The Rhodopes - the mountain of Orpheus

Table of contents:

The Rhodopes - the mountain of Orpheus
The Rhodopes - the mountain of Orpheus

The Rhodopes are like a sea of iridescent dark green hills. Even just for a moment to admire the beautiful panorama and breathe in the crystal clear air, you will forever fall in love with the lyrical and magnetic Rhodopes - the mountain of Orpheus

For thousands of years, people here have lived in harmony with nature, preserving in the bosom of the mountain wild and untouched corners of beauty and an incredible variety of plants and animals. Here you can walk for days among centuries-old spruce and beech forests. You will see a running doe, a shaggy squirrel tail or long rabbit ears. Traveling through the Rhodopes, your path will often be blocked by numerous herds of sheep and cows returning from grazing.

The mountain town of Chepelare, immersed in gardens and flowers, is picturesquely located on both banks of the Chaya River. The centuries-old forests, through which the Rhodope song floats, the lush highland pastures and the clear waters of the river preserve the spirit of the ancient Rhodope.

The current settlement was founded in 1705, when Bello Kehaya decided to build a house here. Only one kilometer from the town are two wonderful ski slopes, which are among the best alpine runs in Europe. The slopes are served by a two-seater lift with a capacity of 800 people per hour. The many family hotels in Chepelare are ready to welcome you at any time of the year. Maybe you'll decide to stay here?! Do some skiing or hike the steep mountain trails to a peak?!

Do it - you won't regret it. In the past, people here were mainly engaged in animal husbandry. In the summer, the herds grazed in the surrounding pastures, and in the winter the shepherds drove them to the White Sea. After the union of the Principality of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia, the border with Turkey was closed. It was impossible to reach the White Sea. Then Chepelarians slaughtered a large part of their livestock and were forced to encroach on the forest to provide pastures for their remaining animals. In the period 1879-1886, over 30,000 acres of coniferous forests were destroyed in the vicinity of Chepelare. This is the largest destruction of forests in the history of the Rhodopes.

Chepelare is a small resort town. In the last few years, it has established itself as one of the leading ski resort centers in Bulgaria. From all sides, the city is surrounded by beautiful centuries-old spruce and pine forests and meadows. The Chepelarska River crosses the city, collecting the waters of the Yanchovata, Kamburska and Sivkovska rivers.

There are two large hotels in the town, as well as dozens of cozy small family hotels and lodgings, numerous restaurants and taverns offering delicious Rhodope feasts.

It is claimed that here is the cleanest air and the longest sunshine - 300 days a year. However, snowfall is abundant and the snowpack lasts for a long time, providing excellent skiing opportunities. Chepelare looks significantly sleeker and newer than the surrounding Rhodope towns and villages mainly thanks to the modern private hotels perched on the mountain slopes. The prosperity of Chepelare is mainly due to the proximity of Pamporovo and the better conditions and lower prices in Chepelare hotels and pubs.

In summer, the beautiful landscape of the valley and the mountain town immersed in gardens and flowers is also an attractive place for tourists. The settlement is a very convenient starting point for hiking trips around the Western Rhodopes - to Rozhen, Hajdushki Polyani, Krastova Gora, Pamporovo, Shiroka Laka, Chudni Mostove, etc. Breathtaking meadows dotted with flowers will enchant you with the breath of the hospitality of the local population. Bean soup can be offered everywhere in Bulgaria, but only in the Rhodope Mountains can you find the Smilian bean. It's mottled, not white, and the size of its grains are Guinness-worthy. The Rhodope pie, called klin, is unusual with the ingredients that the Rhodope woman uses to make it.

Your eyes will be full of colors, a song will sound in your ears, the murmur of mountain streams and the silver ringing of vats, your lips will sip from the crystal clear mountain water flowing from countless fountains. Your soul will find peace and delight.