Community events Bulgaria

First test - outing to peak "Zdravchenitza"

Aug. 19, 2012

The first test for the project Big Foot in Bulgaria was held on 19th of August as an outing to peak “Zdravchenitza”.

In the morning the 22 participants we gathered in the city park, where one of the local seniors briefly informed them about the area they were going to visit, before the tour began. The route lead around the church “The Birth of Virgin Mary” to the neighborhood of Begovitza, the former factory for marble processing “Mramor” and from there to the road on to Haidushki waterfalls. The name of this famous sights, as explained by the seniors, comes from the fact that probably many of the local rebel forces against the Ottoman oppressors during the past centuries used the waterfalls and the caves as hiding-place.  

Then the group crossed the bridge over Zhenska reka - Women’s river”. The river’s name survives from the Ottoman Empire, when it was used only by women for washing wool, rugs, clothing and for bathing. Visiting the river was strictly forbidden for men and couples during that time.

The group proceeded up the slope, to reach the Zdravchenitza peak (1176 m), located 9 km away from Berkovitza. From the top, a magnificent view of Berkovitza opened, as well as the other peaks along the ridge of the Balkan (On the west on the Balkan ridge - the peaks Momina mogila (1713 m) and Kamara (1915 m). To the northwest - the Kopren, Tri chuka and Mijur and further north the Shiroka mountain chain, with the peak Stovci). Further the vast Danube valley followed. To the east the rocky Vratsa Balkan stretched. To the south - the distant outlines of Todotini dolls were visible, and on the other side – the proud statue of peak Kom.

A little above peak “Zdravchenitza” the seniors showed to the younger participants the old stone ruins, with the name Zido   (the wall) - a former Thracian facility. East of the fort, along the horizontal lines of the ridge, a heap of crushed stone stretched for 105 m. -  according to the seniors,  the remains from a wall, connecting Gradishteto (the fortress) with a private tower. It was used by the Turks as a guardhouse equipped with a small army to fight Bulgarians in the mountain, as well is used as shelter shepherds and miners. By these facilities the Turkish conquerors sought to show military superiority and unshakable dominance, instill doubt and unbelief in the local people and destroy their faith and will to fight for "freedom".

According to the senior guides, the Zdravchenitsa mountain also holds the largest deposit of marble in the world - about 40 million cubic meters of marble.  Near to Zdravchenitza area Konyarski (Horse’s) spring is located. Along this spring in ancient times Roman and Turkish trade route from Berkovitsa to Pirot passed - heavy caravans laden with salt and other goods from various parts of the Roman and Ottoman empires. The young participants learned the legends connected with the name of the spring, as well as about  the nearby Cigansko (gypsies) field and Momina mogila (Maiden’s hill).

The outing was inspiring for all participants, as they became acquainted with some of the most beautiful places around Berkovitsa. The young learned their history and the seniors had an opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences. Everyone gathered bunches of geraniums, ate wild raspberries and red blackberries, saw meadow covered with lavender and learned that the fruit of the elder tree could be used to make a delicious juice and cold medicine herbal supplement.

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