Photo: Lilyana Karadjova
One of the World’s Heritage Sites, a Wonder of Nature, the complex of Belogradchik Rocks is situated in Bulgaria, close to Danube River. The complex consists of several 200 meters high reddish rocks and about 100 different caves.
The rocks are mounting over the lovely small town of Belogradchik like powerful guardians. If you go out to the quieted town square at twilight and just listen for a while, you will hear the cry of a cuckoo. It is the Cuckoo rock calling. The rock truly produces the same sound as the bird and for this reason people gave its name. Is this only a play of the wind or the Cuckoo rock tells the story of the nearby Horseman, Madonna and Nunnery rocks, no one can tell for sure.
The legend tells that the rocks are connected. The Horseman’s name was Anton (Anthony). He was a poor shepherd. The Madonna (the lady with child in hands) bore the name of Vitinya. She was very beautiful and belonged to a rich family. The two of them fell in love, but Vitinya’s father didn’t allow them to marry and sent his daughter into the Nunnery on the mountain’s slope. Nevertheless, the two beloved continued to meet in secret and soon conceived a child. The nuns ousted Vitinya with her child and Anton came, riding a horse, and rescued them. In this moment a storm aroused, one thunder stroke, the earth shook and everything around turned into stone!
Only a cuckoo survived and flew out of the woods…
There is another one from the Belogradchik rocks that produces an interesting sound. It is named “The Bee Stone” and it hums with the sound of the wild bees living inside its womb. If we could understand their language, we would probably find out the truth of how the huge stone figures were formed.
Scientists claim that about 230 million years ago sandy and loamy rocks formed here. Later, these rocks came to be the bottom of a sea, upon which sand, gravel and clay stratified, after that – some more grey and white marlstone formed strata. Subsequently, the sea withdrew and rocks arose. The wind, the rain, and the ice destroyed parts of the marlstone and outcropped rocks’ bodies, which are red because of ferric oxide.
Thus, in the course of time, stone giants and caves formed a 30-km-long streak.
Nestled on the base of this spectacular rock formation sits the Belogradchik Fortress, which is also known as Kaleto Fortress. It was built during the Roman times and incorporates the rocks as part of its natural defense. The ones serving as the backdrop to the fort are 70 meters tall. The Belogradchik Fortress was initially used to guard the roads of the Roman Empire but became extended during the 14th century and developed into one of the most important strongholds in the region. Further changes to the fortress were made during the 19th century where European elements were added. Nowadays it is one of the best preserved strongholds in Bulgaria and a major cultural and historical attraction.
Photos: Lilyana Karadjova
Photos: Lilyana Karadjova