Yanko Petlekov from the Rhodope village of Shiroka Luka for 17 years managed the Perelik hut under the mountain leader. He is 38 years old, but all his life he views the beauty of mountain meadows and forests. He knows the area as a palm. Because he meets daily ruins of churches, ancient fortresses, remains of Roman roads, he begins to study the history of his birthplace. He thinks that the best way to feel the beauty of the Rhodopes is to peep into the legends.
So he explained to us which places we passed on our way from the village of Gela through the Lednitsa hut to the Perelik hut. We had to go back. The route from Gela to Perelik hut goes for about 5 hours.
After the village, the last neighborhood passes and the road enters the forest, reaching a wooden bridge. From there there is a yellow mark on the forest road. After about 2 hours you can reach the chapel “St. Kirik and Yulita, and goes down to Perelik hut for 20 minutes.
We can not begin with the legend of the name of the village of Gela, which is shocking, tells Yanko. The village was named Gela, a woman whose only son was taken for a Janissary. He returned to these places after 20 years with an order to hunt his fellow villagers. However, he met his mother, who recognized him by birth mark. To confirm her words, the local priest also cried. The two of them fell on their knees and asked him not to give birth to his birthplace. But he was adamant, he had to execute the order even at the price of blood. The mother and the priest bowed their heads to be a scapegoat. Then he cut them off.
But village Gela remained Christian until today. The surrounding villages – Shiroka Luka, Solnitsi, Stikl, Stoikite, Kukovitsa, Varbovo are predominantly Orthodox, Yanko pointed out. Rodophets have jealously kept the particles of national memory over the centuries. It is impressive that there are many chapels in the area. One of them is extremely beautiful and is located in the Churika area, under the peak of Perelik. There are asphalt roads leading to it for 20 minutes to the hut on foot and 30 minutes by car to Smolyan.
Meat people remember that there was an old temple on the Chourika Meadow. It was restored during the Ottoman rule, and the inhabitants of the surrounding villages gathered here to celebrate the church feast. Because of a good girl she once became a hot fight, in which 30 people died. Recently their bones were found near the temple. That is why the workers in the military base of Perelik peak raised funds for the restoration of the monastery and built the chapel “St. Kirik and Julita “in 1994. The name of the saint over the years has been transformed into the name of the place – Churika. Next to the temple there is a relaxation area with a non-standard wood and fountain design dedicated to dead sergeants.
From here, a splendid view of the surrounding area is revealed and is therefore a traditional place for holding the August Rock Motto Fair. Unfortunately, our group went through Chourika a day after the fest was over. We were struck that the area was perfectly clean. There was still a non-standard scene of hay bales, there were enclosed ambulance seats and a fire truck.
Interesting is the name of the leader of the Rhodopes – Perelik. In translation it means “a person like a pearl”, a beautiful person who is an accurate description of the scenic area. The peak is inaccessible to tourists because there is a military site there. Chalet “Perelik” is situated at an altitude of 2048 m above sea level, and the peak of 2191 m.
Trigrad and Buynovsko gorge
The peak of Perelik is covered with beautiful coniferous forests, among which beautiful and picturesque meadows. From the ridge of Mursalitsa is visible the entire Rhodope, Rila and Pirin. The western part of Perelik ends in the terrible precipices of Trigrad and Buynovsko Gorge, which are dotted with dozens of caves. The most popular among them are the Devil’s Throat, Yagodinska and Harami. Perilik is Mount Turlata, which is pyramid-shaped and has preserved the remnants of a medieval fortress. On the northern slopes of Perelik lies Lednitza Cave, 1419 m long.
The whole area is full of old fortresses, Roman roads, or ruins of temples, Yanko continued. One such holy place is located at an hour and a half transition, near Mount Turlata. Here people during church holidays light candles in a pile of stones left from the old church “St. Konstantin and Elena “. Yanko, together with his father and uncle, put up their sleeves and build a chapel in this holy place. His father, Vasil Petlekov, has been a mayor of the villages of Solishta and Stikl. The chaplain of these villages also serves the newly built chapel.
The chalet, together with his brother, built another wooden chapel – “St. Ivan Rilski “in just 4 days. It is near the hut, in a picturesque place with a spring stream. Local residents believe the place is sacred and water miraculous. Interestingly, the water from the waterfall falls so that it makes a left turn and therefore it is called “left” water.
Yanko likes to climb the hut on foot to enjoy the picturesque meadows and forests. As he walks, he sings mystic Rhodope songs. He knows tens because he has been singing for 30 years. One of his most favorite is “Gorica, slim, green”. It tells of a haidutin who fled to the forest because he believed that she would hide it. But they catch him, and he laments that his hands are tied.
Yanko also likes “Shepherd, my shepherd”, telling a sad story of the life of the Bulgarian shepherds. It is the confession of a kechae (the most notorious shepherd) who, every winter, departs with their own villagers to feed their herd on the Aegean. But he gets sick and prays to his friends when they reach “our village, the hobber to wear.” He promises that although he will remain forever in a foreign land, he will meet them in the autumn, and in the spring he will send them.
You can not sit in the picturesque Rhodope meadows and not sing for love. That’s why Yanko started “Do you remember, love”, which chants the love of two young people, but which parents forbid to marry. When Yanko sang this submissive melody, he admitted that there was a part of the soul of his fellow villagers. Because whoever is born here remains forever in love with the Rhodopes. And whoever has stepped on this terrible land, dreams of returning again. But in order to feel the beauty of the mountain, it must be seen from above in its centuries-old history.
Autor: Liliya Lozanova