Bulgaria Kardzhali

As a hub of different ethnicities Kardzhali has managed to preserve and maintain multiple operating temples. The city’s official holiday is October 21 – on this date in 1912 Kardzhali was added to the territory of Bulgaria, having till then been within the Ottoman Empire.

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 100 km to northwest again.

Kardzhali was announced a model of a multiethnic community, as people of various ethnic origins live together.

This diversity of religions and traditions created a rich culture that is valuable in its own right. The city of Kardzhali is surrounded by mountains displayed a patchy landscape with forests, meadows, scrub and parkland. The open structure is of great importance for the natural diversity, that is why the initiative Rewilding Rhodopes maintains the so-called “Circle of Life” where large herbivores were introduced in the wild to support natural processes. As a result, wild horses, bison and deer play their ecological role in the nature in the region of Kardzhali.

Fallow deer
Wild, native original Fallow deer, Dama dama, Studen Kladenets reserve, Eastern Rhodope mountains, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Staffan Widstrand

 

Kardzhali region is part of the Crossbill Guides “Eastern Rhodopes – Nestos, Evros and Dadia”.

Routes 1 and 2 include parts of Kardzhali area.

City of Kardzhali

One of the symbols of the city is Kardzhali reservoir, built on Arda river. This one is the first of the three artificial lakes on the cascade “Arda”. It offers good accommodation on both recreation areas – Glavatartsi and Enchets. The dam of Kardzhali reservoir is unique with the combination of arc shape and height of 109 m.

Kardzhali reservoir
Kardzhali reservoir, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Mihaela Kircheva

Part of the dam lake of Studen Kladenets (the second in the cascade) is also on the territory of the municipality. Two protected areas “Sredna arda” and “Yumruk skala” gives shelter to Black Storks, Wild cats, protected butterfly species and bird species like the Rock Thrush as well as the endemic plant Mullein (Verbascum Rupestre).

Black Stork
Black Stork in the sky, Eastern Rhodope, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Bistra Angelova

 

History and Culture

The largest and most significant cultural and historical monument in the municipality of Kardzhali is the archaeological complex Perperikon. “The Rock City” is located 20 km northeast of the town and is unique in its size, location, purpose, structure and strategic plan. It’s also unique with the combination of several cultural layers from different periods in time – Thracian, Roman and Byzantine.

Kardzhali center
Central part of Kardzhali, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Mihaela Kircheva
Area:
574.7 km²
Elevation:
275 m
Population:
67,460 (2011)
River:
Arda
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Partners
Mihaela Lake Retreat
New Thracian Gold
Rewilding Rhodopes
Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation
Bulgarian Society for the Protection of birds
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