Malko Turnovo – the village of Brashlyan - village of Stoilovo - Bakarluka - Poda - Burgas - Propada - Mishkova Niva - Dokuzak waterfall - Protected area Veleka - Petrova Niva - Protected area Paroria
Day 1. Town of Malko Tarnovo - Village of Brashlyan, Distance: 45 km.
The starting point of the route is the town of Malko Tarnovo (340 m asl).
To visit the sites in vicinity Mishkova you will have to contact either the Museum of Malko Tarnovo (+359 / 5952 2998 and +359 / 886 647 223), Info Centre Malko Tarnovo (+359 / 5952 3017) or Border Police (duty phone number: +359 / 5952 3095 or +359 / 5952 23095) for clearance to enter the border facility. It can be reached by driving south along the main road to the border crossing to Turkey, to the turnoff for the villa complex in the area Manastircheto with shelter, spring and the chapel "St. Trinity", 500 m from where is the gate to the border enclosure. From there, continue straight and at the first turn to the right, you can view a small necropolis, and the site Golyamata mogila (en: the Great Mound) is to the left at the second junction (4.1 km from the town centre of Malko Tarnovo). A building constructed of fine carved marble blocks has been revealed at the site. The facility is used as a Heroon (tomb of a real or mythical king-priest or hero) or as mausoleum of a noble Thracian ruler. Nearby are also the ruins of a Roman villa, an ancient fortress on top of Gradishteto and a plumbing that connects the buildings at the foot of the hill with the fortress. They can be reached from the outpost right next to the border with Turkey. Mount Golyamo Gradishte (710 m) is the highest point in the Bulgarian part of Strandzha Mountain, from which opens a spectacular view to the hills of Strandzha and on a clear day you can see further to the Black Sea.
The distance from Malko Tarnovo to Golyamata mogila is 4.6 km (3.3 km dirt road and 1.3 km asphalt), the total difference in altitude is 150 m
For the Thracian necropolis and the tombs in the site Propada, drive from the town centre of Malko Tarnovo to the west and then to the north (800 m) towards the incomplete detour of the city and after 500 m turn right on a narrow asphalt road (there is a sign standing). After 1.7 km the road ends and a parking lot and to the right after the sign, take the trail among the slope of the hill with about 40 mounds. The trail is steep, marked with white-blue-white. The discovered in the area, complex of four different types of tombs and cists graves functioned as a mystical "city of the dead" during the Hellenistic and Roman times. The distance from the museum in Malko Tarnovo to the domed tomb in Propada is 4 km (3 km asphalt and 1 km forest trail) and the difference in altitude is 150 m (the asphalt road is almost flat).
The turnoff to the TV tower and the nature reserve Sredoka is left on the road to Tsarevo, 2.5 km (gradual uphill with 3% slope) from the town centre of Malko Turnovo. Drive 1.9 km to the TV tower along a dirt road with diverence in altitude 65 m. From this point to Waterfall Dokuzak follows a steep descent along a dirt road inside Nature reserve Sredoka. Along the same road passes the eco-route "Strandzhan mountain trail" with information boards, benches and interpretive modules. The waterfall Dokuzak is located left of the road to the village of Stoilovo on River Mechi dol (Aidere). Right next to the waterfall you can find a tourist shelter with wooden tables and a fireplace. 600 m down the road towards Stoilovo, do not miss to check on "barata/tepavitsata" (a place where the water is gathering and there is a wooden construction to wash carpets and other textiles) proclaimed for an architectural monument.
The village Stoilovo is situated on 3 km from the waterfall along the asphalt road. Spread over a hill 320 m above the sea level, it reveals impressive panoramic views. As an old village once inhabited by people called "hasekii", it still preserves the traditional wickerwork craft. You can also see here old Strandzhan houses showing typical crafts for the local population such as threshing or making bread in "podnitsa" (type of pan). In the village centre is the church "St. Elijah" owning one of the oldest altar gates (from the 17th century). Next to the church is a gazebo and a fountain, the pub with mixed store is 2 blocks further down the road. The distance from the town of Malko Tarnovo to the village of Stoilovo is 13.2 km (6 km asphalt and 7.2 km dirt road), the total difference in altitude is 225 m.
