Sights and Landmarks

Perperikon is the largest megalith ensemble in the Balkans. It is thought that the famous sanctuary and oracular shrine dedicated to Sabazios (similar to Greek Dionysus) of the Bessi was situated there.
The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the present-day town of Kardzhali, Bulgaria, on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to have been a sacred place.
Human activity in the area dates back to 5000 B.C. The first traces of civilization on the hill date from the Bronze Age, while the ceramics found on the place date from the Early Iron Age, as well as the impressive round altar, almost 2 m in diameter, hewn out of the rocks. The megalith complex had been laid in ruins and reerected many times in history.

In the 2000s Bulgarian archaeologists discovered an ancient Thracian surface tomb and sanctuary in the immediate proximity of the village, and it was soon recognized as an exclusive religious centre in the region of importance to the whole region according to head archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov. Latest archaeological finds date the earliest settlement to 4000 BC. The ancient sources describe the ritual of burying leaders overground, on the top of a hill (as opposed to in a mound), as extremely rare, mentioning only Orpheus and Rhesus as two of the leaders who were buried this way and as Orpheus was buried in Leibethra close to Olympus,Greece it only leaves Rhesus as a candidate though both of the characters are mythological and may have never existed. Christianization of the Rhodopes in the late 4th-early 5th century resulted in the conversion of the complex into a local ruler’s domain featuring a defensive tower. The complex also suffered from two earthquakes, once in the 12th century BC and once in the 14th century AD.

“Devil’s Bridge” is an arch bridge over the Arda River situated in a narrow gorge. It is located 10 km from the Bulgarian town of Ardino in the Rhodope Mountains and is part of the ancient road connecting the lowlands of Thrace with the north Aegean Sea coast. It is not certain when the Devil’s Bridge was built, with various sources stating from the 14th to the early 17th century. The bridge, the largest and best known of its kind in the Rhodopes, is 56 m long and has three arches, but also features holes with small semicircular arches to read water level. The Dyavolski most has a width of 3.5 m and its main arch is 11.50 m high. A stone parapet, 12 cm in height, is preserved on the sides, and breakwaters are placed opposite the stream.

Wonderful Bridges are a rock formation in the Rhodope Mountains in southern Bulgaria. The “bridges” were formed by the erosive activity of the once high-water river. It transformed the marble clefts into a deep water cave, the ceiling of which whittled up through time and collapsed, allegedly during an earthquake. Geologists suppose that the water carried the debris away. As a result, the two remaining bridge-shaped boulders remained. The large one (situated upstream) is 15 metres at its widest and 96 metres long, and shaped by three vault arches, the largest of which is 45 metres high and 40 metres wide.
The adjacent area is timbered by century-old conifers, mainly spruces. Near the rock formation many Karst caves have been discovered, but most of them are not electrified and safeguarded, thus unsuitable for touristic visits. However, both bridges are safeguarded and can be walked over. Two tourist huts are located nearby. The place can be reached by an asphalt road and is about 30 km from the closest town of Chepelare.
The Wonderful Bridges is included among the 100 National Touristic Places of the Bulgarian Touristic Union.

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