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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

The Assen Fortress (Petrich Fortress, Petrich Kale) - the last Grand Rhodope Watch

Updated: Feb 5

Probably every Bulgarian has visited the Assen Fortress at least once.


The Assen Fortress (Petrich Fortress, Petrich Kale) - the last Grand Rhodope Watch
Assen Fortress (Petrich Fortress, Petrich Kale) - the last Grand Rhodope Watch

Probably everyone has climbed the stone steps to the Bulgarian flag, fluttering from its highest point.


The Assen Fortress (Petrich Fortress, Petrich Kale) - the last Grand Rhodope Watch

Certainly everyone has sealed a memory in front of the walls of the fortified Church of the Holy Virgin Petrichka.


The Assen Fortress (Petrich Fortress, Petrich Kale) - the last Grand Rhodope Watch
Certainly Everyone has Sealed a Memory in Front of the Walls of the Fortified Church of the Holy Virgin Petrichka.

I am convinced many have gave a look at the ruins on the rocks to the gray-blue ridges of the Rhodopes along the Chepelarska* river, cut through the mighty mountain for a million years, sigh from the admiration and their breasts sounded on their breasts

Ehoo!

And the echo was reflected by countless Rhodope ridges, mixed with the river's rumble, and was scattered somewhere in eternity.


The Gorge of the Chepelarska River
The Gorge of the Chepelarska River

Now it's time for me to show you the fortress! Let me show you around the ruins. To reveal to you how I saw her on that late November warm autumn day, what I felt when entering the temple, how the wind greeted me by the unfurled Bulgarian tribagrenik and what I felt, laying my hand on the stone inscription of Asenevtsi - there by the rocks, where in time with dignity the last great Rhodope guard towered.


View of the Asen fortress
View of the Asen fortress

I will tell you what the river shared with me - a living witness of those long-gone times, roaring in its bed, smoothing and rounding the river stones, what legends it whispered to me, what song it sang to me - of heroic times, of glorious heroes, of brave men, of the rule of Emperor Justinian, for the Bulgarian king Assen, for the son of Sultan Bayazid "Lightning" I - Musa Celebi, for the fortress - the rule of Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Bulgarians and Ottomans.

 

Chepelarska river
Chepelarska river

*Chepelarska River (until 1942 it was called Chaya, because of the many linden trees along its banks, and until 1945 it was called Asenitsa) is a river in Southern Bulgaria — Smolyan Region, Chepelare Municipality and Plovdiv Region, Asenovgrad, Rodopi and Sadovo Municipalities, right tributary on the river Maritsa. Its length is 86 kilometers, which gives it the 39th place among the rivers of Bulgaria. It drains the eastern slopes of the Chernatitsa ridge, the northwestern parts of the Prespa region and the Dobrostan ridge of the Western Rhodopes.

 

Chepelarska river and the road Asenovgrad - Smolyan
Chepelarska river and the road Asenovgrad - Smolyan

I've been putting off my visit here for too long, but here it is in November - the sun is still gently caressing the skin, a soft breeze barely stirs the patterned leaves on trees and bushes, and I'm driving towards Asenovgrad in the early morning of this wonderful autumn weekday, humming to myself tunes and soon the shadow of Rhodope reminds me to take the turnoff to the right, just after Metoha at the exit of the town.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

Since it's early (it's around 9:00 am) I'm pretty sure I'll find a spot in the small parking lot built just opposite the entrance to the old town. And so it goes – the parking lot is almost empty, and my car is second to that of an elderly English-speaking couple who share that they are here because they have heard so much about the beauty and history of the place.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
View of the parking lot in front of the fortress entrance

I'm ready! My trusty camera is fully charged and in my hand!


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
The information center

I go to the information center outside the fortress entrance to buy a ticket. I also help the English speaking family to buy tickets.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
The entrance to the fortress

I take off the lens cap, throw the camera over my shoulder and immerse myself in the history of the Thracian, ancient, late antique, medieval and Ottoman fortress "Petrich Kale", known today as the Asen Fortress.

 

Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

I realize that I am in the middle of a huge natural rock massif with steep, even overhanging over the river and over the road (Asenovgrad - Smolyan) impenetrable majestic slopes - what an impressive strategic place!