From the village Stoilovo continue to the northwest along the route "Way of the clear moon" to the village of Brashlyan. Its name comes from the song known as the Strandzha Marseillaise "A Clear Moon's Now Rising" (bg: Yasen mesec vech izgryava). It passes through the old oak-beech forests Pontic vegetation and panoramic views. On 1 km from the village there is a fountain and a shelter in direction to the gully below, and after further 2 km the road splits in two - the bike route is to the right and to the left a pedestrian route along the chapel "St. George". The bike route is mostly gradual ascent along a marked dirt road and after 5.3 km exits at the main road Burgas - Malko Tarnovo, along which you will drive further 1.5 km to the turnoff for the chapel "St. Panteleimon ". Thence to the chapel the distance is 1.3 km along a small river in picturesque valley. On the lawn next to it there is a public fountain and gazebos with tables and benches. To the village of Brashlyan is 1 km gradual uphill.
The village of Brashlyan was declared an architectural reserve, because dozens of houses and ensembles, typical representatives of the Strandzha architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries. 9 of them are architectural monuments of national importance, 22 in ensembles and the others are of local importance. The church "St. Dimitar" with an old style cloister school in the village centre was pronounced an art and architectural monument. The place, on which it was built in the 17th century, was an ancient Thracian sanctuary. You can visit also the Ethnographic museum in the western part of the village. The chapel "St. Petka" is on 2 km north of the village and on 2 km south of Brashlyan is the site "Dvata vrisa" (en: Two springs) with attractive porches, verandahs, shepherds' huts, swings. The village Brashlyan has heroic historical past, especially during the years of Ottoman rule. Here happened the famous "Sarmashik affair", in which were given the first victims of Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising. On April 2, 1903 in Balyuva House the rebel band leader Pano Angelov and the member Nikola Ravashola were killed by the Ottomans. Their deaths inspired Yani Popov to write the song "A Clear Moon's Now Rising" famous as the "Strandzhan Marseillaise".
The distance between the villages Stoilovo and Brashlyan is 11.8 km (2.3 km asphalt, 9 km dirt road and 500 m trail), total difference in altitude 135 m.
Day 2. The village of Brashlyan - village of Zabernovo; Distance: 35.8 km.
From the village of Brashlyan the route goes back to Stoilovo along the "Way of the clear moon".
From the village of Stoilovo past the fountain "St. Elijah" and the eponymous chapel above it, the bike route continues right over a gravel road marked with white-blue-white. It goes along the hill crest in the locality Konchovo along the shank of which reveal fascinating panoramic views exposing to the north the Bosnian crest with villages landed over it; to the northwest Petrova Niva; to the southeast the nature reserve Sredoka and the valley of River Mechi dol (Aidere); to the south the high mounts of Bulgarian and Turkish Strandzha (Mounts Golyamo Gradishte and Mahiada). 1.3 km from the fountain the route goes to the northeast and begins smoothly to descend towards a crossroad, at which if you turn to the north (left), after 1 km steep descent through old beech and oak forests you will reach the chapel "St. Trinity". At the place there is a small recreation facility as well as the restored stolnina and holy spring dedicated to the St. Trinity. From the junction to the right after further 2.2 km, you can continuing down to the bank of river Veleka, which could be crossed by the ford in the site Benta - a place where large amounts of river sand and pebbles accumulate near the influx of River Mladezhka with River Veleka leading to the site Thrakiiski lager.
From here through Protected area "Veleka" you can go to Historical and protected site Petrova niva, where is a monument dedicated to the victims of the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising, a museum, chapel-ossuary "St. Petka" and the same name church. There are no signs and markings. Drive first over a stabilized road, followed by 1 km steep ascend through the forest (10% slope) to the west, then the road turns sharply to the northwest and after further 300 m the ascent becomes more gradual. After another 2 km of stabilized forest road, get onto asphalt road going from the village of Zvezdets to Petrova niva, at the site Parnarat turn right and in front of you will reveal magnificent view towards the meanders of River Veleka. The distance from the village of Stoilovo to Petrova Niva is 13.9 km (1.6 km asphalt and 12.3 km dirt road, of which 2.2 km extreme downhill and 1.3 km extreme uphill, including crossing of the River Veleka ).
From the site Thrakiiski lager, cross the route "Green Corridor - the River Road" starting at the junction on main road I-9 Burgas-Malko Tarnovo, towards the village of Mladezhko and past the site Kachul, the villages Kosti and Brodilovo, and ends at the mouth of River Veleka. To reach the village of Zabernovo drive to the North over a pebble road howling up the hill for 4.5 km (150 m difference in altitude). The route passes through and by Protected area Paroria, where you can find the typical for Strandzha euxeinos (marine) species: Caucasian primrose, Strandzhan mad tree (Daphne pontica L.), Colchica Holly and others. Here grows the oldest tree in Strandzha, a centuries-old oak. 1 km before the village of Zabernovo is a turnoff to the chapel "St. George". A votive stele of the Thracian horseman has been built into the chapel's altar.
