Belintash - 20 minutes by car + 30 minutes on foot
Belintash (Belantash, also known as Belantash, and as a slightly older form and "White Tashi") is a rock in the shape of a small plateau in the Rhodopes, bearing traces of human activity. It is believed that this is a cult site dating back to the Eneolithic, which was used for ritual purposes by the tribes inhabiting the area, and its very nature and purpose are not yet fully understood.
There are also hypothetical assumptions that in later epochs, when the Thracians inhabited this area of the mountain, the existing ancient sanctuary was dedicated to the god Sabazios. At the top of the temple center are located inside the buildings, and in their places are erected altars
On the upper platform of the rock are carved round holes, gutters, niches and steps, which according to some form a map of the starry sky. The length of the rock platform is about 300 m, with an altitude of 1225 m. It is located 30 km southeast of the town of Asenovgrad . This is the second largest rock-cut sanctuary in Bulgaria (after Perperek), located on an area of approx. 5 decares, on an elongated (north-south) rock plane, with an average slope to the east of about 18º.
How to get there
From the town of Asenovgrad take the road to the town of Kardzhali. After about 10 km in the village of Cherven there is a fork to the right with signposts for the village of Mostovo. It passes through the villages of Gornoslav and Oreshets, where the road branches off to the left.
At the fork for the village of Mostovo continue straight (the village of Mostovo remains on the right), you reach the fork for the neighborhoods Vrata and Kabata. For Kabata the gravel road continues to the right, for Belintash it continues on the asphalt road, passes through the Vrata neighborhood, then you reach an unpaved turn-off to the right, where there is a small abandoned concrete building. Go right (there is a sign) on the gravel road and after about 2 km you will reach a cemetery, where a blue explanatory sign of the Belintash Nature Park is placed. To the left is the gravel road to Chotrova mahala and to the right - to Belintash. After about 2.5 km you reach a newly built Orthodox church, from where the path to Belintash goes to the right and up the hill and after 20 minutes you reach the very beginning of the rocky plateau.
Cross Forest - 1 hour 30 minutes.
Krastova Gora is one of the largest Christian centers in Bulgaria, which attracts a large number of pilgrims. The place is located in the Middle Rhodopes, 60 km from Plovdiv, 40 km from Asenovgrad and 6 km from the village of Borovo. Its altitude is 1545 meters. The complex is located on a meadow in a beautiful forest.
The reason why the Forest of the Cross attracts so many believers from all over the country is the legend that a part of Christ's cross is buried here. Many legends are told about this place and all of them are connected with the cross of Christ and the miracle of healing.
At the beginning of the complex of chapels is the church "Protection of the Blessed Virgin", which was completed in 1995. From it along the alley to the top of a small hill are chapels dedicated to the 12 apostles.
In 1936, Tsar Boris III donated a large 99-kilogram metal cross. Now there is a copy of it, which can be seen at the highest point at the end of the alley. People believe that the cross has miraculous powers and heals the terminally ill. Near the area with the chapels there is a spring, which according to legend also has healing powers.
Most pilgrims visit the Forest of the Cross on the eve of the Day of the Cross (September 14). On September 13 every year, thousands of believers come to pray for health and stay for the night vigil in front of the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin or spend the night in prayer in one of the chapels.
The nature around the Christian complex is very beautiful and the area attracts nature lovers and people looking for a quiet place to rest and relax.
In the Christian complex there is a church shop where candles, icons and books with the history of the Forest of the Cross are sold. The monks will answer all your questions. The complex offers accommodation.
Karadjov Stone - 2 hours
Karadjov Stone is an interesting rock phenomenon located near the village of Mostovo in the Rhodopes. It is a high rocky plateau (peak with a height of 1448 m), in the vertical walls of which a natural narrow gutter has formed. In it is placed a huge stone, which seems to have been placed there by a higher power - the Karadjov stone. The phenomenon was declared a protected area by Order No. RD1015 of August 6, 2003.
Since ancient times, people have considered the place special - the ancient Thracians built a sanctuary in which to honor the dead. To this day, pits carved into the rock for religious purposes have been pserved, as well as steps leading to the upper part of the massif.
