and the only sandy beach near the Cape. A steep path leads from the Bay up to the top of the surrounding cliffs. From there one can enjoy a spectacular view on the lagoon and on Kalikara Cape in its entire length. The Cape protrudes into the sea for 2 kilometers. This is the only place in Bulgaria, where you can watch the sun set into the sea.
9. Devil’s Throat Cave
Hidden deep in the Trigrad Gorge in the Rhodope Mountains, is one of the most mysterious caves in Bulgaria – the Devil’s Throat.
It does not impress with exquisite rock formations since, geologically speaking, it is rather young, dating back only 175,000 years.
But the secrets it hides are what is most compelling about this cave.Since ancient times there have been tales of Orpheus descending into the underworld through this exact cave to search for his beloved Euredice. He convinced Hades to give her back with the one condition that on their way back to the surface Orpheus was forbidden to look at her. But a sudden rumble drowned out Euridice’s steps and Orpheus quickly forgot his vow and turned to make sure he hadn’t lost her again. He reached for her but her shadow slowly began to fade. Feeling nothing but despair, Orpheus wept for seven days, his tears creating a spring in the cave.
10.The Paradise waterfall
The highest waterfall in Bulgaria, the Paradise Waterfall is a 120 meters tall waterfall located in “Stara planina” (old mountain) on the Balkans. A charming hut is located nearby where tourists can stay for the night and have a tasty dinner. Why not a cup of warm coffee in the morning, too! A magical location indeed.
11.The Deaf Stones Thracian Sanctuary
The Deaf Stones rock sanctuary shrine is one of the largest Thracian cult monuments. It includes several large rock blocks with deep gorges cut in. At the foot of one of the blocks a rock tomb chamber is carved. A bed and a small niche are cut in the eastern part of the rock chamber. There are traces of a second unfinished tomb to the side. In the rock block to the east a staircase is carved which leads to the summit with a well-shaped pool. The remaining three rocky peaks are dotted with more than 200 religious cult rock niches.
12. The Eagle Eye at Yagodina
Orlovo Oko (Eagle’s Eye) is a sightseeing platform built at 1563 m above the sea level, next to the St Ilia peak in the Rhodope mountains and close to the village of Yagodina and the famous Yagodinska cave. This is a steel construction that raises 670 m above the picturesque Buynovsko gorge with its winding river and a road that runs along it. It can be reached on foot, by jeeps or by mountain bikes, the trail begins at the exit of the village of Yagodina in the direction of Trigrad and then follows the mountain ridge.The magnificent sightseeing spot reveals stunning views of the gorge and the nearby villages, as well as the Bulgarian and Greek mountains and peaks in the distance. You may be lucky to spot a golden eagle or wild goats who are among the most attractive inhabitants of this part of the Rhodope.
13. The Melnik Pyramids
The Pyramids of Melnik are a well known site in Bulgaria but are not famous among tourists. They are unique natural, sand pyramids formed because of the soil erosion. Again, we are speacheless in front of Mother Nature. The height of the sand formations is up to 100 m and they are always changing in the course of time. You can see the pyramids from Melnik, but they are closer to Karlanovo village where a lodging is available.
14. Devil’s Bridge – Ardino
The bridge is located near the town of Ardino, which even has a water fountain shaped like the bridge. Its span is 185 feet long, 11.5 feet wide, and at its gravity-defying central arch stands 37.7 feet high. Interior semi-circular arches were built in to monitor the water level.
The reason some locals are hesitant to cross at night is rooted in dark lore. One story is that the head builder’s wife passed away during construction, so her shadow was encased in the structure. Another tale has it that the devil’s footprint can be found somewhere on the rocks. While this is all folkloric myth, its towering form does make for a somewhat unsettling vista in the darkness.
15. Ancient villa Armira
Villa Armira is one of the earliest and most accurately dated villa complexes from the Roman era, studied in Bulgaria. She is an outstanding architectural monument from 2000 years ago. This is the most sumptuously decorated private house (palace) of the Roman period, discovered in the Bulgarian lands. The villa was a center of land tenure, founded by Thracian rich aristocratic family. Excavations of the mound near the village of Great Svirachi in 2001-2002 contributed greatly to the proof of Thracian origin of the founding her first its ruler was the successor of a Thracian king (bazilevs).
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