In the green embrace of the Balkans (Botevgrad, Pravets, Teteven, Ribaritsa)

Places that cannot be described but must be seen and experienced.

We know Pravets and especially Botevgrad mainly from the road signs along the Hemus motorway. This applies to most of the travelers. Few are the nature lovers who roam the forest paths, the old Roman roads and the steep mountain slopes that cut across this part of the Balkan Mountains, connecting towns, chalets and areas.


Botevgrad is a small town. It is not famous for being a renowned tourist destination unlike most of its “fellow towns” but it has its own charm, history and nature. And it is worth our time. The town is the last place that Hristo Botev’s division of revolutionaries reached after their defeat near Vratsa. It bears the name of the major Bulgarian poet and revolutionary himself. The town is cuddled in the picturesque Botevgrad Valley and surrounded by the hills of the Western Balkan Mountains and the Pre-Balkan. Here you can see the 30-metre clock tower dating from 1866, the Bozhenishki Urvich fortress, the Vracheshki Monastery, the ossuary monument in the village of Skravena, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Monastery in the Zelin area etc. In the town you will find a lot of fountains with running water coming from the mountains. An interesting tourist destination near Botevgrad can be the so called Holy Oak. According to clairvoyant Vanga it protects the town. Tourist trail lovers and especially discoverers of new mountain paths will enjoy spending their time in the neigbouring Bilo Mountain, part of the Balkan Mountains. Its highest peak is Manyakov Kamak (Manyakov Stone) – 1439m; it is located about 2km from perhaps the most popular spot here and exit point towards the Balkan ridge – Rudinata chalet.


There is another small but pretty town nestled at the foot of Bilo Mountain. Pravets is famous for being the birthplace of Bulgaria’s head of state during Communism Todor Zhivkov as well as for the eponymous Bulgarian computer brand. It is not by chance that today visitors take an interest in the colossal Socialist construction work and in the home of Todor Zhivkov, which today houses a museum. The small but quite friendly monastery of St. Todor Tiron is located amid enchanting forest greenery 2-3km away from the town. A specially designated eco-trail leads to it. The cloister welcomes a lot of visitors, especially on its temple holiday and town’s day St. Todor’s Day. The church of St. Atanasius the Great is located in the same area and the Etroploski Monastery is also nearby. One of the most visited spots for decades has been the big artificial lake located near Pravets. Along with the other reservoirs nearby, it makes the region a strongly preferred spot for practicing fish tourism and water sports. The centuries-old history of the town lives in the local History Museum. A historical tree – a venerable oak tree in the Draganskoto area – attracts young and old on St. Spas’s Day for the traditional water sanctification and mutton boiling rituals. Various sport and tourist events are held amid the beautiful nature around Pravets.


East of Botevgrad and Pravets nature unfolds its beauty. It has spared none of its charms in the Teteven Balkan. It is confirmed by Ivan Vazov’s words: ‘Had I not come to Teteven, I would have also been a foreigner to Mother Bulgaria… I have wandered and roamed far and wide but I have never seen a more wonderful paradise.’ Few can describe this gift, these picturesque and enchanting views, this animal and plant diversity. More than 20 caves contribute to the colour of the region. Just like the entire Teteven region, they are bearers of historical events. Some of them were homes to ancient tribes; others hid the leaders of liberation fights against the Ottoman rule. Some of them are loaded with more history, others – with more beauty – all of them require that they be visited – Saeva Dupka (Saeva Hole), Morovitsa, the Rushova Cave, Bayovitsa, Sinyoto Kolelo (The Blue Wheel) and many more. Somewhat naturally, the area includes the Central Balkan National Park and the Tsarichina and Boatin reserves. There are many eco-trails in the Teteven region perhaps because there are so many places to visit. Fearless mountain rivers and streams sometimes push their way through unexpected heights and so create new pieces of beauty. The stubbornness of the water has created the waterfalls of Skoka, Vara and others.


The Teteven Balkan provides opportunities for everything – trekking, bike tours, horseback riding trips, hunting and fishing, berry and herb gathering, ski tourism and alpinism. History lovers are also going to find something for themselves in the town. Today it still bears the spirit of revivalist Bulgaria. It was here where Vasil Levski set up a big secret committee. Some of the houses he sought shelter in are still preserved and open for visitors – today the Bobevska House is a museum and so is the Hadzhiivanova House. The Yorgova House, on the other hand, is the only one that survived the great fire that devoured the town in 1801. The history of the town is preserved thanks to the History Museum as well as churches and monasteries of old times.


However, it is nature that, to a great extent, predetermined the history of this region. Thanks to it today we have the beautiful resort of Ribaritsa. Located 12km away from Teteven, along the banks of Cherni Vit and Kostina rivers, this mountain pearl attracts visitors all year round. The village is a starting point of many tourist trails. However, even the atmosphere itself is attractive – it is an authentic village, characterized by peace and quiet, that has many living traditions – old watermills that are still functioning, tanks for rakia distilling, brightly coloured rugs being washed in the fulling mill, crafts that are still preserved…


If there has to be a conclusion, it can only be the following – these places cannot be described; they need to be seen and experienced.

View the Sites

  • mg-6634-sedemte-prestova_230x161_crop_82f45865fe

    "The Seven Thrones" Monastery

    The Monastery of Osenovlag is nestled in the bosom of Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains). Its name derives from the "seven altars" situated in the church at the monastery.

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    The Monastery of St. George (Glozhenski monastery)

    The majestic silhouette of the Monastery of St. George in the village of Glozhene is visible from afar.

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    Chekotinski Мonastery "St. Archangel Michael "

    The Chekotinski monastery of St. Archangel Michael, nestled among the serene and beautiful Balkan Mountains, just off the shores of Malak Iskar River, is situated near the village of Kalugerovo and not far from the town of Pravets.

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    Pravets Monastery St. Theodore the Tyro

    The monastery of "St. Teodor the Tyro" was built near the town of Pravets in 1180 and since then this amazing countryside has been literally saturated with a genuine sense of peace, humility, comfort and spirituality.

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    Златишки манастир "Вознесение Господне"

    Сгушен в подножието на Златишко-Тетевенската планина, част от Средна Стара планина, вече второ столетие Златишкият манастир „Вознесение Господне“ е духовно средище и стълб на христовата вяра за местните хора.

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    Етрополски манастир "Св. Троица"

    Ако има места, които истински заслужават определението „райско кътче“, то сред тях несъмнено е Етрополският манастир „Св. Троица“.