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Wilderness The Eastern Rhodopes Mountains, located in South Bulgaria, are the European kingdom of raptors. Griffon, Egyptian and Black vultures roam in the sky together with 270 species of rare birds. The flora of the region is extremely diverse and rich in endemits. Orchids and turtles are...

What is the New Thracian gold

New Thracian Gold (NTG) is a Bulgarian-Dutch project, active in the period 2009-2014, aiming at the greener future for the Eastern Rhodopes. The main objective is to develop sustainable initiatives which promote and combine organic farming, nature conservation and ecotourism. Since 2014...

Places of interest

This section describes the natural and historical/cultural treasures of the Eastern Rhodopes. Concerning the nature and wilderness part, most of the Eastern Rhodopes is technically Natura 2000 area. However, less than 20% of Natura 2000 area in Bulgaria is actually protected under national...

Where to eat

There are many places in the Eastern Rhodopes, where we can enjoy the local cuisine.

The NTG team

Frank Zanderink, АRК Nature - Leader of the NTG project Frank was born in 1962. He graduated from the Agricultural University of Wage­ningen, the Netherlands (Forestry with specialisation on wildlife and nature management). He has worked for GREENPEACE NETHERLANDS; for WWF -Zambia...

Publications

On a bicycle in the Rhodopes - BNR, 22.06.2013 First Tarpan Foal for 2013 - For the nature, 02.04.2013 2013's First Tarpan Horse Born in Bulgaria - novinite.com, 02.04.2013 Curious cases from Bulgarian environmental protection - 13.03.2013 Experts Build Up Population of Fallow Deer in Eastern...

Local Guides

Marina Kutelova – 50 year old, lives in Kardzhali, married with two kids. Qualified guide on archaeological tourism, Bachelor degree in Engineering, fluent in Russian and English. Marina has extensive experience in organizing events such as "team-building, excellent animation of tourist...

Team of the New Thracian Gold nowadays

Nowadays the activities and products , developed under the New Thracian Gold project are managed by "Gabi Tour Ltd". The New Thracian Gold network of entrepreneurs and farmers in the Eastern Rhodopes is coordinated by Mihaela Kircheva - sustainable development and ecotourism expert. All members...

Natural Phenomenons

The petrified forest Location: Located in the village of Raven (Momchilgrad) in a deep gorge, called by locals Gabaz gulch. "The Trees" are among both sides of the gorge with over 120 m length. They represent twenty stumps of trees burned by fire. They are 1 to 1.5 m tall and...

Eastern Rhodopes Guide

Visit the Eastern Rhodopes Mountains in South Bulgaria and use this website to find out Where to stay and Where to eat, as well as find details of Activities and Interesting sites. You can easily book everything directly through us. Simply send your request to: newthraciangold@gmail.com or...

Historical Sites

The Devil’s Bridge (Sheitan kyupryu)Location: Located on about 5 km north from Ardino near the village of Dyadovtsi.Description: Stone bridge over the Arda river, built on a scenic narrow gorge in the Late Middle Ages. Through it passed the way, which used to connect region of the...

Archaeological and cultural sites

Perperikon – Archaeological complex  Location: The complex is located 20 km northeast of Kardzhali, 2 km from the village of Gorna Krepost. It is entirely carved into the rocks and is one of the oldest monumental megalithic sites in Bulgaria. Here can be found the...

Protected species in the Eastern Rhodopes

1. Plants So far, 1944 plant species have been found in the Eastern Rhodopes. Of them: - 84 are included in Bulgaria’s Red Book - 37 are Balkans endemites - 22 are Bulgarian endemites - the Verbascum juruk can only be found in the Eastern Rhodopes   2. Amphibians 10 amphibian...

Touring bus from Sofia

For time-schedules of all bus lines in Bulgaria and Eastern Rhodopes, please check: www.avtogari.info   Regular bus lines (touring buses) from SOFIA to the Eastern Rhodopes:   Marieta transport company:                 The...

Touring bus from Varna

For time-schedules of all bus lines in Bulgaria and Eastern Rhodopes, please check: www.avtogari.info   Arda tour transport company : The company offers everyday regular bus line from and to Varna. Starting from Varna at: 10,00, 13,45, 15,00 through Burgas to Haskovo and...

