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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

Natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola: magnificence of Rhodope panoramas and wonderful views

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

It's the beginning of November and the autumn emotion has completely taken over me, and I'm shaking with fever.


I want to find the perfect autumn landscape, experience it, photograph it and present it to you.


But where should I go? Where do I find it?


To the Rhodopes!


This mountain has never let me down and here I am on my way to my Rhodope.


I am traveling in the middle of the deeply sacred valley of the Yadenitsa River - the orographic border between the Rila and Rhodope mountains, on the Belovo - Yundola road.


And next to me - every leaf is a flower!


After each new turn, a new sight pops up in front of me, even more superb than the previous one!


Magnificence of colors!


Magic of paints!


Magic of crayons!


Well, there is no such beauty!


You are beautiful, oh Bulgaria!


Looking at this beauty, I don't look around and every time I regret that I don't have a drone to take it high in the sky and capture all this magnificence of beauties - Rila and Rhodope, Rhodope and Rila!


Bulgarian!


The road curves now to the left of Yadenitsa, now to the right, and I am driving now in the middle of the most northwestern parts of the Rhodopes, then in the middle of the most southeastern slopes of the Rila mountain. From mountain to mountain - in a minute. True magic!


The road is beautiful and peaceful - this is probably one of the most pleasant mountain passes I have ever been through. While I looked at miracles and I'm already on Yundola.


I exit the main road and head towards the chapel "Sveta Petka" - the starting point for my autumn magic today.


Leaving my car in a suitable place, throwing a backpack on my back, taking water with me, shod in comfortable high hiking boots and dressed in appropriate hiking clothing according to the season, I take the path to the natural landmark "Pasovi Skali" because I know - wonderful autumn wonders they are waiting for me!


The road leads me to the left of the chapel in the direction of the huge gate of the University of Forestry "Georgi St. Avramov" in Yundola and their base for intensive breeding and production of game*.


*The base for intensive breeding and production of wild game BIRPD was created under natural natural conditions in 1987 in the area of Pashovi skali. It has an area of 234 hectares, which includes departments 186, 189, 190 – 193. One of the main tasks of the base is to provide natural conditions for breeding fallow deer, mouflon and wild boar. For this purpose, 23 fallow deer were initially brought into the fenced kennel in 1988. In the following year, State Forestry "Voden" delivered another 16, bringing the total number of deer to 39. The same year, State Forestry "Tverditsa" delivered 10 mouflons. In order to enrich the local wild boar population, animals were captured, which, after being introduced to the breeding base, were again released to live freely in the forest.


Along with these hunting and farming activities, a special aviary has been set up at the base to study the possibilities of artificial breeding of grouse. Despite the conducted research and efforts of the department for the hatching and survival of the young offspring, the attempts ended unsuccessfully. According to experts, this is due to the aging of the birds, as well as the impossibility of regularly refreshing their blood.


Currently, under the conditions of the BIRPD, the populations of the following species have been introduced for cultivation and breeding:

  • Mouflon – 34 individuals, of which 18 males and 16 females, inhabiting mainly the steep and stony biotopes of Pasovo skali;

  • Fallow Deer – 62 individuals, of which 24 are male and 38 are female. The shoveler inhabits mostly isolated and peaceful niches in the forest;

  • Wild boar – 9 individuals in the base and 31 freely inhabiting the farm area.


From here, the path leading to the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" follows the fence of the BIRPD.


On the path to the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

All along the fence, all along the fence, the path is easy and light, and around me the charm of autumn surrounds me, and I feel like a hero in a fairy tale.


On the path to the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

I walk very slowly and the lens of my camera searches for the perfect autumn crayon, the most original paint, the magical autumn picture.


On the path to the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

I captured a huge fascination of autumn wonders, that's why I remind you of the special photo album, a link to which you will traditionally find at the very end of this post.


On the path to the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

The path to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali" from the BIRPD to the end point is probably taken in 15 minutes of easy walking.


