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Belogradchik Rocks
Miroslava Dermendjieva

Belogradchik Rocks

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The Belogradchik Rocks are located in the western forepart of the Balkan Mountains, near the town of Belogradchik and their size is absolutely impressive. They're about 200 meters high, 30 km long and approximately 7 km wide. The massive rock formation began its mystical existence under the influence of natural forces more than 200 million years ago. Aside from the incredible shapes that unleash the imagination, about a hundred caves lie hidden in the rocks as well. The particular “flaming” shade of the complex results from the iron oxide content of the rocks.

The imposing natural phenomenon consists of three main groups: Falkovska, Central and Zbegovska, as each separate rock in those groups has earned its own nickname, mostly as a result of its characteristic appearance.

The Falkovska group extends eastward and includes: Momina Skala /eng: Maiden’s Rock/, often likened to a young woman’s head, Pchelen and Orlov kamak /eng: The Bee and Eagle Stones/, Borov kamak /eng: the Pine Stone/.

The central and largest group rises above the town of Belogradchik and includes the following rocks: Mislen kamak, The Rider, The Madonna, The Dervish, The Convent, The Schoolgirl and the Shepherd boy, Adam and Eve, Velkova glava and The Cuckoo. This group is a source of some the most popular local legends. One of them has it that once there was a convent here. A fair nun, named Vitinya served there, but she was so lovely that rumours of her unparalleled beauty spread far and wide. Antonio the Roman heard of this and decided to seek out the beautiful nun. A burning passion blossomed between the two and Vitinya got pregnant. Because of that shame, she was banished from the convent, but while they persecuted her, Antonio appeared on a white horse and started begging forgiveness for his beloved. The providence intervened - the earth shook, the convent collapsed to the ground, Antonio, the nuns, Vitinya and the child got petrified. That’s how the rocks called The Madonna, the Horseman and the Convent were born according to the legend.

Zbegovska group spreads westward, as there are the formations: Bliznatsite /eng:The Twins/, Magaza and Borich. In that group a very popular legend is the one of The Twins. It is the story of the generous and committed couple of Radul and Blagouna who had no children of their own. One night they sheltered an old woman and in gratitude, she gave the bride some herbs that finally helped Blagouna to get pregnant. Three healthy sons were born, but not long after three boyars from the village wanted, coveted and envied their happiness. They schemed to kill Radul and his sons: Kamen, Stamen and Dragoi and seize their riches. The boyars committed the evil deed, but the "The Twins” proudly appeared close to Radul’s house, to remind the boyars of their devilry and to protect their father's home.

 

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