The team of the only digital guide under the hills selected three places, each of which carries more special energy and is perceived as a sanctuary by the different cultures that inhabited the region


Cover photo: By Alexandra Karadzhova - Собствена творба, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

With ever higher temperatures and the occurrence of one of the most enjoyable seasons in nature, the topic of weekend destinations is becoming more and more discussed. The location of Plovdiv near the Rhodope Mountain offers a huge selection of short routes to conquer for a day and enjoy the escape from the city atmosphere.

The team of the only digital guide under the hills selected three places, each of which carries more special energy and is perceived as a sanctuary by the different cultures that inhabited the region.

Belintash or The White Stone is situated high in the mountain above the villages of Mostovo, Topolovo, and Dolnoslav. It is considered the second largest sanctuary on the territory of Bulgaria (after Perperek). It is supposed to be a cult site dating back to the Eneolithic, which was used for ritual purposes by the tribes inhabiting the area. Belintash can’t be reached by car and it takes a short walk, but the distance is not great and the terrain is very convenient and easy. It is well known that Belintash is part of the so-called sacred triangle, including several sacred and cult places in the Rhodope Mountains, namely the Monastery of Krastova Gora and the Thracian Sanctuary - Karadzhov Stone. An interesting fact is that from all the three places you can see the other two. The history and the purpose of the place are extremely disputed by historians, archaeologists and all kinds of researchers, as the legends that surround it are countless. It relates to both mystical phenomena, even paranormal, and treasure hunting rumors. Its majesty, however, is absolutely indisputable and makes it one of the must-visit places in case you are traveling in the area. The 360-degree panorama is breathtaking, and in clear weather, the sight of the sunset seen by the rock is phenomenal.

By Vislupus - Собствена творба, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The second peak of the energy triangle is Krastova Gora, which is named after Mount Krastov (1413 m.). The place is famous for its Christian sanctuary at Mount Krasta, which is a Christian pilgrimage center with international prominence. According to the legend, there is buried a piece of the True Cross. There is St. Trinity, a monastery complex from chapels, more known by the name of Krastova Gora. A particularly popular time to visit is during the celebration of the Christian holiday Feast of the Cross. On September 13, thousands of believers come to pray for health and remain on a night vigil in front of the Church of the Intercession of our Lady or spend the night praying in one of the chapels. On the same Rhodope peak, where the monastery complex is today, there once existed an old monastery destroyed centuries ago. The preserved walls, the processed stones, the foundations of the old church and the stones with traces of candles on them tell us about this. Visitors tell that after the liturgies in the evening a huge crucifixion appears in the sky, healing the believers and giving them energy. On the way up, according to the people, lies the Tree of Sin, and whoever passes under its branches is forgiven.

By Filipov Ivo - Собствена творба, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The third point of our route is the last peak of the triangle - the Karadzhov stone. It is a high rock plateau (a peak of 1448 m), whose steep walls form a natural narrow chute. There is a huge stone in it that looks as if a higher power placed it there - the Karadzhov stone. The view from the top of the plateau is unbelievable - the slopes of the nearby Rhodopes are nearby - Belintash, Krastova Gora and the area of the Martsiganitsa hut. The rock phenomenon can’t be reached by car, but there is a well-marked eco-path. Here the legends are various as well. One links it to the Turks, others to buried treasures, and another to the presence of a UFO site. The fact is that due to its location, which implies only pedestrian access, nature is excellently preserved, and the area reveals unique views. The walk is neither short nor easy, so be careful and make sure you have some water and that the weather is good and be ready to spend some hours. According to locals, Karadzhov stone has bad energy because of the many rumors about buried treasures that are the subject of treasure hunters.

The upcoming weekend is the perfect time to organize your route now and prepare your backpack for a walk.