Posts Tagged ‘Starossel’


Week 36: Unexpected Adventures

   Posted by: Rhona    in Bulgaria

From Smolyan we headed north, passing back through Plovdiv and on to Ivan Vazovo village. There Brett had his first Couchsurfing experience as we stayed with a couple and their two children. Atanas is a retired jet pilot who tries to balance holistic living and new age philosophies with an obvious fascination with all things gadget-like and the management of his company, Extreme Bulgaria. We spent an interesting few days being shown around the area, walking, cycling and exploring some of the historical sites. Nearby Hisar has been famous since Roman times for its 22 mineral springs; a 5m high, 3m thick wall was built around the town to protect it from invaders. We also went to Starossel, an ancient Thracian shrine from the late 5th to early 4th century BC. You know something happened a long time ago when they count dates backwards. A keyhole entry led to a rectangular corridor then another doorway to a perfectly circular 5.3m diameter domed chamber (the largest ever discovered). The carving on the doorways was as crisp as if it was carved yesterday and traces of the 7,000 year old paint were still visible.

On our second day with Atanas he took us water tasting. We tried water from a few different springs and compared the taste. They were quite different. People in Bulgaria take bottles to the many springs in each town and fill up their supply of drinking water for the house. We filled six 10L bottles and took them back to the house. In a field nearby was a hot spring where we went to wash one night. It was a small concrete room with what looked like a fire hydrant in the middle. Apparently there used to be some kind of piping but Atanas said it’d been stolen by the gypsies. He didn’t have many good things to say about the gypsies, one of the reasons they’d moved to that particular village was that there weren’t any gypsies (well there was one old lady but she was OK). We squatted next to the gushing pipe and washed then headed outside to get dressed by the light of the moon.

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