Abandoned churches and fortresses

Abandoned churches and fortresses

This post was updated on January 20th, 2020

Off the beaten track – Yanyowets

Today’s journey allows us to explore areas near and far of Yanyowets. We can not make it to the mountain hut without risking to get stuck there for days to come. However, making the best of it, we have fun exploring abandoned churches and fortresses.

Yanyowets, Friday, June 15, 2018

Leaving for Yanyowets

Another failed attempt to capture the sunrise over Kaleto Belogradchik. The weather is just not playing along this early in the morning. Due to the heavy rainfalls of yesterday and last night, we won’t be able to make it to the mountain cabin near Vratsa (Bulgarian: Враца) either. Instead, we are going to stay just a few kilometers from Belogradchik in Yanyowets (Bulgarian: Яньовец). From there we find and find more places to discover. 

Borovitsa

Our first stop, after dropping off our luggage in our very yellow rooms in Yanyowets, is a little church in Borovitsa (Bulgarian: Боровица). The village got its name from the Borov rock (Bulgarian: борова скала). Borov meaning Pine, that towers over the old part, and its only remnant the Holy Trinity Church (Bulgarian: Църква “Св. Троица”) from 1866.

Holy Trinity Church of Borovitsa
Holy Trinity Church of Borovitsa

Access to the church proves a little challenging. Not only is it well hidden, but we take a path that looks more like a farming road. Finally reaching the church, we find its gates closed. There is nothing that a little climb over a wall or fence cannot solve. Well except for the closed entrance door that is. We don’t have quite the light to enjoy the photography aspects of this. But it would be nice to come back for sunrise if the weather permits.

Pine Stone giving Borovitsa its name
Pine Stone which gave Borovitsa its name


While there is not much to photography from the ground, I am getting my chance to watch Evo fly his drone. That adds a whole new perspective. The photos I can spot on the screen are much better than what we can capture from the ground. 

Time for a break

Almost too soon it is time for a lunch break, though not very hungry, we make our way to the restaurant in Belogradchik. Our timing turns out to be spot on as it starts raining heavily while we are on the road. Thankfully by the time, we finish our break the rain stops. Our treat of the day is some beautiful fog lingering in between the Rocks of Belogradchik. This means we are going back to another visit at Kaleto Belogradchik. The attempt to capture it from a nearby viewpoint fails as we cannot see it through the fog, but nobody said we could not go inside for another visit.

Belogradchik Rocks hidden in the fog
Belogradchik Rocks in the fog

Back at Kaleto Belogradchik

Not that the architecture of this place has changed a lot since yesterday. However, we are still able to capture different images than before. This even though we are climbing through the same areas. Everybody takes turns modeling for the others, and once more we just have a great time. Who had the bright idea of only staying here for two weeks??? Karin, why couldn’t you tell me in advance it would be this good amazing, when you found me last year? I guess I wouldn’t have believed it anyway. Evo is already frequently asking me if I cannot stay longer. Or if not that then at least come back later this year. I just wished I could do both. Or at least maybe I could get 1400hour days while I am here? Please?

Kaleto Belogradchik in the fog
Kaleto Belogradchik

Going to Vidin

Time is passing way too fast, and it is time to make our way to yet another location. This time Vidin (Bulgarian: Видин) is our new destination. Today’s town is built upon the old Celtic settlement of Dunonia from the third century BC. The Romans later fortified this area under the name of Bononia. We are heading straight to Baba Vida (Bulgarian: Баба Вида) – or Granny Vida Fortress – passing the abandoned Synagogue. Unfortunately for us, the Synagogue seems entirely fenced off with no chance for us to get inside. It would have been so cool if we could have visited it. Though it is more a ruin of a Synagogue today. Hopefully, the fences are there because someone plans on some sort of restoration soon. Seeing it restored to its former glory would be so cool. We reach Baba Vida with an hour to spare before they close the gates, or at least stop selling tickets.

The Danube River and Romania on the other side of it, seen from Baba Vida
Danube River and Romania on the other side

Baba Vida

Today’s tower eight shows the origins of the Roman fortress of Bononia, built in the fourth century AD. The medieval castle was built on top of the foundation of Bononia in the 10s century.

During the Ottoman yoke, between the end of the 13th century and 1878, the new rulers destroyed most medieval fortresses of Bulgaria. However, no force took Baba Vida. Therefore it was not only kept intact but called the Virgin Fortress.

During 500years of Ottoman rule, it was, among others, used as a prison for opponents of the regime and military storage. The prison cells are still intact and even show the marks left by the prisoners trying to keep track of their days there. Nearby we find a display of the torture instruments. 

Baba Vida
Baba Vida

Unfortunately, our visit is cut short by an upcoming storm front. Just in time we manage to get back into the car and onto our way back to Yanyowets where dinner is waiting for us. Tomorrow we’ll be going east.



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