Strandzha isn’t the largest or the highest mountain in Bulgaria, but it surely is among the most significant ones. It lies in the southeastern end of the country and takes up about 10 000 sq km of its territory.
And it is a really, really, really great vacation spot for all the people who enjoy peace and seclusion. Why is that so, you might ask? The answer is because Strandzha is the least populated area in the country with only 10 people per square kilometre. That isn’t the most remarkable fact about it, though. The mountain boasts hundreds of hiking trails and trekking routes, thousands of square kilometres of deciduous forests and several nature reserves, including Strandzha Nature Park and Silkosia, the oldest protected area in the country.
Its proximity to the Black Sea Coast means that every season large numbers of tourists seek shelter from the sandy heat of Bulgaria’s golden beaches on its hilly peaks and perfect-for-picnics green meadows. Still, this is not the feature that makes the mountain so special. Its spirit does. Over the centuries Strandzha Mountain has become the most ardent keeper of classic Bulgarian customs and traditions and the villages of Brashlyan, Kosti and Balgari, all situated at its heart, are the best proof.
Their centuries-old houses made of stone and wood and ancient cobblestone alleys preserve the atmosphere of the country’s mystical past. The village of Balgari is also the last place in Bulgaria where the fire-dancing ritual called nestinarstvo is still practiced and celebrated.