Rhodope mountains are one of the most beautiful and mysterious mountains in Bulgaria and has to offer a lot of interesting places to visit. Here are 6 of them, really different from one another, but close enough to make for an unforgettable road trip.
1. Stone Mushrooms (Kamenni Gabi)
The stone mushrooms is a rock phenomenon, located east of the village of Beli Plast, Bulgaria, at the road between Kardzhali and Haskovo.
Most probably you will ask yourself why they have this name – the answer is pretty simple. The rock formations have the shape of natural mushrooms – so that’s the origin of their name. They are about 2.5 meters tall and their colour is pink-ish with green caps. The “mushrooms” are formed by erosion of water and wind over years and years.
The area is around 3 hectares and it’s a natural resource. You should know that this place is very instagrammable and it looks majestic at sunrise and sundown, so if you are a photographer, book a date and visit the Stone Mushrooms.
2. Tomb of Alexandrovo (Aleksandrovska grobnica)
Another emblematic landmark in the area is the Tomb of Alexandrovo, dating back to the 4 century BC. It was discovered in 2000 by a famous Bulgarian archaeologist and represents an impressive monument of the ancient Thracian culture.
It had very well preserved frescoes but now it’s not accessible by tourists because breathing inside the tomb was damaging the frescoes. The changes of temperature were also affecting its structure.
Instead, today you can enter a replica of the Tomb of Alexandrovo which is situated nearby to the original one in the Museum Center “Thracian Art in the Eastern Rhodopes”. The murals and frescoes are reproduced in a very detailed way. In the Museum Center you can also see Thracian jewelry and ornaments.
3. The church of Uzundjovo
A church that deserves your attention in the region of Haskovo is the Assumption church of Uzundjovo village. This is actually the largest rural church in Bulgaria and it’s unique for combining elements of Christianity and Islam.
The church was destroyed by the Ottoman Empire, then a mosque was erected in its place and later it was again rebuilt as a church.
Its decoration is beautiful and is declared to be a cultural heritage monument.
4. The world’s highest statue of Holy Virgin Mary
Haskovo is known as a city of Virgin Mary. Why is that? Because in Haskovo was built the highest statue of Holy Virgin Mary in the world, considered to be the Patroness of the city.
Since 2005, the statue is included in the book of Guinness World Records, and it is part of the List of the Hundred National Tourist Sights in Bulgaria since 2009.
It is a must visit place in the Rhodope mountains, offering you the perfect view over the city from a 30 meters high bell tower right behind the Statue.
5. The village of Mineralni bani
If you are a fan of SPA, mineral baths or little quite villages, you will definitely like Mineralni bani. It’s a national balneological resort that beside the mineral water and its healing properties, can offer you a lot of natural trails for short or long hikes.
6. Villa Armira
Last but not least is Villa Armira – a suburban ancient Roman villa, dating back to the 1st century, near Ivaylovgrad, province of Haskovo. It was discovered in 1964 and it’s proclaimed as a monument of cultural and national importance.
Back in the 4th century, Villa Armira was burnt down, then restored and nowadays attracts more and more tourists every year.
It represents an example of rich decoration and valuable mosaic of the Roman architecture. There are also mosaics and figures from the Greek mythology like Apollo, Artemis, and Hermes. The Villa actually has one of the biggest mosaic found in Bulgaria.
It’s time to pack your bags, Rhodope mountains are waiting for you.
Meet the Author: Giorgia di Marchi is an enthusiastic adventurer and creator of at the Bulgarian travel website Saveti.bg.
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