After I spent two and a half months in Slovenia for the summer, I couldn’t wait to come back to Bulgaria and continue exploring more of its unknown treasures. And just two days back home, I was already on the road. This time – to Strandzha and the region of Sredets, south-eastern Bulgaria.
About the area of Sredets
Sredets is a little known municipality in the Strandzha mountain. It is located near Bourgas and close to some of my most favourite places on the Black Sea coast. There are 131 archaeological, historical, art and architecture sites on the territory of Sredets.
The proximity to the south Black Sea coast make the place to stop by on your way to the Black sea. One of the biggest challenges, thought, would be the poor road condition. A car is your only choice to get by. And some of the sites are best accessible through the jeep safaris that the tourist center offers.
But don’t let this stop you from exploring one of the most mysterious parts of Bulgaria. Here are few places in the region of Sredets to visit:
The Roman town of Deultum, Debelt village
Open: every day from 09:00 to 18:00| Entrance fee: 5 BGN | Tourguide: 10 BGN
Deultum was a name of the ancient town located in the region during the reign of the Roman Empire. The place was an important economic and commercial center due to its location close to the sea and the important trade routes that pass from here.
The first evidence of the existence of a settlement dates back to the 13th century BC. Many Thracian mounds have been found here. During the Roman Empire, Deultum was one of the richest towns.
It is believed that Deultum is the place where Khan Boris accepted the Christianity and that is the beginning of the Christianization of Bulgaria.
Today, as part of the Archaeological reserve “Deultum” you can visit the Museum and the remains of the fortress. It is located just outside the village of Debelt, on the road Sredets-Bourgas.
Markov’s stone, Dolno Yabalkovo
One of the most impressive sites in the region of Sredets is the 8-meters high stone stuck between two other rocks, known as The Big Stone or Markov’s stone (Markov Kamak). The rock phenomenon is located 1,5 km from village Dolno Yabalkovo.
It is actually an ancient Thracian sanctuary. There are two wells in the form of steps on the top of the stone. It is believed that they were filled with healing water. Nowadays, the place is visited by women with reproductive problems and people with problems with the vision- they come here with the hope of finding a cure.
Dolmen in Korubata area, between Dolno Yabalkovo and Kirovo
During our weekend in Sredets, we visited another mysterious place – the dolmen in Korubata area. It is also located near Dolno Yabalkovo village and is one of the most preserved dolmens in Strandzha.
It is associated with Trhacian religious rituals or funerals. The Bulgarian folklore, on the other hand, connects the dolmen with tales about dragons and nymphs…
The Monastery of Golyamo Bukovo
The Monastery of Golyamo Bukovo village – “St. Zhivorpriemen iztochnik” (meaning “Life-giving Source”) is the only active monastery in Strandzha mountain. It was built in 12th century and is still welcoming believers all year round.
The monastery was built on a spring of what is believed to be a healing water. The source can be seen now, just in front of the small chapel. Unfortunately, the road to the monastery is again in poor condition as well as the monastery itself.
Where to stay: Village Bukovo
During our weekend in Strandzha and exploring the region of Sredets, we stayed in the picturesque Villa complex in Golyamo Bukovo. A wide green area, cozy villas, pool, fish pond and animals walking around… it is a good place to relax between the sightseeing of all the hidden treasures in Strandzha. A night in the complex costs only around 20 BGN (10 Euros) per person. Keeping in mind the great conditions and area, it is a deal you can’t easily skip.
Exploring the region of Sredets and finding out the mysteries of Strandzha is a good alternative weekend in Bulgaria far from the most popular places in the country. You can feed your curiosity with the diverse sites and legends without sacrificing the comfort of a relaxing weekend in the nature.
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