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Kardjali (58 000 inhabitants) is at 240 meters above sea level, 250 km. from Sofia and 100 km. from Plovdiv, the regional center. Located on the Arda River between the two big dams "Studen Kladenets" and "Kardjali". Nature has endowed the Eastern Rhodopes with unusual beauty and enormous deposits of lead-zinc ores, bentonite, perlite, zeolite, asbestos, precious and semi-precious minerals, gold. Climate in the region is transitional Mediterranean, mild and humid, with many sunny days a year. Winter is relatively mild and summer is hot and sunny.

Exists as a settlement of 6 000 years ago, the first inhabitants of these places were the Thracians, but in the VI century Slavs and Bulgarians inhabited. This edge is within the Byzantine Empire, during the Tsar Simeon became a part of the Bulgarian state. In 1370-1371 was conquered by the Turks, a large proportion of the population was massacred, others find protection in the mountains. In the middle of XVII century Turkish governor is Kardjali Alla, town got its name. Since 1912 is within the new Bulgarian state. Kardjali became the center for tobacco and non-ferrous metallurgy.

The basilica of St. John the Precursor (XI century) is a unique finding - a tomb of a priest, dressed in golden robes spiritual. In the whole world found three similar grave. The monastery of St. Assumption is a unique spiritual center, which keep the particles from the Cross on which Christ was crucified, found the religious complex Perperikon.

The Historical museum was opened in 1965, includes over 27 000 exhibits relating to the history of region. The museum building is a cultural monument, built 1922-1930 under the project of Russian architect, working in Istanbul. The building was designed for religious school, but was renovated for the museum collection that shows the most characteristic features in the historical development of the Eastern Rhodopes from VI millennium BC until today.

Dam Kardjali is one of the biggest in Bulgaria. He formed beautiful bays and Peninsula, over which rise steep slopes, spangled with great rocks. Wall of the dam is arch, 109 meters high and has a of the largest in Europe. In the summer lake serves as a means of recreation for many residents and guests in Kardjali and region. In close proximity are built hotels, restaurants, summer houses. Attraction for visitors are Emona ship and floating restaurants, offering a rich fish menu. Solar and soft autumn day, combined with beautiful views of different tinted woods and light haze immersed in the surrounding mountains create conditions for recreation and aesthetic enjoyment.

Dam Studen kladenets (Cold well) is perhaps the most picturesque dam lake in the Rhodope Mountains. He formed beautiful bays and the coast is picturesque and for the most part pristine. The second dam in the valley of the river Arda and starts just after the Kardjali. At the beginning by both sides rise strongholds Monyak and Vishegrad. The Dam' wall is 68 meters high with a length of 350 meters. At heart wall is 61 meters wide. The dam stretches of 29 km downstream of Arda. In the narrowest part is like a river water over him and goes funicular bridge.

Ardino is located 40 km from Kardjali. The region is rich in historical and natural monuments. Here is the mystical Devil's Bridge over the Arda River. Built in the XV century on an ancient road from Aegean to Thrace. 2 kilometers away is the Thracian sanctuary Eagle Rocks - 96 niches of various sizes carved into sheer cliffs. The medieval fortress Krivus is north of Ardino in the large meander of the Arda.
Hotels in Ardino

Devil's Bridge is a medieval bridge over the Arda River in scenic gorge about 10 km. northwest of Ardino, built in 1515-1518 on the ruins of an ancient Roman bridge on the road connecting the Aegean Sea to the Thracia through the pass Makaza. The bridge is 420 meters above sea level, surrounded by steep slopes reaching up to 400 m. Its length is 56 meters, width 3.5 m height of the central dome is 12 meters, but the edge is preserved stone parapet height 12 cm. Bridge was declared a cultural monument.

Momchilgrad (10 000 inhabitants) is located in the southeastern part of the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km south of Kardjali. The terrain is mountainous, heavily indented Steep Hill is about 40 kilometers wide and large 15-22 km. The municipality is located and part of Dam Studen Kladenets. The presence of natural phenomena and landmarks, diverse terrain and favorable weather conditions are excellent conditions for recreation and tourism. Great wealth are numerous herbs and rare plants. The municipality is located Elenovo Stopanstvo Recerve.

Tatul is located 15 km east of Momchilgrad, one of the most imposing megalithic monuments in the Bulgarian lands. The complex consists of an ancient pagan temple and a medieval fortress. The sanctuary is the XII century BC. Here are transported victims of ancient Thracian gods. The central and highest place of the rocky peak hold two carved in the rock tomb. Around are formed many religious places.

Except for the transfer of victims to the gods, Tatul was a center for monitoring sunrise and sunset on certain days of the year, when the priests were foretell the future. Tatul is only part of a much larger religious complex, the north has rocks in other niches and tombs. There is a hypothesis, that Orpheus was buried here. The area is considered sacred since ancient times until today.

During the early Byzantine era (IV-VII century) in the rock was built fortress, later it was expanded and refurbished several times. Until today, has survived a quadrangular tower, the basement floor which served as reservoir. Another reservoir, carved in the rocks next to the tower. There is a church, which left two columns and two stone capitals. They are carved in relief crosses. Under the stronghold was a great medieval village.

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