The village, situated at upland Ugrashkoto acting as a watershed between the Strandzhan rivers Dudenovska and Zelenikovska (to the north), Oryashka (to the east), Stramnitsa and Zaberska (to the south), is birthplace of the famous Bulgarian children's writer Dyado Blago (Stoyan Rusev).Here you can visit the church "St. Luke", which is the oldest surviving village church inside Strandzha Mountain. It dates back to the 17th century and is proclaimed for cultural monument. The church building is low, almost buried in the ground building and the room stuck to it from a later period (probably 19th century), a type of old cloister school, was reconstructed and opened for tourist visits.
The distance from the Historical site Petrova Niva to the village of Zabernovo is 10.1 km. (1.6 km asphalt and 8.5 km dirt road).
Day 3. Village of Zabernovo - Village of Yasna Polyana; Distance: 27.2 km.
From the village of Zabernovo, drive in north along the asphalt road towards the Bosnian crest. The road was initially a minimum slope and passes through a large meadow with scenic views at the end of which to the left there is a turnout with a public fountain for the chapel "St. Mary". From there, entering the old oak and beech forest, the road climbs up towards mount Ugrash with average slope 3.5%. Mount Ugrash (390 m asl.) is a widely acknowledged rebel gathering spot, at which met the bands of famous Strandzhan chieftains, including Strati voivoda. On 1.2 km from the exit to the first chapel there is another turnoff to the left on a dirt road, along which past a centuries-old oak you will reach the chapel "St. Constantine" with a fountain, table and benches. At the ridge, cross the third class road III-907 Vizitsa - Bosnia, then drive 1.5 km to the left. Pull in the asphalt road to the north (right), which at the crossing is covered with dirt to stop the vehicles entry. On 300 m from the exit, the asphalt disappears and remains stabilized road heading to the village of Yasna Polyana. On the way there for short distance passes the northern boundary of Nature Park Strandzha. There are numerous turnoffs to dirt roads in bad state, which can be hardly mistake. After 1.5 km along the ridge a slight descent takes you to the bed of the river Zelenkovska which is to be followed for about 11 km. The road turns northwest eventually and slowly climbs up for about 1 km. After a total of 16.3 km through beech and oak forests, on a wide crossroad you can turn left towards southwest and after 200 m come out on asphalt road, which passes the wastewater plant of Dam Yasna Polyana or you could drive straight over the dirt road. After 3.1 km along asphalt road or 1.6 km over the dirt road, both roads meet again next to a pond near River Dudenska, where different waterfowl can be observed. 300 m away there is a meadow, which often host traditional local councils. The road passes by the hospital (retirement home)and crosses the river via a concrete bridge. On the first turnoff to the left inside the village over a ramp on the pedestrian street, you could get right into the village centre of the Yasna Polyana, offering a public fountain and shops. Here at the central square, the buildings of the local community centre and the church "Assumption" stand surrounded by an open gallery with sculptures from wood.
The village of Yasna Polyana, which until 1934 was named Ayla Kayrakliya, meaning "place in the sun", is first mentioned in Turkish records in 1665. Discovered remains of fortress and stone walls near the village give reason to the archaeologists to believe that the area has been inhabited since ancient times. In 1908, intellectuals and followers of the Tolstoy doctrine moved to the village from all over Bulgaria and established the only Tolstoy colony in the country. In their honour and in honour of the famous Russian writer Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, the village was renamed in 1934 to Yasna Polyana. In 1998, here in the community centre's building, opened Museum "The Bulgarian Yasna Polyana", in where on two floors have been exhibited objects from the life and work of the Tolstoy society members. Yasna Polyana is also home to the oldest sculpture symposium in wood. Every year sculptures from around the world (Japan, France, Germany, Italy and others) come to work in the village.
The distance between the villages Zabernovo and Yasna Polyana is 27.2 km (10.7 km asphalt and 16.5 km stabilized dirt road, total difference in altitude: 610 m).
Day 4. The village of Yasna Polyana - City of Burgas; Distance: 50.2 km.
