The healing milk is the milk that the shepherds prepare from the village of Mugla because it is ecological and contains different herbs. Whoever eats from it gets male children, jokingly highlights one of the oldest shepherds in the village Eliya Kisyov. He is 75 years old and has been a pastor for all his life, he knows the surrounding heights of the Rhodopes.
With a group of tourists we met by chance Bai Ilia. We had decided to make a transition from Lednitsa hut over Gela to Mugla. But in the middle of the road there was a heavy rain and we went into the coupling. There, Elijah and his colleague welcomed us warmly, as if he had been friends for years. We were struck by the humanity and hospitality of these strangers, abused people, things you can not sense in urbanized cities. At the very welcome you feel how wide the heart of the Rhodopean is.
The Mugla yoghurt
Bai Ilia helped us dry up and did not sit down until he put everything he had on the table – yogurt and mastic. He was housed in a semi-open wooden shed, which had a hunting lodge placed in jail. A bunch of deep-boned milk made of oak wood that keeps its qualities longer.
We were all amazed that the white taste was so dense that putting a spoon in it was right. Trying her, you are amazed by her incredible taste. There is no way else, because the sheep only graze herbs, and in the area over the village of Mugla grows the famous Mursal tea. The vicinity of the couches is on the meadow between the village and the neighboring mountain ridges. Here the nature is clean and the diversity of the mountain flora is preserved.
Bai Ilia and his colleague take care of 200 sheep from the local Rhodope breed. During warm seasons, they are grazing, but their feeding is difficult during the rest of the season. The shepherds gather hay and have already begun to mow, but are hindered by the torrential August rains. Unfortunately, the majority of local people do not receive any subsidies for raising lives. Until ten years ago, the village was celebrated with more than 6000 sheep, but after the disbanding of the cooperative farms, the number of them was drastically reduced. It currently houses about 150 people, mostly adults, who are exploited by livestock and plant breeding. The number of sheep eaten decreased to 1000.
Until 1-2 years ago, 200 cows have been raised in Mugla, but 30 have remained after that winter. People have been forced to slaughter or sell them because they can not feed them.
They are far from any institutions that provide information and are not aware of what support they are entitled to. They raise the animals the way their fathers and grandchildren looked at them. They enjoy only the mercy of nature and the green paradise in the Rhodope Mountains. Milk is spent with Vesa horse, as it was 200 years ago. The purchase price of milk in this area is low and pays off the livestock for dying. From 3-4 years old cow’s milk is bought for 45 stotinki per liter and sheep for 1-1,20 leva per liter. So local farmers are at a loss. In other regions of the country where there are other employment opportunities, people can earn additional income through livestock. But here it is a major livelihood and pits the area of depopulation. Bai Ilia sadly remembers that in Mugla there was a school full of children before.
It has long closed doors, and in the pretty village live mainly elderly people. Most are dressed in blue working aprons, both during the time of the rise of socialism.
Almost everyone is busy with housework, animals or the garden. Only a few men are sitting in front of the local shop, which also plays the role of a pub. They play chess and discuss the things of life gently.
The only woman who did not carry any milk or bread loaves attracted our attention. She held a huge bouquet of colorful flowers and carried them to her breast as a child. It turned out that we had arrived on the eve of the village’s feast – August 2, which marked Ilinden in old style. The woman wore the wrist over which the whole village would sing ritual songs and would be submerged for health in the nearby spring. But the fragrant plants must lie in moonlight, covered with a white cloth. This is part of the ritual of health that has been observed for centuries by Ilinden (in old style) near the local river Muglenska reka. It is exceptionally beautiful with its many waterfalls and thresholds. The village is close to the Bulgarian-Greek border. The old name is Muglen, because it often sinks into fog.
There are traditions that the first inhabitants of the village settled in this place because of the clean and pleasant to taste water. According to other legends, the first settlers were four bachelors hiding in the inaccessible forests of today’s Mugla along with their stolen brides from Smolyan. On the territory of the village of Mugla are found plates with inscriptions with unrecognized writing, which still hide their secrets.
Above the village is the Mursalitsa area, where Mursala tea is the most common herb for every pain. Mursalitsa is the main ridge of Mount Perelik and is one of the most panoramic places in the region. It can be seen all over the Rhodope, Rila and Pirin Mountains. In the region of Mugla village is one of the largest populations of chamois in the Rhodopes, about 60-70 animals.
On the territory of Mugla is the reserve Kazanite, which was declared a reserve in 1968 in order to preserve the mixed forests of fir, black pine, beech, spruce. The village is rich in karst springs, the largest of which – Yaza, supplies the resort Pamporovo with water through a long 23 km of water supply. Smolyan also supplies water from the region.
When you leave the village and you see the white houses lofty in greenery, the new mosque, you understand the goodness of these people. You can not live in such beauty, in the simplest way – to raise animals, and not to be a broad soul.
Autor: Liliya Lozanova