Krumovgrad – The Rhodopean Klondike


Krumovgrad is a small town in the Eastern Rhodopes. They call it ¨the Rhodopean Klondike¨ because of the gold mine in the city. Krumovgrad is the third largest in the district after Kardzhali and Momchilgrad.

The town was named after the Bulgarian Khan Krum. Until 1934, the name of Krumovgrad was Koshu kawak, which comes from the ¨kushi¨ running here – horse racing. The favorable climate and natural conditions have allowed the settlement of Krumovgrad in the most ancient times. There are several Thracian shrines in the area associated with Thracian worship.

Other interesting cultural monuments in the Krumovgrad area are the Thracian rock niches carved into sheer cliffs along the Arda River. They are located near Thracian fortresses or settlements. They probably contained small pots of clay that were urns or funeral gifts.

Also, close to Krumovgrad are traces of medieval fortresses built during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

During the Ottoman rule, the site of what is now Krumovgrad is the center of the surrounding villages because of the wooden mosque built, where believers gather on Friday. In this regard, a market was formed and later enterprising people built warehouses to store the goods they trade in – hides, cocoons, tobacco and others. The warehouses also have one or two security rooms, which later turn into homes.

The Rhodopean Klondike

Studies show that in ancient times the inhabitants of this beautiful Rhodope region mined gold 3500 years ago during ancient Troy. Legend has it that the Thracian tribe that inhabited the gold-mining region used to win the Trojan war heroes and rulers of the Mycenaean civilization.

According to the Institute for Eastern and European Archeology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, this is the oldest prehistoric gold mine discovered and studied so far in Europe. Austrian experts study the mine in collaboration with the National Archaeological Institute and define it as a real sensation. In 2017, the two companies opened the exhibition “First Gold – Ada Tepe, the oldest gold mine”.


Nowadays, the first new mine in Bulgaria has been opened on this site after socialism is located near Krumovgrad in the area called Ada Tepe. Unlike the other gold mine in Chelopech, the mine is above ground in Krumovgrad. The site is medium-sized.