On the path to the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

With my photography, I took her for an hour and a bit, but that's who I am - the beauty makes me slow down and turn aside from the path.


Here are Pašovi rocks!


Behold the vast, earth-shattering, profoundly impressive, magnificent, grand, sensational, phenomenal, fantastic, majestic and imposing sight unfolding before my eyes!


Ahhh...


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality
Panoramic view from Pašovi skali

You can even see the heart of the village of Sveta Petka.


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality
The heart of the village of Sveta Petka

And the village of Pašovi..., behind which the teeth of Pirina rise in the distance...


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality
240 mm

To my left, a veritable fall waterfall of leaves. But how is that possible?

Wind playfully caresses each leaf and the Sun sprinkles its gold on them and the result is magic!


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality
Waterfall of autumn leaves

Real Rhodope magic...


I was looking for you...


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

That's what I'm here for!


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

This is what I live for!


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

For these moments!


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality
A bench with a view of timelessness and perfection

The greatness of the Creator, before which I cannot hold back my tears!


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

Every fiber in my body screams euphorically without even making a sound!


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

Filled with gratitude, favor and joy!


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

A bolder tear still manages to warm my cheek, and I wipe it away with my hand.


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

The panorama from the cliffs is shocking and amazing, and the autumn gives it such a magic that I just sat on the edge of the cliffs, threw my camera strap over my shoulder and began to contemplate around.


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

I think I better let my photo moments do the talking now…


Panoramic view from the natural landmark "Pashovi skali" near Yundola, Velingrad municipality

They will convey better than my words the emotions of this special place combined with the magic of autumn.



I found you, Autumn!



Natural landmark "Pashovi rocks" was declared as such in 1981 and is a characteristic rock complex located between the Yundola saddle and the village of Pashovi. It occupies an area of 2.1 hectares at an altitude of 1,350 meters, and the purpose of conservation is the natural rock niches, which are habitats of rare and protected plant species and nesting sites for a number of birds. In these rock habitats, 153 species of higher plants have been established and described, of which three are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria and four are declared protected. Of special conservation interest are the extremely rare plant species:

  • Sedum kostovii Stef., rare species in the Red Book of Bulgaria, Bulgarian endemic, protected since 1989;

  • Sedum stefco Stef., rare species in the Red Book of Bulgaria, Balkan endemic, protected since 1995;

  • Woolly bell (Campanula lanata Friv.), occurs only on rocky and stony places, a strictly protected species under the Bern Convention of March 5, 1998;

  • Genista rumelica Vel., Balkan endemic;

  • Reddish thicket (Sempervivum erythraeum Vel.), Balkan endemic;

  • Lichens and mosses around rosettes of Semprevivum erythraeum, Balkan endemic;

  • Aetolian pansy (Viola aetolica Boiss et Heldr.), Balkan endemic.

Natural landmark "Pasovi skali" is a valuable habitat for both rare plant species and numerous mammals, reptiles and birds. The rock complex and its adjacent forest are inhabited by roe deer, wild boar, rabbit, fox, and on the rocky terrains and gullies there are alpine newts and representatives of various types of snakes and lizards. In the rock niches, rare birds nest, such as the rock mason, the rock climber, the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the goshawk, the owl, the red woodpecker and others. The area provides excellent conditions for observing rare species of butterflies.

From the natural phenomenon "Pashovi skali" you can see wide panoramic views of Pirin and picturesque landscapes of the slopes and catchment of the Luta Reka, the serpentines and tunnels of the narrow-gauge line in the direction of the Avramovo station.

The horizon to the east is closed by the giants on the scale of the Rhodopes Syutka and Batashki Snow, and to the west remains the Balabanitsa hill, which is the first hill of the Rila mountain.

A gazebo with benches has been built nearby.


How do you get to Yundola?