Organic model farm

ORGANIC MODEL-FARM TOPOLOVO village,  MADZHAROVO municipality  This model-farm plays a key-role in the New Thracian Gold (NTG) Project.   NTG is a project of the Dutch Foundations Ark and Avalon and aims to support the Eastern Rhodopes region by combining organic ...

Touring bus from Burgas

For time-schedules of all bus lines in Bulgaria and Eastern Rhodopes, please check: www.avtogari.info   Arda tour transport company : The company offers everyday regular bus line from and to Varna and Burgas. From Burgas at: 13,00; 13,10; 16,30; 17,30; to Haskovo, Kardzhali Starting from...

Touring bus from Russe

For time-schedules of all bus lines in Bulgaria and Eastern Rhodopes, please check: www.avtogari.info   There is one regular bus line from Russe to Momchilgrad Starting from Russe at: 09,30 through Byala, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Stara Zagora, Haskovo and Kardzhali Starting from...

Touring bus from Veliko Tarnovo

For time-schedules of all bus lines in Bulgaria and Eastern Rhodopes, please check: www.avtogari.info   There is one regular bus line from Vеliko Tarnovo to Krumovgrad Starting from Veliko Tarnovo at: 09,50 through Gabrovo, Stara Zagora, Dimitrovgrad, Haskovo, Kardzhali and...

The Womb cave

The Womb cave near the village of Padartsi  Location: Situated 25 km from the town of Kardzhali, high in the mountains above the hut Borovitsa in rocky area Dangardak Kaya (The ringing stone).  Description: This incredible facility from the Thracian times was found in...

Thracian complex “The Deaf Stones”

Location: 6-7 km southwest of the village Malko gradishte.  Description: one of the biggest cult - burial complexes in the Eastern Rhodopes. It originated in the early Iron Age (XII - VI centuries BC.) And was used during Antiquity and Middle Ages. Situated on four rocks, ...

Regional museum of history

Location: town of Kardzhali. Description: The museum was created in 1965 for research, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage of the Eastern Rhodopes. The fund held more than 30,000 objects from archaeological excavations, objects, photos and documents related to...

The fortress „Asara“ (Chatal Kaya)

Location: at 2 km from the village of Rabovo, Stambolovo municipalityDescription: the remains of the medieval fortress Asara, which impresses with the skilful incorporation of the fortress among inaccessible rocks. The walls are firmly cemented with mortar, reaching a thickness of 2 m...

Late ancient and medieval fortress near the village of Vishegrad

Location: Located on the right river bank of Arda at around 150 m from the village of Vishegrad.Description: Medieval fortress with an area of 562 square meters It rises to the notable peak with vertically hanging rocks toward the dam Studen Kladenets. The fortified wall is encircling the...

The Stone Wedding

Location: Located near the village of Zimzelen, aroud 3 km east from Kardzhali. It’s noticeable from far away because of the specific coloring of the rock in white and pink, caused by the content of metal oxides. Several different stone figures are noticeable – people,...

The Rocky Window

Location: Located in the Big coomb of village Kostino, Kardzhali, in an area with outstanding landscapes and views of Kardzhali dam lake. It is a natural form, formed under the influence of violent waters passing under it. The height of the bridge is 10 meters, 15 meters in length and width...

Valchi Dol reserve

The Valchi Dol reserve is the only strict reserve in the Eastern Rhodopes. It is located in the territory of the Krumovgrad Municipality, in the land of the village of Boynik, and covers an area of 774.70 ha. It secures the preservation of one of the wildest and most pristine parts of the...

Reserves

Valchi Dol reserve The Valchi Dol reserve is the only strict reserve in the Eastern Rhodopes. It is located in the territory of the Krumovgrad Municipality, in the land of the village of Boynik, and covers an area of 774.70 ha. It secures the preservation of one of the wildest and most...

Protected territories

 The places of the greatest significance for preserving the wilderness are declared protected territory, where human activity is limited, that being regulated with the Law of Protected Territories. According to that law, the following categories of protected territory are defined for ...

Patronka protected site

Patronka  is located on the south bank of river Arda, east of the town of Madzharovo. It is one of the most picturesque and inaccessible portions of the valley of the Arda River, where the river bank is very steep and intensely rugged. Interspersed in a mosaic of  oak woods there...

