A tour in the Western Rhodopes

Publiziert von genepi , 7. Oktober 2015 um 15:58.

Region: Welt » Bulgaria » Western Rhodopes
Tour Datum:25 September 2015
Wandern Schwierigkeit: T2 - Bergwandern
Geo-Tags: BG 
Zeitbedarf: 4:00

On that day, we had planned to cross the Pirin starting at the Vihren hut and then crossing the Banderichka pass. Alas, the weather forecast was not good. Therefore we were suggested to make a tour in the Western Rhodopes. This mountain range is limited to the west by the Mesta river that later becomes Nestos when entering Greece. The mountains there are a bit lower in altitude. But nature is a bit more wild and preserved. Another characteristic is that some villages are inhabited by the so-called Pomaks. This is a population of Bulgarians that adopted the muslim religion during the ottoman occupation. This is the reason why the villages have a minaret instead of a bell tower. Another characteristic is the woman's dressing. The woman are wearing baggy colourful trousers... showing their socks that also have to be colourful.

A highlight of this tour was the village of Kovatchevitsa which is part of the world heritage of UNESCO. Although some houses are in very bad condition, some other could be nicely saved and restored. One characteristic of the houses are that they are that the walls are built in a special way, to prevent troubles in case of earthquakes.

One surprising thing is to see fields of tobacco, even if the altitude is quite high. When we passed by, the leaves were put to dry on the outside.

The BGMountains map for the GPS is quite accurate from the path perspective. However, in this location, the contours are definitely wrong. This is something somebody needs to know. Also the path between the pass at Sveti Georgi (Свети Георги) is not on the BGMountains map. It might be put soon...

The landscape in this region makes me think of some places in northern Italy... with less altitude differences.

Along the path, I found a Martenitsa. This is typical Bulgarian tradition, although it can also be found in Romania. The name of Martenitsa comes from the "Baba Marta" celebration. "Baba Marta" is translated as "Grandma Marta". The name Marta is referring to the name of the month of March, which is Mart in Bulgarian. The celebration happens on the 1st of March and is the celebration for spring. At that date, relatives and friends are offered the Martenitsa that one has to keep (usually as a bracelet) until either the first storks are arriving or (when one lives in a place where storks are not going to) when the first trees are blooming. At that moment, the holder of the Martenitsa tie it onto a fruit tree. It is said that this brings health during the full year.

Tourengänger: genepi

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