Posts Tagged ‘eco trail’

Krushuna – a Green Wet Fary Tale

February 15, 2010

Krushuna is a village about 35 km from the town of Lovetch. It is quiet, the nature is unspoiled, the air is clean – just like most other villages in Bulgaria. But it does have something more to it… In the south end of the village a magical place is hidden. Come with me – I’ll show you…

How to get there:

The Journey from Sofia takes about 2 hrs and 20 minutes. Here is a link to map+driving directions.

Once you get to the village it won’t be hard to discover its proud secret – the Krushuna waterfalls or the so-called “Maarta”. In the midst of green vegetation there is this wondrous creation of nature – waters, falling over  soft mossy rocks, overflowing round shaped terraces, which look like they are filled with liquid emeralds.

part of the waterfall

part of the waterfall

Of course this has its scientific explanation. The waters of Maarаta river fall over karst, limestone and travertine rocks. Gradually the waters mould the rocks into these beautiful round rapids. I don’t know how the water got this emerald colour, but I guess it has to do with the chemical composition of the rocks.

emerald waters of Maarta river

The whole waterfall is about 15 metres high. There are bridges and steps, facilitating  the visitors get different views of the sight.

High in the rocks you will see a few ancient caves. One of them leads to something like a church, carved in the very rock. These caves were ones the homes of Christians who professed isihasm – an orthodox school, popular in the 13th century, which founded its values on humbleness, love and wisdom. The isihasts lived in remote, secluded places, where they could contemplate nature and connect with God. They used to heal peoples’ diseases. One of their believes were that mankind could be freed from its ailments and even live forever.

entrance to one of the caves

Other things to see:

From all the caves in the region there is one you absolutely have to see – Devetashka Cave. It is on the way to Devetaki village.  We parked where the road crosses the Osam river. There is a road sign for the cave. From there it is about 1 kilometre to the cave along a small eco trail.

the caves's entrance from a far

I love this cave because it reminds me of a cosmic station. It has the biggest ‘foyer’ of all the caves in Europe – 3o metres high and 35 metres wide. According to different sources it was inhabited during 7 different epochs. It was a sanctuary in ancient times.  It used to be a military base in the past. Later on in the 1950s it was a storage for oil. According to some it was the federal reserve’s food storage and rocket base.

There are 7 huge openings on the ceiling, through which natural light enters the main hall. Past the main hall the cave splits into two corridors. The left one is about 2.5 km long. It is dark with a small river running through, forming miniature lakes and waterfall, passing through the main hall and eventually flowing into Osam river. The right corridor is much smaller. It is dry and warm, ending with a round hall, known as the Altar.

the ceiling

inside

Where to stay:

There are many village houses for rent. Usually the whole house is rented and you can cook your own food in the fully equipped kitchen. The house we stayed at had only one WC and bathroom so I am not going to recommend it. It had really nice yard though and a great outdoor dining area with a fireplace. If you are not worried about the single bathroom fact write to me and I’ll send you the contacts.

outdoor dining area

the house

My advice is do not visit Krushuna during the village holidays May 2nd  – it gets crowded and messy.

Please keep the area clean and be careful not to damage the formations. Unfortunately, we, Bulgarians aren’t particularly good at that.

If you have further questions you can use the contact form or write to me at truebulgaria@gmail.com.

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Zassele Village – Nature Paradise Close to Sofia

August 25, 2009

If you want to get away from Sofia for a day or two Zassele village is probably the  perfect destination – so close to Sofia and yet so far away.

Geographical  area: Northwestern part of Bulgaria, in the recesses of the Western Balkan Range. In this area the Iskar river shapes its gorge through the lofty rocks and the views are more than impressive.

view hs

view from Bojilovo complex

Location: Zassele village is close to Svoge town. Here is a map with directions Sofia-Zassele.

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Bojilovo complex

Where to stay

Bojilovo complex: the house stands on a high slope in the end of Zassele village and provides a wonderful bird’s-eye view to the village and surroundings. There are no other houses close to it, no noise or traffic. The house is new, cozy and clean. It has a large trim garden. There is a small tavern with a fireplace. You can also have your meals or coffee outside and enjoy the sun and the view.

The rooms: Bojilovo complex offers 4 rooms. Two double rooms, one triple room and one double suite. Each of them has a separate bathroom. The rooms are very clean and comfortable, designed in a traditional folk style. Excellent mattress, pillows and linen – the owners did a great job.

The tavern is small and cozy with a fireplace. When the weather is nice everyone eats outside in the garden.

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dining outside in the garden

The food was simple but very delicious. They don’t offer a big menu – u basically have a few options to choose from, but they are all great – I personally think this is the right way. We had typical Bulgarian oven cooked meals and delicious BBQ. They have pretty good wine selection. For breakfast we had a very delicious banitsa (Bulgarian pastry dish with eggs and feta cheese.)

garden lnch

lunch in the yard of Bojilovo complex

Pros: All the above – great location, close to Sofia, everything is nice and clean and put together with style and taste. The food is excellent – small but great choice.

Cons: in the morning we woke up because of noise in the lobby of the house.  Sometimes we had to wait longer for our meals or drinks, but I can live with that, considering the fact that everything is natural and home-made.

Price: Double room 35 euro, Triple room 40 euro, Double Suite 50 euro, breakfast included.

Contacts: If you have further questions about Bojilovo complex use the contact form or simply write an e-mail to: truebulgaria@gmail.com

Things to do / see

A scenic Еco trail along Iskar river gorge – they call it Vazov’s Eco Trail in honour of the renowned Bulgarian poet and writer Ivan Vazov, who loved to walk along these places and was inspired by the lofty creations of nature.

frm ecpth

view from the eco trail

Skaklia waterfall – a 130-metre high semi-active waterfall, one of the highest waterfalls on the Balkan Peninsula.