Excavations show that the sanctuary was established during the Early Iron Age (VII - VI century BC). From this period there are carved rock pits and gutters in which vessels were placed, fires were lit, and the ritual itself ended with a burial of stones.
Later the sanctuary was used in the III - IV century AD. - pottery made on a potter's wheel and coins from the time of the Roman emperor Justinian I (ruled in the period 527 - 565) were found.
Like most Thracian sanctuaries, there are storeys. The first floor is called the Lower Cult Site, followed by carved steps - a transition to the higher part, where there are small holes cut in the rocks. When a Thracian died, his relatives dug holes in the rock and filled them with gifts.
The local people, unlike the ancient Thracians, did not consider the place sacred, but associated it with the activities of local revolutionaries fighting against Ottoman rule. Under Karadjov Stone there is a small cave in which, according to the legend, Karadja Voivoda (a local haidutin) hid, who took revenge on the Ottomans for the evils committed. Hence the name of the place.
Ryakata neighborhood - 1 hour
About an hour's walk from the village of Mostovo is the neighborhood Ryakata. The road there passes through the valley of the river Sushitsa, revealing incredible landscapes and breathtaking views.
Starting from the church at the beginning of the village, it is good to be ppared with stable shoes as the terrain is quite rocky. In addition, the river is quite flooded in spring and autumn. In several places the road crosses the river and has to be waded into the water. If the river is more flooded, crossing by car is difficult, but for a jeep there is no problem. The terrain is flat and you soon reach a fork on the right. This road leads to Karadjov stone and Cross Forest. For the neighborhood continue straight and after ten minutes you reach the Hunting Lodge, where you can relax and fill up with water.
In several places there are red signs indicating the direction. At the beginning of the neighborhood, the road splits in two - to the left it continues to Belintash, and to the right - to Haiduktash and Karadjov Stone.
At the upper end of the neighborhood there is a path that leads to rocks with nailed routes for climbers, which then continues to Belintash.
Natural bridge, village of Mostovo - 15 min.
The river Sushitsa (Mostovska Sushitsa) passes through the village of Mostovo, which springs from Karadjov Stone. Over the years, the river has built a natural stone bridge, hence the name of the village. In the direction of the village on the right there is a wide parking space, from where a narrow path runs past the local cemetery. A little further down you reach the river itself, from where at about 100 meters you can see the foot of the bridge and the beautiful open gallery.
Equestrian tourism "Ryakata" organizes horse treks, riding and training. For more information and bookings, call 0896 844 648
Dobrostanski Biser Cave - 30 minutes (by car) + 30 minutes on foot
Dobrostan pearl is a pcipice cave in the Rhodopes, Red Wall Reserve. It is also known as Akhmet's Hole and the Cursed One. It is located 5 km from the village of Dobrostan and a 20-minute walk from Martsiganitsa hut. Much of the cave is occupied mainly by stalagmites and stalactons (thick columns). Some have a greenish cover of algae and moss. There is an accumulation of large gravitational blocks in the center of the southwestern part of the hall. The depth of the entrance plumb is 15 meters. A small colony of bats also lives in the cave.
The cave was first explored in 1963 and was opened for tourist visits in 1990. Subsequently, however, it was closed and thieves stole the formed cave pearls and destroyed the cave ponds.
The cave is again ennobled and open to visitors in 2018, with visits on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Near the cave is the picturesque peak Popa - 1414 meters, to which there is also a path.
How to get there
From the village of Mostovo you start by car on the road to the village of Oreshesht. At the entrance of the village we reach a fork, on the right is the road to Asenovgrad, on the left to the village of Dobrostan. It continues to the left and after about 5 km. we reach the village. There are signposts for the cave on the way. We pass through the village of Dobrostan and continue on the road to Martsiganitsa hut. After about another 2-3 km. we reach the hut where we can leave the cars. At the moment the hut is not functioning. There is a path from the hut, which takes us to the cave in about 20 minutes. From the cave there is another path along which we can reach the nearby peak called Popa.