Belogradchik Rocks, Bulgaria – crazy rocks = perfect spot for a fortress 2

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 Rocks

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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.

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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.

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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.

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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.

Belogradchik Fortress

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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.

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Stratsimir, whose capital was Vidin (50km north of Belogradchik) expanded and upgraded the fortress in the 14th Century CE.

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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.

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Practical information and how to reach Belogradchik Rocks:

Belogradchik is located 50km from Vidin. Public buses run between the two cities (trip time = 1 hour). Buses also run to Sofia once a day (trip time = 4 hours). More transport info here.

More on Bulgaria:

Sofia… is my Rome, says Emperor Constantine

Plovdiv – do you like history? then this city is for you!!

Veliko Tarnovo – capital of Bulgarian Empire No.2

Kazanlak – Buzludzha, Seuthopolis, a phenomenal Thracian tomb

Rila Monastery – frescos of demons and sinners in hell

Magura Cave – Stone Age cave paintings with a focus on fertility rituals

More on South eastern Europe:


Berat – stunning Ottoman architecture + untouched Illyrian ruins

Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Sarajevo – Franz Ferdinand, and the Jerusalem of Europe

Mostar – bullet holes, sniper tower, Ottoman bridge

Republic of Northern Macedonia:

Ohrid – an old, deep lake, where Cyrillic was invented?

Skopje – controversial statues, and ownership of Alex the Great?


Bran Castle – is it Dracula’s castle? Nope!

Rock sculpture of Decebalus – Guardian of the Iron Gates

Sighișoara – birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula)

Brașov – Christmas in Transylvania. Think snow!

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