Gyumyurdzhinski Snezhnik protected site

The Gyumyurdzhinski Snezhnik protected site has an area of 1926.40 ha. It was established with Order No:RD-153 of 21.02.2003 by the Ministry of the Environment and Water, on the suggestion of the Bulgarian-Swiss Program for the Protection of Biodiversity, the Bulgarian Society for the...

Kardzhali town

   Kardzhali is a town in Southern Bulgaria and it is located in the valley of Arda river, which is the biggest river in the Eastern Rhodopes Mountains. Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, lies some 250 km to the northwest and Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, lies some...

Tourism index

Tourism The Eastern Rhodope region has been inhabited since the dawn of European civilization and it is the richest in the Balkans in megalithic monuments from Thracian antiquity. The Eastern Rhodopes are one of the few places in Europe where the nature is uncredibly various, the biodiversity...

Press releases

NEW THRACIAN GOLD 5 YEARS ANNIVERSARY. Open doors weekend in the Eastern Rhodopes 26-27 Apri - 17.03.2014 The winners of NTG Contest - 04.11.2013 European Bison Reintroduction in the Eastern Rhodopes - 27.10.2013 „The Wildlife of Eastern Rhodopes” in Varna and Sliven -...

Hiking

1. Eco trail Bolyartsi to Perperikon (2,5 h)Municipality of Kardzhali, Eastern RhodopesMore than 5 millennia ago, ancient people started worshipping and bringing gifts to the Rock. Since those times, the complex which today we call Perperikon has passed through various stages of...

Water adventures

  Only in the Eastern Rhodopes there are so many possibilities for water adventures. LAKE KARDZHALI On lake Kardzhali in recreation area Enchets is located rowing base “Enchets” where you can rent boats. Rowing base telephone: +359 885 295319 – Hristo...

Farms and wineries

The Yamantiev Cellar - Ivaylovgrad The cellar is wholly private property and has its traditions in the making of quality red wine. It is located in the town of Ivaylovgrad, in the most eastern parts of the Eastern Rhodopes, in the south of Bulgaria. Both the Mediterranean and the...

Terms of use

Main project info: The New Thracian Gold (NTG) is a project of the Dutch nature preservation organizations ARK and Avalon. By 2014 they will work on supporting economic growth and welfare in the Eastern Rhodopes Mountains by developing activities which combine organic farming, nature preservation...

Local rare breeds

Local rare breeds are part of the living wealth of the planet. After thousands of years of natural and artificial selection, they are well adapted to the conditions of the environment in which they have been living for centuries, easy to satisfy, with inherited qualities and high viability....

Multimedia

New Thracian Gold - YouTube The World Live - To Take Interest In Others - Documentary about ARK Foundation The Eastern Rhodopes - NTG YouTube channel The vultures in Eastern Rhodopes - NTG YouTube channel   BiNET.tv Bulgaria travel - Thracian cult complex at Dolno cherkovishte Bulgaria...

Common House Martin

House Martin (Common) House Martin (Delichon urbica) has been long time part of he urban environment. It is widespread in Europe, Asia and Africa. House Martin nests on buildings and bridges. It does not have any fears of people. Exceptionally House Martins can be found nesting in the...

The flora in Eastern Rhodopes

The geographical position on the European continent (near the Mediterranean and near the Asian continent), its geology and its climate determine the region of Eastern Rhodopes as one with the richest biodiversity in Europe. In the Eastern Rhodopes are found species typical of the flora of...

Biodiversity and wild life

The Eastern Rhodopes are located in the southernmost part of Bulgaria. They occupy the lower eastern part of the Rhodopes Massif. To the south they border with the Aegean Lowland, to the north and east with the Thracian lowland and the river of Maritza. The border with the Western Rhodopes follows...

Rhodopean Shorthorn cattle

Rhodopean Shorthorn cattle are the breed with the least specimens in Bulgaria. It’s a primitive form of Bos Taurus Brachyceros, left unchanged since the Neolithic age until today. Widespread in the past, today this primitive breed is preserved only in the Eastern Rhodopes. The Rhodopean...

