Landmarks, Places of History and Interest
is one of the most beautiful villages in the Rhodopes. It is surrounded
by spectacular places and 24 chapels. Ecotrail is a small, but interesting,
part of the terrain near Momchilovtsi. It has two rock formations,
two chapels and a fountain, built early last century by stonemasons
who studied in the Italian school /craft development for construction/.
The greatest achievement of this school in Momchilovtsi is the church
belfry. It is based on project management and the best representative
of the school in Momchilovtsi - Hadji Nedelcho Kanev. The Radichoskata
fountain can be seen at the end of the route which is from the same
master and was built in 1922
Dupchov stone - The geological
structure of the village Momchilovtsi is complex with various age
and composition of rocks. In the north of the village there are
mostly older metamorphic rocks (gneiss, mica schist, amphibole slate,
marble, etc.). In the southern part, which is located on the village,
the rocks are younger and mostly sedimentary. They were formed and
deposited in the lake-marsh basin during the late Paleogene (Oligocene)
some 30 million years ago. At this time, together with all Middle
Rhodopian area, there existed a warm and humid climate. This is
confirmed by the sedimentary rocks fossils laurel, magnolia, cinnamon
plants and abundant tropical ferns and the horsetail plants.
At the same time the geological situation was not
peaceful with tectonic movements, active volcanic activity which
caused changes in the area of the lake basin and its shores. That
is why the sedimentary rocks that have accumulated are so varied.
For example, much of the village is situated on the sand deposited
in relatively quiet surroundings and well layered sandstone, gray
in color, sometimes whitish or bluish, and sometimes from very thin
layers of slab bundles. These sandstones are disclosed quarries
for building materials and the vast majority of houses in Momchilovtsi
are built from them. In addition, sand is easier to handle and can
be seen as cornerstones of almost all buildings in the village.
One of them is the tower of the church, lined the main floors of
buildings (library, city hall, restaurant, retaining walls of the
square, etc.) The biggest was developed in the gorge of the road
just before "Dupchov kamak" in the famous area "Katralnitsata."
There were others - an example in the village is the building of
the kindergarten. For environmental reasons the extraction of building
materials "Katralnitsata" is now limited.
came about through the changed geological activity in the region
with significant vertical crustal movements. These sandstones began
to accumulate material from rough gravel to medium-sized pieces
and in some places whole blocks of rock fragments which are superimposed
over the sand.
In composition these rocks, which are sometimes rounded but often
keeled, are gneiss, marble, volcanic, etc. and represent all the
diversity of the surrounding lake pool rocks then.
this heterogeneous mass of chaotic fragments generated as part of
the rock are generally classified as breccia-conglomerate.
rocks are notably complex and large. None more so than "Katralnitsata",
the height of "Dupchov kamak" (which can be traced to
the north into "Kardzhalitskiya kamak" and also called
"Pilyov kameny") and of the "Vartolya."
after millions of years, due to the rise of the Rhodope region and
draining of the lake basin, its rivers cut through the sediments
forming the modern slopes. An example is the slope of the height
of the chapel "Holy Apostles Peter and Paul" to "Damyanskiya
dol." This was due to the presence in the breccia-conglomerate
layers of more soluble and easily destructible rocks such as marbles,
breccia marble, mica schist, etc.
Over millennia, they have gradually leached, destroyed and carried
away by the rain and wind.
were formed those specific niches in the rock that gave the name
of this natural phenomenon - "Dupchov kamak" or the rock/stone
with the holes in it.
stone rock phenomenon was formed with Dupchov stone. It is at this
place that the shepherds and builders departing for work in the
Aegean said their goodbyes to their loved ones. Kardzhaliyski stone
is praised in the famous folk song "Tornal e Todyo...".
The authors of the song are professor of geology George Mandov and
"St. Petka "
St. Petka Chapel was built in 1993. The major
initiators and donors for the building were Maria Yancheva and Hristo
Zhekin. The place was donated by George,Stana and Zlata Solakovi.
Later he and Elena Gucheva joined the founders. Every year on 14
October the chapel is blessed with holy water.
