Rock On at Belogradchik
It was a spontaneous decision to take a detour from our journey to see ‘some rocks’. We had just entered Bulgaria by taking a ferry boat across the Danube and into Vidin, a municipality in the north-west. Having driven for nearly twelve hours, and days before that on a road trip from the UK to Bulgaria, we needed a well deserved stop off to re-charge the batteries. However, we didn’t quite realise what an amazing destination we’d chosen.
As we turn off the main road, bizarre rock formations start to appear in the landscape and following tourist signs is no longer needed as we drive through winding roads and closer into a mystical wonderland. Huge rocks with merging colours of reds, oranges and yellows topple more than 200 metres high above and all around us. Spread over 30 kilometres in length and three kilometres wide, they dominate the scenery with their strange yet shapely facial characteristics such as chipped noses, straight chins and poignant eyes.
There are five sets of rock and cave areas which are thought to have created themselves 230 million years ago and are mostly made up of sandstone, rock and limestone. Over this time, they have equally fascinated tourists, scientists and geologists with their unique outlines that have been sculpted by the natural elements of water, temperature and wind. Named after legendary and folk heroes, they carry the spirit of their own myths and history and, as we move around in-between these eroded rock layers of majestic reds, it is easy to wander into the imaginary world they’ve inspired.
Despite the site being a World Heritage Site and nominated as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, you are free to climb and explore the rocky areas yourself. Needless to say, there are also no safety regulations either as you tread in-between, up and around through the rocks at your leisure. Nearby is the town of Belogradchik and the fortress which makes for a great walk from one to the other as do the many eco-trails throughout the vicinity which is running amok with wildlife, fauna and flora.
Sadly, our visit was cut short by the evening descending upon us and the many miles we still had to travel, but exploring these silent stony giants will definitely be on the agenda for another visit.
Click here for more information on Belogradchik Rocks