The belogradchick rocks

It is said that Nature is the most exquisite artist and the greatest artist. One such proof lies in the distant and little unknown Northwest of Bulgaria – the Belogradchik Rocks, which can rightly be called the 8th wonder of the world.

They cover a vast region and have been fulfilling human fantasy for centuries, giving them whimsical names. There in one place you can see Adam and Eve, nuns and dervish, schoolgirl and shepherd, lion and dog, cuckoo, castle, dinosaurs and even the mighty figure of the brave Haydut Velko, associated with the liberation movement against the Ottoman Empire of The Bulgarians in the region.

Some of the figures may make it difficult for even the boldest imagination but while searching among the shapes, you may get lucky and hear the cuckoo’s hook when the wind blows.

In that area from above you can see an endless panorama of cogs, and precipices, meadows and small valleys with ringing creeks, and in the distance stand out the majestic outlines of the Balkan Mountains. The flora around the rocks includes many endemic species for the Balkans (species that you can only find in this certain region) which are recorded in the Red Book of Bulgaria, and the fauna is represented by a noble deer, deer, wolf, boar, sleeper, rock eagle, small vulture, black stork, owl and many others.

The breathtaking natural phenomenon Belogradchik Rocks is a rock complex with a length of about 30 km and a width of 6-7 km in the Western Pre-Balkan. It stretches from west to east from Vedernik peak, around the town of Belogradchik, to the villages of Borovitsa and Belotintsi.

The astonishing rock formations have been sculpted by nature for more than 200 million years. Their magnificent reddish tint is due to the iron compounds in them. They are ,diverse in shape and size, natural rock works rising more than 100 m high, and are divided into several groups.

The first group of rocks is literally around the town of Belogradchik itself. The names of the most iconic are the Horseman, the Madonna, the Monks, Dervish, Adam and Eve, the Shepherd, the Mushrooms, the Lion, the Bear, the Castle.

Another group is located west of the city. The most famous of them are the Zbegove, Erkyupria and Borich. Along with the huge felled rocks, deep gaps can also be seen here. Around Zbegove and Borich there are rocks of astonishing shapes defined by humans through the centuries as monkey heads, giant sphinxes, mummies, minarets and domes of mosques, winged dragons…

A third rock group is located east of the city and covers rock formations around the Latin Kale and Lepenishka Cave.

Another group stretches between the villages of Borovitsa and Falkovets. Here are the famous Borov Kamak, Pchelin Kamak, Torlak, Momina Skala.

The last group of rocks is near the villages of Gyurgich and Belotintsi.

Since unknown time these amazing natural creations have attracted the attention of old and young men who gave them names according to their resemblance to people and animals, buildings or objects. Wonderful legends are also told about them.

One of the most common is the legend of the Monks, the Horseman and the Madonna with the holly child. It is told in two versions.

According to the first and most popular, lived in old times a girl with unseen beauty – Vitinia, who met a young shepherd and they fell in love with each other. But worried about her beauty the girl’s parents sent her to a nearby women’s monastery to keep her safe. Day and night Vitinia cried in her cell suffering inconsolably for her beloved. One day the shepherd showed up under her window and told her that he had become a monk in the men’s monastery which was located on the opposite hill. So, they began seeing each other in secret at night, and after about a year from the girl’s cell baby crying was heard. The angry nuns chased Vitinia out with the child, and it was a rough winter outside. Hearing about what had happened, her lover jumped on horseback and ran after her. At that moment a storm came up, thunder struck the sky, and everyone was petrified — the nuns and monks, the shepherd who became the Horseman, and Vitinia with the baby in his arms, who became the Madonna with the holly child.

The Bulgarian 8th Wonder of the World in 8 interesting facts:

  1. 230 million years ago the place was the bottom of a sea. After the withdrawal of water under the influence of air, sun and natural elements, soft limestone folded and shaped into its whimsical forms.
  2. The specific red color of the rocks is due to the corrosion of iron in them.
  3. The rock formations are not only around Kaleto fortress but extend over an area of about 100 Some of them reach up to 200 meters high.
  4. In addition to the famous rock forms, there are more than 100 caves in the region of Belogradchik Rocks.
  5. The Belogradchik Fortress was used as a tourist site as early as the 14th century by Tsar Ivan Sratsimir, as he had a summer residence in this place. Today the fortress is just as popular for the tourists as the rocks.
  6. Kaleto Fortress is one of the best preserved in Bulgaria. It was originally erected in the 3rd century by the Romans who used the natural inaccessibility of the rocks but there is a hypothesis that its foundations were laid by the Thracians. Over the centuries, the stronghold served Byzantines, Bulgarians and Turks and operated continuously until the Serbian-Bulgarian War.
  7. On the peaks of the weird rock formations live “natural bonsai”. These are pine-centenarians, which, although more than 200-300 years old, are very small due to the shortage of moisture and nutrients.
  1. In 2007 the Belogradchik Rocks reached the penultimate nomination in the competition “The New Seven Wonders of the World” among 261 participants. More than 6.5 million people from all over the world voted precisely for our rock phenomenon.

Together with Belogradchik fortress “Kaleto”, the Belogradchik Rocks are one of the 100 national tourist sites. The fortress has been restored and spectacularly ligthed at night. The road there is easy and accessible on foot or by car. The ascent itself safe and secured and does not require any special preparation or equipment. Binoculars can be rented on site. The place is excellent for a light, pleasant and interesting family walk even with young children.