From Yasna Polyana continue north on the third class road III-992 to the village of Veselie (5.1 km). The road is not very busy and you can drive on it without difficulties. During the first 1.5 km the road goes up gradually, and then descends to the river Ropotamo. Follow 2 km of a smooth ascent to the village of Veselie as on the way you can enjoy the wonderful views. The village of Veselie was established during the Ottoman rule around 1731, and its old name is Saramusa. In the centre of the village is the church St. Elijah, across the school there is a fountain, several locals and a grocery store. On 1.2 km to the east of the village, there is a hill called Mara Lishanka, which is known from the legend about the sacrifice of the young maiden Mara (the maiden opposed to the will of the Turks, disguised as a rebel she was killed on top of the hill). On the place now stands a cross, constrained by two wooden beams and a stone plate with the name Mara. Near the grave of Mara is a tree, for which people say that it is 900 years of age and still cannot grow big or wither. From the hill appears a magnificent view of Strandzha Mountain and the dam Veselie and Primorsko.
On 1 km from the village centre, along III-992 there is a turnoff to the right onto a new asphalt road to the village of Ravadinovo, which is still uncharted. From the junction you can go to the chapel "St. Constantine and Elena", where is a spring with fountain and a gazebo with tables. After 3.2 km gradual climb along the new road, to the right there is a turnoff on a dirt road to the Nature reserve Velyov vir (13 km away) and 700 m after that there is a junction where the road splits to the right for Ravadinovo and to Sozopol (9.5 km) and to the left continues to gradually climb next to the landfill of Sozopol to the closed down mine Cherveno zname, from where to the right, a narrow asphalt road leads to Mount Bakarlaka, the highest peak of Medni rid (en:Copper Ridge) 376 m. The climb is steep (200 m asl for 2.4 km), and the road is not in very good condition. The last 100 m towards the cliffs you will have to walk up a trail to the right of the repeater tower on top, as the bicycles can be left next to the fence. On a clear day the view from the top is magnificent - it reveals as on palm of a hand the whole bay of Burgas from Cape Emine to Cape Maslen nos. The trail passes through the ruins of the late antiquity and medieval fortress Krimna, which is one of numerous Thracian fortresses that once stood over the crest Ranuli - Burhama - Malko Kale - Lobodovo Kale - Krimna - Atia. The descent goes along the same road to the mine as after clearing 1.5 km there is a lawn with a table, benches and fireplace.
The distance from Yasna Polyana to Bakarlaka is 16.6 km over asphalt road as the last 2.4 km have 8-9% slope.
From Mine Cherveno zname to the junction at the naval base Atia is 9.7 km. The road descends slightly. Turn right the first junction and left at the second, on the third drive straight to the mining village of Rosen and Atiya. Cross the main road and turn left on the old road to park Rosenets (Otmanli). Pass hut "Strandzha" and the restaurant on the parking lot in front of it (there is also a fountain), then 100 m after the sport grounds, next to the entrance of the forest nursery, take the dirt road on the left, on which you will drive for 1 km alongside II-99, then it will fuse back with the old asphalt road, parallel to the main one. You may continue on the asphalt road or go through the Fishermen village. On 1.5 km from it is Protected area "Chengene skele", where live 180 species of birds, 52 of which have been included in the Red Book of Bulgaria as the pygmy cormorant and the glossy ibis. After the protected area, take the right direction to drive over a detour route, which passes along the Gypsy Bay (bg: Tsiganskiya zaliv), camp site Kraimorie, district Kraimorie and Cape Foros. If you don't want to make a detour, continue straight until the road will make a turn to district Kraimorie (turnoff on the main road to Burgas). Now turn left towards hotel and bistro Bosporus, and when the road ends, take the path up the hill to the Ancient and Medieval Fortress and Port Burgos / Poros. The ancient tower called a "burg" is located at the swelling of Lake Mandra. Another option is to take right before the hill and head to Cape Foros, where lay preserved remains of other towers and fortress walls. Underwater karst caves, rock formations and fossils can be observed on Cape Kavkata. On 200 m from the tower, over the old steel bridge you will reach Conservation Centre "Poda". To book a lecture in advance, tour guide or seminars, contact BSPB (Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds) via tel: +359 / 56 500 560 and +359 / 878 599 545. You can use these phone numbers in case you need help for an injured bird. Protected area Poda is listed among the 100 national tourist sites.
The distance from Bakarlaka to Conservation Centre Poda is 23.9 km, including 22.4 km of asphalt and 1.5 km of a dirt road; Total difference in altitude: 375 m.
