Enhancing social and economic activity of third country immigrants from the territory of South East Reagion in Bulgaria
BG EIF 2011/01-02.01
The project is funded by The European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals financed by the European Union

Bulgarian natural landmarks:
This module shows some of the unique natural landmarks in the country which attract tourists from around the world. 
 
Nessebar – The Old Town
The old town of Nessebar is only 850 long and 350 m wide. According to one theory about 5500 years ago this piece of land used to be an island. But the Thracians turned it into a peninsula by creating a road between it and the mainland in order to make it is easier to take wheat from the wheat fields on the continent to the fishermen’s village. Over the centuries the city lost a third of its territory. The land was swallowed by the sea. Remnants of the fortress walls have been found under water about 80 meters from the shore. The only surviving part of the fortress is the west wall with the gate, which defended the town against invasion from the mainland. In ancient times the Nessebar peninsula was known by the name of Mesembria and in the early Middle Ages by the name of Mesambria. Later on it was called Nessebar. The town was first inhabited more than three millennia ago. For the first time it fell within the boundaries of the Bulgarian state in 812 AD, when Khan Krum conquered the town and Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians settled in it. For a long period of time Nessebar, as it was called by the Slavs, went back into the hands of the Bulgarians hands under reign of Tsar Simeon the Great. In the XII and XIII centuries the city established active trade relations with the countries of the Mediterranean and Adriatic, and the principalities north of the river Danube.
The churches “St. Stefan” – (XI century) and  “St. John the Baptist” – (XI century) became the prototypes masterpieces of Nessebar churches constructed in XIII-XIV century. The churches “St. Petka” (Paraskeva) – (XIII c), “St. Todor” – (XIV c), “St. Archangels Michael and St. Gabriel” – (XIV c) have direct analogues in the architecture of Turnovo.  During the reign of Tsar Ivan Alexander new churches were built – “Christ Pantocrator” – (XIII c), and “St. John Undedicated” – (XIV c.).
 
 
The Belogradchik Rocks
 
The Belogradchik Rocks are unique rock formations on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. They spread over an area which is 30 km long and 15 km wide This delightful natural phenomenon has been carved by rainwater and winds for over 200 million years. Some of the rock formations reach up to 200 m in height. Erosion has turned the cold rocks into sculptures resembling mythical creatures, human silhouettes, animals and birds. The Belogradchik Rocks were declared a natural landmark in 1949. They are a major tourist attraction in Bulgaria. 
The Belogradchik Rocks were Bulgaria's nomination in the campaign for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. 
 
 
Velingrad
 
Velingrad is the most beautiful and most famous among the Bulgarian Balneological resorts. It lies at the western end of Chepino Valley, among the wonderful nature of the Western Rhodope Mountains. Here there are over 70 sources of mineral water with curative and prophylactic properties. With its many mineral springs and spas and great conditions for spa tourism, the city is rightly called "the spa capital of the Balkans." The city boasts one very special natural phenomenon – Kleptuza which is the largest karst spring in Bulgaria. Every second 570 liters of ice-cold water comes gushing out of it creating two lakes. 
The largest and most valuable natural resources here are the mineral waters. Their temperature is between 28 C - 86 C. They are suitable for the treatment of pulmonary, joint, neurological, gynecological, and other diseases. In the vicinity of the town there are excellent conditions for skiing, and for those who love hunting and fishing, the hunting and game farms offer very good conditions.
 
 
The Melnik Pyramids
 
These are unique sand formations which rise high above the town of Melnik, which is lost in their embrace. The sand giants are in a variety of shapes – mushrooms, cones, needles, etc. They have been formed by the constant action of the natural forces on them – rain, wind and sun. Some reach a height of 100 meters. They were declared a natural landmark in 1960.
 
