Northwestern Bulgaria is a real paradise for urbex tourists. Abandoned village houses lurk everywhere, waiting to be explored by uninvited guests. Although we associate the area with economic stagnation, mostly aging population and a lack of opportunities, it has another side to it.
You can discover impressive natural landmarks with fantastic shapes and mysterious stories which can become a magnet for the lovers of the spiritual and esoteric:
1. Venetsa cave
Venetsa Cave near the village of Oreshets , Vidin region, is a pearl in the crown of the Bulgarian caves and is undoubtedly one of the most stunning natural landmarks I have ever seen. Amazingly beautiful and breathtaking with its bizarre stalactites and stalactons, colored in all colors of the rainbow.
With a bit of imagination, you can spot all sorts of mythical creatures hidden in cave forms, including the Virgin Mary. The cave was discovered during blasting work on a quarry near the village in 1970.
2. Magura Cave and Rabisha Lake
Magura Cave near Belogradchik Rocks is not so impressive in terms of geological formations in comparison to Venetsa, but it is much more mysterious and raises many questions. What do the paintings in the cave depict? What is their connection with the Belogradchik rocks? Is the legend that a dragon inhabited Magura true?
Our guide Kiril Kirilov has been trying to unravel many of these enigmas for 10 years and his conclusions are contrary to the official stance of academic professors. According to popular opinion, the drawings are scribbles of primitive people and illustrate scenes from everyday life – sex, hunting, rituals, and should be taken literally.
What do the drawings depict?
Kiril claims that if this were true, among the thousands of symbols, more animal figures would have to be distinguished. His thesis is that the signs are abstract, encode advanced ancient knowledge of astronomy, astrology and philosophy and contain the prototypes of 10 alphabets. If this information has provoked your interest, you can read more in his blog- MagnaAura.
Another interesting fact is that a female face from a drawing in Magura very closely resembles a Belogradchik rock, depicting the Mother Goddess. It is likely that primitive people were inspired by the rock in question and decided to reflect it in their drawings. However, there is an unpopular thesis that both the shape of the rocks and the drawings are inspired by a higher mind. I leave it to you to judge. Unfortunately, you will not be able to see the works of primitive artists up close, because access to them has been limited since 2019 .
Archaeologists have discovered that the cave and Lake Rabisha nearby are connected by an underground river and there is a legend that a dragon lived in the depths and chose local people to train so that they could then pass on the knowledge to their villagers.
The conversation with our guide threw me into deep thought and left me quite confused, but one thing is for sure – it is true that the Bulgarian public is not interested enough in the drawings and their interpretation and this must change.
3. Belogradchik rocks
Belogradchik rocks are a stunning geological phenomenon and are also the subject of many mysteries. Have living beings been petrified, as legend has it?
According to science, they were formed as a result of random natural processes – rain, wind, solar heating, frost. But is erosion able to sculpt such perfect shapes, or is it to blame for their destruction?
The resemblance of some of the rocks to real animals and people is striking, and makes you wonder if this is a devilish wink from nature or simply the result of our natural tendency to simplify the world around us and attribute familiar features to it.
In the past, the rocks were the ideal fortification during war, but they also served as sanctuaries.
You can also see them from a bird’s eye view, flying with a balloon above them. The views at sunrise at a height of 77 m definitely make you say “Wow!” Thank you for the incredible emotion , adventure center “Belogradchik”.
4. Rock complex “Borov Kamak”, Borovitsa village, Vidin region
To not be mistaken with the waterfall “Borov Kamak”, which is part of the Vratsa eco-trail. It is a rock complex near the village of Borovitsa, Vidin region, which belongs to the Belogradchik rocks, but is further away from them. The analogy with the Red Rocks in Arizona is not unfounded. The rocks here are thought to have formed 220 million years ago. There are separate eco-trails near the natural landmark. The name of the rocks and the village comes from the pines on the ridge, which unfortunately were recently burned.
5. God’s Bridge near the village of Lilyache, Vratsa region
On the way to God’s Bridge, stop by Peshketo – a very picturesque rock labyrinth with a network of caves and holes. If you are lucky, you can also find giant bones in one of the rooms of the caves. The natural landmarks in this area are very reminiscent of Prohodna Cave, but are less well known and popular.
God’s bridge is located between the villages of Lilyache and Chiren and will leave you speechless. Nature has sculpted the perfect bridge without outside interference. It is assumed that during a devastating natural disaster, the huge cave that was at this place collapsed and with time and the help of erosion processes it started to look like a bridge. The locals joke that the gods created it so that they don’t get their feet wet in the river. It is impressive how the formation has withstood the severe floods to which it has been subjected.
Nowadays it is used as a stage for performances because of its incredible acoustics.
I want to thank the Questour Project for for the opportunity to visit stunning natural landmarks in Bulgaria and to unravel their mysteries.