Regional Information


23, Hristo Botev str.
4580 Chepelare, BULGARIA

Office Sofia:

10, Yanko Sakazov blvd.
1504, Sofia BULGARIA

Tel./fax: +359 2 944 95 15
Mobile: +359 888 468 545




South of Plovdiv, just next to the Maritza valley rise the interlaced mountain chains of the Rhodopes – a beautiful and proud mountain with a complex and turbulent history. In antiquity it provoked the enthusiasm of Homer who called it the “Snow Mountain of the Thracians” and it inspired the songs of the legendary singer Orpheus, because it offers its visitors constantly changing vistas – at one moment monumental and mysterious like its forests, and at another picturesque and fresh like its sky.
According to one of the many legends the name of the Rhodope Mountain was given to it by an Egyptian pharaoh in honour of his favourite concubine who was born in these parts, but scientists favour the hypothesis according to which the name is of Thracian origin. According to one Thracian legend the mortal Thracians Haemus and Rhodope in their boundless love to one another began to flatter themselves vainly with the divine names of Zeus and Hera. Offended by their audacity, the Thunderer decided to separate them for good and turned them into the two opposite mountains Rhodope and Haemus (Stara planina), separated by the vast Thracian Plain.
The Rhodopes are located in the southernmost part of Bulgaria. They are the vastest mountain region in the country, 83% of the whole mountain or 14730 square kilometres being on Bulgarian territory. The average elevation of the region is 785 m above sea level, and the highest peak is Goliam Perelik (2191 m), located in the western part of the mountain. This means that the Rhodopes are the seventh highest among the Bulgarian mountains.
On the north the Rhodope mountains are bounded by the Thracian Plain. On the south the branches of the mountain extend into the territory of the Republic of Greece. On the east they gradually merge with the Maritza valley (on Greek territory), and on the west they border Rila Mountain and the valley of Mesta river.

The Rhodopes are a part of the vast Thracian-Macedonian massif, occupying the central part of the Balkan Peninsula. Geographically they form a complex system of hills of different elevation, broken up by deeply carved river valleys and closed pans.
Because of the differences in the natural conditions, the Rhodopes are subdivided into Western (high) and Eastern (low) parts. The Western Rhodopes feature high mountainous relief, while the Eastern part are characterised mainly by low mountainous and hilly terrain. Here the average annual temperature is 12 – 13°Ñ, while in the Western region it is 5 – 9°Ñ. The average annual precipitation in both parts of the region is about the same, but whereas in the Eastern Rhodopes rainfalls are prevailing, in the Western part the precipitation takes the form of snowfalls, and the snow cover lasts between 3 and 6 months. There are also pronounced differences in the flora and fauna of the two regions. While the plant life in the Western Rhodopes is represented by different coniferous and deciduous tree species, bush and grass ecosystems, the Eastern part of the mountain is mostly treeless. The most important in the Western region are the coniferous forests, represented by species like Scots pine and European black pine, fir, spruce and others, as they are about ¾ of all coniferous forests in Bulgaria. The animal life in the Eastern Rhodopes is represented mainly by reptiles, jackals and many birds, whilst in the Western Rhodopes besides these species deer, roes, wolves, bears , foxes, wild boars and others can be found.
In the course of their long history the Rhodope Mountains have been inhabited by the man since the remotest past. The tides of the different epochs and civilisations created and obliterated many cultural treasures in the mountain, and those that survived the test of time to the present day are priceless heritage from the past.

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