Bulgarian gray cattle

Bulgarian gray cattle are an old local breed. According to some research it is derived from crosses of the short-horn Bos Taurus Brachiceros and the long-horn Bos Taurus Primigenius. Bulgarian Grey cattle are light to dark gray in colour, the neck and the lower body are dark gray to black....

Karakachan horse

Karakachan horse is a local primitive breed of horse, extremely durable and adapted to the hard ways of living. For centuries it has served the Karakachans in their long mountain hikes during their seasonal migrations from summer pastures to winter and vice versa. Horses were pasture raised, no...

Fauna of the Eastern Rhodopes

A total of 4329 animal species has been established in the Bulgarian part of the Eastern Rhodopes, which is quite a lot and which has a relationship with the special geographical position and the warm climate. 90% of the animal species are invertebrates, mostly insects with a Mediterranean type of...

Eastern Rhodopes – taste the wild nature

The winners of the first competition „Eastern Rhodopes – taste the wild nature“ November 1, 2011 Vladimir Sulov and Valentina Raykova are the winners of the first New Thracian Gold-contest fort the most interesting itinerary and best photo from the Eastern Rhodopes. Vladimir...

Tourism links

Official tourism portal of Bulgaria Visit Kardzhali - the official travel guide Travel information on Eastern Rhodopes Bulgarian Travel Guide Stenata store Iron Curtain Trail Sultans Trail passing through the Rhodopes Green Belt Bulgaria Bulgarian Associastion for Alternative...

Natural monument

The petrified forest Location: Located in the village of Raven (Momchilgrad) in a deep gorge, called by locals Gabaz gulch. "The Trees" are among both sides of the gorge with over 120 m length. They represent twenty stumps of trees burned by fire. They are 1 to 1.5 m tall and...

Natura 2000 network

Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded. Whereas the network will certainly include nature reserves most...

Natura 2000 site Krumovitza

BG0002012  Surface – 11 183 hectares. The area includes the valleys in the middle course of the Krumovitsa River and its tributary Djushun Dere with the adjacent hills and slopes of the Eastern Rhodopes. It covers the sections of the Krumovitsa between the village of...

Natura 2000 site Byala Reka

BG0002019  Surface – 44 627 hectares. The area covers the Byala Reka watershed in the most south-eastern part of the Eastern Rhodopes, immediately next to the state border with Greece. It includes the Byala Reka valley and the surrounding mountain hills from the village...

Natura 2000 site Ivailovgrad Reservoir

BG0002106  Surface – 19 662 hectares. The site covers almost the entire water body of Ivailovgrad reservoir on the Arda river and the adjacent mountain slopes from the villages of Borislavtsi and Senoclass on the west to the state border on the east and from the villages of...

By bus

For more information on all bus services in Bulgaria and Eastern Rhodopes, please visit: www.avtogari.info     Regular buses from SOFIA / PLOVDIV to Eastern Rhodopes are offered by several buss companies: Marieta with 3 daily buses from and to Sofia. From Sofia – 11:00,...

Reintroduction of Red Deer in the Eastern Rhodopes

New Thracian Gold and the National Hunting and Fishing Association - Union of Hunters and Anglers in Bulgaria work together to recover the red deer population in the Eastern Rhodopes.  In 2012 and 2013, a total of 30 red deer was released in the Studen Kladenets Game Reserve. The...

Tourists visits at the producers

Many producers of organic agricultural products in the Eastern Rhodopes are open for visits of tourists and journalists. Besides the famous hospitality, they will offer traditional Bulgarian dishes prepared with ecological or organic local products, they will take you to the fields and...

Birds in Eastern Rhodopes

Eastern Rhodopes are one of the richest, in terms of ornithological highlights in Europe. Because of its location on the edge of the European and Asian continent, the pristine landscape and the variety of habitats, the impact of the Mediterranean and the relatively weak human disturbance,...

Mummer's festival

IVAYLOVGRAD EASTERN RHODOPES DATE: 1 – 2 March 2014   BE A PART OF THE CELABRATION VISIT THE TRADITIONAL MUMMERY FEST IN LADZHA NEIGHBOURHOOD   PRICE: 84 BGN   HIGHLIGHTS: ✔     Ariving in Friday ✔     Departure...

