Belogradchik Rocks and Belogradchik Fortress are inseparably intertwined. And it’s this inseparability that makes them so mysterious, so appealing. The blending of human and natural forces means the site ends up looking like something out of a fantasy novel.
Belogradchik is situated in northwest Bulgaria, near the junction of borders between Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia.
And in this location: the incredible Belogradchik Rocks; formed through natural processes over millions of years.
Locals have dreamt up all manner of titles for the various rock formations, some of which are easy enough to connect with, like the Mushrooms; others take a little more imagination, such as the Camel, the Monks, and the Lion.
And then there are rock formations that have been incorporated into local folk lore, such as the Schoolgirl, the Shepherd Boy, and the Rebel Velko.
Exploring the rocky landscape is a bit like running through a sculpture garden.
As you move from one formation to the next you continue to wonder what sort of weird and wonderful shape will turn up next.
The fortress has its origins in Roman times.
The first fort here was a modest one; a simple structure that took advantage of the upper crown of one of the rock formations.
Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Stratsimir, whose capital was Vidin (50km north of Belogradchik) expanded and upgraded the fortress in the 14th Century CE.
And finally there are the ornate lower fortifications, which still look clean and crisp and of sound integrity. These were built by the Ottomans in the 1830s.