Yundola is a village in southern Bulgaria. It is located in Velingrad municipality, Pazardzhik district.

It is a famous Bulgarian mountain resort with ski slopes equipped with ski lifts in winter.


Yundola is located in a mountainous area and is about 16.5 kilometers northwest of Velingrad (about 20 minutes by car), on the road to Bansko and Razlog. It is located at 1,400 meters above sea level between the Rila and Rhodopi mountains. The road from Velingrad runs along the Lukovitsa river and is extremely picturesque.


The Yundola area is a vast saddle meadow between the Rila and Rhodopi mountains measuring approximately 3 kilometers by 1 kilometer. The area is a watershed between the Yadenitsa River (right tributary of the Maritsa River), the Lukovitsa River and the Ablanitsa River (left tributaries of the Chepinska River).


The name of the locality is found in Old Bulgarian texts as Ѫdol, with an initial large nosovka - dol and is of Proto-Bulgarian origin.


Various tourist routes start from Yundola in the direction of Rila and the Rhodopes. Interesting sites in the surrounding area are: "Rogachitsa" and "Valyavitsite" reserves in Rila, Filibishka Polyana area, Chernovets area in the Rhodopes, Kurtovo area, natural landmark "Pashovi Skali", "Belmeken" sports base, "Belmeken" dam, panoramic playground " Belmeken" and the trail to Mount Belmeken.


In winter, the snow cover lasts for about 80 days, and the average January temperature is minus 4°C. The average temperature in July is around 15°C.



Yundola stands at:

  • 117 kilometers (about 1 hour and 49 minutes by car) from the capital

  • 92 kilometers (about 1 hour and 41 minutes by car) from the city of Plovdiv

  • 452 kilometers (about 5 hours and 17 minutes by car) from the city of Varna

  • 344 kilometers (about 3 hours and 30 minutes by car) from the city of Burgas


How do you get to the initial starting point of the trail leading to "Pasovi skali"?

The starting point of the path leading to the natural landmark "Pashovi Skali" is the "Sveta Petka" chapel.



A wide flat dirt road leads to the chapel, which starts from the main road, to the left of which a small gray substation has been erected.


You can leave your cars wherever it is convenient nearby.


In the next image I have shown the main road Velingrad - Bansko.


The path to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali"
The gray substation on the left by the road, in front of which is the path to Pasovi skali

This is what the dirt road itself looks like. In the distance you can see "Sveta Petka" chapel.


The path to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali"
The dirt road leading to the chapel "Sveta Petka"

In the next image, I have marked in red the path to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali".


Attention! The path passes to the left of the "Sveta Petka" chapel.


The path to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali"
The path to the natural landmark Pašovi skali

On a large tree to the left of the chapel "Sveta Petka" there is a sign "Pasovi skali".


"Pashovi skali" signpost and "Sveta Petka" chapel in Yundola village, Velingrad municipality
"Pashovi skali" signpost and "Sveta Petka" chapel in Yundola village, Velingrad municipality

As can be seen from the signpost, the markings of the path leading to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali" are white - red - white.


The path to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali"

From here the path branches off into several paths, and you continue boldly in the direction of the forest.


The path to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali"

The marking of the path leading to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali" will accompany you along the trees near you - white - red - white.


The path to the natural landmark "Pasovi skali"

And in minutes you will be in front of the huge gate of the Forestry University "Georgi St. Avramov" in the village of Yundola and their base for intensive breeding and production of wild game BIRPD.


Signposts "Pashovi skali" and "Sveta Petka" chapel in Yundola village, Velingrad municipality
"Pasovo skali" signposts located in front of the BIRPD

From here on the path follows the fence the whole time and you just follow it.

Have a nice walk!


What can be visited nearby?

Only 16 kilometers north of Yundola (about 24 minutes by car) is the Belmeken dam.



The trail leading up to Mount Belmeken starts from the "Belmeken" dam.


