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Settlements: Peshtera

Peshtera - Pictures Of Bulgaria
Peshtera is situated on both banks of the Stara Reka river, 20km to the south of the town of Pazardzhik. It lies at the entrance of a mountain pass that leads to the depths of the Rhodopi mountain.

Peshtera is an ancient settlement, which is testified to by a number of archeological findings. One of these is a cemetery with several bronze vessels and a marble plate with a Thracian horseman depicted on it. The surrounding areas of Beshdere and Barakovski Dol keep remains of fortresses and ritual places, too.

The name of the town of Peshtera (meaning cave in Bulgarian) is believed to come from the large number of caves in the neighbourhood, including one of the most beautiful in Bulgaria Snezhanka (Snowwhite). Snezhanka lies at 380m above the river bed of one of the feeders of Stara Reka (Novomahalenska) and can be reached by following the main road from Peshtera to Batak and then taking a left offroad 2km after leaving Peshtera. The cave was discovered in 1961, while its entrance is hidden among a centuries old beech grove. The cave is small but extremely beautiful, with its most impressive sight being the Hall of the Udders, named this way for its milk-coloured ceiling and udder-shaped stalactites. The cave keeps traces of Thracian inhabitants, including a bronze needle, hand-made clay vessels, and bones of animal stock and wild animals.

The old part of the town of Peshtera preserves several houses dating back to the Bulgarian Renaissance period, a mosque and a clock-tower, the latter being a stone building of the 17th c. The old quarter also has its church, St Petka, which was built half beneath the surface during Ottoman times. The church was constructed at a place where an old orthodox icon appeared and where a small groove with curative waters sprang out. A small historical exhibition is kept at the convent adjacent to this church. An interesting sight in Peshtera is also the St Dimitar church, built in 1831. The churchs foundations are as deep as the height of its walls, while the walls themselves are 1m thick. The church is a three-nave one with three domes, inside columns and a masterly carved iconostasis.

To the south of Peshtera, a road with numerous U-curves leads to the remains of a Thracian fortress, the so-called Kievs Fortress (Kievoto Kale). The fortress is named after an unknown ruler of Kiev, who settled here with his closest men after the fall of Kiev under Tatar dominion. The fortress, together with several similar constructions on the nearby hills is believed to have been built in the 12-10th c. BC. In the neighbourhood of Kievs Fortress, one can visit the Kupena natural reserve and the Blue Waterfalls of the Gizditsa river. The waterfalls are extraordinarily beautiful, with the highest of them falling down from 15m.

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Bulgaria Regions: Pazardzhik