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
View from the highest point of the hill

I'm sure that's what the first Thracian builders who laid the foundations here more than three millennia ago thought, who, like me, scaled the rocks and looked along the river.

 

Thracian period

The course of the river and the action of the water over the millions of years have created a natural passage through the mountain, connecting Thrace with Northern Greece and the White Sea.


View of the gorge of Chepelarska Reka
View of the gorge of Chepelarska Reka

Five centuries before Christ - the information discovered during the excavations carried out in the area extends to this era. This is also the time when some of the first settlers of this place were so impressed by the impenetrable Rhodope hill, today known as the Mound, that they decided to build it - to erect a mighty fortress, stopping invaders, enemies and ill-wishers.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
A natural rock built into the fortress

In fact, there is a lack of data and not much is known about this early Thracian period of the fortress.

The years fly by, the centuries roll by, and here the Romans stretch out their hands on these lands.


Roman period

Emperor Justinian** rebuilt the fortress as one of his 300 defensive bastions, prepared for defense against the invading Slavic tribes from the north.


**Justinian I the Great (Iustinianus I in Latin) was emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) from 1 April 527 to 11 November 565.

With the reign of Justinian, the transformation of the late antique Eastern Roman Empire into early medieval Byzantium began. For the last time, a Roman emperor tried to subjugate the entire Mediterranean. Like Octavian Augustus five centuries earlier, Justinian fundamentally changed state, religion, and society.

The Balkans remained a problem for the empire throughout Justinian's reign. The Balkan garrisons were stripped bare to provide soldiers for the western campaigns. Often, Huns and proto-Bulgarians ravaged Thrace, and the built system of fortresses failed to effectively stop them. In 559, a major attack by the proto-Bulgarian Kutrigurs, led by Zabergan, forced Emperor Justinian to once again seek the help of the retreating Belisarius. The invading army was repulsed after heavy fighting near the capital. Around 560, the Slavs began to settle permanently in the Balkans. "The Slavic settlement of the Balkans," writes Peter Brown, "was a direct consequence of Justinian's western ambitions."

Roman traces in the fort are still visible and give the atmosphere of an ancient camp.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

During excavations in the area, coins from the time of the Byzantine emperor Theophilus, who ruled from 829 to 842, were found.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
View of the Asen fortress

Thracian, ancient, late antique, medieval and Ottoman fortress "Petrich Kale", known today as Asen's fortress, has three major construction periods - in the 9th century, 11th century and 13th century.


Byzantine period

Initially built by the Byzantines, the small fortress-tower grew over time, with the settlements of Petrich and Stenimachos emerging around it.


View to the north from the Assen fortress
View to the north from the fortress

The lands to the north of the fortress are fertile, which turns "Petrich", as it was known at the time, into an independent economic center with its own administration, army and military authority.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

The name is not accidental and comes from the Greek word petros, which means rock.

The first written information about the fortress dates from the charter of the nearby Bachkovo Monastery, established in 1083. Then the Byzantine military commander Grigoriy Bakuriani*** founded the monastery and gave him the village "Petrich" and the adjacent settlements.


***Grigori Bakuriani (Greek: Γρηγόριος Πακουριανός, Grigorios Pakourianos; Georgian: Grigol Bakurianis-dze, Grigol Bakurianisdze; Armenian: Григор Бакурян, Григор Бакурян / Pakourian) was a prominent Byzantine general during the reign of Emperor Michael VII Duka (1067 – 1078), Nicephorus III Votaniatus (1078 – 1081) and Alexius I Comnenus (1081 – 1118).


Period of the Third Crusade

In 1204, the fortress fell into the hands of the Crusaders and was under the possession of the Belgian knight René de Tri. The knight and his retinue withstood a thirteen-month siege by the troops of the Bulgarian king Kaloyan, who ruled from 1197 to 1207, and was saved by the chronicler of the fourth crusade - the Count of Champagne Geoffroy de Villardouin.

Since 1207, the fortress has been in the lands of despot Alexi Slav, and after the Klokotnishka battle in 1230, it passed into the hands of Tsar Ivan Asen II.