 
The Seven Rila Lakes
 
These lakes are some of the most beautiful places in Bulgaria. They are located on a terraced terrain in a big cirque on the northern slope of Mount Damka in the northwestern part of the Rila Mountains, at an altitude between 2100 and 2500 m. They are interconnected by small streams which pass from one lake to another forming cascades and small waterfalls. The names of the lakes are associated with their appearance and characteristics. Starting from the highest lake and going down their names are as follows: Salzata (The Teardrop), Okoto (The Eye – the deepest cirque lake in Bulgaria – 37.5 m), Babreka (The Kidney – with the steepest banks of all), Bliznaka (The Twin – the largest in size), Trilistnika (The Trefoil), Ribnoto (The Fish Lake – the shallowest of all). The lowest of the lakes is Dolnoto Ezero (The Lower Lake) where the water that flows out of the rest of the lakes gathers. This lake gives rise to the Djerman river. 
 
 
Cudnite Mostove (The Wonderful Bridges) 
 
The Wonderful Bridges are among the most beautiful natural phenomena in Bulgaria. They are situated deep and high in the Rodope Mountains along the eastern slopes of the Chernatitsa hill at an altitude of 1450 meters. It is not surprising that they are called “Wonderful”. Their beauty is incredible. 
The Wonderful Bridges are huge marble arches connecting the two banks of the River Dalbok Dol. The largest and most beautiful is the first bridge – the Big Bridge. It is located at an altitude of 1450 meters. About 200 meters further down is the second bridge. It is smaller and with its length of 60 meters it resembles a long tunnel. The Wonderful Bridges were declared a natural landmark in 1961. 
 
 
Sozopol
 
Sozopol lies on a picturesque peninsula in the southern part of the Bourgas Bay, 35 km away from Bourgas. Today this city with a seven thousand-year history is one of the most popular seaside resorts in the country. The ancient monuments and the romantic atmosphere of the old town attract many tourists from around the world. In the old city there have been preserved houses built in the middle of the XVIII and early XIX century. In 1974 it was declared a museum. In 2010, during archaeological excavations in the neighboring island of St. John, the relics of St. John the Baptist were discovered, which are kept in the church of "St. Cyril and Methodius" in Sozopol and attract pilgrims from all over the world. This finding is one of the reasons why Sozopol came first among the top 10 tourist places in the ranking "The Wonders of Bulgaria."
There are many interesting nature sites near Sozopol. Nature lovers can enjoy the "Ropotamo" reserve, which includes the mouth of the Ropotamo River, and a boat trip to see the rare representatives of the local flora and fauna.
 
 
Srebarna Nature Reserve
 
The reserve is located near the village of Srebarna, west of Silistra. It includes a freshwater lake and the surrounding areas and extends over 600 ha. It is located on the main migration route of migratory birds between Europe and Africa called "Via Pontica". The area was declared a reserve in 1948. 
The reserve is best known for the birds that pass through it or nest on its territory. It is the breeding ground for nearly 100 species of birds. Many of them are rare or endangered. Some 80 other bird species migrate and seek refuge there every winter. In 1975 the Srebarna Nature Reserve was included in the Ramsar Convention for the Conservation of Wetlands of International Importance. In 1977 it was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. In 1983 it was added to the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Among the most interesting bird species are the Dalmatian pelican, great egret, night heron, purple heron, glossy ibis and white spoonbill.
 
 
The Magura cave and Ledenika Cave
 
The  Magura cave is located in northwestern Bulgaria and is 17 km away from the town of Belogradchik. It is one of the largest caves in the country. The total length of the so far discovered and studied galleries is about 2500 meters. The cave has one main gallery and three side branches.
Here you can see surprising formations which are unique in shape and size – stalactites, stalagmites, cave pearls, and more.
The Ledenika cave is located in the northwestern corner of the Balkan Mountains. The temperature in the cave varies between -7 ° C and +15 ° C, while the temperature in the interior of the cave is always +8 ° C.
In the lowest part of the cave is the "Antechamber". In winter and spring this room astonishes the visitors with its icy crystal decoration. It has given the name to the cave (Leden means Icy). One of the famous chambers is the "Concert Hall" which owes its name to its amazing acoustics.
 
 
 
 
 
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