Travelling · Wildlife & Nature

The Wonderful Bridges of Bulgaria

As the Bulgarian summer is usually very hot, many Bulgarians seek to the mountains and the forests to cool down. One popular place to visit is the Rhodopean mountains that has many interesting sites, The Wonderful Bridges are one of many interesting places to visit in this mountain. In 1961 the Wonderful Bridges was declared a natural landmark, and in 2003 this became a site on the list of 100 National Tourists Sides in Bulgaria. This is truly a magical place and a must visit for those who loves to hike in the nature.

The Wonderful Bridges is situated in the Rhodope mountains in south of Bulgaria, 30 km away from the closest town Chepelare, and 80 km away from Plovdiv, the second biggest city of Bulgaria. In the area of this natural phenomen there are lots of conifers were spruces are in majority, many of them are century-old. There are also many karst caves close to The Wonderful Bridges. For those who like to stay there are huts located nearby.

What is The Wonderful Bridges?

The Wonderful Bridges used to be one cave but the river of Erkyupryia has through its erosive activity created a unique shape of the mountain. The power of the water has during many century formed the marble clefts into a deep-water cave, the ceiling, eroded through time and in the end collapsed, possibly during an earthquake. The Wonderful Bridges are shaped as arches.

The Wonderful Bridges is situated in the Rhodope mountains in south of Bulgaria, 30 km away from the closest town Chepelare, and 80 km away from Plovdiv, the second biggest city of Bulgaria. In the area of this natural phenomena there are lots of conifers were spruces are in majority, many of them are century-old. There are also many karst caves close to The Wonderful Bridges. For those who like to stay there are huts located nearby.

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One of the hut where you can stay for the night. Photo: the author

There are two arches, the first one is the biggest one is 15 meters wide and 96 meters long and composed by 3 vaulted arches, where the largest one is 45 meter high and 40 meters wide. It is possible to walk under the the largest vaulted arch, under the middle-sized flows a river. The small arch is situated 200 meters downstream, 30 meters high and 60 meters long. However, this bridge is not possible to reach for tourists. There is even a third one, but are usually not mentioned at all since its small and not reachable. A porthole where the river´s water disappear to the underground and reach a sump 3 km away.

The Legend

There is a legend of how the Wonderful Bridges was created. The legend tell us that there were a lot of shepherds in the local village of Zabardo, when there suddenly appeared a dragon that begun to ravage their herds and for many long years the shepherds was suffering from these raids. They decided that something needed to be done to stop the dragon, so they came up with a plan were they loaded a donkey with a dry substance made from wood fungus (which is usually used for making fire from steel and flint), in order to set this tinder on fire and use it against the dragon.

The shepherds plans had a successful result, as the dragon happy and greedy swallowed the donkey, the tinder in within the belly of the donkey was burning. The burning from inside caused the dragon pain and in the panic to get rid of the burning feeling the dragon desperately tried to escape. The dragon managed to found a small hole in the ground and as it lay down, the belly started to crack and in the end the crack had opened up the whole body of the dragon that and died. Many years later the dragon bones decomposed and the large arched bridges remained.

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Photo: the author

 

Sources for this article:

http://bulgariatravel.org/en/object/59/chudnite_mostove

The Wonderful Bridges one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the Rhodopes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvelous_Bridges

 

 

 

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