Bread festival

Village of RABOVO EASTERN RHODOPES TASTE THE HEALTHY BREAD MADE OF SPELT, MADE BY OLD TECHNOLOGY BOAT TRIP AND ADVENTURES WITH KAYAKS OBSERVATION OF DOE AND DEER   DATE: 27 – 29 JULY 2012  Day one – Friday, June 27 Accommodation in Kroyatsite hut in hunting...

Krumovgrad

Krumovgrad is a small Eastern Rhodopean town with  approximately 5000 inhabitants. The surrounding landscape  is picturesque and exotic. The area is rich in nature and offers various  cultural highlights.  Krumovgrad is situated in  between Kardzhali and Ivaylovgrad along...

Natural grazing and large herbivores in Eastern Rhodopes

Natural grazing by large herbivores is a key process for suitable development and natural maintenance of ecosystems. In wild nature the animals graze all year round.  This practice was well understood and practiced for thousands of years by the ancient Balkan livestock farmers, who...

Biodiversity - links

The return of the neophron Red Data Book of the Republic of Bulgaria Natura 2000 Rewilding Europe Bulgarian Biodiversity Portal The Bulgarian flora online Flora bulgarica Birds in Bulgaria Parks in Bulgaria European greenbelt BlueLink information network Bat Research And Conservation...

Eastern Rhodopes Guidebook

DESCRIPTION: This is the first ever guidebook to the Eastern Rhodopes. The Eastern Rhodopes are a region in Southeastern Bulgaria where a huge historical, cultural and natural heritage has been preserved and awaits to be discovered by curious travellers. The guidebook includes all ...

Eastern Rhodopes Tourist Map

The latest and most detailed up to now tourist map for the Eastern Rhodopes has been elaborated in 2011 by Bulgarian and Dutch experts of the New Thracian gold project.  The map presents all attractions of the Eastern Rhodopes fully covering ten municipalities - Kardzhali, Ardino,...

The village of Sbor

The abandoned village of Sbor is situated in the picturesque valley of the River Dyushun dere in the Eastern Rhodopes. In the 80s of the twentieth century it was abandoned and gradually nature has taken over the village and almost erased all traces of human activity.  In September 2011...

How to get to Sbor

  By car From Krumovgrad drive 17 km towards Iwaylovgrad; turn north towards the village of Padalo and 5 km after the crossroad, before the village of Padalo and after the collapsed bus stop, you will see a dirt road leading west (left) to the village of Sbor. Coming from Ivaylovgrad...

Rural Easter in the Eastern Rhodopes

Wellness house “Planinski izgled” (Mountain View) Village of Yabalkovets Date:  13 – 16 April 2012 Wellness House "Planinski izgled" is located in the village of Yabulkovets, 20 minutes drive from Kardzhali towards the town of Ardino. It offers double rooms with...

Nature Adventures

One day nature trips in the Eastern Rhodopes Mountains, South Bulgaria Route 1 Madzharovo – the Vultures' volcano   Tour description: 5 hours, 5 km walking, easy-medium Area description: Superb gorge, spectacular rock cliffs and scrubland walk, departing from the visitor's...

Archaeological complex Perperikon

Tour description: 4 hours, 5 km walking, medium Area description: spectacular rock pillars, view points and panoramas, reptiles, fissure flora, and Bulgaria's most famous Ancient rock city – Perperikon. Highlights: pleasant walk through oak woodland, scrub, and rocks, wild flowers,...

Wildlife photography promo tour

Together with our partners from Photosynthesis we invite you along to capture the beauty of the nature through the lens instead of in the optical sight, to preserve and show it rather than destroy it. "Take photos! Don’t kill! " is the motto of the project which Photosynthesis started...

Youth eco-club

Conservation of the "green gold" - the unique biodiversity of the Eastern Rhodopes -  is a major point in the philosophy of " New Thracian Gold" (NTG). The involvement of young people in conservation activities and promotion of natural resources is a guarantee for sustainable...

Reintroduction of Tarpans

New Thracian Gold project is successfully conducting the first ever reintroduction of Tarpans in Bulgaria, a rebreed of wild horses that have lived hundreds  of years ago in Europe. In September 2011, the first 12 Tarpans arrived in Bulgaria from the Netherlands and settled in the Eastern...

