The Seven Rila Lakes
Situated in the highest mountain on the Balkans – Rila (2925 m), between 2,100 and 2,500 metres above sea level, The Seven Rila Lakes are are the most visited group of lakes in Bulgaria. It is a “must do” for every visitor, no matter a hiker or not All seven of the glacial lakes have their own name which reflects its typical shape or characteristics.
The first lake to reach is The Lower Lake which feeds the Dzherman River. The next two are the Fisher Lake which is the shallowest lake and the The Trefoil with its irregular shape and low shores. Next comes the Twins – the largest one. During dry years, the lake becomes two smaller lakes, and this is the source of its name. The Kidney Lake, named for its kidney shape, is the lake with the steepest shores of the entire group. The next lake is Eye Lake, the deepest of the seven at 37.5 meters. It is oval and with intense blue colour by nice weather. The last and the highest lake is the Tear Lake -2,535 meters high, known for its crystal-clear water.
Every year on August 19, there is a large gathering of the White Brotherhood or Danovites, who congregate to celebrate their New Year. They consider the area as a holy place.
They meet near Kidney Lake and consists of ritual rhythmic unison dancing in a large circle.
The hike to the the Seven Rila Lakes is so unique as you pass by each one of them from the lowest to the highest one and when you reach the last one you can see all seven of them in a perfect harmony with the mountain. It is a spektacular view.
Ah Veliko Tarnovo!
How to describe your sense of magic in the air, your colourful scenery, your heavy weight of history, your beautiful streets and the exotic little shops full of traditional Bulgarian wares.
Such intimacy and comfort, the feeling of being home, the aroma of uniqueness and fairy tale is preserved in the air.
If you have visited Bulgaria and have not been to Veliko Tărnovo you have missed out on this magical place. The city was the capital of Bulgaria during the second Bulgarian empire and now days remains an important economical, cultural, educational and historical centre, an attractive destination for Bulgarians and many tourists. If you have ever visited a place where you felt instantly at home and started to imagine what it would be like to visit again, perhaps even buy a property there and become immersed in life there, then you know what Veliko Tarnovo is like. In recent years many visitors to Veliko Tărnovo have had that feeling and it is becoming increasingly common to meet people from around the world who have bought their own little house in the city or in the near by villages., adding to the vibrancy of the place.
Veliko Tarnovo is famous for the settlement of Tsarevets . Many of the Great Bulgarian Kings chose Tsarevets as the seat from which to rule their Empire. The foundations of 470 buildings have been discovered on its territory. Among the archaeological discoveries here have been jewellery and treasure belonging to the Kings and the Royal Families, as well as precious gold-plated cloth.
The Baldwin Tower is one of the most mystical and secretive place in Tsarevets, and the legend tells that the first Latin Emperor was kept prisoner in the tower. In fact, the name Tsar evets derives its name from this Latin Emperor. Today, you will find it fully restored and open for visitors, welcoming you to take a journey into our rich and wonderful history. At night there is a spectacular light show played in the settlement, a truly beautiful and magical attraction. Tsarevets is built on a hill where the first traces of human activity can be dated as far back as 4200 BC. There has been continuous settlement in this area, including by the Byzantines, and the actual castle and the settlement that we see today was built in 10th century AD. The restoration of the settlement started in 1930 and finished in 1981. Another legend tells that great Roman treasures are hidden under the settlement. An under-ground lake with draining mechanism is preventing the discovery of these treasures, as they lay in deep underground galleries.
Thousands of years ago prehistoric people were living life completely different to ours. As their history was not written down for us, we are deeply fascinated by the archaeological find and what they can tell us about this ancient culture and how people lived. Most of our information about the people who lived at this time comes from the cave paintings which have endured the centuries. Cave paintings, or parietal art as it is known, have been found all around the word. The oldest known painting is 64 000 years old! It is fascinating that no matter of what part of the world the drawings are found, there are striking similarities. Prehistoric people were painting mainly animals, rather than human figures. As many of the caves where paintings have been discovered were not used for dwelling, a theory which has developed is that these paintings had a ritualistic meaning.
