Among Bulgaria`s many magical and mysterious places, there are hills, fortresses, castles, monasteries. But, there is also a very different place - one where every visitor could witness the amazing power of time and nature and see how those two have created something eternal. Today`s story is about one of the most interesting places to visit in the country. So, if you are a fan of history, myths, and mysteries, make sure to explore the Belogradchik Rocks and fortress near Vidin!
Just like in the case of Tsarevets Hill, it is unclear when exactly and how did the Belogradchik Rocks appear. Around them, there is an ancient fortress, which has been used by the Romans in the 1st to 3rd century CE. Then, in the 7th century CE, when the Bulgarian state was established, this area became part of it. In the 1850s, near Belogradchik, there was an uprising of people who wanted to free themselves from the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The uprising was crushed, and its leaders were taken through the tunnels of the citadel and beheaded. The Belogradchik Fortress was last used as such in 1885, during the war between Bulgaria and Serbia.
The Belogradchik Rocks are divided into groups according to their type. They cover an area of 50 sq.km and are located in the western part of the Balkan Mountain range, about 180km from the capital city. Almost 80 years after the battle mentioned above between Bulgaria and Serbia, the place was declared to be part of the national cultural heritage. It became an official monument and part of many tourist routes.
The area includes gigantic, thousands of years old rock formations that have different forms and, therefore, various names. Around them, there are caves, as well. Moreover, folk legends and myths are often associated with those rock formations.
As already mentioned, the appearance of the rocks and caves in the area has been subject to many stories, fairy-tales, legends. Perhaps the most popular one is about three of those formations-"The Madonna", "The Rider", "The Cloister".
In the area, there once were two monasteries – one for nuns and one for monks. A girl, divinely beautiful, was put in the former one against her will and meant to become a nun. She cried and begged, but her parents did not listen. One day she met by chance a young shepherd, who lived with the monks. She had a beautiful voice, and he was a fantastic musician and, as it usually goes in the legends, they immediately fell in love. He was the only one who could cheer her up from her sadness. Soon after, she gave birth to a child. The nuns were outraged with her, so they banished her from the cloister. She had to leave immediately, and live in the woods as an outcast, although it was still winter. The girl asked them a million times to take mercy on her and her baby, but they told her that God sees everything, and she needs to be punished. As she was leaving the nuns` convent with the child in her hands, the ground started shaking, and the building collapsed. The shepherd came out of the male monastery and tried to help the girl, but the two lovers, together with the nuns` cloister, immediately turned into stone. Those rocks remind every visitor how strong the power of love is.
Even if you do not believe the myths and legends about the Belogradchik Rocks near Vidin, witnessing their unique aura in person gives you another perspective. Depending on the light, they look different at different times of the day. The power of nature created them many centuries ago, but the fact that they have persisted to this date is enough of a reason to consider them important and amazing!
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