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Chudnite Mostove: “Wonderful Bridges”

W BridgesTucked away in the western region of the Rhodope Mountains you will uncover the natural phenomenon of Chudnite Mostove or “The Wonderful Bridges”. In this terrain of limestone, a unique landscape has been created by the process of aggressive erosion. Under this region of the Rhodope Mountains, the geographical traits of limestone have made it common to find massive landscape features such as gorges, buttes, sink holes, jagged ridges, and other rock phenomenons. Due to the erosion process over the past 1.5 million years, we can now be grateful we share the bounty of Chudnite Mostove.

Located near the Erkyupriya River at 1450m above sea level at the base of Golyam Persenk peak the Wonderful Bridges is situated 80 km south of Plovdiv, 35 km north-west from Chepelare and only 5 km north-west from Zabardo making it easily accessible by vehicle.

Long ago these bridges had been one undivided cave, created by the power and destruction of river flow plus years of weathering. In time portions of the cave would collapse forming the impressive marble hole like bridges we see today.

W Bridge LargeThe larger bridge, consisting of 3 arches, measures at 15m wide and almost 100m long making it easy for hands-on exploration. However, the smaller bridge, being sometimes impassable at 60m long with a total height of 50m and the pinnacle of its arch reaching 30m. There is even a smaller third bridge located on site. This smallest bridge is defined as a ponor cave in which the waters of Erkyupriya River recede only to reappear again 3 kilometers downstream. The two larger bridges are now safeguarded and available for adventure seekers. Be sure to wear adequate anti slip footwear suitable for rock climbing when trekking the bridges.

Significant Dates
• 1949- The monument has been preserved and protected since
• 1961- The bridges were declared a natural landmark
• 2003- Rated #85 on the list of the 100 National Tourists sites of the Bulgarian Tourist Union

W Bridge HabitatA variety of animal species and fauna inhabit the encircling forests about Chudnite Mostove. For the avid bird watchers, you’ll find over 270 bird species in the region for your viewing pleasure. Other animals spotted and found throughout the region are brown bears, timber wolves, wild boar, rabbits, deer, foxes, stags, and mountain goats.

These parts of the Rhodopes are extremely rich in wild herbs, mushrooms and fruits including rare and endemic species of fuana.

List of protected plants
• Rhodopean Viola (Viola rhodopeia)
• Rhodopean Lilium (Lilium rhodopeum)
• Red Rhodopean Tulip (Tulipa rhodopea)
• Rhodopean Geum (Geum rhodopeum)
• Persian Morina (morina persica)
• Veronica rhodopaea
• Lathrea
• Haberlea rhodopensis, also known as the Orphean Flower.

The legend speaks of the creation of Chudnite Mostove. Years ago when many shepherds in the locality of the village of Zabardo, a dragon appeared from somewhere and began to ravage their herds. Years went by as the shepherds suffered from the dragon’s ongoing slaughter. Finally, they came up with a way to outwit him. They loaded a donkey with tinder, set it on fire and sent it against the dragon. The dragon took the bait and swallowed the donkey together with payload of tinder and flames. After consuming the fire donkey, the dragon went mad and desperately tried to escape and finally found a small hole in the ground to kill the flames. Its huge body opened the crack and then remained stuck in the ground until the dragon perished. Many many years later when the dragon bones decomposed the Chudnite Mostove remained.

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