"St. Peter "
Chapel "St. Peter" is built by a
decision of the Municipality in 1916 and in the same year there
was a large gathering on the second day of St. Peter. The place
was donated by Dicho Shukera. The whole village joins in and there
are sorrows roasted, no music, wheels sacrifices, and everyone wore
colorful food bags. They all sat in the surrounding grassy area
and families ate and talked. Shepherds came from the mountain and
also the masons of Kardzali. They all met here, talking, singing
old songs and joined together in the horo. Shepherds, especially
the younger ones, eagerly count the days until St. Peter because
on that day they had the right to hire and pay someone to graze
their sheep so they could honor the holiday and have fun. Their
greatest joy was to lead dance.
The builders worked hard to finish houses which were rented out
at Kardzhalaka. Often they worked from dawn to late at night so
they could join in with the feast, have fun and dance. This Petrovski
gathering is attended by all the surrounding villages and people.
The Festival of St. Peter started in 1942. Although more modest
without songs and dances the holiday is celebrated with holy water
and blessed table each year. Donations were widely given by many
people and from the Golyamskata neighborhood. Only the stones in
the village square Petrovski remind us of noisy gatherings of the
Built by Hadji Nedelcho Kanev, custom-made Anastas Radichev.
Momchilovski builders are considered one of the first masters of
stone in the Rhodopes. Stonework is a craft that developed in Momchilovtsi.
In the late 19th and early 20th century a Turkish sultan assigned
Italian stonemasons (led by Sylvester) to build bridges and retaining
walls along the route from Xanthi to Elidzhe. Momchilovski builders
were called on to help them.
This is how they learned the craft and embraced the Italian sense
of harmony and beauty. Sylvester was a favorite of Hadji Nedelcho
Kanev known for his holy life.
designed and built the tower, porch and yard of the church in Momchilovtsi
chapel "St. Sunday". He also built most of the fountains
in the village and church, the Borino and Slaveino towers, the monument
of Mount Srednogorets, and the retaining walls and staircases.
There are quite a few preserved monuments of traditional architecture
in Momchilovtsi. Middle Rhodopian traditional house is the most
complex as a plan and nearest to the contemporary. Typically it
is that it is at least two floors. On the second floor of the north
wall it is stone and the south wall is constructed from chit covered
with tiles. New elements were inserted during the Renaissance: bay
windows on upper floors, decorated ceilings, the ceiling, kiosks,
a wall cupboards. Typical of the facade of this house type is its
More about the cultural history of the village can
be learned by visiting the historical museum in Momchilovtsi.
Museum with Picture Gallery - has more than
3000 exhibits. The exhibition is arrange into sections: Archeology
and Renaissance (Bulgarian National Revival) and Ethnographical
which presents the history and the traditional way of life in the
The small picture Gallery presents works of classic
The religion in the village is Christian Orthodox
and it is surrounded by 24 Chapels of different ages and sizes built
after the Village was invaded by the Turks who decimated all the
monasteries and the churches in the area..... (see
our Chapels - locations and meanings page)
The builders in Momchilovtsi are known as one of
the first masters of stone in the Rhodopes..... (see
our Stonemasory page)
- Momchil Fortress, in the Gradishte
area near village of Gradat, is related to a fortress “Povisdos”
from XIV, mentioned in the book “History” of imperator
Ioan Kantakuzin (the name of that fortress has given the name to
the village”Podvis”, located under the peak of the fortress).
Fortress was also believed to be
ruled by the legendary hero Momchil, the last Christian mediaval
ruler of the region. There was a sanctuary on that same peak, in
the era when people mastered the copper processing techniques (late
halekolith – V thousand year B.C.) and shaped their believes.
place - comfortable, naturally protected and guarding important
roads – became a part of a line of fortification facilities
on Rhodopean peaks that did not loose their importance during the
- around the area of Momchilovtsi numerous finds
of fossils have been detected. Pond plants which grow readily
in the warm temperatures and moisture-giving nature are preserved
in the rocks (ferns, equisetums, magnolia, bamboo etc) as well as
freshwater snails. Specialists compare this with the vegetation
growing in Indonesia at present.
Astronomical Observatory - Rozhen -
is one of the five biggest observational complexes in Bulgaria and
is located near Momchilovtsi Village.
There are 4 telescopes the biggest of which is the
two-meter long mirror telescope (for website and
more information please see our Links page)