Rhodope Mountains on the border with spring – Part Two
The adventures in the Rhodopes continue in full force. This mountain is a place that hides all kinds of treasures in the form of historic buildings, natural phenomena and others. The combination of old-growth forests and neat villages hidden on its territory contribute to the feeling of lightness and harmony. All this is accompanied by the scent of the coming spring, which not only gives us freshness, but also introduces us to the diversity of landscapes. Therefore Rhodopes are amazing and when we surrender to the magic of this place, we become part of it. The treasure I visited this time has one of the most interesting museums in Bulgaria. It’s the village of Dorkovo and the Pliocene park. This place housed overnski mastodon like Anancus arvernensis, who is a relative of today’s elephant. The species inhabited this area 5 million years ago during the Late Pliocene. The museum features artifacts from the Pliocene found in the paleontological field in the “Elin well” around Dorkovo. The deposit is the largest known to paleontologists, which is a cluster of bones from more than 30 species of animals in one place, more than 600 bones have been found.
Inside the building will see a sculpture of overnski mastodon with a height of 3.90 meters. Beside him is a sculpture of fossil ape-dolihopitek. And next to them is a giant tusk of a mastodon borsonov found in sand quarry in the village of General Inzovo, Yambol. Presented are reproductions of scientific excavations with real bones that are found in this place, showcases fossils – a fragment of the palate with molars and tusks of overnski mastodon, canine tooth of doplihopitek and parts of the shoulder bones of Pliocene Balkan duck and Rhodope capercaillie.
Also presented with the surrounding natural habitat. Dorkovo during the Pliocene by 10-foot landscape diorama “The fauna and nature near Dorkovo and the Balkans before five million years.” It presents the types of animals that were located here such as fossil ape Dolihopitek, rannopliotsenska bear Rhodope capercaillie, rhododendron, fossil deer, fossil tapir, bicorn Pliocene rhinoceros, magnolia, mastodon of species Mammut borsoni, fossil ape Mezopitek, herd hipparions and overnski herd of mastodons. There is sound technique in place which reproduces the sounds of the animals whose remains were found in the paleontological field.
The Pliocene park in Dorkovo is open to visitors, with the following working hours:
From 10.00 to 19.00 hours (May-October)
And from 10.00 to 17.00 hours (October to February) every day;
The entrance fee applies to both sites – “Pliocene park” -Dorkovo and “Tourist Information Center ” and 5lv. for Adults; 3lv. for children and free for children under 3.
Monday admission is free;
To get to the village of Dorkovo you have to take the highway towards Plovdiv and to turn to September and Velingrad. The distance is 135 km. In the village there are well-marked signs that will lead you to the museum;
The museum is unique in its kind and is the richest found of the Balkans and the second most important in Europe;
The place is very interesting and educational;
Our next stop and final day of the adventure in the Rhodopes is the medieval fortress Tsepina. It is located northwest of the village Dorkovo, at the northeastern end of this valley, high and rocky cone peak at an altitude of 1136 meters. As nowadays you can see part of the outer walls, which cover an area of 25 acres, and the highest part was a medieval castle built on an area of 1.5 acres. Its walls are preserved to a height of 2.5 meters. The place is impressive and you can feel the history in the ruins of the castle, but I think the thing that blow minds every visitor here is the panorama and the view that is provided to the Rila-Rhodope massif. We were lucky enough to witness the sunset from here and I can confidently say that this was one of the most beautiful moments that I have experienced (proof in the photos). The silence, the fiery colors that hide among the mountain peaks and the slight breeze that made us humbly company made the moment even more special. Just then, I felt like part of the magic of this mountain.
The fortress itself can be visited at any time, and the museum, which is located before climbing to the castle is open every day from 10 am. to 19 pm. Note that as indicated above for the Pliocene park in Dorkovo, the ticket is valid here at the price of 5 leva;
The fortress is located 6 km from the village Dorkovo;
The site provides an extensive and rich panorama that really deserves to be seen;