Community events Bulgaria

Second test - Petrohanski passage and the Todorini kukli peaks

Sep. 01, 2012

The second Big Foot test in Bulgaria was held on 1 September, 2012, and comprised an excursion from Berkovitza through the Petrohanski passage to the peak of Todorini kukli (dolls), down to the Klisurski monastery, and back to Berkovitza -  a trip of about 24 km.

The Petrohan pass got its name from a former resident of Berkovitza named Peter Angelov, who built an inn in 1863 at the top of the mountain, on the road from Berkovitsa to Sofia and also connecting the South of Danube in Bulgaria with Central Europe.

A legend says that  when someone asked why Peter Angelov built a place so deep in the mountains, where only the "winds and whirlwinds, with wild beasts are found," he said with a shrewd worldly wisdom: "Here the history has met and will meet with many events and people. “ Whether those were the exact words of the  famous innkeeper is not certain, but the Petrohan pass has surely witnessed many past battles and victories, the labor glory of the people who built it, and will hopefully still see a bright future of this region, as a  lovely touristic destination  and a place for recreation and relaxation.

Over the years the road over the pass was renovated several times, since it served as a major economic and military artery in the past. Several decades ago a possibility for building a tunnel under the mountain ws discussed, which would make the capital accessible in minutes and certainly connect the poorest part of EU with the rest of Bulgaria.

After the younger participants learned about the history of the passage, they continued the hike to the mountain spring fountain, where they heard a story from one of our seniors  - Mr. Marinov -  about how a victory of a battle against the Turks was won there, thanks to the children and women, who went out and began to make noise with the pots and pans and this way misled the Тurks to believe that a great army was on the way.

From there the tour proceeded to the Petrohan chalet where one of the seniors used to be a manager, and had a lot of interesting stories to share about how the chalet was built, who the guests were, as well as the other mountain stories about long winter nights, wolfs and bears.

After taking a picture in front of the chalet the group started hiking up the ridge of the Balkan mountain. From the top they were able to see as far to the capital Sofia  - more than a 100 km away. They saw the shiny domes of the biggest church of Bulgaria “Saint Alexander Nevski”.

The hikers passed a heard of wild hogs, and many of the younger participants saw this animal for the first time. Along we tasted red and black berries and followed the marks to the top - peaks Todorini dolls.Right before reaching the peak, one of the participant explained to the children the name of the mountain  - Balkan – which comes from the Turkish words bal (honey) and kan (blood),  since this mountain could be at the same time very inviting and dangerous. 

Todorini kukli is actually a set of four rounded peaks one of which is accessible only to experienced mountain climbers. At the highest peak, the participants heard the story of our senior and former school director - Mr. Lubomir Zlatkov about how the mountains were formed, as well as four different legends of why these peaks were named Todorini dolls. According to the seniors, all legends about Todora have one common theme - a maiden dream of young love and family happiness, and an evil spwll, which put an end to the maiden faith and hope.

After the beautiful and emotional storytelling the bravest participants managed to climb the next “doll” to enjoy a magnificent view of the area: including the dam Strechenska bara, the villages Spanchevci, Slatina, Iagodovo, Barzia, Zanojene, the city of Varshec and the city of Berkovitza, the municipal  center Montana, the dam Ogosta and the rocky mountain of Vratza.

The group took a lot of pictures, and the younger participants were able to show the seniors how to use their digital camera and cell phones to take pictures.

On the way back, the group came to the monastery and was greeted by the nuns who demonstrated the icon painting shop and the newly opened museum.

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