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Mountain Tourism: Gela

Gela - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The small village of Gela lies in the skirts of the Rhodopi ridge of Karluk, 7km away from the village of Shiroka Luka, 18km away from the big ski resort of Pamporovo and about 30km to the northeast of the town of Smolyan. The village is scattered over several hills at about 1500m above sea level and overlooks to some of the most beautiful peaks of the Rhodopi mountain Golyma Perelik (2191m), Orpheus (2188m) and Turlata (1825m). Even if its residents are no more than 100 people, most of the houses offer rooms to rent to those fond of authentic rural tourism. A small ski tug that starts from the village works in the winter, too.

Excavations in the area testify to the existence of settlements already in the Paleolithic era. Some of the valuable archeological findings are a stone painting of a man and running animals, discovered near the peak of Turlata, ancient Thracian mounds near the chapel of St Iliya and a mass grave of 20 Thracians connected to a ritual funeral of a renowned Thracian chief. Another interesting finding is the remains of a necropolis near the village, used for more than 1,000 years and abandoned during Roman times. Some of the objects found during exactions suggest that the area around Gela was the birthplace of a mythical Thracian singer, Orpheus, who became famous for his masterly playing and singing far outside the lands occupied by Thracians.

Guests of Gela can visit the church of Holy Trinity, situated close to the Ilinden meadows and built over the remains of an old Orthodox monastery. Excavations in 1905 found that the monasterys church was entirely painted in blue, which is believed to have been influenced by Thracian pagan cults. If one happens to visit Gela during the first Sunday of August, he/she may join the annual fair of the village that takes place in the Ilinden area around the chapel of St Iliya.

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