The phenomenon of the Rhodopian Karst
The Rhodopes is one of the oldest European mountain ranges marked by specific relief, climate, hydrology and vegetation. It represents a life-sustaining yet sensitive ecosystem. Within the Rhodope Mountains, there are more than 2000 plant species and several endangered animal species, including the brown bear, lynx and wolf.
The Rhodopes mountain range is known for its karst phenomena and the intertwinement of limestone and older metamorphic rocks. Some of these exceptional natural occurrences are waiting to be experienced in Velingrad’s vicinity. One of the most famous is the karst spring Kleptuza, and the high karst field, on the edge of which Velingrad developed. The selection is rich, and hiking on the karst field around Velingrad, where several paths cross, is an intriguing experience on its own. Across the karst field flows the Chepinska river, which shaped the picturesque canyon, where the main road and railroad run along. There are several hidden stories underground, as you will learn from experienced local guides.
Another unmissable karst phenomenon is the Lepenitsa Cave. It stretches 1,5 kilometres and has three levels; the lowest is home to an underground river, while the middle level is where underground lakes await visitors. In addition, Lepenitsa Cave is recognised for stalactites and stalagmites alongside numerous intriguing karst phenomena. The cave is accessible to organised groups that can take a peek at its underbelly. To experience the unique cave, visitors need suitable clothing and flashlights as there are no lights within the cave. The temperature within the cave is at a constant 9 degrees celsius. Hence, warm clothes are a must.
|Wow factor||Velingrad’s hidden underground stories|
|Incentive type||Active/natural experience|
|Number of participants||1 – 20|
|Best time of the year||April – October|
|Duration||from 2 to 6 hours (optional cave visit)|
|Location||Velingrad and its surroundings|