On our way to Belogradchik, we pass the town of Oreshets, which appears a sleepy hamlet until we see an old fighter plane on a pedestal on the main square, while a horse cart with shabbily dressed people pass by. After driving over a mountain pass, we reach Belogradchik, the town famous for its rock formations. We get a first glimpse on them on a short walk beyond the fortress: we see slender rock pillars rising vertically above the tree line. I am up early the next day, walk out to the fortress to watch sunrise, and then start a clockwise trek around the main rock formations closest to town. I walk through the forest, and when there is an open spot in the trees, I often see reddish-brown rock formations towering above me. When I reach a crossroads, I climb the foot of one of the rocks, in order to get better views.
This will be the story of the morning: I am walking in a forest, knowing that I am close to famous rock formations, but they are hard to see, or completely hidden from view by the trees. When I see an opening in the forest near the famous Madonna formation, I climb up, higher and higher, until I reach the base of the rocks, where I can walk around for views all around, with other rock formations jutting out of the green basement of the forest. The rocks all have their own character and appearance, and it is not difficult to see how they ended up being likened to persons, or animals. Most of the rocks you see around Belogradchik have been named. Many legends have evolved around them, the most famous being Madonna and the Schoolgirl. The problem is, to find them in the forest - no matter that they are big: some are around 200 metres high.
After driving up the mountain with the TV tower to the north of Belogradchik, which turns out to be a little disappointing as far as views are concerned, I decide to do another hike in the afternoon. We have seen nervousness in town, and it becomes clear why: when I walk the main square, with live music playing, and girls dressed up in folkloristic costumes, the president comes from around the corner. After watching the ceremony for a couple of minutes, I leave the crows behind, and hike to spots which give a much better view of the rock formations. From these vantage points, it is much easier to see the shapes, and understand the names. I follow the same trail I have seen in the morning before we visit the fortress, which also allows for good views of the rock formations. The next morning, on our way out of town, we make a stop at the Mislen Kamak restaurant in town, which turns out to have a signboard with most of the formations explained. From here, you can also see those further away, such as Pinocchio, as well as other favourites like the Dervish, the Bear, the Death of Tsar Ferdinand, the Mushrooms, the Cuckoo, and many more. As a bonus, the sun burns throgh the clouds and sheds her warm light on the grey-red-brown rocks which immediately come to life to say goodbye to us.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Belogradchik rocks (Bulgaria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Belogradchik rocks. Read more about this site.