Reign period of Ivan Asen II

Ivan Asen II was king of Bulgaria from 1218 to 1241. He is the son of Tsar Ivan Asen I. He is considered the most notable person among the many members of the Asenevtsi family, and his reign is the most brilliant era of the development of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

During this period the fortress flourished. It also received its name, by which it is still known today - Asenova Fortress.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
The rock inscription of Tsar Ivan Asen II

In 1231, Tsar Ivan Asen II made large-scale expansions and left evidence of this in the form of a rock inscription


In the summer of 6739 /1231/, indict 4, the God-raised king Assen of Bulgarians, Greeks and other countries placed Alexi sevasta and built this city.


Today I lay my hand on the stone letters.

I try to feel that era—its thrills, its lusts and daring longings, its struggles.

Bulgaria!

How the heart flutters when you mention that name!

The inscription was perfectly preserved and remains authentic to this day.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

During this period, the fortress was a true feudal castle with two reservoirs, a majestic fortress tower and residential buildings, all connected by stone staircases.

It consists of an outer fortification and an inner part (citadel).


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
The place where the inner fortress tower was built

The inner fortress tower is located in the westernmost part of the fortress and has an irregular quadrangular shape. It is of the type of inner towers (donjon) that served as watchtowers and were built on the highest parts of the rock massifs. It was used for protection. Household objects were found in the tower, which testifies that it also served as a shelter for the defenders.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
Path to the reservoir

The reservoirs, as in any fortress, are built in its most protected part.

To keep water out, the inner walls were plastered with a layer of hydrophobic mortar mixed with broken bricks, on which ceramic fragments were glued and another layer of hydrophobic mortar was placed over them. The water from them was scooped up from above, so they were easily filled with rainwater.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

The better-preserved reservoir is a quadrangular room, closed on top with a semicircular stone vault, located in the upper part of the fortress, not far from the inner tower, with dimensions: 4.5 m long, 3.2 m wide and about 5 m high.

Next to it is the second reservoir, which is smaller and partially covered with wooden beams. On the side of it, traces of a brick water pipe can be seen.

The water in the reservoirs was collected during rains, and for this purpose the roofs were arranged in a special way and with special means - roof tiles, ox hides or wooden gutters.

 

Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
The fortress wall

The outer fortress wall is 2.9 m thick and has a preserved height of up to 3 m.

The rocky hill on which it was built rises 130 m above the level of the city, about 100 m above the level of the river and about 30 m from the road that ran at the foot of the fortress and was extremely dependent on it.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

The slopes of the hill to the west of the church are not only steep, but even overhanging the river, which makes them absolutely inaccessible. The slopes to the north, south and west are also steep, in some places steep, in some places probably additionally cut and smoothed, in order to further complicate a possible ascent and capture.

The hill is accessible only from its south-western end, and from this side a path for riders and pedestrians, about 1 m wide, was cut into the rock, through which the fortress was entered.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
Fortified Church "Holy Virgin Petrichka"

Under the feudal castle, a churchyard was formed with the well-preserved church "Holy Virgin Petrichka".


Fortification Church "Holy Virgin Petrichka"

It was built in the 13th century.

The most impressive is its architecture and especially its facade. Combined with the frescoes, some of which have survived to this day, the church is one of the most brilliant examples of the unique medieval architectural and visual school.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

Today, "Holy Virgin Petrichka" is undoubtedly one of the biggest attractions and certainly a bright symbol of the Aseno fortress.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
The entrance to the first floor

The church is single-nave, single-apsed, two-story and single-domed, with a triple internal distribution of the altar part and a tower above the vestibule on the second floor.

Its dimensions are: 18.3 m long, 6.9 m wide and about 15.3 m high.

The thickness of the walls is from 0.85 m to 1.15 m at the foundations.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

Fortification Church "Holy Virgin Petrichka" has two floors.

The first floor was intended and prepared for an ossuary, but was never used as such.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
The first floor

The second floor is the church itself, where authentic frescoes from the 13th century have been preserved to this day.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard
The preserved authentic wall paintings on the second floor

The church tower is imposing and was once used as a belfry and watchtower, providing views over the fortress and surrounding area.



