A number of ancient civilizations, including the Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Ostrogoth’s, East and West Slavs, Varangian’s and the Bulgars have left their mark on the culture, history and heritage of Bulgaria. Due to this great variety of influences, Bulgaria has adopted many traditions.
The heritage of the country is a combination between the nature, the history, the traditions. A lot of the legends are connected with the period of the Ottoman yoke – 500 years, during which Bulgaria was a part of the Ottoman empire and the life and daily routine of Bulgarians was defined and governed by the Turks. A lot of them are connected to mysterious places such as caves, rock formations, stone clusters, that needed explanation. And some of the legends are quite clear with the message that ancient civilizations, which lived here, left their print on the heritage of Bulgaria.
In Bulgarian legends three main types of heritage are present:
one is connected with the main religion of the country – Christianity -and consists of religious sites, churches, places where holy people lived and did their miracles (the stone chapel of St. Petka is an axample for that);
the other type is connected with the formation of the natural sites – rocks, rivers, mountains (the legends for the formation of Belintash, Belogradchik rocks and Rhodopa mountain are examples for that) or about places, which were inhabited by mythical creatures or heroes;
and there is a third type of heritage connected with the craftsmanship of certain people – building sites (houses, bridges, roads). The legends of this type usually refer to the skills of people who built the sites as something extraordinary, sometimes devilish, or sometimes quite the opposite – built with wit and skills to overcome the challenges set before the craftsmen by the Devil himself (example for this is the legend for the Devil’s bridge).
In general heritage is not usually the main point in Bulgarian legends – it is more a background of important events happening and moral lessons learned from characters or explaining how natural sites are formed. History, traditions, legends - are the basis on which the national consciousness of every nation is built. This is its legacy. Traditions are being associated with legends and make legend part of the national wealth and heritage and Bulgaria is not an exception.