22 September 2023

Historical and natural sights

Historical and natural sights on the territory of Momchilgrad Municipality

The Sanctuary of Orpheus

The sanctuary of the Tatul village is one of the most majestic and mystical megalithic monuments situated in the heart of the Eastern Rhodopi Mountains. The complex consists of an ancient pagan sanctuary and a medieval fortress. According to the finding, the earliest cult practices on the hill began at the end of the Aenolithic-Chalcolithic Age (fifth –fourth millennium BC) and continue through the Bronze Age. During that period people would place their offerings to the gods straight on the rocks.
During XIX-XI centuries BC, the first cuts on the sanctuary appear. The rock top is shaped by a human hand as a truncated pyramid and on its top is a"sarcophagus". Numerous steps and niches for offering are carved on the crag. A lot of sacred wine drinking vessels and bones from sacrifices were also discovered around the altars as well as objects in the preserved ashes--clay human figurines, spindles, dishes, bronze objects..They were used for fortune-telling and the gods' will was predicted.
Until now, only two entrances have been discovered to the sanctuary-an eastern one, supposedly used by the high priests, and a southern one. The eastern entrance begins with steps roughly carved in the rock, leading to the interior of the sanctuary. From there, down a narrow corridor and a solemn eight-step staircase, the main altar is reached. Later, from the northern side, a majestic temple-mausoleum was erected on a wall of stone blocks. There is a hypothesis that it is precisely here, in the rock tomb, that mythical musician Orpheus was buried.
The sanctuary by the village of Tatul will take you back to the fourth century. It leads you through centuries of thriving and dramatic events of glorious battles, sacred rituals and prophecies.


Hundreds of people gather on the fifth and sixth of May at the top of Dambala, near Momchilgrad. The reason for the cluster is an ancient belief that spring water from the rocks is healing just on the pass against St. George. The Dambala area is located approximately 10 kilometers northeast of Momchilgrad.There is mysticism in the air on the night of the fifth of May at Dambala peak. People believe that once a year in the early hours of May 6th, St. George's water treatment becomes effective. Sacrament begins at midnight. Children and adults wash and bathe in the icy waves.
In the region people are flocking from around the country. Parents immerse their children in a small pool near the two-story fountain.The area collects hundreds of people from Bulgaria –Christian and Muslims,families from Greece, Turkey and other countries . Nobody knows when the special properties of water on May 6th first occurred.The local people believe that the worship is related to Alian Saint Yaran Baba. Legend says that he hit his fist on the rock and from the rock gushed water.
In Dambala many people draw water directly from the rock. On departure, as the belief commands, they leave the wet clothes on the branches of trees to remain there with the disease.

Harman Kaya

The sanctuary of Harman kaya is of the same name's place, which is located about 2 km. northeast of the village of Bivolyane. A plateau, crowned by rocks in which the cave was, dominates the area and is naturally fortified. Domestic sacred space covers the rocky peak with the cave. It is the gap between entry through the rocks, dressed as the entrance, closed door, whose threshold and showing recesses in the rocks. In the outer part, sacred spaces are cut into the rock sites designated as observations sites of the sun, the fundamentals of space, stairs, sacrificial pits, altars, and basins (probably for purification). Showing horizontal and dug into rock beds wooden structures. In this sacred space outside towering rocks are carved into them in trapezium-shaped niches and altars for sacrifices
At the foot of Harman Kaya are visible remnants of the largest Thracian city in which, from the boundaries of the premises, One can clearly see the streets, squares and basin. Yet unexplored and unknown to most tourists, Harman Kaya captured beauty and mystical impact on human perception.

Rock niches

The niches are remarkable megalithic monuments, which can be seen in Bulgaria only in the Eastern Rhodopis –especially the town of Momchilgrad. It is assumed that people initially notch further worked or existing niches in the rocks and later differentiation is the whole complex. There are two hypotheses about them--either they were miniature tombs or sites of a cult. As such, carved rock niches can be seen near nine villages in the region, namely-Tatul, Noefit Bozveli,Raven, Bivolyane, Chaika, Drumche, Obichnik, Chukovo and Chomakovo. Some of the niches of Momchilgrad are placed in close proximity to the rock tombs and rock sanctuaries.

The Petrified Forest

The unique natural phenomenon is raised from the field near the village of Raven into a gorge where the "trees" are lined along 120 meters. There are about twenty log-resembling rocks, about 1,5 meters tall and -0,4-0,6 meters wide. Two of them are larger than 4 meters in diameter and a meter in height. In the cross-sections, annual rings are clearly visible. Perhaps millions of years ago the area was an ancient forest and sea.
It is believed that The Petrified Forest was formed in the Tertiary period, some 30 millions years ago, as a result of underground volcanic activity and weather conditions. In the world today, there are many known instances of fossilized trees. The Petrified Forest National Park is unique because the "trees "are upright.


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