View from Belmeken peak
View from Belmeken peak

The magnificent views of the marble ridge of Pirin accompany every traveler.


Pirin of Belmeken
Pirin of Belmeken

Only 16.5 kilometers east of Yundola (about 21 minutes by car) is the spa capital of the Balkans – Velingrad – blessed and eternal.


The spa capital of the Balkans - Velingrad - blessed and eternal
Welcome to Velingrad!

Velingrad is a wonderfully beautiful Bulgarian city, located in the Chepin Valley in the Western Rhodopes. It was formed in 1948 by the merger of the villages of Ladzhene, Kamenitsa and Chepino.

Velingrad is one of the most cloudless cities in Bulgaria.


The real wealth of Velingrad is its water resources - rivers, karst and mineral springs - they are abundant.


The Velingrad geothermal field is the largest in southern Bulgaria. The mineral springs (more than 80 in number), the mild climate and the wonderful nature are the greatest wealth of the city. Velingrad is one of the largest balneological resorts in Bulgaria and it is no coincidence that it is known as the spa capital of the Balkans.



In Velingrad, you can take a leisurely walk through the wonderfully beautiful Pine Park.



You can enjoy a magnificent walk to the panoramic platform "Skalite" above Velingrad, from where a wonderful view of the entire region is revealed.



The place is full of beauty and tranquility!



The "Rocks" panoramic platform above Velingrad is a special place where you will find solitude with nature.



Only 14 kilometers east of Velingrad (about 19 minutes by car) is the village of Dorkovo, where you can see the magnificent church "St. Ilia".


Temple "Saint Prophet Elijah" in the village of Dorkovo
Temple "Saint Prophet Elijah" in the village of Dorkovo

Near Dorkovo there is a unique site, representing a gathering of bones from over 30 species of animals in one place - Pliocene Park.



Near the village are the ancient ruins of the "Tsepina" fortress.


The ancient ruins of the fortress "Tsepina" in the Rhodopes
The ancient ruins of the fortress "Tsepina" in the Rhodopes

Just 8.5 kilometers south of Dorkovo (about 14 minutes by car) you can visit the charming town of Rakitovo, where you can see the old clock tower.


The old clock tower with two dials in Rakitovo
The old clock tower with two dials in Rakitovo

Only 20 kilometers southeast of Dorkovo (about 30 minutes by car) is the Tsigov Chark resort complex and the picturesque "Batak" dam.


Batak Dam
Batak Dam

Only 34 kilometers northeast of Velingrad (about 39 minutes by car) you will find the village of Patalenitsa.

In the village of Patalenitsa, I recommend you to visit the pearl of Patalenica - the buried church "Saint Dimitar".


The buried church "Saint Dimitar" in the village of Patalenitsa
The buried church "Saint Dimitar" in the village of Patalenitsa

Near the village stands the wonderful Batkun spiritual monastery "St. St. Peter and Paul", where you will find majestic tranquility and beauty.


Batkun spiritual monastery "St. St. Peter and Paul" near the village of Patalenitsa
Batkun spiritual monastery "St. St. Peter and Paul" near the village of Patalenitsa

In spring, the phenomenally beautiful lavender fields of Patalen radiate charm and charm against the backdrop of the majestic Rhodopes.


Patalenitsa lavender fields
Patalenitsa lavender fields

Only 22 kilometers north of Yundola (about 29 minutes by car) is the wonderful village of Golyamo Belovo.


Golyamo Belovo village, Pazardzhik district
Golyamo Belovo village, Pazardzhik district

From here starts the path to the majestic ruins of Belovska Basilica, which I highly recommend you to visit.


The magnificent ruins of Belovska Basilica
The magnificent ruins of Belovska Basilica

From here you can continue your wonderful adventure in antiquity towards the ruins of the ancient late antique and medieval fortress city of Levke.


