AUTHENTIC AND CHARMING – THE WESTERN RHODOPE
VELINGRAD – BATAK –¨SNEZHANKA¨ CAVE – PÉSHTERA – THE FORTRESS ¨PERISTERA¨ – RAKÍTOVO – VELINGRAD
|Per person BGN||159||121||102||92|
|Per person EUR||81||62||53||47|
The price include: Air-conditioned VAN, Guide, lunch, entrance fees
BEGINNING – 8,30
At 8.30 we head to the town of Batak. On the road we will take a scenic bus sightseeing along Tsigov Chark tourist center in the Batak Dam area. The Tsigov chark zone is 1150 meters above sea level. It is an excellent resort with fresh air, mountain scenery and breathtaking views.
We get off the bus in the center of Batak. First we will visit the historical museum, included in the list of 100 national tourism sites to visit. It contains more than 500 exhibitions of the town’s history, including the flag and cherry wood cannon of the April Insurrection in 1876 against the Ottoman yoke. Then we will see the ethnographic museum and will visit the church ¨Sveta (St.) Nedelya¨, built in 1813 by the famous School of Bratsigovo masters – a monument of national importance. In the minds of Bulgarians Batak is always associated with the tragic events that occurred during and immediately after the April Insurrection in 1876. In the suppression of the uprising in May 1876, the Turkish hordes committed unmercifully a mass murder, known as “The Batak Massacre”. Big part of the local people was besieged in the church “Sveta (St.) Nedelya” for several days. The situation inside was dramatic – women with bare hands were digging a well in the ground in order to find water for their children. This well can be seen still now. At the end, in the capture of the church, all Christians (about 2000) were killed. The church became a common burial for all. Today, the bones and blood of the heroes, as well as the traces of scimitars and bullets, remind us of those terrible and glorious days. In this church everything moves so strongly. Even the walls talk.
¨SNEZHANKA¨ (¨SNOW – WHITE¨) CAVE
After the visit of Batak, we head to the cave called “SANZHANKA” (“SNOW-WHITE”) – one of the most beautiful caves in Bulgaria, where all types of cavernous formations can be seen. Only the stalactites are more than 800 000. “SNEZHANKA”, has the most beautiful cave formations found in Bulgaria. It will take us to a fairy world and reveal its secrets that are more than 3.5 million years old. The cave is relatively small, but contains some unique beauty salons with sintering lakes. And on its floor can be seen pathways of cavern pearls and oasis of lunar milk (white deposits in the rocks).
We will begin our walk from the Hall of udders, named this way because of the shape of most stalactites. Then we will enter the Big Hall, where we will see pottery made by hand – remains of the ancient Thracians who inhabited the cave thousands of years ago. A real diversion proposes the following Music Hall. She has incredible acoustics, which will help you to highlight your musical gift. Sing a song and enjoy the effects.
The magic of the cave is felt mostly in the last Magic Room. To this room you can go through a mysterious narrow aisle, long 25 meters, dotted with profuse decoration of white marble stalactites. In this wonderful hall will be revealed the Kingdom of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Among the abundance of fine sintering formations stands out the figure of the heroine of the story and the white as snow baldachin on her bed.
THE TOWN OF PÉSHTERA
After the wonderful world of Snow – White we head to the town of Peshtera. The unique combination of climate, natural phenomena, geographical location, animal species and historical heritage makes the area very attractive.
Péshtera is a town with very rich and interesting history, which begins from the antiquity. Throughout the millennia, this region has been inhabited by Thracians, Slavs and Bulgarians; has gone through the influence of the Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and Ottomans.
We will visit the local History museum first. A rich collection of over 8,000 artifacts reveals the life in this area from the period of the distant Neolithic era. The exhibitions are located in four halls – “Archeology”, “Renaissance”, “National Liberation Movement” and “New History”.
The town of Péshtera is famous for its many ancient churches. Some of them are: “Sveta (St.) Petka”, built around 1710, and “Sveti (St.) Dimitar”, built in the period 1825-1831. The building is one of the few preserved monuments of the Renaissance in Bulgaria. Especially valuable are the icons on it, painted in 17-18 centuries. The local church “Sveta Bogoroditsa” (“Holy Mother of God”) also impresses with its frescos.
We will see also the Renaissance architectural monument in the city – the clock tower SAHATA, built between 1650 and 1710. It is the second oldest clock tower in Bulgaria, after the Sahat tepe tower in Plovdiv.
Let’s visit the exotic museum, dedicated to the cars of socialism. We will also see other objects that tell stories from the recent past. The museum was created not so much because of the feeling of nostalgia, but because of the attempt to preserve a piece of the past, in order to show it to the people who have not lived in the era of socialism.
After the walk in Péshtera, we will sit in the traditional restaurant HEAT, where they will offer us dishes of traditional Bulgarian cuisine.
THE FORTRESS ¨PERISTERA¨
After the lunch we will visit the medieval fortress PERISTERA. Restored and cultivated, it is an exceptional achievement in the field of cultural tourism in Bulgaria. A beautiful flower alley leads to its entrance. The fortress preserves the history and the spirit of several epochs. This is supposed to have been the first settlement of the Thracian tribe Besi, which lived more than 2,000 years ago.
The hill on which it is located is known as Sveta Petka. The name Peristera means pigeon, place of pigeons. There is an interesting legend about the name of the castle: “When in the year 313 in the Byzantine Empire Christianity was introduced, local people had to choose one of the hills in the area to build their church. Then from Sveta Petka flew a flock of pigeons”. The pigeon is the sign of Jesus Christ.
The ancient medieval fortress with towers – churches comes from beneath the ruins of the Roman church on the outskirts of Peshtera, known for many decades. In the unique temples the medieval warriors prayed before each battle and gave thanks to the God after the victory. These are the only churches within the fortress towers found in Bulgaria. In the center of the citadel, which consists of three belts, there is a megaliths complex; most likely remains of a Thracian sanctuary, with steps carved into the rock. These findings provide another touch of uniqueness to the place. PERISTERA fortress was declared a cultural monument of national importance (2012).
After visiting the fortress Peristera and its museum, we will head to Velingrad. On the way we will stop in another town, located in the heart of Rhodopes mountain and surrounded by wonderful landscapes – RAKITOVO. The picturesque high hills are covered with evergreen pinewoods and lush pastures. In addition, the municipality of Rakitovo can boast of many cultural and historical monuments. One of them is the well-ordered Historical Museum. In the museum we will see what has been the life of local people from antiquity to the present day.
We will see also the Clock Tower in Rakitovo, which is the most famous symbol of the town. It is one of the preserved monuments, representatives of the Renaissance architecture in the region.
END OF THE EXCURSION – at 17.40 we will get on the bus and at 18.00 will be at the hotel.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]