A Culinary Guidebook to the Eastern Rhodopes

Do you happen to know what gyuzlemi are? Have you ever tasted a rabbit banitsa or a pumpkin stuffed with rabbit meat? Have you ever eaten chicken with katmi or krukmach? Have you heart about a Rhodopean zelnik? Or about a maslenitsa? Information and the recipes about these dishes you can...

Competition 2011

Vladimir Sulov and Valentina Raykova are the winners of the first New Thracian Gold-contest fort the most interesting itinerary and best photo from the Eastern Rhodopes. Vladimir Sulov wins the photo competition with his View of the Priest (Perperikon). Sulov is actually twice a winner, because...

The Winners in the Second Edition of NTG Contest „Eastern Rhodopes – taste the wild nature“

Kichka Dyankova and Yassena Popova are the winners in the second edition of the Competition „Eastern Rhodopes – taste the wild nature“. They submitted the most interesting travel story  and the best photo, according to the jury of New Thracian Gold. The number of...

The Wild Farm of Betty and Nikolay Vassilievi

In their new guest house Betty and Nikolay can accommodate guests in six rooms. The family combines various entrepreneurial interests. In addition to hospitality and tourism the Wild Farm is specialised in organic farming. Currently, they breed more than 450 Rodopi Shorthorn cattle and Bulgarian...

Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation

Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation is a legal non-profit entity which inherited the nature conservation activities of the New Thracian Gold project in the region of the Eastern Rhodopes. The main activities of the Foundation are connected with natural grazing of Red and Fallow deer and wild horses in...

Donations

You can contribute to the efforts  of  Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation for sustainable development of the Eastern Rhodopes or particularly, our work in these priorities: Wilderness and biodiversity The wilderness component aims at the restoration and conservation of one of the best...

The Fauna of the Eastern Rhodopes

Located at the crossroads of the European and Asian continent, influenced by the Central European and Mediterranean climate and harbouring diverse and pristine natural habitats, the Eastern Rhodopes are home for many animal species. No less than 4,329 species belonging to 410 fauna...

Reptiles

The Eastern Rhodopes really are reptile paradise. No place in Europe has a better variety of lizards (12), snakes (14) and turtles&tortoises (4). The mosaic landscape with a large variety of habitats and hot summers have favored thirty species. Tortoise species are represented by Hermann's...

Fish fauna

26 fish species have been identified in the water habitats  of the Eastern Rhodopes. Four small species of the carp family are endemic in the Balkan Peninsula: Chondrostoma  vardarense, Vimba melanops , Barbus cyclolepis and Sabanejewia balcanica (Balkan Spined Loach). Very special,...

Lizards

Lizards can be met almost everywhere in the countryside. Most numerous are green lizards and wall lizards which even can be seen in village gardens. Ecologically most interesting are those species restricted to specific natural habitat types. Perhaps most intriguing species are the Scheltopusik...

Restoration of fallow deer population

New Thracian Gold, the National Hunting and Fishing Association - Union of Hunters and Fishermen in Bulgaria, Hunting and Fishing Association "Sokol"- Krumovgrad and the Society of the Hunters and Fisherman of Kardzhali work on a joint project for the restoration of the fallow deer population in...

First Organic Tahini Factory in Bulgaria

On May 23rd, the first organic tahini factory in Bulgaria - BIOTERRA – IVAYLOVGRAD Ltd. - was officially opened in the village of Kondovo, Municipality Ivaylovgrad. Its opening becomes possible thanks to the expert and financial support by the Bulgarian-Dutch project New Thracian Gold (NTG)...

And the winner is...

The winners of NTG’s third edition of the contest “Eastern Rhodopes - taste the wild nature” are: Anahid Chalyovska, Vasil Anastasovski , Olya Stoyanova Herman van der Hart. Travel story competition In the section for the most interesting travel story, Anahid...

European Bison Reintroduction in the Eastern Rhodopes

New Thracian Gold works on the reintroduction of the European bison, a large endangered herbivorous species and iconic for to rewilding in Europe, the Eastern Rhodopes. In October 2013, five bison were brought to the Studen Kladenets Game Reserve in region. This was the first step of the first...