The Region

The village of Gela is situated in the western part of the Rhodope Mountains.The Western Rhodopes are the larger part of the mountain range, higher, most infrastructurally developed and most visited part of the mountains. The highest and best known peaks are located in the region (more than 10 are over 2,000 m) including the highest one, Golyam Perelik (2,191 m). Among the other popular peaks are Shirokolashki Snezhnik (2,188 m), Golyam Persenk (2,091 m), Batashki Snezhnik (2,082 m), Turla (1,800 m). Some of the deepest river gorges in the Rhodopes are located in the western parts, as well as the rock phenomenon Wonderful Bridges.

Significant bodies of water include the Chaira lakes and the dams Dospat, Batak, Shiroka Polyana, Golyam Beglik and Tsigov Chark. The popular tourist centres Smolyan, Velingrad, Devin, Chepelare, the winter resort Pamporovo, the Eastern Orthodox Bachkovo Monastery, the ruins of the Asen dynasty’s fortress, the caves Dyavolskoto Garlo, Yagodinska, Vievo and many others. The highest village in Bulgaria, Manastir (over 1,500 m), is crouched in the northern foot of Prespa Peak.

A number of architectural reserves, such as Shiroka Laka, Momchilovtsi and Kosovo, are also located in the area. The sparsely populated area of the Rhodopes has been a place of ethnic and religious diversity for hundreds of years. Apart from the Eastern Orthodox Bulgarians, the mountains are also home to a number of Muslim communities, including the Muslim Bulgarians, locally called Pomaks.

Pamporovo and Chepelare are famous winter resorts visited by many Bulgarian and foreign tourists. In the Winter at Pamporovo you can Slalom, Cross Country Ski, or Snowboard, there really is a huge variety of activities to try, and all levels are catered for, it is well known for its excellent instruction, and some kinder slopes for beginners, making the investment a real family affair, but don’t take our word for it come and check it for yourself.

During the summer the caves along the Greek border such as Yagodinska Cave, Uhlovitsa, Devil’s Throat Cave, Snezhanka (near Peshtera) and others are popular among speleologists as well as ordinary tourists with their spectacular forms and underground lakes and rivers.

The Rhodopes as a whole and the subregion central and Western Rhodopes is the most abundant and floristically richest region of Bulgaria.

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