Vrachanski Balkan

Beauty and history at the foot and on the slopes of Vrachanski Balkan.

The Balkan Mountains, hanging above the town, the specific accent, the Ledenika Cave and Okolchitsa Peak – we can enumerate even longer but it isn’t necessary: even if we ignore the title it’s already clear we are talking about Vratsa. These are small portion of the characteristic symbols of the town and its surroundings.


Presently situated in Northern Bulgaria, at the foot of its own section of the Balkan Mountains, its history began many years ago – around 6000 B.C. Its lands were home to Thracians and then Romans while later, during the Revival, a great number of craftsmen left their imprint on its look. Nature, on its part, turned this region into a strongly captivating place – because of the caves, the river gorges, the climbing opportunities…


One of Vratsa’s symbols is the so called Meshchii Tower. It is located by the town hall. It is considered to have been built in the 16 century. At that time it was used both for housing and defense but three centuries later was refashioned into a clock tower. Near this historical site is the Kurtpashova Tower. It was built in the 17 century to be a fortified house and today it adorns the town centre with its resemblance of a medieval castle.


Another place worthy of our attention which is also situated in the centre of the town is the Carriage Museum. Its interesting exhibits are part of the Sophronius of Vratsa Ethnographic-Revival Complex which, on its part, includes three Revival houses and a school.


The historic places around Vratsa are also emblems of the town in their own way. You can pay tribute to Botev and his division’s feat by ascending Okolchitsa Peak. It is situated in the Vrachanski Balkan at 1048 metres of altitude. A huge monument with the voluntary army’s cross rises from the spot where Botev’s last battle took place. Further below, in the locality of Yolkovitsa, an inscribed rock marks the place where Botev entered history forever.


If you are planning to ascend Okolchitsa with your children, you can combine the trip with a visit to the local amusement park. There, both kids and adults can enjoy various outdoor games, paintball, climbing, pony riding and others.


But to go back to history, no too far from Okolchitsa Peak is the village of Chelopek. There is the home of Baba Iliytsa – “A Bulgarian woman” from the eponymous Ivan Vazov’s short story. Right next to the house there is a museum built to commemorate the feat of the brave Bulgarian woman who helped Botev’s rebels after their defeat. The museum familiarizes the visitor with objects characteristic for this region – national costumes, furniture, rugs and others.


The Dormition of Mother of God Monastery of Chelopek is a good choice for believers and lovers of holy places. It is located in the Balkan Mountains near Vratsa. It dates from as far back as the time of Tsar Ivan Shishman. Its church houses murals from 14 century. It is a functioning monastery, for men only. It even offers accommodation.


Each visitor of Vratsa should spare some time for the local nature. We all know the Ledenika Cave is located in the mountain above the town. And we have all heard and read about how beautiful it is. Only those who have not seen it for real can’t appreciate it. And whoever has seen it doesn’t really mind doing it again.


Another local beauty is the Vratsata gorge. It follows the course of the Leva River and prides itself with the tallest vertical rocks in the whole Balkan Peninsula – over 400 metres. Here lie the remains of a medieval fortress bearing the same name.


A few waterfalls in the Vratsa region further add to the opportunity for a time well-spent. The Vrachanska Skaklya waterfall is 142 metres tall but it almost completely dries during the summer. The rocks in the region draw many climbers but also lovers of beautiful landscapes.


In the Balkan Mountains, not far from the town, is the Borov kamak (Borov Stone) waterfall. It is reachable by an eponymous eco-trail. The St. Ivan Pusti waterfall, on its part, flows down its waters near a monastery that bears the same name.


The localities and sights in the Vratsa region are really innumerable. Here we collected just a small portion of them and we leave it to everyone to discover the rest.

View the Sites

  • meshchii-tower_230x161_crop_28c0c404d6

    The Meshchii Tower

    The Meshchii Tower is one of the two well-preserved mediaeval towers in Vratsa.

  • septemvriitsi_230x161_crop_fddd19a9a1

    Septemvriytsi 1923 Monument, Lakatnik

    The Septemvriytsi Monument is heroically perched on top of the winding rock bank near the village of Lakatnik.

  • curkva-sv_230x161_crop_b5b6490f20

    Church of St. George in Varshets

    The temple of St. George in Varshets has been proclaimed to be a cultural monument with local significance.

  • kurtpashova_230x161_crop_e18587aed3

    Kurtpashova Tower

    Former home of a local feudal lord, the so called Kurtpashova Tower has been rising in the centre of Vratsa for four centuries now.

  • varshets-stara-i-nova-banja2_230x161_crop_439ac5a5f0

    Банята във Вършец

    Северозападното градче Вършец е най-старият балнеологичен курорт в България.