Repeatedly Bulgarian tourists we met on this trip raved about the bizarre rock formations and the Roman fortress in Belogradchik. We were a bit sceptical, but since we were right there, at the foothills of the Balkan Mountains in northwest Bulgaria, we gave it a try. Besides the very name, Belogradchik, was so intriguing, so very “Balkanic”.
We were in for a surprise: the 200 million year old rock formations are stunning, absolutely magnificent! They can be even admired from the very town center, but we invested in a jeep tour to visit the most picturesque locations. Our driver was Angel, also the owner of our Guesthouse Drakite. These few hours driving around the breathtaking rock formations turned out to be a highlight of our trip. We immediately considered coming back at a different time of the year, when the light is better for taking photos.
Angel is omnipresent in Belogradchik, he is also a member of a local band. So we followed his invitation to attend the city’s weekend highlight – the Friday night dance in a restaurant. The entire village gathers there, especially the teenage crowd. It was extremely funny to watch the flirting, eying and amorous disappointments.
Angel also lifted a gruesome puzzle. All over Bulgaria, we saw obituaries posted to doors, trees, billboards, anything that would hold a sheet of paper. There were so many that to us Bulgaria seemed a dangerous or unhealthy place to live. Well, here is the explanation: an obituary is posted right after a person dies, then 40 days after, 6 months after, a year after, two years after… What looked like an ever-lasting epidemic, took on different dimension.
The most amazing fortress in Bulgaria is certainly Kaleto Fortress, which dates back to Roman times. It was perfectly fit into the rocks by these ancient engineers. Nowadays tourists explore the place by strolling on narrows trails and climbing over steep ladders to get a view from the most scenic points.
About 25 kilometers from Belogradchik is Magura cave, Bulgaria’s biggest cave full of dripping stalactites. We braved the all Bulgarian tour and patiently took in the wet and chilly environment, a pleasant change from the scorching heat.