The ruins of the ancient and medieval fortress city of Levke
The ruins of the ancient and medieval fortress city of Levke

Just 43 kilometers southwest of Yundola (about 46 minutes by car) is beautiful Belitsa.


City of Belitsa
City of Belitsa

About 12 kilometers northeast of the town of Belitsa (about 22 minutes by car) along a narrow and in some sections rather dusty road in the bottom forests of Rila, there is a bear park that I invite you to visit.



Only 14.5 kilometers south of the town of Belitsa (about 18 minutes by car) you will find the village of Banya, Razlozhko - the richest village in mineral springs in Bulgaria!


Banya village, Razlozhko
Banya village, Razlozhko

In the village of Banya, you can visit the Old Bulgarian Bath, built in the Roman style.


The old Bulgarian bathhouse in the village of Banya, Razlozhko
The old Bulgarian bathhouse in the village of Banya, Razlozhko

In the village of Banya, you can explore the old Turkish Murtina bath (Ottoman hammam).


Murtina bath (Ottoman hammam) in the village of Banya, Razlozhko
Murtina bath (Ottoman hammam) in the village of Banya, Razlozhko

In the village of Banya you can see the monument of Neofit Rilski.


Monument to Neophyte Rilski in the village of Banya, Razlozhko
Monument to Neophyte Rilski in the village of Banya, Razlozhko

Only 5.7 kilometers south of the village of Banya (about 8 minutes by car) is the city of Bansko, where it is possible to:

  • to walk the old narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town

  • to walk Gotse Delchev Street

  • to take a picture in front of the city's sundial

  • to look at the stone pages of the "Slavic Bulgarian History" unfolded around the monument of Paisius

  • to sit in the shade under the majestic crown of the ancient tree

  • to learn the history of Khachkar monument

  • to hear the bells of the bell tower of the Holy Trinity Church

  • to take a sip of fresh Pirin water from the numerous stone fountains of the Old Town

  • to visit the temple "St. Venerable Paisius Hilendarsky"

  • to visit the house-museum "Neofit Rilski"

  • to breathe in the aroma of the blooming roses in the courtyard of the Velyanova house

  • take a look at the museum complex "Nikola Vaptsarov"

  • to honor Vaptsarov's poems in front of his monument and on the square bearing his name

  • to visit the poet's native house

  • to see the accurately recreated cell of Paisius in the spiritual-historical center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"

  • to enjoy amazing panoramas towards Pirin from the panoramic platform of Bansko

In Bansko there is the Bansko Gondola.


Bansko cable car
Bansko cable car

The most popular ski resort in Bulgaria - Bansko has comfortable and safe lifts that guests of the city can use all year round.


At the disposal of the residents and guests of the resort are two six-seater, six four-seater, two two-seater lifts and one cabin lift, which is also the most attractive and preferred lift in the city.


The cabin ropeway "Bansko - Banderishka Polyana" has a route length of 6,233 meters, which ranks it in second* place in length.


*The championship is held by the Simeonovska ropeway on Vitosha, which has a track length of 6720 meters.


The gondola, as the Bansko gondola lift is also called, was manufactured by the Austrian company Doppelmayr in 2002 (today's Austrian-Swiss company Doppelmayr-Garaventa) and was put into operation in 2003.


Bansko cable car
Bansko cable car

The route through which the lift passes has a height difference of 597 meters, and the capacity of the facility is about 2,000 people per hour.


There are three stations on the eight local Bansko cable car - lower (initial), intermediate and upper (end).


The lower (starting) station is located at 998 meters above sea level and is about 2.5 kilometers from the center of Bansko.


At the lower station of the lift, there are also the cash desks, from which tickets and cards for using the lift can be purchased.


The intermediate station is located in the area of Chalin Valog at 1468 meters above sea level.


Here, tourists have two options – either get off the lift to walk and descend the slopes of Chalin Valog, or continue to the upper station of the lift.


The last part of the cable car route starts from the intermediate station "Chalin Valog" to Banderishka Polyana.


