Belogradchik rocks

Original version
Legend 1: Boro’s rock. This stone was used by the young lads from the region to measure their bravery and strength by competing who would be the fastest one to climb the stone. The winner becomes a leader and takes the most beautiful girl as his wife. So, according to the legend Bozhan the shepherd for quite a while was longing for the Elka – a local beauty – but on the lucky day when he succeeded to win the race to the top of the rock, he discovered that Turks have kidnaped her. He kept climbing Boro’s rock every day because it overlooked the Turkish homestead and played his sad flute, feeling sorry for his lost love. One day, as Bozhan was playing his flute, he neglected the call of the ram in his herd. The ram got furious and pushed Bozhan off the rock. The ram also fell and together with them – all the sheep in the herd. Bozhan and all his sheep met the sunrise dead underneath Boro’s rock. Legend 2: The Nun (the Madonna). Long ago in the region of these stones there were a convent and a monastery. An extraordinary beauty – Vitiniya (Vita) – lived among the nuns, but her good looks were hidden under the nun clothes. Before becoming a nun Vita kept caring for her goats and while herding them listened to the flute of another shepherd and gradually and irreversibly fell in love with him. He also fell for her with a passionate love. Vita was so beautiful that in an attempt to protect her from the world and everything bad in it, including a potentially misfortunate love, her parents placed her in a convent. The shepherd and Vita was incredibly sad because of this separation. One day though, during the monastery celebration of Annunciation, closed in her cell Vita heard the sad flute of her beloved shepherd. She ran outside and they saw each other again, but then the old abbess hurried to Vita and dragged her back to her cell. After a while, one evening Vita heard the sad flute from the hill where the monastery was situated. One night there was a terrible storm with strong winds and thunders and on that night Vita heard someone calling her name from the outside. She looked and saw her beloved shepherd who had become a monk in the monastery. The started meeting and Vita became happy and vibrant for almost a year, when she suddenly closed herself again in her cell and refused to come out. Several months later a lightning fell on the convent when the abbess and the other nuns heard a child crying from Vita’s cell. The abbess was furious and ordered for Vita and her child to be cast away. Vitiniya begged them to leave her in her cell with her child, but the nuns’ cold-heartedly threw her out in the early spring. The monks witnessed what was happening to Vita. Her beloved too, not knowing how he can help her. Suddenly a miracle happened – the earth shook and the convent got destroyed, falling on everyone inside. Vita turned to stone together with her child. All the monks also turned to stone, together with monk Luka – Vita’s beloved – who turned to stone in front of the monastery door. Legend 3: The triplets. The legend talks about the three sons of Radul and Blaguna. Both Radul and Blaguna were good people – rich, but very generous, devoted and warm hearted. They shared with the others everything they had. The only thing they missed to be perfectly happy was a child. One day they took in an old woman, asking for food and shelter. They welcomed her and were so open that she soon understood about their sorrow. When she was leaving their house, she gave Blaguna some herbs and instructed her how to prepare and drink them. Soon after that the herbs did their miracle and Blaguna got pregnant, giving birth to three healthy baby brothers – Kamen, Stamen and Dragoy. They grew up to be strong, healthy men. The three noble men of the village could not bear the happiness of this family and made a plan to kill Radul and his three sons and to take their fortune. With the help of Radul’s brother they succeeded and killed the entire family. Near to their home rose the three rocks that are now called the triplets. The triplets were hanging menacingly above the noble men, who had to face them every day and to remember the gruesome deed. Not long after, the noble men got crazy and died. The triplets still stand tall and guard their family’s memory.
Main characters
young men, young women, monks, nuns, jealousy, treachery, love
Connected artistic / architectonic / historical heritage
- The places in which the story takes place – Belogradchik town, Belogradchik rock formations - The reference to existing buildings - no - Masterpieces – natural monuments of amazing shapes 230 million years ago, the Belogradchik rocks were at the bottom of the sea. After the water recedes, soft limestone was formed. Under the influence of the air, the sun and the natural elements, they take bizarre shapes that up to now awaken human imagination. The characteristic red color of the rocks is due to the iron corrosion in them. Most people believe that the Belogradchik rocks are those around the fortress "Kaleto". Rock formations, however, cover an area of about 100 square kilometers - from the village of Rabisha to the west to the village of Belotintsi in the east. Some of the cliffs reach a height of 200 meters.
Local traditions or historical connections
All 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. Belogradchik Fortress is one of the most preserved in Bulgaria. It was built in the III century by the Romans who used the natural defenses of the rocks. It is supposed that its foundations were laid by the Thracians. Over the centuries Kaleto fortress served the Byzantines, Bulgarians and Turks. It consists of three backyards, each of which is self-contained. The fortress was continuously functioning until the Serbian-Bulgarian War in 1885.
Didactical Relevance
The legends can be used with students to study the local nature and culture. The legends of the rocks are about bravery, strength, courage and love, intertwined with the local history and specific believes of Bulgarian people. The legend can also be used to study geographical and natural phenomena in rocks formation. They were formed at the bottom of a sea as the product of compression (they began 230 million years ago as sediment at the bottom of a shallow sea) and then erosion over the last 45 million years. The rocks, made largely of limestone, also hold hundreds of caves, including Magura Cave where the bones of prehistoric species like cave bear or cave hyena have been discovered, as have cave paintings dating from 10,000 BC - 600 BC.
Didactical Activity
Teachers and students can visit the place, study the characteristics of the local culture and history, to find common roots in the BG legend and other similar legends from the other EU countries. Teachers and students can relate the legends also to their nature and science study for understanding natural phenomena. Students can relate the legends with today's beliefs and values related to love, honesty, bravery and make parallels between how people from different countries saw those feelings in the past and today.

Video

Fortress of Belogradchik, Belogradchik Rocks

Images

Belogradchik rocks 4
Belogradchik rocks 2
Belogradchik rocks where is it

PDF version of the legend in national language

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