Where: another alternative destination in Bulgaria – the village of Leshten. It is situated in the SouthWest end of the Rhodope Mountains – about 220 km from Sofia. The road is windy and uneven but it is absolutely worth the trouble. Our first impression – a magnificent view towards Pirin Mount!
The village of Leshten, according to different sources, is an ancient village and many traces of old life, culture and architecture have been found in the region. It used to be a municipal and trade centre in the past. I find it hard to believe this, looking at a small stony village of 30 houses – about 300 years old – and a single permanent resident.
That’s right, “stony village”, everything is made out of stone – the roads, the houses, the fences. No wander this specific technique of building was the core means of living here back in the Bulgarian Revival. It’s a great thing that the authentic look of the village is preserved. Even the 15 renovated houses, which host tourists, have kept their old style – stone plinths, roofs covered with hand cut tile-stones, high stone fences, small windows and wooden flooring. So solid and so great!
Where to stay: in one of the 15 renovated houses. They are supplied with all the modern comforts, a fireplace and a kitchen. Below is the house where we stayed at. If you need help with reservation write me an e-mail to email@example.com or use the contact form.
the house we stayed at
Where to eat. There is one single place to eat in the village. I find it relaxing not to have a choice for once. The restaurant is in the building of the old monastery school. I haven’t eaten there yet but most people say the food is local, authentic and very delicious and… it is not cheap.
Things to see: the village of Leshten is a historical monument by itself. The ancient architecture and the great natural location is a winning combination. The spirit of the once lively municipal centre is asleep but it’s still there.
The village church – St Paraskeva – had its last service in 1957 but you can still enter the church and light a candle. The wall paintings are quite bright, kind of modern and curious.
The clay house – this one is a favourite tourist destination not because it is ancient or has any historical value but because it is one of a kind. It is made entirely out of clay. There are no sharp square shapes – the whole house is soft and oval. Even thought it looks simple and primitive the clay house actually offers luxury accommodation, which combined with location and view is probably worth the price – around 60 euro per night.
the Clay House
the clay house's porch
The gallery – one of the houses functions as a classy gallery from where you can buy sophisticated pricey art-icles.
The village of Kovachevitsa – nearby village, also an architecture monument – post about the village of Kovachevitsa coming soon
a street in Kovachevitsa village
Koziat kamuk (the Goat’s Stone) and Chernata skala (the Black Rock) – ancient sanctuaries of Thracian times (or so they say)
Fossil Deposit Site near the Village of Garment
The Blue Pool – a beautiful pool of Kanina river
The Dark Forest – a forest reserve
Manoilova Dupka Cave- with various cave formations, underground river and waterfalls. It is the home of globally protected bat species. Entrance to the cave is limited.
Rizova Dupka Cave – a rare type of cave formed not by erosion but by vertical slicing in a gneiss rock, caused by its won weight
The Zagrade Plane trees: these are two incredible sycamores (plane trees) over 600 years old; they can be seen on the right side on the road from Gotse Delchev town to the village of Marchevo. In the Tertiary (or so the sources say) there used to be a huge forest of such trees along the valley of Mesta river.
If you need any help with reservation or a tourist guide to show you around write me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form.