Banderishka meadow in Pirin
Banderishka meadow in Pirin

The Banderishka Polyana area, where the upper (end) lift station is located, is one of the most attractive places for summer and winter tourism in the Pirin Mountains.


How do you get to the Bansko Gondola?


Only 6 kilometers northwest of the village of Banya (about 11 minutes by car) is the wonderful Razlog.


The city of Razlog, photographed from the "Steps" panoramic platform
The city of Razlog, photographed from the "Steps" panoramic platform

In Razlog, I suggest you take the "Steps".



From the place you will have the magnificent opportunity to enjoy an amazing view of three mountains - the beautiful Pirin, the exquisite Rila and the proud Rhodopes.



The green, orderly, colorful, fresh and incredibly beautiful city park of Razlog is also a place you should not miss to visit.



A walk around the city will calm, amaze and impress you, so just do it.



Just 13.4 kilometers north of the village of Banya (about 18 minutes by car) you will find the picturesque Rila village of Dobarsko. A walk here is an immense pleasure and you should not miss it!


Dobarsko village
Dobarsko village

In the village there is a unique national cultural monument - the Church of St. St. Theodore Tiron and Theodore Stratilatus in Dobno, which I think is too famous to invite you to visit, because you probably already have.

The Dobar Church "St. St. Theodore Tiron and Theodore Stratilat"
The Dobar Church "St. St. Theodore Tiron and Theodore Stratilat"

8 kilometers east of the city of Bansko (about 9 minutes by car) is the charming jewel of Dobrinishte.


City of Dobrinishte
City of Dobrinishte

In Dobrinishte, I suggest you take another incomparable walk and visit the town's Balneolechebnitsa, next to which a wonderful and green park has been built.



The Church of St. St. Apostles Peter and Paul is exquisite, beautiful and I suggest you take a look at it during your walk.


Church "St. St. Apostles Peter and Paul" in Dobrinishte
Church "St. St. Apostles Peter and Paul"

The center of Dobrinishte is beautiful and offers tranquility, charm and beauty to its visitors.


The Dobrinishte Town Hall building
The Dobrinishte Town Hall building

Certainly around the city of Dobrinishte and the city of Bansko you can visit all quality and very interesting sites, eco-paths, routes and places. I will advise you to take the road leading to Vihren hut.



At the side of the road, look around for a detour by the incredibly beautiful, fresh and impressively beautiful river Demyanitsa.


Demyanitsa is a river from the Mesta basin, which collects the waters of six lake groups - Vasilashki, Valyavishki, Prevalski, Tipitski, Kirkamski and Gazeiski lakes. Under the name Valyavitsa, it originates from the Valyavish Lakes at 2,400 meters above sea level. It initially flows west, but after passing through the Tiyatsite area, it heads straight north. Its catchment area is estimated at 37 sq. km. The average slope is 102 per mille, that is, for every kilometer of linear length, the river descends by more than one hundred meters. Near the Demyanitsa hut, it receives two large tributaries - the Vasilashka river on the left, and the Gazeiska river on the right. After that, two more rivers flow into it - Kirkamska on the left and Yulen on the right. This makes it a relatively full-water river with a flow rate of about 1.5 cubic meters per second.


Above Bansko Demyanitsa, it merges with the Bunderitsa river and the two together form the Glazne river. The total length of the Demyanitsa river to the confluence with Banderitsa is about 14 kilometers.


Here, enjoy it and feel the freshness of the mountain!


Only 14.5 kilometers from Bansko (about 34 minutes by car) on the road winding through Pirin in the direction of Vihren hut, there is a strange and very, very old tree.

Tree of the years of Bulgaria!


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Baykusheva mura!


Baikusheva Mura - 1300 years of history
Baikusheva Mura - 1300 years of history

And as a finale, my dear friends,

you shouldn't miss a look

the special album with photo moments –

discovered, experienced, captured and shared with you!



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