Thracian shrines

SILENCE OF THE CARYATIDS

No matter how diverse and interesting Thracian heritage is, time, destruction and rebuilding in war and peace, continual habitation and treasure-hunting have wiped out a lot of it – reducing it to a tomb here, a treasure there, and a shrine in what today appears to be the middle of nowhere. 

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ALL AROUND KARDZHALI

When you have a long weekend ahead and the weather looks good for a trip, heading to Kardzhali is a great option. The Rhodope mountains are beautiful – pleasant and refreshing in all seasons – and this city is the perfect base to explore some interesting sites.

Kardzhali itself is hardly an attraction. It is a relatively new city dominated by faceless Communist and post-Communist architecture. Besides its Regional History Museum, located in a beautiful building initially constructed in the 1920s for a Muslim religious school, there is nothing more to see.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THRACIAN BULGARIA

There are places in the world where you can get to know long-vanished nations and their former glory: Egypt, China, Greece... Bulgaria also makes it on this list. Long before this country appeared on Europe's map, an ancient nation inhabited its lands, and left behind rich remains – tombs and burial mounds, rock shrines and forts, fortifications and mysterious rock niches.

These people were the ancient Thracians.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

SEARCHING FOR ORPHEUS

Huddled deep among the hills of the Eastern Rhodope, Tatul could be any one of the many hamlets that you pass through while travelling in this area. Yet, it is not an ordinary Rhodope village. A high rocky hill rises about 300m south of it, crowned by one of the most peculiar megalithic structures the Thracians ever made.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

RHODOPE'S CITY OF GODS

Deep in the heart of the Rhodope, Perperikon is an ancient town that over the course of millennia perched, Machu Picchu-like, atop a rocky hill. Commanding stupendous views of the valleys below, it covers over 1,200 acres – supposedly the largest megalithic site in the Balkans.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

TOP 10 SPIRITUAL VORTEXES IN BULGARIA

"This place has a special aura." Sooner rather than later you will hear this sentence applied to somewhere in Bulgaria: an old monastery, an ancient shrine – or an ugly post-Communist church. There, locals and visitors claim to have felt the presence of "cosmic energy" or a supernatural "entity." Those who have an ailment seek healing. Pure-blooded Bulgarians "connect" to their true ancestors, the ancient Thracians, the wisest people ever to walk the earth. UFO sightings may also be reported.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

RHODOPE'S 'SACRED TRIANGLE'

Triangles fascinate the imagination. Throughout history, the geometric shape defined by Euclides as three points that do not lie on the same line has been laden with religious and spiritual symbolism. It has also been connected to topography, such as the Egyptians pyramids, the so-called ley lines, and the Bermuda triangle, supposedly marking energy vortices.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

SUN FORTRESS

Overgrown remains of forts and temples, mysterious rock shrines: Bulgaria's historical heritage often makes you feel like an explorer. Long forgotten and known only to die-hard history enthusiasts, they bear witness to the vibrant communities that created them millennia ago.

Asara, near the village of Angel Voyvoda in the southeast of the country, is one of these.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

BIZARRE BULGARIA

There are many ways to categorise and promote Bulgaria's heritage: traditional towns and villages, Thracian rock sanctuaries, nature, sun and fun on the seaside, and so on and so forth. But there is a number of places that defy being so easily pigeon-holed. Some of them were created by nature, others are manmade, their age ranging from the prehistory to the recent past. What unites them is that the first reaction they provoke in the viewer is "That looks weird. How did it come to be?".

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

HARMAN KAYA THRACIAN SANCTUARY

The rock of the threshing floors. One can easily see why the people from the Bivolyane village gave that name to Harman Kaya. The area's defining features are two large circles in the bedrock, which resemble the threshing floors where people, in the times of pre-supermarket bread, used to separate wheat from chaff.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

MYSTIC BULGARIA

Supposedly haunted villages and sites frequented by UFOs rub shoulders with  "miraculous" springs and rocks, memories of dead clairvoyants and rumours of extraordinary events. To these, add in places venerated for centuries by unorthodox religious denominations or modern spiritual movements, plus locations that have inspired urban myths, and you will end up with a fascinating itinerary of mystic Bulgaria.

Here we offer you some of the most interesting of these places. Take note: the clairvoyant Vanga, and the Strandzha feature heavily on our list.

 

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THE SECRET OF MISHKOVA NIVA LOCALITY

Until recently, no one was able to visit one of Bulgaria's most interesting sites, the dark grey remains of a tomb near Malko Tarnovo. Under Communism, people needed special permits to enter this small town in the Strandzha mountains, as it was only a few metres from the border with Turkey, a member of a hostile NATO member. Even if tourists had somehow obtained permits, it was impossible for them to cross the border fence and take a look at the tomb in the Mishkova Niva area.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

BEGLIKTASH, A MEGALITH IN WINTER

The ancient Thracian sanctuary known with the Turkish word Begliktash stands in a meadow that opens up dramatically before you after a 40-minute walk along an overgrown path through the oak forest of the Strandzha. Anticipation builds even before you start on the path because just where it begins is the Dragon's Houses, a Thracian dolmen hidden by a canopy of tree branches.

Scattered seemingly at random, like the abandoned building blocks of a giant baby, some of the rocks which make up Begliktash weigh up to 150 tonnes.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THE ALLURE OF THE EASTERN RHODOPE

Even if you think you know this part of the mountain range, you are certain to come across strange landmarks and strange stories. Some of them are natural, others are man-made, and what they have in common is their ability to inspire the imagination.


Perperikon

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

WHO WERE THE THRACIANS?

These people were the Thracians.

Today their name is barely known to anyone outside southeastern Europe. The Thracians built for eternity – especially tombs and shrines – but they lived in the moment and, underestimating the importance of writing down their deeds, they left next to nothing about their history, faith and beliefs. And so, bar the fascinating sites and treasures they created, the life of the Thracians remains more or less a mystery.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THE SILENCE OF THE STONES

In 2002, a team led by the late Dr Georgi Kitov, whose flamboyant character and talent for discovering gold Thracian treasures made him one of the most famous Bulgarian archaeologists, started digging a relatively small and seemingly ordinary mound on the outskirts of the village of Staro Zhelezare, in Central Bulgaria.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ORPHEUS TOMB?

Orpheus's harp was so captivating and his songs were so beautiful that there wasn't a single creature on earth that was not enchanted by his gift. Wild beasts, rocks and stones, and even the gods stood becharmed.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

MEGALITH OR NOT?

The longest day of the year is nearing its close. The sun is descending towards the horizon and, in accordance with the Law of Romantic Sunsets, the sky and the panorama of mountain peaks and plains are flushed with a couple of hundred shades of red and blue.

The expectant crowd gathered on the mountain peak in Sredna Gora circle around, talking among themselves.

The sun continues its descent and is suddenly hidden behind a large cliff. The people sense the change and grow quiet, their eyes riveted on the cliff.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment