Showing posts with label Bulgaria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bulgaria. Show all posts

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Stone Mushrooms of Beli Plast, Bulgaria

Stone mushrooms” is a natural phenomenon in Bulgaria. It is located 1 km from the village of Beli Plast, on the road between the towns of Haskovo and Kardzhali. These rocks are natural limestone formations with height of up to 3 meters; occupy an area of about 30 acres. Stone mushrooms are one of the more unique and whimsical rock formations you’ll ever see. Of course, it takes hundreds of years of erosion for that process to be complete; formations like the aptly named Turnip Rock in Michigan or Jug Rock in Indiana bear a distinct resemblance to mushrooms. But the stone mushrooms in Beli Plast, Bulgaria are extremely unique, as entire clumps of massive stone pillars grouped together just like mushrooms in the wild. They are formed just the way table rocks are formed eroded into shape over years and years, as the water that once nearly submerged them lapped against their walls. And then eroded some more by the wind long after the water had receded for good.
It was not until the 19th century that the science behind the mushroom stones or wave stones as they are sometimes called was verified. Then it was discovered that this odd natural phenomenon was the result of enormous limestone boulders which have been unearthed to water for regular and prolonged intervals.  It was also discovered at that time that they were what are now known as glacial erratic.  That is they are huge boulders that have been pushed downwards by the sheer force of a glacier and so may not even have any similarity to the stone where they eventually remained. The stone mushrooms are thought to be more than 70 million years old and their formation started in the Cenozoic era. Ice Age relocated the large masses of rocks from another area. Though, much stronger limestone, unusual for this region, appeared over the previous layer. Then, nature created a lake on this place, which started to wash away these rocks. Therefore, different material of rocks exposes the unevenness of erosion, just like a sculptor has carved such original mushrooms of stone. Thus, “Legs” were formed from the local limestone, and the “hats” from the stronger material of the Ice Age. Moreover mushrooms are varying in shapes and color pink, black and blue.
Moreover these places always give rise to legends and popular legends beliefs; this case is not an exception. One of them expresses that once upon a time the local blacksmith “Radun” had four daughters. They’ve very kind hearts and like to help their father & family, but one day they carried water from the river outside the fortress of Perperikon. Hence, as usual the girls went to the river and saw the army of enemies approaching the village. The girls ran back to caution the locals about the impending fight. They were able to manage to close the gate and the enemies were not able to go inside.
But after a few days, a traitor let the army of enemy attack the village and all of its residents were captured. The daughters of the blacksmith were also in imprisonment, but, they were managed to escape. Thus, invaders gave chase and caught the girls. One of the invaders was so cruel that grabbed one of the sisters and cut off the poor girl’s head. It is believed that at the same moment when the head touched the ground, it turned into a stone similar to a mushroom. He killed the other girls brutally in the same way and everything repeated and turned their heads into the stones mushrooms. The invader was so frightened after that, and he decided to flee, but he took just one step and also turned into stone. Then, the hostile army, distraught from fear, found this place cursed. They released all the prisoners and freed the village forever. Now, peoples have different superstitions believe that the morning dew on the rocks is tears of the dead girls who saved the village with their lives. In 1974, these stone mushrooms were recognized tourist attraction of the national importance.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Pobiti Kamani: The Stone Forest of Bulgaria

Well, there’s almost 18 km to the west of Varna, Bulgaria, on the road to the capital of Sofia is an amazing natural area named “Pobiti Kamani” or the Stone Forest. In the first glance, it looks like the ruins of an ancient temple, but these broken stone pillars are all natural. The stone columns are scattered in lesser groups across an 8 km long belt along the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast. 

Although they’re varying in height with some reaching 5 to 7 meters tall, and thickness ranges from 30 centimeters to 3 meters across. Therefore the most inquisitive thing about these pillars is that they are mostly hollow and filled with sand. They don’t have a firm foundation or attached to the bedrock. In its place, they’re insecurely stuck into the surrounding sand as if someone had hammered them into the earth. Moreover, these stones have been identified since the ancient times but in 1828, these were first documented by the scientific community.

