NATURAL LANDMARK “CAVES AND SPRINGS NEAR MLADEJKA RIVER”
This is one of the most picturesque areas of Strandja, located near the village of Mladejko, which is 7 km west of the main road Bourgas – Malko Turnovo, 50 km from Burgas and 32 km from the town of Malko Turnovo. The natural landmark is also located on the land of the village of Bliznak (Malko Turnovo Municipality).
Coordinates: 42°09’07.41” N, 27°21’27.08” E, 247 m above sea level
CAVES AND SPRINGS NEAR MLADEJKA RIVER Natural Landmark has an area of 24.35 hectares and comprises a very rugged karst area with several caves and karst springs in Kaleto area near the village of Mladejko.
Documents declaring it a natural landmark: Order №РД-930 of 28.12.2007
Purposes for declaring it a natural landmark: Preservation of the remarkable rock formations, caves and springs.
Mode of activities:
Prohibited: any construction;
Prohibited: changing the purpose and manner of permanent use of land;
Prohibited: outspanning and camping;
Prohibited: searching for and studying ores and minerals, and opening of quarries;
Prohibited: felling of trees except sanitary;
Prohibited: changing the natural form of the riverbed;
Prohibited: livestock grazing;
Prohibited: any form of damage to the rock formations;
Prohibited: importation of non-indigenous to the area plant and animal species.
Caves and springs near Mladejka River Natural Landmark is located near one of the smallest villages in Strandja – Mladezhko. From the village to the springs near the river there is an easy and picturesque hiking trail of about 1 km which follows the course of the river. The trees overhanging the river, the clear water of the river, the cliffs, the gushing springs and numerous caves make it a favourite place for many tourists.
Above the springs are the remains of the largest fortress from the early Byzantine period in Strandja – Golyamoto kale. Throughout the region there are 19 caves, the longest of which is Kaleto – 302 meters, and the shortest – Kosharata – 9 meters. Very popular are also the caves Leyarnitsite and Brejanka which were used in ancient times.
Mladejka River is 40 km long. It flows into Veleka River near the Thracian camp below Petrova Niva. Its old name is Karmalak, which means Dark River. This was the name of the village until the 1950s when it was renamed Mladejko (meaning “of young people”) because young people built the road along the river. Six bridges of the road have survived of which only two have been reconstructed recently. The rest have collapsed.
In the clear waters of the Mladejka River you can catch trout. The numerous caves at the springs of the river are home to numerous colonies of bats, with a large number of valuable species. Strandja is important for the preservation of bats in Bulgaria – here there are 24 of all 33 species in the country. Until recently, on the rocks west of the village, the Egyptian Vulture used to nest. It is an increasingly rare species in Bulgaria and Europe which, despitethe efforts of environmentalists who feed them, has not been seen in recent years.
Near the village and the river, basins have been constructed in which the cold water from the karst spring is used by people who believe in non-traditional medicine to treat diseases of the nervous system and cardiovascular diseases mainly in August. The pools of healing water were famous at the time of the Ottoman Empire. It was believed that it helped people and animals. If someone could heal his herd of livestock, he gave the local people one of his animals.
Golyamoto Kale area is 1 km west of the village of Mladejko. The remains of the largest early Byzantine fortress in Strandja have been found there. At its center is Kaleto cave in which pottery from the late Middle Ages (XII-XIV century) has been discovered. During the excavations in the fortress artifacts from Late Antiquity have been unearthed. There is evidence that its existence may be associated with the development of metallurgy in the region.
The area is very picturesque as it is surrounded by the canyons of Bliznashka and Evrenozovska rivers. The landmarks can be reached through a network of marked trails, and some pedestrian and mixed routes. Recently, the Directorate of Natural Park Strandja created an attractive new circular route – the village of Mladejko – the springs of Mladejka River – Kaleto – Evrenozovo – the village of Mladejko. The route is 15 km long and along it there is a large shelter, bridges over the river, an observation tower and a platform, etc. The observation tower and the interesting wooden castle in Kaleto area allow for panoramic observation of the region and the pleasure of taking in the beautiful scenery around.