Nature

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ARDA'S MEANDERS

Several large rivers define Bulgaria's geography and historical landscape. The mighty Danube has constituted the northern border of the Bulgarian territories for centuries. The Iskar bypasses Sofia (locals still jokingly declare it to be the deepest river in the world) and then carves its way into the Stara Planina gorge, oft-described in the late-19th century Bulgarian literature. The Maritsa flows through the Thracian Plain: an ancient route used by generations of invaders, merchants, emissaries and empires. Today, the international route E80 runs along much of its course.

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:52
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LAST DAYS OF BOLATA

With the exception of some pockets of overdevelopment, the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast remains a place of relatively unspoiled nature, picturesque beaches and cliffs, historical sites and landscapes to remember. It is the home of rare ecosystems, like the easternmost edges of the great Eurasian steppes. Its location on the Via Pontica migratory route is why in spring and autumn its skies are full with birds, many of them endangered species.

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 11:39
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BULGARIA'S LESSER WATERFALLS

Bulgaria claims the highest waterfall in the Balkans, the 124.5-metre Rayskoto Praskalo, or Heavens' Sprinkler, in the Stara Planina mountains. In addition to it, this country has some famous waterfalls: in Boyana, just south of Sofia, the Borov Kamak near Vratsa and the Rilska Skakavitsa in the Rila, to name but a few. However, there are plenty of other less-known waterfalls waiting to be discovered. Finding them is a delight in the heat of summer, and you do not need to hike for hours to reach them.

 

Kapinovski

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 11:33
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KRUSHUNA WATERFALLS

However, as so often happens in Bulgaria, appearances are deceiving. Leave the main road and you will discover that the rolling hills hide intriguing natural phenomena.

The Krushuna Waterfalls is one of the best known. Located by the eponymous village, near the town of Letnitsa, the waterfalls started to attract visitors in the 2000s, when an eco trail was built around them.

The Krushuna Waterfalls is a cascade carved by the Proynovska River into the soft travertine rock, the largest formation of this sort in Bulgaria.

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 15:46
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emen waterfall.jpg

WHERE IS YEMEN?

The old woman looks bewildered.

"Where is what?," she asks.

"Emen!" we repeat, raising our voices, as we now suspect that she is hard of hearing. "Where the waterfall is."

"A-a-ah! You mean Yemen!," the lady beams and then embarks on one of those elaborate explanations of directions that inhabitants in small-town Bulgaria are so prone to.

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 14:35
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SUNFLOWER POWER

Growing in fields that often look endless, they raise their large heads in rows, inspiring the traveller to stop and to release for a minute their inner Van Gogh: photos are taken, bouquets are made and brought home.

Sunflowers have covered Bulgaria for such a long time, and are so ubiquitous, that without them the countryside in early summer would look strange and bereft.

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:41
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AMAZING SINEMORETS

Sinemorets, one of the last Bulgarian villages before the border with Turkey, is one of those places.

The village has its fair share of ugly hotels destroying the view and the tranquility, but as it is far from the main hubs of tourist activities on the coast, these abominations are small in scale and leave enough space for true nature to survive, and for you to enjoy it.

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 12:13
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GOD'S BRIDGE

It is easy to see why people gave such a name to the two stone arches spanning the small brook, and the series of caves near Vratsa. Even when you know in advance that the main stone arch is 20m high, 25m wide and 125m long, you only appreciate the magnitude of the place when you see it with your own eyes.

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 11:43
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BLOOMS OF YAYLATA

This corner of Bulgaria is a protected area where wildlife cohabits with ancient ruins, and the southernmost corner of the great Eurasian steppes reaches a rugged seacoast full of coves and caves. Located about a couple of kilometres from the nondescript village of Kamen Bryag, Yaylata remains one of the last refuges of nature, history and landscape undisturbed by human presence in Bulgaria. Most tourists come here to take photos, and then rush away to more comfortable places.

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:01
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FLIGHT OVER BULGARIA

Through the 1970s and 1980s Alexander Ivanov was one of this country's most innovative photographers. He was the mastermind of the association of photographers in his native Kazanlak, and his experiments in colour photography at the time brought him prestigious national and international photography awards.

Since 1988 Alexander Ivanov has been a freelance photographer based in Kazanlak.

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 15:12
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iskar river.jpg

ALL ALONG THE ISKAR, Part 2

The first place of interest after Lakatnik might look strange to a foreigner: a five-metre statue of an old man apparently staring into the gorge, at Ochindol village. The 2005 monument represents one of the best known literary characters in Bulgaria, the Dyado, or Grandpa, Yotso from the short story Dyado Yotso is Looking On by Ivan Vazov. The story is about a blind octogenarian from an isolated hamlet in the Iskar Gorge who is fascinated by every single sign of Bulgaria's independence from the Ottomans; from the uniforms of an official and a soldier to the newly-built railway.

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 14:49
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Magurata Cave.jpg

BULGARIA'S TOP CAVES

So far, more than 4,500 have been discovered and mapped. The number is so high because 22 percent of the country is covered with karst, a topography created when water soaks, dissolves and carves sedimentary rocks, mainly limestone, dolomite, and marble. Over millennia, the water shapes the karst into a variety of forms both on the ground and deep below. Caves are some of the most spectacular results of this activity.

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 13:41
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BANSKO

The compacted ice on the pavements. The impassable streets. The grey, yellow and black hues the snow assumes from the dirty city air. Not. Enjoyable. At. All.

In Bansko, however, one can easily love snow from the appearance of the first snowflake in December to the thaw in April. Snow here is 100 percent for fun.

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 13:26
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MASTODONS OF DORKOVO

The mastodons roamed along the banks of a river, munching on the vegetation under the canopy of a tropical forest, oblivious to the screams of the monkeys and the presence of rhinos, but watching out for the lions and sabre-toothed tigers that were never far from the watering hole.
 

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 16:03
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iskar gorge sunset.jpg

ALL ALONG THE ISKAR, Part 1

Nothing is deeper than the Iskar River, says the folk song of the Shopi, the Bulgarians who inhabit the area around Sofia. This song is the ultimate proof of the Shopi's proverbial stubbornness and local pride, and yet the Iskar River is indeed remarkable. Gushing out in Bulgaria's highest mountain, the Rila, it begins its life when two smaller rivers, the Beli, or White, and the Cherni, or Black Iskars, converge. It then heads towards the Danube, arriving there after a journey of 368km (the Beli Iskar lenght included).

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 15:54
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MARITSA, ARDA AND TUNDZHA: TALE OF THREE RIVERS

Springing from the most prominent Bulgarian mountain ranges, they carve, wind and splash their way though ravines and canyons and across plains, passing by cities ancient and new, before they finally join together just after the border with Turkey and flow south until they reach the Aegean.

Each of these rivers has its own route and landmarks.

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 12:55
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BULGARIA'S ABANDONED ECO TRAILS

"Danger! Crossing is forbidden!" Makeshift signs adorn the wooden bridges that until not so long ago used to provide a hair-rising and yet fascinating glimpse of the Negovanka River and the rugged rocks of the Emenski Canyon, near Veliko Tarnovo. The path leading to the high point of the trail, the nearby Momin Skok, or Virgin's Jump, waterfall also shows visible marks of decay: planks are missing here and there from the wooden steps, particularly at the most precipitous part of the climb.

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 12:44
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