Hence, since then, dozens of theories have attempted to clarify their formation, ranging from coral growth to Eocene bubbling reefs, to limestone concretions. Though, one of the most believable explanations comes from the Bulgarian geologist’s brothers Peter and Stefan Bonchev Gochev. The brothers trust that the columns date back to the Cenozoic Era, about 50 million years ago, when much of Eastern Europe was covered by oceans. Sediments and sludge settled to the bottom of the seabed, and were compressed into limestone. However, sometime later methane gases from ancient deposits taking place seeping from the sea bed. As the results they pressurized gases made their way up through the limestone layer, they left behind long tubes. 

Further, millions of years later after the sea receded away; the erosion process of the limestone layer left the tall columns stuck into the ground. The gas-seepage theory doesn’t explain everything, but it’s the best we have. The “Pobiti Kamani” was designated a natural landmark in the late 1930s. Therefore, it was nominated for the “UNESCO World Heritage Site” status in 2011, but hasn’t been able to make the cut.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Ancient Shumen Fortress of Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, Shumen Fortress is one of most popular landmarks, three kilometers away from center of Shumen. The ancient fortress with historical linkage to a village is situated in the Shumen Plateau, perhaps first built by Thracians and later reconstructed by Romans, Byzantines, and Bulgarians. Shumen Fortress conquered and demolished various times until 1444, when it gives to new life. It is thought; the first fortification built 3200 years ago, probably one of the oldest fortifications in Bulgaria. Therefore, during first Bulgarian Kingdom 680D to 1018D the fortification played a vital role due to its closeness to the Pliska and Preslav. However the second Bulgarian Empire 1185 to 1396 the Shumen became a prominent economic and culture center of the stats. Many legends believe Ottoman demolished the fortress after conquered it in 1844. 

But archaeological research reveals it was burned and demolished by crusaders led by Vladislav Varnenchik during 1434-1444. The Polish-Hungarian descent had attempted an attack on the Ottomans which has proved to be very calamitous as he was killed during the Battle of Varna. Following this battle the fortress was looted and gutted and the Ottoman rulers eventually abandoned the fortress completely. The First Empire has revealed during archaeological excavations carried out since 1957, a village dating back to the Iron Age to the 4th century BC.  In eastern and central parts of Europe there is hardly any one area where a nation’s history as a whole, through over one thousand years, is concentrated to the same degree as in Shumen.

The Shumen fortress represents a substantial part of the country history and remains of Fortress most thoroughly studied in Bulgaria, reveals information about the life and military customs of Bulgarians. The remains consist of Roman bath, vessels, pottery, adornments and coins were found. In 2012, restoration work was started with financial assistance provided by EEA (European Economic Area) and partially completed in 2015 covered walls of the fortress, creating tracks for walking around the fortress, and also building turnstiles. 

These days, Shumen Fortress has converted into popular tourist destination along with open air museum. Tourists are attracted by rebuilt of tower of fortress offers a stunning view of the Shumen City. The restoration works and other infrastructure created to boost tourism are artistic lighting and equipment for temperature and humidity control, publicity brochures and overall management aspects. The Fortress is nowadays an historical and archaeological reserve, a national tourist site in the area of the Shumen Plateu Nature Park.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Belogradchik Fortress Bulgaria

Belogradchik Fortress is located on the north slopes of the Balkan Mountains, nearby to the northwestern Bulgarian town of Belogradchik.  Belogradchik Fortress is also famous as Kaleto Fortress. The fort is nestled on the base of a remarkable rock formation belonging to the “Belogradchik massif” which comprises of oddly shaped sandstone and conglomerate rock formation that are believed to resemble shapes of objects and people. Therefore, some of the rocks reach up to about 200 meters in height; however the ones serving as the backdrop to the fort are 70 meters tall.

