Experience Bulgaria's mystical side
The Rhodope is a mystical mountain, which according to legend, is connected with Orpheus, the musician and prophet from Greek mythology. This ancient mountain spreads across a vast territory of central South Bulgaria and includes many caves. Here is a selection of the most famous ones, situated in the west part.
1. The Yagodina Cave
The cave is located in the beautiful Buynovo Gorge near the village of Yagodina. It is one of the most famous caves in Bulgaria and at 8 km is the longest in the Rhodope Mountain. Only one gallery in the cave is open to visitors and the stalagmites and stalactites are spectacular. Did you know that wedding ceremonies are even held in the cave here?
2. The Devil’s Throat Cave
The Devil's Throat Cave is situated in the picturesque Trigrad Gorge and it is not far from Yagodina Cave. According to the legend, this was the place where Orpheus went down to the Kingdom of Hades to look for his lost love Eurydice.
The most spectacular and outstanding thing in the cave is the 42 m waterfall – the highest underground waterfall on the Balkan Peninsula. The Trigrad River both enters into the underground chamber and flows out of it - they say it is called 'Devil's Throat Cave' because whatever is dragged inside it by the river, never goes out again. Intriguing, isn’t it?
3. The Haramiyska Cave
Just on the other side of the road from the Devil’s Throat Cave’s entrance is a path leading to the Haramyiska Cave. It is not regularly open to visitors but anyone who likes climbing or wants to try it can join an organised group to explore the cave, with all necessary equipment provided by your guides.
You have to climb about 20 m to the entrance, going through the cave and reaching the exit by rappelling 43 m down into the darkness to a huge gallery. The experience is awesome! You just need to be a little bit brave and have trust in your guide. If you want an even bigger adrenaline buzz you can try to climb the Via Ferrata nearby.
4. Uhlovitsa Cave
This is one of the most picturesque caves to me and the name means owl in the local dialect. Uhlovitsa Cave is close to Mogilitsa village and to reach the entrance you have to go up from the car park and climb a metal staircase. The chamber is very old and once upon a time it was the bottom of a river, which is why the formations are so interesting.
5. The Wonderful Bridges
This is a rock phenomenon that was a cave a long time ago but is now two magnificent rock bridges. The Wonderful Bridges are situated 80 km from Plovdiv on the road to Smolyan – the most important town in the West Rhodope. The bridges are 45m to 50m high and the distance between the two of them is about 200m. If you like an adrenaline rush you can try the alpine trolley between the bridges, located above the beautiful pine trees.