From the sanctuary Beglik Tash to the Bay St. Paraskeva

The trail starts from the thracian cliffs –  sanctuary Beglik Tash passes through scenic forest road and reach the bay of St. Paraskeva, that was an ancient port, and later served as a hideout of pirates in the Middle Ages.

This is the most scenic trail round Ropotamo Reserve, near the town of Primorsko, Bulgaria. It provides the oportunity to see an objects of archaeological importance and to enjoy the beautiful forest scenery, sea and rock formations.

How to get from Begliktash to the Bay St. Paraskeva in reserve Ropotamo – map, route and GPX file
Download GPX file

Beglik Tash – a sanctuary of the ancient Thracians near Primorsko
Plaque indicating the beginning of the hiking trail at Beglik Tash

On the road passing through oak beech forest, it could be seen at many places piles composed of oval syenite blocks similar to the cliffs of Beglik Tash. That are additional evidences that cliffs of Begliktash were not entirely manmade, but only sculptured and arranged according to spiritual needs of the ancient.

An oval syenite blocks around the the path.

Route features

The road is wide enough, with a slight ascent for a long time, after which there is a descent. The length of the road, if it is not considered the exit to observe the rock formations, is about 2.5 km and a total displacement of 140 m. The exit itself is about 350 m, sometimes narrowing to a rather unnoticed track in the grass, losing, but because this area is small, there is no danger of losing. This short path is not recommended for young children or hard-moving people. If you visit this place in the summer or the spring, there is a danger of ticks, so take the necessary precautions. It is a good idea when you making this transition to be equiped with hooded footwear or sneakers, long trousers, insect spray and water.

A picturesque route to Cape Beglik Tash  in the vicinity of Ropotamo Reserve

When you reach the sea, an impressive view will be revealed to your left, which makes everyone exclaim with delight. A whole bay composed of huge, rounded cliffs, similar to the cliffs at Beglik Tash. The cape has the same name like the Thracian sanctuary – Beglik Tash.

Rock formations – large megalithic blocks at Cape Beglik Tash
One more view to the rock formations
The person in the picture serves to get an impression of the scale

The stones are large size – therefore it is not advisable to climb on them.

If you turn your head to the right, you will see the Bay Zigra and part of the Cape “Maslen nos”.

Bay Zigra

Tall and inaccessible rocks surround Bay Zigra, which in the past looked like a deserted and peaceful place for the passing ships. The name of the bay comes from the Greek word “σιγα”  – calmly, slowly. In fact, however, the pirates of the Bay St. Paraskeva used Zigra Bay  , to keep on eye their unsuspecting victims.

Bay Zigra

After you return to the the main road, soon you will reach a brick lined well. We do not know what age it is or whether have archaeologists researched it till now, but that’s one more fascination for the walk.

An old well along the way
Top view to the olf well

Primorsko – Bay St. Paraskeva in the Ropotamo Reserve

The bay itself imitates a very long fjord with a length of about 700 m. As far as the front view extends, you will not see a trail of people or relics. The place is a wonderful combination of thick forest, sandy beach, sea and mouth of a flowing small river. The only thing, unfortunately, that spoils the wild face of the landscape is the plastic garbage ejected from the sea.

St. Paraskeva Bay in Ropotamo Reserve, Primorsko, Bulgaria
More views of the bay
The small wild beach actually is located in the
inland of the fjord
The mouth of a flowing small river

During the different ages, the bay had different functions. From antiquity to the Middle Ages it was part of complex ports. It covered all the bays from Cape Maslen Nos to the mouth of the Ropotamo River. After that, the place was deserted and pirates used it as hiding place. One of the famous pirates who used this place was Valchan Vojvoda. It happened during the period of Turkish domination in Bulgaria (XIV – XIX century). According to one of the legends, hidden in the bay, Valchan watched and struck a Turkish ship carrying gold for the treasury at the beginning of the XIX century. Then he hid the treasure in the area of medieval fortress Ranuli. The fortress got the name of the warrior and was called “Valchanovo kale” ( Valchan’s fortress). It is located near the rock formation “The Lion’s head” in Ropotamo reserve.

Origin of the name St. Paraskeva

The name of the bay comes from the church located here, with the name St. Paraskeva. According to historians, there is a connection with the Thracian sanctuary Beglik Tash. In the rituals of meeting with the summer solstice and the birth of the new life – the Hero, as an ideology performed at the sanctuary, similarities can be found with the virtues that confessed the saint St. Paraskeva, as the patron of the mothers. In the name of the church, they see the traditions legacy of the Thracians, but already mixed with the Christian values.

The ruins of the medieval church of St. Paraskeva

Near the beach can be seen the ruins of the church St. Paraskeva. Many legends tell about it. According to one of them, the church was built in 925 by the bulgarian king – Tsar Simeon the Great. He came here to hunt.

As a result of archaeological research, it became clear that the church was a one-nave with a cross and a dome. Based on the discovered objects and graves – the church existed between the X-XVII century . It is supposed that the church was burned by turkish enslavers. Ruins of other buildings were found around also and a holy spring, which leads to the conclusion that there probably was a monastery with patron St. Paraskeva.

The ruins of the “St. Paraskeva” church.

Preservation of the protected area

The area from the Sanctuary of Beglik Tash to the Bay St. Paraskeva is within the boundaries of two protected areas. Visitors should observe certain rules. The locations are:

1. “Beglik tash – Ropotamo”.

2. “The rock formations, the fjords and the sealing cave in the area of Maslen Nos”.

To put it briefly – do not throw away waste, do not tear plants, do not light a fire, no camping, and let the place look like you’ve found it.

Plants in the area that seemed interesting to us

Continue the walk

For the other paths and landmarks in Ropotamo Reserve – look at the attached map.

In conclusion, if you are planning a longer stay in the area, it is a good idea to choose Primorsko as a city for staying, because it has many hotels and lodgings, and can offer many entertainments to diversify your holliday  at the sea.

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