Located in the most southern part of the Rhodopes, the area of Ivaylovgrad enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Olive trees and Laurel show it. Here you can find some of the most virgin forests in Bulgaria. Ivaylovgrad’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in the dolmens, mounds, tombs, fortresses and temples. The nature and the rich history have left their marks in the local culture, which still preserves unique traditions.
Ivaylovgrad has the reputation being a clean region, as there are no big industrial objects to pollute the environment. On its territory is the third reservoir of the Arda river, that was built in 1964 and which is one of the most picturesque in Bulgaria. Its coast is lush and green and attracts many naturalists. The reservoir offers excellent opportunities for lake kayaking.
Among the most valuable cultural monuments is the Antique villa Armira – magnificently decorated villa from the roman age, unique for Bulgaria.
Not far from villa Armira are the remains of one of the biggest mounds from Roman age, near the village of Sviratchi. Other interesting objects are the Byzantine fortress near the village Huhla (north of Ivaylovgrad) and the Aterenian bridge near the monastery “Saints Constantine and Helen”.
The medieval fortress Lyutitsa is located southwest of Ivaylovgrad and is one of the biggest fortresses in Bulgaria from the Byzantine age. It is also known as the Marble city, as for the building of the walls marble was used. It can be reached on foot only. There are two possible routes – coming from Ivaylovgrad via the monastery “Saints Constantine and Helen” or via dirt roads coming from the villages Kobilino and Pelevun.
Ivaylovgrad town has a population of 4423 inhabitants. Architecture wise the dominant building in the town center is the community center “Probuda” (Awaking), built in 1971. Right next to it is the Mutafchiev’s house, which happens to be the tourist information center. The nearby building of the local History Museumonce was a roman bath. It also holds an information center.
Ivaylovgrad region is part of the Crossbill Guides “Eastern Rhodopes – Nestos, Evros and Dadia”. Routes 9 and 10 are in Ivaylovgrad area.
In the old city center of Ivaylovgrad some traditional houses of the old style of rich Rhodopean houses are preserved. You shouldn’t miss to visit the churches in the villages of Pelevun, Pokrovan, Huhla, Svirachi, Belopolyane, Mandritsa and Dolno Lukovo, as well as the monastery “Saints Constantine and Helen” southwest of Ivaylovgrad on the way to the fortress Lyutitsa.
There are several protected areas in the Ivaylovgrad region, which hold special flora and fauna. However, the whole region is very rich in nature . Local routes lead to protected area Byala Reka, to fortresses and other sites of interest.
In the protected area Byala Reka some very rare fish, reptiles, birds and dragonflies occur. The protected area Likana holds anexceptional number of orchid species. Wine lovers should visit the winery of Yamatiev family and those who admire good traditions and healthy food – the ground baking sesame seed house.