Cultural and historical heritage of the Municipality of Momchilgrad
Approximately 20 km Eastern from Momchilgrad, in ‘Asara’ area near the village of Tatul, is situated an impressive religious complex – ‘Orpheus’s sanctuary’ – one of the unique megalith monuments in Europe. Over a dominant rock, to which lead hewn into the rock steps, is shaped a dome sepulchre with two graves covered by slates. Into the surrounding rocks are hewn various facilities – integral part of the complex: walls, niches, wells for putting gifts, bed for the main altar of the sanctuary, different objects connected to the ancient cults /clay human idols, nodes for spindle, knucklebones, bronze goods etc./ Nearly 2 km Eastern from the village of Dolna Chobanka is ‘Harman Kaya’ – sanctuary hewn into the rock, situated on a not high plateau. In proximity were formed two small caves. The early archaeological heapings of rocky fragments refer to the late Eneolithic age. Around the whole surface could be seen hewn into the rock facilities – premises, round and trapezium-shaped niches, sepulchres, cisterns, concentric circles looking like a sand-glass, sacrificial altars, pools, steps.
Heading to the village of Drumche, you can see two rock complexes distant around 200 meters from eachother, with numerous niches hewn into them. Their total number is around 60, some of which remain incomplete. The niches have a visual connection with another complex – near the village of Obichnik, located over a rock looking like an animal figure and called by the local population ‘Yumruk Kaya’ or ‘Lavut’ (‘The Lion’). Such rock niches, hewn into the rocks, could be seen also in the villages of Tatul, Raven, Bivolyane, Chaika, Chukovo and Chomakova. Part of them are neighbouring with rocky sepulchres /at the villages of Raven, Bivolyane and Momchilgrad/ and sanctuaries. The niches in the village of Neophit Bozvelievo are situated over an outlined rock to the right from the road, in the direction to the village of Lale. They are hewn into a limestone, on an accessible place, which is relatively rarely met. They are 11 in number, distributed into 2 levels. Among them are also several incomplete niches, which allows the method of hewing to be studied. On the hill, just over the rocks, is a ruined sanctuary, the area is studded with pottery. Near the ‘Guzollar’ neighbourhood of the village of Vryalo is a ritual stone – Sharapana, which consists of two pools, situated step-wise and connected though a furrow. The one is round-shaped and the second pool underneath is ellipse-shaped. It is supposed that the Sharapanas date since 700-800 years BC and were used for processing of grapes into vine. They are hewn into the rocks overflow drains, wine-presses for flowing of ritual, holy grape juice drunk on the respective fests. The wine is connected to the cult to Dionysius and Orphic beliefs. Following the path to the village of Raven, in the ‘Kazan Beyug’ area, you will reach two beautiful canyons, shaped by the river flowing in the region. The local people call them the Big canyon and the Small canyon (Kyuchuk kazan and Buyug kazan).
On the more than 30 meters high rocks were discovered hewn ancient facilities – passages, sacrificial altars, grooves, furrows, trapezium-shaped niches, as well as a well-preserved sepulchre.
And in the region of ‘Zvezdel’ mine, village of Ralitsa, back then in XI-XII century AD on dominant highness was built the Middle-Age fortress ‘Asara’. The remains of two big towers still can be seen; in one of them there were residential premises and a chapel. Significant part of the walls of the fortress were made of wood, and for this reason they were not preserved. The two towers were connected through a passage hewn into the rocks. In the open-air chapel were found unique medallions made from bones which were part of an icon with a golden repousse cover. In the Zvezdel field there are open-air mine galleries which look like these from the Norhtern foot of the Asara peak.
The material was prepared with the kind assistance of Municipality of Momchilgrad.