Kardzhali, a town located in the eastern Rhodope Mountains and is the ideal central hub to the Thracian and Medieval periods. Set up in Kardzhali and visit the many landmarks the town has to offer before journeying off by vehicle into a passageway of time. Find yourself in Perperikon or the Monyak Fortress in a blink of an eye.
Over the history of time Kardzhali has been engulfed by legend. The one in particular is the legend of Kardzha Ali, the namesake of the town. As legend goes, when the Ottoman Turks attacked the Rhodope Mountains in the 14th century. The army was lead by Kardzha Ali, a ordinary man turned holy warrior. He was killed fighting bravely in battle while saving countless lives and by doing so his surviving army quickly immortalized him for heroics. His bravery in battle, was said by the Ottoman’s, to have made him a deity.
A major attraction in Kardzhali is the Regional History Museum. The Kardzhali Museum of History is said to have one of the most prolific exhibitions of Christian icons and ethnographic in Bulgaria. Including pre-historic tools and delicate works of ceramics from the Thracian cities of Perperikon and Tatul..
Another desirable attraction is the Art Gallery. Originally built in the 19th century as a Turkish town hall, and, a cultural/architectural monument in itself. Today is home of the Kardzhali Art Gallery where you’ll see a unique collection of icons by local artist from the Rhodope mountains. The gallery also displays an array of artworks, sculptures and graphic designs done by some of Bulgaria most popular artist.
Other points of Interest in Kardzhali:
• St John the Baptist Temple
• St. Mary’s Assumption Monastery; where it’s said they possess small pieces of Christ’s cross.
• The Petrified Wedding; a very unique rock formation
• Perperikon; only 15 km from Kardzhali is the Thracian rock city of Perperikon. Considered to be the largest megalithic archeological site in all the Balkans. Archeologists have been labeling the massive Thracian city “The European Machu Picchu” and “Stone Pompeii.” Visitors to the site of Perperikon can lay their hands upon a multitude of ancient infrastructures, including the ruins of ancient city buildings, remittences of small streets, unusual city squares and even an ancient Thracian water supply system. It’s different from anything that archaeologist had ever associated with the barbaric Thracians civilization.
• Monyak Fortress; just 11 km east of Kardzhali, and built during the 12th – 13th century. It’s one of the high elevated fortresses in the Rhodope mountains.
• Village of Dazhdovnitsar; located 10km northwest and famous for its rock niche has become a very popular destination. These famous rock features date back to the early period of 1,200 – 550 BC. No real explanation has been discovered for these niches. However, according to some, they were used as urns containing the ashes of commoners. Other people say small statutes were placed inside while even another group claims that people dedicated to the Orphic Thracian cult, carved these niches into difficult locations to prove their manhood.
• The Utroba Cave (Womb Cave); only a short 17km drive from Kardzhali. Dating back to Thracian times the cave has a complete ritual complex of sharapanas or rock niches for wine. The name derived because of its close resemblance of looking like a female womb.
• The Dams; there’s two incredible dams located close to Kardzhali. Try your luck with the rod and reel as the Studen Kladenets and Kardzhali Dams are preferred fishing destinations for anglers from all over the country.
With so many attractions in Kardzhali including its surrounding areas. It’s no wonder it continues to attract thousands of tourists year after year.