Krakra Medieval Fortress
Georgi Yordanov

Krakra Medieval Fortress


Since time immemorial a strategic fortress rises on top of a rocky plateau near present-day Pernik, on the right bank of Struma River. According to the oldest remains discovered in its foundations, there used to be a stronghold on that spot as early back as Thracian times, in 6-5 century B.C. Throughout the centuries it was repeatedly destroyed by invader attacks and then raised and widened again. The present-day fortress dates from the beginning of 9 century. It was initially a border fortification, spanning over 50 decares and 800 metres long. Two centuries later it was main fortress of local commander Krakra who ruled over 35 more fortresses in the Upper Struma region. Legends and songs about his bravery and strength with which he directed the resistance against a Byzantine siege have been told and sung to this day. That’s why nowadays the fortress bears his name. According to one of the legends, in 1016 Krakra resisted against an 88-day siege. Many Byzantines perished in the strenuous battles, that’s why the local area was named “The Bloody [Place]”. According to one of St. John of Rila’s passionals, the hermit’s cave was located in this exact area.


Today, amid the remains of the fortress we can see the foundations of a number of civil buildings as well as three Christian temples. Recently the whole area was renovated – an observation tower, alleys and panoramic platforms were constructed. A stage was also set up to house concerts and theatrical performances.


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