The treasuries around Bansko
Nested at the foot of the Pirin Mountain, the town of Bansko attracts Bulgarian and foreign tourists throughout the whole year. Although being a winter resort, recently it became so attractive in the rest seasons as well. It has kept the balance between ecology, flora, fauna and national color. But those, which already know Bansko, will be surprised to see that the vicinities of the town are as attractive as the resort itself. The town is a starting point for a number of secrets hidden in the Pirin Mountain.
In the beginning we will climb its highest pick – Vihren summit (2914 m), Bulgaria’s second after Musala, and Balkans’ fourth. The path is rocky, and the specialists say that а its incomplete pyramid-like shape makes it one of the most difficult to climb. The few tourists having dared to fight its evil nature and great height, will be rewarded by the snow-white edelweiss still blossoming among the rocks, refreshing the surrounding grey scenery.
The Northern Wall (which is almost steep and 500 m high), as well as the Southern and the Eastern one often put to test the mountaineer and the rock climbers. More staid tourists could cope with the Western terrace only as the route starts from the Vihren chalet and the way to the top takes about 2.30 hours. The route may also start from the Banderitza chalet, but the time to climb the summit will be 3 hours. The scenery from the Pirin’s highest point is stunning – all the nature is at your feet.
The other secret that the vicinity of Bansko keeps, is the Baykusheva Mura (Baykushev’s white fir). The coniferous tree is a rare species and a precious representative of the Abies nigra. It grows between the Banderitza and Vihren chalet, at the altitude of almost 2000 m. The Baykusheva Mura is the oldest tree in Bulgaria – about 1300 years old.
Tevnoto Lake – the biggest one in the Malokamenishka lake group – is situated 3 hours walking from the Dimyanitza chalet, on the path leading to the Pirin chalet. Тhe water expanse draws many tourists, as the surrounding of the lake is amazingly attractive – particularly its sheer grey shores, colored by green, red and orange lichens.
Pirin’s biggest lake however is the Popovo Lake. It is located on the bottom of the magnificent Popovski circus, wherein 20 more lakes are located. They form the spring of the Retizhe River, which is one of Mesta’s main feeders. The district around the lake is flecked with meadows, covered by dwarf pine which is sometimes older than 100 years. A small green island, named Kalimyavkata, floats in its blue waters. The lake opens lovely scenery to the surrounding magic of Pririn.
If you are in Bansko and mean to take a day-off from the ski, then Dobrinishte is the perfect choice. The settlement is a prominent mountain balneology resort, located just 6 km away from Bansko. Its light mineral waters were known yet in the antiquity. Their temperature varies from 30 to 43 degrees and they rise out from 17 springs.
Razlog is the next secret that Pirin reveals to the amazed tourists. Lying just 6 km to the northwest of Bansko, it is also fit for one-day tour. The town has been inhabited since the highest antiquity. One of town’s sights is the original architecture and the typical Razlog-Chepinska house from the 30ies of the 20th century. It best example is the Parapunova house wherein the Museum of History is located today. Some of its most precious exhibits are the two copies of the unique Bulgarians’ calendar, showing the phases of sun and moon.
The churches St. Georgi and St. Krashtenie are also in Razlog, and they are unique not only for their outside, but also for the mosaics, icons and the wood-carvings in them. Veiled by a plenty of splashes of water, the wool procession mill operated by the power of the Yazo River, is often used even now.
And if you like hunting, again Razlog will be your place. The game-breeding station in the town offers perfect conditions for hunting, eco-tourism, photo safari.
Razlog could be the starting point to Dobarsko located 18 km away to the north of the town, where you could visit the ancient church “St. St. Teodor Tyron and Teodor Stratilat” dated to 1614. The thing that will surely impress you in Dobarsko is the local cuisine – not for some local specialty, but for the ecological products – such as salad from “soil grown” tomatoes and cucumbers, as the local men like to say.
Predela (the Bound) is the most distant from the close to Bansko sites, and yet its name shows that probably here you will find the last secret around Bansko. Situated on the border between Pirin and Rila Predela is 12 km away from Razlog. It is amazingly enchanting col on the edge between the two mountains. In August it welcomes the traditional Pirin Fest, where the past-masters of Bulgarian pipe, kaval and other folklore instruments gather.
Of course, the beauty in the district surrounding Bansko shall not end here, it overflows beyond Predela and infuses into the bright Bulgarian soul, ready to welcome everyone showing interest in our small, but endless in history, cuisine and folklore country.