The beauty of the Balkan through the prism of Iskar river gorge
Today’s adventure will be for my daylong trip to the Iskar river gorge.
The area itself provides numerous places to visit, as well as various types of activities. From trails to climbing cliffs, visiting beautiful villages or just a pleasant stroll through the lush nature of the Balkan. But in this post I will show you some places that impressed me greatly and I think it is a nice occasion to walk for a day and to get away from the urban environment.
We left at nine in the morning from Sofia and headed without delay, north direction Svoge. Our first stop was Cherepish monastery, founded in the 14th century during the Second Bulgarian State ruled by King Shishman.
The monastery was repeatedly burned with the little room in which are hold the bones of the fallen soldiers in the fighting against the Ottoman Empire.
This fact contributes to the rich and dramatic history which can be felt to this day in this place. The place brings a compelling serenity caused by strong faith and perseverance of the Bulgarians.
A few meters from the monastery is the beautiful Iskar river. For me the most interesting fact is that right here, the Patriarch of Bulgarian literature Ivan Vazov wrote his story “A Bulgarian woman” (apparently I have not listened enough in literature classes at school because I realized this fact just when I visited the place).
You can reach the monastery, travelling from Sofia to Vratsa (distance 85 km) and at the junction to Lyutibrod – turn left. The road is nice and maintained;
Near the monastery you have the opportunity to go to the terrace which allows you to take spectacular shots to remember, and to see all the magic of this place;
To the panoramic terrace you can reach by returning to the main road and continue upwards. Pass the first tunnel and just before the second tunnel, on the left, you will see a road for the terrace;
The monastery is known for its rich history that possess. For the curious: in his travelogue “In Bulgarian Switzerland,” Aleko Konstantinov praised it;
Village of Lakatnik
After the monastery we headed to Lakatnik to see a small cottage attached to the high cliffs of the gorge. It’s “Eagle’s Nest” or more simply said house for climbers enthusiasts. This is a house built in 1938 by climbers that serves as a shelter, located at over 300 meters and providing spectacular views. To visit this place you have to be prepared, it will be very extreme and will raise your adrenaline.
The house is located just above the station Lakatnik attached to one of the rocks surrounding the village. Located only 60 km from Sofia, you can get in the way to Svoge;
Lakatnik is defined as “swing of Bulgarian mountaineering”
Waterfall Bovska Skaklya
Last but not least was the breathtaking panorama of waterfall Bovska Skaklya. It is located on the eco trail “Dyado Yotso” but we didn’t have time to go over the whole trail, so we drove to the village settlement.
Waterfall “Skaklya” is named after the river that is situated in the eastern part of the mountain Ponor. It is about 120 meters high. The water that falls is like “jumping” over several cascades, the highest of which reaches 85 meters. Falling from a height the water creates an incredibly beautiful view, but unfortunately, we visited the place during the dry season and as you can see in the pictures the water can hardly be seen.
But on the other hand, I can show you the stunning panorama that provides this place.
If you want to walk and go all over the eco trail you can start either from the top of the village Zasele, or down from Gara Bov;
The site provides extensive views over the Balkan;
The waterfall is best suited for photos during the winter period of the year when forming large frozen icicles;
The photographs in this publication are in collaboration with Ergyun Musov, you can see his gallery here.