Ottoman period

When Sultan Bayezid I (Ottoman Turkish: بايزيد الأول), nicknamed Yildirim (Ottoman Turkish: يلديرم, "Lightning") died on July 28, 1402, he had nine sons and three daughters as heirs.

His eldest sons - Suleiman Celebi and Musa Celebi started a war with each other for the throne and the empire.

Musa Celebi strengthened himself right here - in the Assen fortress, but could not withstand the siege and surrendered to the mercy of his brother.

After Musa's capitulation, the fortress was razed to the ground, so as not to arouse separatist appetites.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

For unknown reasons, the fortified fortress church "Holy Virgin Petrichka" remains intact.


Restoration

Research in the area of the fortress began in the distant 1970, and until 1978 the western part of the rock, which mainly covers the acropolis, was studied. During this period, the fortress walls, the inner fortress tower, the reservoirs, a small fortress church and the living quarters were discovered.

In 1991, the church "Holy Virgin Petrichka" was reconstructed and consecrated, thus completing the most massive renovation of the site.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

Wooden models of medieval war machines stand in the green spaces of the fortress.


Aseno Fortress (Petrichka Fortress, Petrich Kale) – the last great Rhodope guard

The Assen fortress has been declared an immovable cultural value (cultural monument) with the category of national importance - architectural-building value and folk antiquity.

The Aseno fortress is site number 47 of the Hundred National Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.


How do you get to Asenovgrad?

Asenovgrad is a city in southern Bulgaria. It is located in Plovdiv region.

Asenovgrad is the largest non-regional city in Bulgaria, the largest city in the Rhodopes, the second largest in the district after Plovdiv and is the administrative center of Asenovgrad municipality.


View of Asenovgrad from Asenov Fortress
View of Asenovgrad from Asenov Fortress

Until 1934, Asenovgrad was called Stanimaka from the Greek name of the city Στενήμαχος, Stenimachos. In 1934, it was renamed in honor of Tsar Ivan Asen II of Asenovgrad.

The city is famous for its many churches, monasteries and chapels and is often called the Little Jerusalem.

Asenovgrad stands on:

  • 167 kilometers (about 2 hours and 6 minutes by car) from the capital

  • 19 kilometers (about 24 minutes by car) from the city of Plovdiv

  • 364 kilometers (about 4 hours and 12 minutes by car) from the city of Varna

  • 242 kilometers (about 2 hours and 24 minutes by car) from the city of Burgas



The city is located in the gorge of the Chepelar river at its exit from the Rhodopes towards the lowlands. For this reason, the municipality of Asenovgrad forms a natural link between Central Bulgaria, the Central Rhodopes and the White Sea. One of the most important transport corridors to Greece passes through its territory on the route Plovdiv - Smolyan - Zlatograd - Xanthi.


How do you get to Asenova Fortress?

Thracian, ancient, late antique, medieval and Ottoman fortress "Petrich Kale", known today as Asenov Fortress, is located less than 2 kilometers south of the southernmost quarter of Asenovgrad.



Coming out of town watch for a large sign on the right and a diversion just after Metoha.

Along the way, there are several parking lots where you can leave your cars, a number of fountains and benches for relaxation and rest.

A small parking lot is also built in front of the entrance to the fortress.


Chapels in the area of the Aseno fortress
Chapels in the area of the Aseno fortress

Numerous chapels have been built around - "St. Athanasius", "St. Nicholas", "St. Dimitar", "St. Ilia", near which there are designated areas for relaxation and suitable places for picnics.


Route "In the Footsteps of the Legions"

From the entrance to the fortress, the route "In the footsteps of the legions" starts, which is marked by volunteers from Asenovgrad and leads to the old Roman trade route that connected the Bulgarian lands and White Sea Thrace.


Route "In the Footsteps of the Legions"
Route "In the Footsteps of the Legions"

In the vicinity of Asenovgrad there are five monasteries, 33 churches (14 in the city itself) and over 40 chapels. Together with them, the Aseno fortress is part of the "Rhodope Holy Mountain" cultural route.


What can be visited nearby?

