Strandzha - the mystical mountain of the Thracians
**“When God decided to create Strandzha, he smiled. And from this divine smile she was born,” say the people living in the most beautiful and mysterious mountain, stretched out on the territory of two countries - Bulgaria and Turkey.
Several Thracian civilizations flourished on its territory during different periods. The most significant of them is the Odrysko-Sapi dynasty, which created the Odrysian kingdom with its capital Bison (presumably today’s Urdoviza). It was during this period that the foundations of that typical Strandzha spiritual culture were laid, whose Thracian roots we find to this day. That is why the mountain is full of discovered and still undiscovered Thracian sanctuaries, dolmens and facilities, some of which date back to … Atlantic times! It was in Strandzha that the bones of giants were found, which were immediately covered up. And this is proof that most of the Atlanteans who survived the cataclysm, who spread their culture among the local Thracian population, probably took refuge here in antiquity. In general, Strandzha Mountain is rich in mysteries.
Here legends intertwine with facts, and science with mysticism. Undoubtedly the biggest mystery, however, remains the so-called Bastet’s tomb. In the late 80s of the twentieth century there was a legend that at the foot of Gradishte, the highest peak of the mountain, was buried the Egyptian goddess with a cat’s head. It is said that her sanctuary is a portal to another dimension in space. There is an Egyptian pyramid built around the tenth century BC. and covered with tons of earth and pieces of rock to hide. The version was taken up by the military, who stumbled on the mysteries in the hole of the Queen for years.
The most common legend says that Strandzha - the younger sister of Stara Planina, like her was a wonderfully beautiful girl, but for some reason no one dared to ask her for a wife. Then she left her family and settled far away with her relatives. Soon she gathered a lot of people she protected. Like the Amazons, Strandzha wore men’s clothes, loved to ride long distances and swim in the sea. Many candidates came to ask her for a wife, but she returned them all, until one day a large group of black men, led by their king, came with the clear intention of not leaving without Strandzha. It was impossible to refuse or get away. But at that moment the earth shook, the sea and the rivers raged, terrible chaos ensued. When everything calmed down, there were new mountains, the sea of white became cloudy and black, and there was no trace of black people. Thus, according to the legend, the ancient mountain was formed, which people named after its first settlement - Strandzha, and the sea, whose waters washed its foothills - the Black Sea. And in order to protect the mountain and the land from bad people, the inhabitants of these places built many forts and fortress walls, which became the eternal guardian of the beautiful Bulgarian land.
The highest place in the Bulgarian territory of Strandzha Mountain is Golyamo Gradishte peak - 710 m above sea level. The peak takes its name from a fortress built here since ancient times. It served as a shelter and security guard in the region during Roman times. It is built of stones of different sizes and shapes, tightly arranged next to each other. Few remains of premises have been discovered in it. To the southwest of here, rock holes have been found in the ground rock, which are from a much earlier period. This place was a rock sanctuary, which later began to act as a fortress. So well preserved over the millennia, this interesting site has not been studied by archaeologists, because in this area there is no opportunity for excavations. Even not so famous for mountain lovers Golyamo Gradishte peak is one of the interesting places in the mystical Strandzha, which still keeps centuries-old secrets.
The sanctuary in Mishkova niva is one of the oldest ancient Thracian sanctuaries in Strandzha. In addition, the domed temple, which is a kind of center of the sanctuary is unique in terms of architecture and in the words of Prof. Peter Delev, one of the main researchers of the sanctuary, “has no direct analogies and ranks among the important monuments of tomb construction in Thrace during the Roman imperial age. “
The ancient mound necropolis in the area of Propada. The domed tomb of Propada is a magnificent example of Thracian cult architecture. It is located 3 km northwest of Malko Tarnovo, on top of a low hill, giving rise to a necropolis of 40 mounds. It was discovered in 1979. The dome tomb is probably dated to the 5th - 3rd century BC. and has the characteristic architecture of the Thracian cult buildings under a mound.