Each citizen of Provadia – the small town situated in North-eastern Bulgaria, near the regional center Varna, may tell You about the big local attraction and landmark, namely the Rock Monasteries. The Rock Monasteries scattered along the entire field of Provadia into rock massifs of various and whimsical shapes, are coming back from the past together with their exotic names: Kara Cave, Shashkanite, Sarakaya …. The local people tell many legends about them connected with acts of heroism, love and allegiance.
The town of Provadia itself has a history of more than 15 centuries. It is believed that it was once formed as a fortress of Byzantium against the martial tribes invading from the north. Byzantines used to call it Provat meaning a pass, a gorge. As at the end of the XI century the Bulgarians set the name of Ovech, probably due to the well developed sheep-breeding in this region.
The experts date the construction of the rock monasteries into the natural rocks back to the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. The internal structure of each monastery is of different sizes, shape and whimsicality of the rock formations. Some are single, others have detached cells. The drawings and inscriptions preserved evidence for the life in them centuries ago.
Every curious tourist may visit a part of them without any preliminary preparation needed. If he wants to visit others, however, he will need alpine methods and equipment. Their visit, on the other hand, combines the feeling of pleasure and the challenge of the extreme emotions with the view of history.
A team of the “Enthusiasts” group of citizens decided this year to make a map of all rock monasteries within the region. This will be useful to the local citizens and of value for the tourists that come here, explore the eco paths and are interested in the rock tourism.
“The monasteries are unique” – says Rositsa Pirinlieva who is one of the initiators of this idea – “their research is of great importance for the history of this region.“
Due to the initiative of the association there are now twelve people who have completed a training course in rock climbing, climbing down, and are familiar with the history of the monasteries. So if You are eager to enrich Your knowledge and to test Your skills, You may do it right now. Equipment and professional instructors are expecting You at the Tourist Center in Provadia, as they will instruct You into the minute details of the climbing and climbing down. All that You need is only the spirit of an adventurer and the willingness for adventures.

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