For the next 4.5 km to the city of Burgas, there is a trodden path along the road which in places is lost and must switched with the banquet of I-9 (E-87) Burgas - Malko Tarnovo (from the east side). On the dual carriageway intersection at the entrance of Burgas, you will have to get across to the other side of boulevard Todor Aleksandrov, where you will drive аlong Lake Vaya.
The distance from Conservation Center Poda to the city centre of Burgas is 9.9 km, including 1.4 km of bike lanes and pedestrian zones, and the rest on asphalt road.
Total time: 4 days
Food and drink: shops in the town of Malko Tarnovo, in the villages Stoilovo, Brashlyan, Yasna Polyana and residential district Kraymorie. Public fountains: in Malko Tarnovo, at the site Manastircheto, along the road Malko Tarnovo - Tsarevo before the turoff for the television tower mill, site Tepavitsata, 500 m before the village of Stoilovo along the asphalt road, under the shelter at the "Way of the clear moon", under the chapel of St. Elias, in the village of Brashlyan, by the chapel St. Panteleimon, next to Trakiiski lager (on the other side of River Mladezhka), in the village Zabernovo and above the village next to the chapels "St. Mary "and "St. Constantine", in the villages Yasna Polyana and Veselie, next to the chapel "St. Constantine and Helena" after the village of Veselie, in front of rest house Strandzha.
Equipment: bicycle, tires with tread pattern suitable for asphalt and dirt roads, spare inner tire, tire patches, pump, tool kit, front and rear bicycle lights, sports suit and shoes, raincoat, helmet, small backpack or saddlebags, sleeping bag or a tent, map of the area or GPS device, glasses - sun protecting or insects stopping, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, first aid kit, pre-vaccination against ticks travel insurance, photo camera.
Service: in the city of Malko Tarnovo across the building of Border Police and in the village of Yasna Polyana.
Accommodation: in Malko Tarnovo - guest houses Bildnix (+359 / 5952 60 41 and +359 /88 5678 505), Belite kushti (+359 / 886 708 161) and hotel Zelenika (+359 / 888 525 737); in Brashlyan - houses and guest rooms (find offers on info board in the village centre) and hotel Sarmashik (+359 / 886 920 769, +359 / 5952 2711), in Yasna Polyana - Villa Via Pontica ( +359 / 888 525 737), Villa Zhelev (+359 / 550 52 920 and +359 /888 564 523), in Veselie - guest houses (+359 / 878 202 100), rest house Strandzha and recreation facilities in Park Rosenets. Further information may be available in the village municipality building. You can spend the night also at the marked shelters.
1. Note that in Strandzha Mountain phones often lose signal.
2. The route passes through remote and low populated areas and you might not meet people that can provide aid when needed, for hours or even days.
3. From May to late September in the mountains there are many flies and you are advised to take necessary precautions to prevent them from annoying you - protecting glasses, towel, repellent.
4. It is desirable to be vaccinated against Crimean hemorrhagic fever and Lyme disease because of the large numbers of ticks present especially during the spring months.
5. Be wary of unsolicited meeting with hornets, wasps and snakes, load your first aid kit with anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory medicaments against possible bites.
6. In Strandzha it is compulsory to carry personal documents that can be require for verification by the Border Police officers.
|Length: 158,200km||Total time: 4-5days|
|- Asphalt road: 83,200 km||- Bike lanes:: 1,400km|
|- Dirt road: 70,600km||- Total difference in altitude: 1400m|
Routes and sites
MUSEUM MALKO TARNOVO 41.980226, 27.523729
THRACIAN SANCTUARY IN THE LOCALITY MISHKOVA NIVA, NEAR MALKO TARNOVO 41.957862, 27.500625
THE VILLAGE OF STOILOVO – DOKUZAK WATERFALL – FOREST TRAIL IN STRANDJA 42.038608, 27.516819
THE VILLAGE OF BRASHLYAN 42.046306, 27.427947
HISTORICAL AREA - MUSEUM KOMPLEX "PETROVA NIVA" 42.060828, 27.530022
PETROVA NIVA PROTECTED AND HISTORICAL SITE 42.061292, 27.530272
BAKARLAKA (MEDNI RID) 42.398133, 27.608978
ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL FORTRESS AND PORT POROS / FOROS 42.443855, 27.469091
PODA PROTECTED AREA AND PODA NATURE CONSERVATION CENTER 42.443958, 27.467075