Belogradchik is small Bulgarian town situated in the northwestern Bulgaria, in Vidin Province, and picturesquely situated in the western part of Stara Planina Mountain, at 545 meters above sea level. Belogradchik is about 180 km northwest of Sofia, 55 km away from Vidin and close to the Serbian border. There is far shorter road from the East Serbia to Belogradchik which goes along Kadibogaz saddle, between the village of Novo Korito in Knjaževa Municipality in Serbia and the bulgarian village of Salash, from where the highest peak of Stara planina Mountain in Serbia Midžor peak is only 20 km away, but it is not yet the official border crossing between the two neighboring countries. Featuring unique natural characteristics and rich historical inheritance, the beautiful scenery and dark green alpine trees nestled between gigantic red sandstone rocks, Belogradchik is one of the most attractive tourist places in Bulgaria, where myths, legends, even traces of ancient Thrace are waiting to be discovered by visitors. Near Belograchik there is the Chuprene Biosphere Reserve which covers an area of 1439 hectares on the northernmost slopes of the Stara Planina Mountain and belongs to the UNESCO heritage. Chuprehe Biosphere Reserve protects the primary forest of picea excelsa, the only and the biggest spruce forest in Stara Planina Mountain.

Belogradchik Fortress called Kaleto – from the Turkish expression for fortress – is the most significant historical monument in Belogradchik and one of the most preserved and impressive fortresses in Bulgaria. The ancient stronghold was built among unapproachable rocks when the Bulgarian nation had not been formed yet and the Balkan Peninsula was in the region of the Roman Empire, in the 3rd century. The aim of the Belogradchik Fortress was to control the road from the town of Ratiaria (near the today’s village of Archar in the region of Vidin). Romans tried hard to build a good fortifying system and comfortable road and completed a part of the fortification called Citadel. On a lonely steep rock there are ruins of the Latin Fortress that was used as a guardian. In 395 Balkans became part of the Byzantine Empire and the Emperor Justinian I was forced to build new defensive zone. Despite the stronghold Byzantines could not hold out the powerful attack of the Slavs and Proto-bulgarians who in the end of the 7th century obtained the right to create the new Bulgarian country. In the 14th century Tzar Ivan Stratsimir enlarged the old fortress which was defended in war time by 3000 soldiers. The fortress, named Belgrad at that time, was one of the last fortresses to be taken over by the Turks at the end of the 14th century, who reconstructed it during their reign. In 1850 fortress had negative role for crushing the Belogradchik uprising. Ottomans placed a garrison here, which played a key part in the defense of the country’s West areas and crushed the Bulgarians’ revolts. Leaders of the uprising were imprisoned and tortured in the fort to be finally beheaded. Nowadays there is a memorial plaque commemorating the brave rebels near the place of their execution. Belogradchik Fortress called Kaleto Fortress covers an area of 10211 sqm and encompasses a separate fortification. A memorial view is revealed from the highest level of the Belogradchik fortress called First Plate.

Belogradchik Rocks is one of the unique natural phenomena in the Belogradchik area and natural landmark of Bulgaria dating back 230 million years. Belogradchik Rocks cover the surface of Belogradchik town itself and space from Borovitsa village to Beltintsi village of about 30 km in length and 3 km width. The most awesome rocks are around the town of Belogradchik – The Madonna, The Monks, The Rider, The Dervish, The Bear, Adam and Eve, The Castle, The Little Shepherd. The Lion and many others. The second group of the Belogradchik rocks is westwards from the town and are approachable by road. Giddy abysses and enormous rocks can be seen from here. Little and Big Zbeg were fortresses used as a natural fortress during different ages by Byzantine, Bulgarian and Turkish soldiers. Once there were a hundred of stars of which some can be still seen today. The Zbeg got its name after the refugees from local villages who sought protection during numerous invasions. About 4 km east of the town of Belogradchik there is a third group of rocks around the Latin Fortress and the Lepinshka Cave, spreading between the villages of Borovitsa and Falkovets. Here is the famous Pine Stone, the Red Stone, the Maid’s Rock. The Belogradchik Rocks are stone structures that have been sculptured for 200 million years by nature. At the end of the Paleizoic era there were sediments of sand-marvel rocks which later were overwhelmed by sea. Great quantity of gravel, sand and clay, dragged down from above by torrential rivers settled on the bottom of the sea. Sandstone and conglomerates were formed and due to the ferrous oxide gained red color, making the most interesting tourist attraction of Belogradčik.

Magura Cave is situated near Rabisha village, 25 km northwest of Belogradchik, 35 away from Vidin. Magura Cave is one of the biggest caves in Bulgaria and a monument of culture and national tourist sight. The surface of the floor is over 30000 sq m and the length of the galleries found up to now is about 2500 meters. There are big and small galleries in the cave. The formations of the Magura Cave are fantastic – stalactites, stalagmites, stalactones – The Madonna, the Dragon, the snowy little pines, lakes, cave pearls… Some of them fascinate not only with their beauty but also with their size – the Big Stalactone is 20 meters high and 4 meters in diameter.

There are unique drawings in the Magura Cave and there are hundreds of them. Magura Cave drawings date back to different ages – from 10000 BC to the early Bronze Age. The drawings show religious and hunting scenes, numbers information, dancing male and female figures, two-headed female image, hunters, animals, stars, tools, plants. The Solar Calendar from the Late Eneolith is of great interest. It consists of symbols for 366 twenty-four hour periods that stand for one year according to the Gregorian calendar. The Calendar shows important astronomy events – winter and summer solstice and vernal and autumnal equinox. The fossils found prove that wild prehistoric animals used to live in the region around the cave. The excavations show that the cave was inhabited 12000 years ago. Six housing levels were distinguished. The dwellings were built from wooden stakes, interwoven with sticks, plastered with clay mixed with straw. Tools were made of stone and deer horns.

An important highlight of the year is the folklore festival “From Tymok to Iskar – along the steps of the Thracians” which lasts for three days in September. The festival kicks off with the Thracian procession which takes place at the famous Belogradchik fortress to the sound of shepherd’s pipes and other musical instruments, as participants dressed in traditional Thracian clothing walk through the town. The scene takes on an eerie quality with participants dressed in costume, wearing masks and bearing torches. Competitive tribal battles are reproduced using improvised arms like javelins, swords, bows, shields and staves. The festival involves other sporting competitions – the throwing of the javelin and the disk, archery, horse racing and fire jumping. The winners are crowned by a young woman in the role of the goddess Bendyda. In the Panairishte square, special areas are set aside for the molding clay where craftsmen reveal their skills and the secrets of this art. People wishing to join in can do so as masks, costumes and torches are handed out freely.