Only 14 kilometers east of Asenova fortress (about 20 minutes by car) is the Arab monastery "Sveta Nedelya".



In the middle of the courtyard of the monastery rises the slender silhouette of the tower of Angel Voivoda.


Angel Voivode's Tower
Angel Voivode's Tower

Only 14 kilometers south of Asenova Fortress (about 19 minutes by car) is the starting point of the tourist trail to Slivodolsko Padalo - one of the beautiful and high Rhodope waterfalls.


Slivodolsko padalo waterfall
Slivodolsko padalo waterfall

Just 24 kilometers southeast of the Tunela fishpond - the village of Bachkovo (about 34 minutes by car) you will find another charming Rhodope jewel - Belitsa, Laki municipality.


Belitsa village, Lucki municipality
Panorama towards Belica

The "Belitsa - Cave" eco-path starts from the village, which I advise you to take.


Eco-path "Belitsa - Cave"
The rock paintings in the cave near Belitsa

Entering Belica you will witness this wonderful rock bridge - a natural landmark "Rock Bridge".


Natural landmark "Rock Bridge" near the village of Belitsa, Laki municipality
Natural landmark "Rock Bridge" near the village of Belitsa, Laki municipality

The charming Gumbertia waterfall is also located near beautiful Belica, so visit it and enjoy it.


Gümbertia waterfall near the village of Belitsa, Laki municipality
Gumbertiya waterfall near the village of Belitsa

About 27 kilometers south of the village of Belitsa (about 46 minutes by car) you will find one of the contenders for the highest village in the Balkans - Manastir.


Manastir village, Lucki municipality, Plovdiv region
The village of Manastir is one of the contenders for the highest village in the Balkans

Nearby are the 604 Steps to Freedom - Mount Svoboda and amazing ocean views from the Rhodopes.


Panorama from Mount Svoboda
The Rhodope Ocean

Only about 24 kilometers south of the "Tunela" fishpond - the village of Bachkovo (about 28 minutes by car) is the junction with the Rhodope Hospitality Sculpture.

The path leads to the village of Zabardo.

Just before the village is the turnoff to Chudni mostove - a wonderful Rhodope magic that will enchant you and amaze you with its beauty!


The wonderful bridges near the village of Zabardo in the Rhodopes
The spectacular curves of the Miraculous Bridges

After this extraordinary experience, you return to the starting position on the road to Zabardo.

Head to the village.


The waterfall before the village of Zabardo in the Rhodopes

Unexpected surprise! Before you enter the village, you will be greeted by a charming waterfall on the right and by the road itself.

The road winds along the Zabardska River. The majestic green slopes of the Rhodopes surround you on all sides. The waterfall pleasantly roars. It is cool, pleasant and charming!

Soon you will be in Zabardo!


Welcome to Zabardo

Only about 26 kilometers south of the junction with the Rhodope Hospitality Sculpture (about 37 minutes by car) is Mount Snezhanka.


Snow White Peak and Snow White Tower
Snow White Peak and Snow White Tower

From the top you will enjoy unprecedented beauties, and from the top of the "Snezhanka" tower you can see the sun's glare in the waters of the White Sea.

Opposite the summit are the Orpheus Rocks, from where you will be blown away by more fantastic and extraordinary views.


Panoramic view from Orpheus Rocks
Panoramic view from Orpheus Rocks

Only 14 kilometers east of Pamporovo (about 21 minutes by car) you will find the place where the Rhodope song was born - a land that has preserved the authentic Rhodope soul, hidden between the so beautiful green slopes of the mountain and by the sound of the river, a center of patriotism and knowledge, a place that gives freedom, silence, peace and confidence for a better tomorrow - Shiroka Luka!


Shiroka Laka - the birthplace of the Rhodope song
Shiroka Laka - the birthplace of the Rhodope song

In Shiroka Laka, you must visit the magnificent Assumption Church - a symbol of faith, built in 38 days.


Church of the Assumption in Shiroka Laka - a symbol of faith, built in 38 days
Church of the Assumption in Shiroka Laka - a symbol of faith, built in 38 days

Exarch Stefan I Bulgarian was born in Shiroka Laka, who played a key role in saving the Bulgarian Jews.


