The scientific advancement in Bulgaria is, interestingly enough, at its peak. Although there are still many disadvantages when it comes to finding jobs in this area, Bulgarian participants are among the top contestants in almost every World Physics and Astronomy Olympiad. Today, I want to show you why the science in Bulgaria is blossoming, despite the circumstances. I want to take you on a trip to the stars in the observatory in Rozhen.
The observatory was officially opened in March of 1981, and at that time, the scientific observations were being held repeatedly for a year. The opening was planned to coincide with the celebrations of Bulgaria`s 1300-year-old history. The observatory in Rozhen is the biggest in the Balkan peninsula and also in Southeastern Europe. It is not the oldest one though, there are many others throughout the region, which were built after the Second World War.
The observatory is located in Southern Bulgaria, about 30 km from the nearest town called Smolyan, and about 230 km from the capital Sofia. If you are coming by car, you can see the divine nature on your way here. On the meadows around Rozhen, a national folk festival takes place every year. The nearest ski resort is Pamporovo, which is very popular in the country. You can stay at a hotel there and ask about options for packages with transport to and from Rozhen.
You can visit the observatory every day of the week, except Tuesday. Its working hours are from 10 am to 4 pm. Beware, only groups in the range of 6 to 25 people are allowed. You can enter the premises every hour – at 10, then again at 11, etc. It costs 2.50 euros for adults and one euro for children and seniors.
In the building, there are exhibitions of photos of stars and other planetary objects, as the scientists observed them in the sky throughout the years. Those who are not afraid of heights can go out on the terrace, on the top floor, and enjoy a 360-degrees-view of the beautiful nature around the observatory. If the sky is clear, you can even see Pamporovo ski-resort, as well as the TV-tower Snezhanka (Bulgarian for “Snow White”).
If you want to see the stars after sunset, there are also night observations at Rozhen. You just have to sign up for at least a day before and be with a group of at least four people. This time, the prices are double – the ticket for adults is 5 euros, but there are some discounts for children and seniors.
Visiting the observatory in Rozhen is a great experience not only for people who have a flair for science. Here, you can witness the beauty of nature and that of the stars and the sky. The objects you will see through the telescope have been there for thousands of years, and you may as well have a part of their dust in you – we are all made from star atoms. In this sense, a short trip to the observatory in Rozhen might bring you closer to the stars than you think is possible!
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