In Bulgaria you will find Magura Cave, with over 750 prehistoric images. Magura Cave is 15 000 000 years old. The paintings are dated from 10, 000 to 8,000 years ago. They are widely considered to be masterpieces of the late prehistoric art in Europe. The paintings can be organised into 4 groups,
animals, symbols, anthropomorphic and geometric. Some represent important events for the people using the caves.
The best-known images from Magura Cave are two rows depicting a hunting scene and dancing figures. Another image has been recognised as a solar calendar. Bulgarian researchers suggest that this is the oldest European Neolithic Solar Calendar representing 366 days, with images of black and white squares used to count the days. The cave has been protected since 1993.
The cave is 2.5 km long and has a constant temperature of 12 degrees.
The cave consists of one main gallery and 3 smaller ones. The main gallery has 6 chambers. Some beautiful stalactites and stalagmites can be seen. Their shape has given rise to their names, such as ‘The Poplar’, ‘The Pipe Organ’, ‘The Oriental City’ and ‘The Cactus’.
Magura Cave also contains famous wine making facilities in it. You can enjoy a glass of fine bubbly wine or immerse yourself in one of the gala concerts held In Magura Cave.
Over all we must say that Magura Cave is not only one of the largest Bulgarian caves but very popular and attractive as well!
It is simply a ‘must see’!
Once upon a time around 7000 years ago, when all around the world people were still hunters, gathering in small migrating groups, there was a great civilisation on the cost of Black see and Varna lakes. That was the Varna civilisation. They mastered agriculture, operated a social hierarchy, processed gold and handmade fine ceramic pottery. They had mystical rituals surrounding death and burial, and archaeological artefacts found in the graves suggest the Varna were an advanced culture for their time. Varna civilisation is older than the Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamian settlements, commonly accepted to be the founding societies of modern civilisation. Astonishingly, few people today are aware of Varna civilisation. The Varna civilisation vanished mysteriously around 5000 years BC, leaving few archaeological artefacts behind. There are many theories as to why and what happened, the most popular being that the biblical flood, which started in the Black see, swept Varna civilisation away, leaving behind little trace of this great civilisation.
In Varna you will find a chalcolithic necropolis, and the Durankulak complex, which is a Neolithic settlement and necropolis with more than 1200 graves and is a site of archaeological importance.
This complex is the oldest known stone construction site in Europe. Durankulak is also home to some of the earliest examples of written language, dating from 50 BC. In the 1970’s archaeologists discovered the grave of a man they found to be of noble standing within society, possibly a king or leader, as he was buried with 990 gold objects, just over 1.5 kg of gold. Along with the gold jewellery archaeologist also discovered ceramic pots, hunting and agricultural tools, helping them to build a picture of Varna civilisation. The artefacts, gold jewellery and tools can be seen in the Archaeological Museum in Varna. The exhibition titled “The lost world of ancient Europe” show casing the artefacts was presented in prestigious museums around the world.
Today, Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria. It is magnificent, beautiful, full of history and romance. It is an economic and military hub, an important sea port, a commercial and cultural spot thriving in the twenty first century. Varna is also renowned for its ancient gold jewellery, in fact the oldest gold jewellery known to exist was found in Varna. Varna is now a very popular holiday destination for Bulgarians and visitors from around the globe in the summer months. A bustling night life presents numerous opportunities for live music and dining out. Situated on the cost of the Black Sea, Varna enjoys warm sandy beaches. Some of the main sights in Varna include the Cathedral in Varna, The Museum of the Dolls, The Ethnographic Museum, The Planetarium, The Zoo Park, The See Garden, The Dolphinarium, Aladja Monastery, Fanagoria (an old Bulgarian settlement and museum in the open air) The Naval Museum and many, many more.
Step of the beaten track, and step into Varna.