Momchilovtsi
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Natural Landmarks, Places of History and Interest

Location of LandmarksMomchilovtsi 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

Rock formations

Kardzhali kamakKardzhali 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.

top of Dupchov KamakOthers 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.

 

Later this heterogeneous mass of chaotic fragments generated as part of the rock are generally classified as breccia-conglomerate.

Dupchov KamakSuch 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."

When, 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.

Thus 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.

Kardzhaliyski 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 Dimitar Radichev.



Sightseeing:

St Petka Chapel Chapel "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 Petar ChapelChapel "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 past.

   
fountain - Radichoskata fountain
- 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.

He 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.

Traditional architecture
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 elegant line.

More about the cultural history of the village can be learned by visiting the historical museum in Momchilovtsi.

Historical 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 Village.

The small picture Gallery presents works of classic Bulgarian Painters

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 - 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).

Momchil 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.

The 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 Middle Ages.

Momchilovtsi - 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.

National 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)

 

 

Tourist Information Centre, Cultural Centre, 5 Elitsa Str. Momchilovtsi Village 4750, Smolyan District, Bulgaria