Exarch Stephen I of Bulgaria - a story about the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews
Exarch Stephen I of Bulgaria - a story about the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews

Only about 8 kilometers south of the village of Shiroka Laka (about 15 minutes by car) you will find Gela - the smile of the Rhodopes.


Gela village, Smolyan municipality, Smolyan region
Gela - the smile of the Rhodopes

In the village of Gela, I recommend that you take an incomparably beautiful walk and marvel at the majestic beauty surrounding the village.



In the village of Gela, be sure to visit the interesting ruins of an early Byzantine basilica - the highest located in southeastern Europe (1480 meters above sea level).


Ruins of an early Christian basilica in the village of Gela
Ruins of an early Christian basilica in the village of Gela

Only 14 kilometers northwest of Asenova fortress (about 18 minutes by car) is the charming Plovdiv town of Kuklen.



Southwest of Kuklen, nestled in the midst of the incredibly beautiful northern slopes of the Rhodope Mountains, is the Kuklen Monastery "Saints Saints Cosmas and Damian".



Only 10 kilometers northwest of the town of Kuklen is the charming Belashtitsa.

Near the village, you can take a walk through the wonderful centuries-old sycamore grove.


The centuries-old sycamore forest near Belashtitsa
The centuries-old sycamore forest near Belashtitsa

I will tell you what ancient legends the centuries-old plane trees, towering here from time immemorial, whispered to me.


A century-old plane tree in the land of the village of Belashtitsa
A century-old plane tree in the land of the village of Belashtitsa

Near the centuries-old plane tree grove, a medieval and Ottoman residential-defense tower still stands today.


Medieval and Ottoman residential and defensive tower in the village of Belashtitsa
Medieval and Ottoman residential and defensive tower in the village of Belashtitsa

Only 25 kilometers northwest of the Aseno fortress (about 25 minutes by car) is the village of Parvenets and a beautiful artificial waterfall that I suggest you visit.


The waterfall between Hrabrino and Parvenets
The waterfall between Hrabrino and Parvenets

About 15 kilometers south of the village of Hrabrino (about 24 minutes by car) is the charming Sitovski waterfall.


Sitovski waterfall, Rhodope Mountains
Sitovski waterfall, Rhodope Mountains

About 3 kilometers east of the village of Hrabrino (about 6 minutes by car) is the village of Izvor, from where the path to Momini skali starts, which I advise you to take.


Momini rocks above the village of Hrabrino
Momini rocks above the village of Hrabrino

Only 38 kilometers north-west of the Aseno fortress (about 39 minutes by car) you will find charming Peruštitsa.

About 2 kilometers before the town is the Red Church, which I invite you to visit.


The Red Church near Peruštitsa
The Red Church near Peruštitsa

In Peruštitsa you can explore the Renaissance (Danovo) School.


Renaissance (Danovo) School in Perushtitsa
Renaissance (Danovo) School in Perushtitsa

Next to the school building is the church "St. Archangel Michael".


Church "St. Archangel Michael" in Peruštitsa
Church "St. Archangel Michael" in Peruštitsa

Only 3 kilometers southwest of the town of Perushtitsa (about 6 minutes by car) is the village of Ustina.

In Ustina, take the Ustina Ecopath to Ustina Waterfall.


View of the village of Ustina from the chapel "St. George"
View of the village of Ustina from the chapel "St. George"

Only about 18 kilometers south-east of Asenova fortress (about 23 minutes by car) you will find the charming St. George waterfall - right on the road between the villages of Gornoslav and Oreshets.


St. George waterfall in the Rhodopes
Saint George Waterfall - on the very road between the villages of Gornoslav and Oreshets

Just 4.6 kilometers south of St. George waterfall (about 7 minutes by car) you will find the Oreshets panoramic site.


"Oreshets" panoramic platform
View from Oreshets panoramic platform

Only 6.5 kilometers south of the panoramic site "Oreshets" (about 12 minutes by car) you will find a rock bridge near the village of Mostovo.


Rock bridge near the village of Mostovo in the Rhodopes
Rock bridge near the village of Mostovo in the Rhodopes

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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