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Skaklia waterfall along the eco trail

Caves: the region is a favourite place for cave lovers. The most popular one is Temnata Dupka (The Dark Hollow). Here are some other caves in the region: Elata (a very interesting vertical cave) Dushnika, Kacite, Majanica etc.

Bula: You can see the Bula from Bojilovo complex. It is the top of the highest slope in the area. We walked there – not more than 1-hour walk through the beech forest. We sat on the very top of Bula, our feet dangling in the air – the feeling is unforgettable.

Djuglata – a rock phenomena by Tserovo village


The Village of Oryahovets

August 18, 2009

We wanted to find a quiet place with good food in the heart of the Rhodope Mountains. And we did!

The place is called Meressev’s house. The website is not available in English yet but i promised to do that some time soon.

the house from outside
the Meresev house from outside

Geographical area: Central Rhodope Mountains, Banite Municipality, Oryahovets village. It is about 3h away from Sofia, 245 km. See map and directions.

About the  house: The house is new. It opened in 2009. It was built with the co-financing of the EU so you will see the EU sign on the house. There are 7 double rooms each with its own bathroom and  access to a terrace. Two of the rooms are like small apartments and  have something like a kitchen corner. They are all nice and clean. My pictures of the room did not turn out ok because I did not use my flash, but I will post them anyways just to give you an idea. There is a small tavern with fireplace on the lower level, but we had our meals in the garden. There is free WiFi that works in the garden, as well. This was a nice surprise for us. Also there was jazz music playing in the garden – that was unusual but really cool.

the room
our room – I am sorry i did not take the picture before we make our usual mess

The garden is small but very pleasant with a great view to the mountains. You can ask to have your meals in the garden if the weather allows it. This is what we did and enjoyed the fresh air and the beautiful view.

the yard
the small garden in Meresev house

The food is great! Leave the owners to cook their local dishes for you and you won’t regret it! They use natural products: eggs from the hens next door, veal from the neighbour’s calf, milk from the neighbour’s cow, potatoes and tomatoes from their own garden. Everything was soo fresh and delicious! Of course, you can tell them what you want and they will cook it for you, but i strongly recommend you to leave them to decide for you.

The service is very good. The owners are friendly and cheerful family. They will do their best to make you feel at home.

The price: BGN 25 (= EUR 13 ) per person per night, breakfast included.

Pros: Everything I described above.

Cons: Even though the village is very secluded and there is hardly any traffic, the house is by the road so you may hear noise in the morning. Our terrace was shared with the room next to ours.

Contacts: If you have questions or would like to get in contact with Meressev Guesthouse, use the contact form or simply write an e-mail to: truebulgaria@gmail.com

Places to see

Zagrazhden Eco trail: Beautiful eco trail starting from Zagrazhden village, 30 min from Oryahovets village. We walked all over the route – about 5 hrs.

Zagrazhden ecopath map
a map of the eco trail

One part of the eco trail follows the Zagrazhdenska river  and there are many beautiful waterfalls, wooden bridges, and rocky routes.

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one of the many waterfalls along Zagrazhden eco trail

At some point the trail climbs quite high and there is a beautiful view of the mountains and the forest around. The trail is not extremely hard – there was an 80 years old man who was walking the trail when we were there. There are a few alcoves where you can rest or have a sandwich. Take water with you.

start point of Zagrazhden ecopath
starting point of the Zagrazden eco trail

Rozhen Observatory: it is situated at Rozhen peak (altitude: 1750 m). There is a curvy road all the way to the observatory.

Rozhen Observatory
Rozhen Observatory

We went there just to see the area, but we somehow got in the middle of a group so we went to see the large telescope and listened to a short lecture. There is incredible view from the terrace on the last floor (where the telescope is).

view from the observatory
view from the observatory

The large telescope is not for public use, but there is a smaller one which can be used with a prior reservation and if the weather allows it. I am decided to do that one day.

Svoboda peakEnihan Baba: To get there you need to head north-west from Davidkovo village (very close to Oryahovets village). We drove to Svoboda chapel. There is no parking lot or anything, which signals the end of the road. We just left our car where we saw other cars parked.

Svoboda chapel is an old, old chapel in a very poor condition. I went in just to take a look. I was surprised to find an old man who made Turkish coffee and sold water and sweets. What is interesting about the area is that muslim population from Bulgaria gather there over the weekends or on their holidays. They roast meat and make soup. If you are hungry they will feed you:)

From the chapel there are about 600 stairs, leading to the peak. The stairs are not steep and you can get to the top in about 30 minutes. There are many alcoves along the stairs if you want to sit and rest and enjoy the great view.

on the 600th stair
me on the 600th stair

At the peak there is a small black marble stone in honour of Momchil voivida, who was defending the Rhodope area from the otomans in the 14c. There is also a small temple in honour of Enihan Baba – a muslim legendary hero (although different sources give different info). It is believed that his grave is in this area. Anyways, the view from the top is quite impressive and the air is crystal clear.

Other places to see:

Haydushki Polyani area

Perperikon – the ancient Tracian city (more info in my post Trifon Zarezan Hotel – East Rhodope Mountain)

Zlatograd – the old town

Tatul – the Thracian sanctuary

Dyavolskia most (The Devil’s Bridge)

Chudnite Mostove (The Wonderous Bridges)

Shiroka Laka Village