Although this fort existed here since the Roman times. Because in the 1st to the 3rd century AD, the Romans were used to constructed roads across the new provinces of the empire on the Balkan Peninsula, as well as some fortresses to guard them. So, the mission of Belogradchik Fortress was to control the road. At that time they built the highest part of the fortress, famous as the Citadel, using the rocks as natural protection. Moreover fortified walls were built only on the northwest and southeast sides, with the rest of the sides around the yard being surrounded by rocks.

Furthermore, as the time passes with several centuries, Belogradchik Fortress has been used by a succession of not the same forces including the Byzantines. However, in the 14th century, the Bulgarian tsar of Vidin Ivan Stratsimir stretched the old fortress, building fortified garrisons before the existing rock massifs. Thus, fort became one of the most significant strongholds in the region. So, by the end of 14th century, Belogradchik Fortress was take control by the Ottomans, who extended it further and used it to overpower local uprisings. 

Besides, Belogradchik Fortress continued to be used for military and defensive devotions, so until the 19th century. In the mid of 18th century, Belogradchik Fortress played a vital role in the Ottoman suppression of the Belogradchik uprising, being the place where decapitation of captured activists was performed. Therefore, the fort was last used in warfare during the Serbo-Bulgarian War in 1885, so after that the Belogradchik Fortress is now one of the best-preserved strongholds in Bulgaria, and together with the Belogradchik Rocks, it is the town's main cultural and historical sightseer attraction.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Baba Vida: Bulgaria

Baba Vida is the only completely preserved medieval fortress in Bulgaria, featuring both a fortification and royal castle in northwestern Bulgaria and it is town's primary landmark. It comprises of two fundamental walls and four towers. As the most significant fortress in the region, it played a vital role in the game of power during the several centuries. Baba Vida is situated at an altitude of 39 m. The fortress construction was started in the 10th century at the place of an Ancient Roman watchtower. The building of Baba Vida is tied to a legend, according to which a “Danubian Bulgarian King” who pompous ruled at Vidin actually had three beautiful daughters: named “Vida”, “Kula” and “Gamza”. Before his death, he decided to distribute his realm between them. The name “Baba Vida” refers to these Bulgarian sister princesses, two of whom married impetuously and wasted their inheritances while the third one “Vida” - remained single and built the fortress in her city. Vida, the eldest, was given Vidin. The Carpathians, However, Gamza and Kula married to drunkard and warlike nobles, the name of the castle means "Granny Vida".

Baba Vida served as Vidin's main defensive building during the course of the middle ages and acted as the most vital fortress of northwestern Bulgaria. The Baba Vida stronghold stood an 8 month-long siege by Byzantine forces led by Basil II, but was badly damaged and once again erected during the rule of Ivan Stratsimir, as whose capital it served. Moreover in between 1365 to 1369, the fortress was in Hungarian hands. Vidin was abruptly attacked by the forces of Louis I of Hungary, but it took quite a few months to overcome Baba Vida. In 1369, “Ivan Sratsimir” managed to regain control of his capital, albeit having to remain under Hungarian over lordship. Although, in 1388, the Ottomans attacked Sratsimir's lands and forced him to become their vassal. But in 1396, he decides to join an anti-Ottoman crusade led by the King of Hungary, “Sigismund”, placing his resources at the crusaders' disposal. The crusade finished in the terrible Battle of Nicopolis at Nikopol, Bulgaria, with the Ottomans conquered most of Sratsimir's realms shortly thereafter, in 1397. The fortress played a role during the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria, serving as a weapon warehouse and a prison, also as residence for Osman Pazvanto─člu, as it has been no longer used for defensive purposes since the end of the 18th century. 

As the time passes, Baba Vida was opened as a museum to visitors in 1958. In 1964 the medieval castle was declared a cultural monument of national importance. Well, over the course of its existence, the Baba Vida Fortress been built and rebuilt on various occasions, with elements of its past visible throughout. These days, this restored site and museum has a main courtyard surrounded by an inner and outer wall as well as four towers, where finds and intelligence about its history are kept. Being a famous tourist attraction in the towns, the fortress has been restored to its earlier appearance. Source: Charismatic Planet