Trigrad and Buynovo Canyons
Several million years old, and still full of life.
It would be unwise when you are visiting Rhodope mountains, to not see Trigrad and Buynovo canyons. These two sights are one of the main things to be seen on your journey to this beautiful place. High up in the mountains, far from crowded towns and the fast lifestyle of the city, two ancient canyons are still masters of their land.
Trigrad gorge is made by Trigrad river, who made her way through rocks and stones for millions and millions of years. The gorge is seven kilometers long with beautiful vertical marble cliffs . In some places, they reach the height of 350 meters. At the beginning of the canyon, cliffs are 300 meters in the distance, but it decreases to only one-hundred meters at the end. The altitude of this phenomenal place is 1,450 meters above the sea.
A one-way road that leads to Trigad Village is cut through the canyon alongside the river and is considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in Bulgaria. The gorge appears to be much higher than it is because it is so vertical and narrow. It looks like sides are touching and there is little sunlight on the ground. The gorge ends just as the river disappears into the ground and falls into Devil's Throat cave, but reemerges a few kilometers below in a different cave.
Buynovo gorge is the longest one in all of Bulgaria. It is made by the work of the Buynovo river and its erosion forces and it is much more narrow than the Trigrad gorge. Buynovo is so narrow that there is a place called "Wolf's leap", and legend says that during the winter wolves in search of prey come here and jump to the other side. You practically can see two sides touching because these sides are not as vertical as Trigrad gorge. You can see layers and layers of sediment which was slowly eroded when passing by and that is something like reading the history book of the terrain of this place. This region is karst and more than 35 caves are around the Buynovo gorge, the most famous is Yogodinska Cave, the longest one in Bulgaria.
When traveling trough gorge, the road is one-way, and you should drive carefully . For those who like to walk and watch, there are several hiking paths, but the main thing that you should see is the bird's-eye view of the whole phenomenon. At the height of 1,500 meters, there is a metal platform on Saint Ilija peak from where you can see entire gorge. This is one of the best views in all of Bulgaria. From that point, you can see all the major peaks of the Rhodope Mountains and some parts of Greece.