The Pyramids of Stob
|Pyramids of Stob|
The pyramids are most easily accessible by car, especially if you set off from the capital city of Sofia. After leaving the capital, take the road to Blagoevgrad. When you near Kocherinovo, you know you are close. Turn right, then left. After a kilometer, you are in a relatively big, typical Bulgarian village, white hot by the heat. The wide-open windows of the houses seem as though they are panting in the swelter. The streets are dead in the afternoon sultriness, and the only living being that appears from time to time is a lone donkey, lazily swaying its ears in the almost liquid air. Only the cool murmur of the river tears the heavy mantle of the haze
If you know no one, ask for directions at the local cafeteria. You can see the pyramids from the village, which are about 45 minutes away. They appear stuck in the rocks of the Rilla Mountain and are crowned with a small church by the name of St. Panteley. There are two ways – a green forest path and a wide cart-road. You must be tough because the pyramids can be reached only by a narrow track that climbs up winding from hill to hill. Each hill will seem steeper than the previous.
Just as you are about to give up and the thick shades of the trees around are tempting you to rest; you’ll stop, amazed at the view before you. Over the entire dell on the right, surrounded by lush greenery, the first group of pyramids spills down. As if a rough sea has petrified, you’ll see huge “waves” and giddy precipices that seem as though they had raced down but stopped forever in their rush. From another point the pyramids look like the walls of a fortress, towers or battlements sculpted in the crumbling sandstone by the wind and water. Jagged and gnawed away by the time, often connected to each other, they form a genuine labyrinth. At the foot of some of them, small trees have grown which calm the eye from the red colour of the chimneys. Some of the pyramids are sharp, needle-shaped; others are cone-shaped with a stone on top making them look like mushrooms.
In olden times the tradition was that the young would marry without knowing their would-be spouse. Only after the wedding would the groom see his bride. The matchmakers from the mountain village of Kolibite brought a maiden from the village of Stob. On their way, when passing by the southern rib of Kulski Rid, a gust of mountain wind blew open the heavy veil of the bride and revealed her face. Her unseen beauty amazed the matchmakers; the best man could not resist the temptation and kissed her on the lips. Horrified by this sin, the whole procession got petrified and has stayed like this.
The red ribbing and the legend only add to the impression that you stay in front of the wide-open gates of Hell. A very narrow stretch of loose scree swerves left and up towards the very ridge. The place is dangerous – suddenly you stand on a bridging piece of land, at both sides of which spirals dizzy abyss some tens of meters to the bottom. If you do not easily get dizzy, you can carefully go across and climb to the top. It is relatively wide and the ridgeway is safe and clearly seen. Some hundred meters follow and you gasp of amazement, your breath taken away. You have reached the end of the road; the third group of pyramids is beyond.
The hours go by in overawed admiration and respect before the creation of nature. The way back awaits and you reluctantly turn your eyes away from the stunning view because you have the inevitable feeling you are part of a fairytale. Having reached the end of the road, you are no longer afraid to step on the bridge and cross it, neither are you afraid to stand on the edge above the second group of pyramids. The canyons, dashing down, look extremely impressive viewed from above. Their bottom is strewed with small streams of white pebbles, grass and shrubs sprouting. You pick a pebble as a memento and head for the village, keeping in your memories the view of this incredible natural phenomenon called the pyramids of Stob.