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Kardjali


Location: Kardjali is located in the heart of the Eastern Rodophi Mountains, along the two banks of the Arda River. There are two big dams in the outskirts of the city - "Studen Kladenec" Dam to the east, and Kardjali Dam to the south. The site is a wonderful place for recreation, fishing and historical and cultural tourism.
Kardjali is situated 250 km south-east of Sofia, 100 km south-east of Plovdiv and 50 km south-west of Haskovo.

History: Kardjali is definitely a rich in ancient history town. Prehistoric remains of human life and proofs of the presence of Thracian, Roman and Byzantine culture have been found on these lands. In the middle of the 17th century the town was ruled by Kardzhi Ali - a noted army commander, whose name actually gave the name of Kardjali.
The most significant historical attraction of Karjali is the Thracian Holy town of Perperikon. It is located on a high rock massif, over the Perperishka river valley, only 7 kilometres to the south-east of the town. It is believed, that in the antiquity it used to be a famous sanctuary of Dionysius.

Perperikon used to be the most powerful fortress during the 13th - 14th century. Thousands of years ago, it was just a massive rock. The early inhabitants of the place worshiped the huge undressed stones and learned to carve and smooth the rocks and use them for shelter and protection. It now stands in ruins, old, unique and of a great historical and cultural value. Only the hexagonal tower of carved stone is partially preserved.
As a whole, Perperikon sacred Thracian palace is a unique archaeological find, which has a universal value. Now, each year Perperikon hosts the Perperikon Art Festival, representing the unity between cultures, traditions and epochs through music, drama, theatre and wine celebrations, of course.

Sightseeing: A must see attraction in Kardjali is "Uspenie Bogorodichno" Monastery Complex, situated on a hill in Gledka Quarter. The complex represents a unique Christian centre with a religious school, found by father Boyan Saraev. The frescoes and the wall paintings of the monastery are extremely beautiful and inspiring. Another significant medieval monument of Kardjali is the “St. Joan the Precursor” church in the quarter of “Veselchane”. It used to be part of a medieval monastery complex in the 11th – 14th century. Another landmark is the Regional Museum of History, which is the largest one in Southern Bulgaria. The museum features a total of 40 000 exponents, 180 of them are archeological findings. Amongst them are the unique findings from the excavations of Perperikon and Tatul Village.

Tatul is a nice village, near Kardjali, where a tomb, cut in the rock was found. It is believed that it is the tomb of the famous Thracian singer Orpheus. A root of grape wine, dating back to Thracian times (3000 years ago) was also found there. The root is preserved now and is being used for studies, which should help for the recovery of the Thick Thracian wine formula.
Other must see is the Picture Gallery, which hosts a huge variety of paintings, including the works of many famous Bulgarian artists, such as Vladimir Dimitrov - the Master and Svetlin Roussev, as well as colorful icons, prints and church plates.
The Kardjali theatres are the “Dimitur Dimov” Theatre of Drama and the Puppet Theatre.

Transport: There are regular bus lines to Plovdiv, Haskovo, Smolyan, and other smaller towns in the region. Through the Makaza Pass the town is connected to the Greek Mediterranean. The bus station and the railway station are close by in the south-eastern Part of the town.

Vicinities: The two big dams on both sides of the town are excellent places for fishing, sports, tourism and entertainment. There are special boat trips, organized in the waters of the dams. Another nearby attraction is the Canyon of the Arda River, called the Devil's Bridge. Visitors can get there by bus or enjoy the beautiful views from a ship cruise.

The Pyramids of Kardjali,close to Zimzelen Village, 5 km north-east of the town are another spectacular natural sight. They are interesting stone formations, found on an area of 50 decares. The pyramids are scattered on a steep slope and all of them have different sizes and are named according to their shapes, for example “Gubite” -The Mushrooms and “Vkamenenata Svatba” - The Stone Wedding. Their various colours – pink, yellow and rusty-red are result of the manganese and ferrous substance of their material. Their unique shapes are due to weather conditions in the course of the millions-of-years formation.

The Stone Mushrooms Natural Sight, is another torist attraction, located near the village of Beli Plast. The Stone Mushrooms are 3 metres high and have the harmonious forms of natural mushrooms. They all have pink spots, pure blocks and greenish cowls and are chiselled in riolythic volcano tuffs.
The region of Kardjali is also rich in cave formations.
The Carangil cave is located in Shiroko Pole village. It is formed of limestone rocks and is 650 metres deep.
The “Snowflakes” caves are seven caves, located under “Hisara” Medieval Fortress. The biggest one is 110 metres long and reaches the fortress, forming a secret entrance.

The fortress of “Hisara” itself is an ancient medieval fortress, dating back to the 4th – 14th century. It is the serial evidence, that Kurdjali is a unique town, rich in history, whose lands are covered with fortresses, bringing back the spirit of the ancient people, living on those fertile lands.

Wine and Dine: The visitors of Kardjali have to try the traditional “kupana banitsa” specialty, as well as “baklava”, “tolumbichka” and “lokum” – the Turkish delight and to taste the good wines too. There are oriental music clubs and discos in the area, where the local people and the tourists can entertain together.

Photos from Kardjali
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