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When you decide to travel North from the capital Sofia, less than an hour away on the Hemus highway you will reach the town of Botevgrad. A short stop for relaxation and a walk in the city center and surroundings. Through the rich collection of the Historical Museum in a beautiful building in the center of the city, you will walk through the eras of the early Neolithic, through the Thracian settlement on the territory of today’s Botevgrad, through the eras of the Middle Ages and late feudalism, the beginning of the Renaissance and the National Liberation Struggle.
An exceptional landmark and pride of the city is the Clock Tower. It was built in 1862-64, and the original clock mechanism is kept in the Historical Museum, and the current one continues to count down the time faithfully every round hour, ringing the city with its melodious chime. The tower is the highest and the oldest operating tower of this type in Bulgaria and the Balkans. Upon prior request, its interior can be climbed every day by those who wish. From the height there is a view of the entire Botevgrad municipality.
If it happens to visit the city on a Thursday afternoon or on a holiday, you could enjoy the performances of the city’s brass band or cheerleading ensemble. In the month of May, an annual international festival of brass bands takes place in Botevgrad with participants from all over the world.
In the surroundings of Botevgrad, in the bosom of the Botevgrad valley, there are numerous active Orthodox monasteries, most of which are surrounded by accessible eco-paths.
All of them are clearly marked and have explanatory signs in both Bulgarian and English, well maintained and refined.
Along them you can reach the remains of remarkable medieval fortresses such as Bozhenishki urvich, Borovets fortress, Kaleto, as well as several springs (ayazmo)of water with healing properties according to legends.The eco-trails in the municipality will also take you to amazing natural phenomena such as the Lipnishki rocks, caves and waterfalls, to the iron water – a mineral spring whose water is known to have the hightest iron content in Bulgaria.
The century-old beech and oak forest of the “Uchilishtna Gora” reserve near the village of Bozhenitsa will shelter you in the summer, when temperatures in the city often exceed 32 degrees Celsius. The protected localities “Dreneto” and “Rudinata” are among the preferred nearby walking routes of Botevgrad residents.
However, what attracts the most nature lovers and biologists from all over the world is the natural landmark “Frog Marsh”, where a mountain frog (Rana Temporaria) lives during the warm months of the year. Local representatives of the species, unlike their counterparts around the world, migrate more than 6 km, climbing the banks of three streams, high in the mountains before winter and return to their “native home” in spring – a phenomenon that is not known elsewhere in Europe.
Before you continue your journey from Botevgrad as breckfast, lunch or snck, you should try some of the local culinary specialties such as Botevgradska topenitsa, vitata banitsa or kachamak.
The Botevgrad valley, hidden in the foothills of Stara Planina, is a biologically clean area, with excellent fruit growing gardens where cherries, strawberries, and apples are traditionally grown. Beekeeping is an activity raised to a cult by the local population and in rural areas you will see beehives in almost every yard. You can also enjoy a simple walk in the city park with plenty of exotic tree species and varieties of kid’s fun park facilities.
From Botevgrad, you can safely continue your journey to Danube Bulgaria through Vratsa and Montana, to Belogradchik and Vidin, Lom, Ruse or choose the road to the East to the Northern Black Sea and Varna, passing along the entire Stara Planina through picturesque towns and villages with centuries-old remarkable culture and history, among the amazing natural beauty and numerous mineral springs of Bulgaria. Good Way!




Sofia, Bulgaria. Summer heat in the panel complexes. It’s so hot that people are in desperate need of cooling off. At the same time, there are not so many suitable places, and they are also pretty expensive. If a family of four goes to the only mineral pool in town, they will spend a respectable amount of money only for admission. So what is the solution?


I am living in one of these stuffy panel complexes, so I had to think it up and make it.


The solution is located on the opposite side of the city, at the foot of the mountains surrounding the Bulgarian capital. There are three natural mineral springs near one of the villages there. All of them have a small debit, so they are not of interest to the business. Local people have made a makeshift bath next to the one closest to the village. It is the most popular and crowded, which takes away from its appeal.


There are two more mineral springs up in the mountain. In their original state, they looked more like puddles. In both places, the mineral water springs near a cold river, but is mixed with mud and debris from the mountain. When I first went to the second puddle years ago, it could hold a maximum of 3-4 people at the same time. So I took it upon myself and, over the course of months and years, I did enoble this place.


I go there almost every day. I bring cement and with sand and stones from the river I build up the puddle, which at the moment looks like a pretty decent pool in the middle of the forest. My journey takes about three hours one way: two by public transport and one on foot through rough terrain. Now the water hole is big enough to accommodate 20 and more people. It has three levels: the deepest, just over two meters, is the original spring, then an intermediate level, and the shallowest is for children. The water is about 29 degrees Celsius, which is great in the summer (you can soak in the water, while basking in the sun), but it’s also good for use in winter.


In summer, the sun shines on the place between 11 am and 5 pm. Then it gets cold. I drain the pool so that the water does not turn green from the algae and I clean the bottom. Then I put a plug in to fill the entire volume again. Draining the reservoir takes 10-12 minutes, while filling takes six hours, due to the small flow rate.


And so every day. For the pleasure of the tourists and for my personal satisfaction. I call what I have build “my Jacuzzi”.


In fact, it does not belong to me, but to all the residents and guests of Sofia, who know this little secret. It is free, accessible, in the fresh mountain air, and less than an hour’s drive from the center of Sofia! I’m not telling you exactly where it is, but it’s just nice to know that it’s there, because it brings optimism and glee as well as hope and faith that it’s possible to have such a corner of heaven nearby.

Drevesa ne le rastejo in  zelenijo, temveč se tudi gibajo, kar da poseben pečat naravi.

Na zdravje in dober tek.

Videli smo stare mlinske kamne ki jih je poganjalo mnogo jermenov.

Delo v težkih pogojih, ob hitrih strojih ter strogih delovodjih je bilo zelo zahtevno. Posebej še za ženske, ki so delale v treh izmenah in poleg tega so skrbele še za svoje družine.

Vrnili smo se stoletja nazaj. Čutili smo vročino peči in prisluhnili smo odmevu udarcev kladiva. 

Slika: Octopus (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Video: Slovely.eu (CC BY-SA 3.0)