Mountain Village

Location ID: 2681

The beautiful, picturesque village Gela is located at the foot of the most magnificent mountain peaks in the Rhodope mountains – Goliam Perelik, Orpheus peak and peak Turlata, just 18 kilometers away from Pamporovo – the 3rd biggest ski resort in Bulgaria, and about 4 hours away from Sofia. It is situated in the heart of the mountain and the population of this small village is a mere 98 people. This village has a centennial history, and has preserved some beautiful legends. Legends say that this village was the birth-place of Orpheus – the mythical ancient Thracian singer who is associated with many ancient legends. The nearby mountain peak and a unique flower, which can be seen only here, were named after him.

The settlement was founded more than 3300 years ago. It is considered to be one of the cradles of European civilization and it has been inhabited since ancient times by wealthy members of the Thracian tribe Besi, for which the nearby ancient Thracian fortress “Gradishte” testifies.

During Roman times, Gela village was an important cultural, commercial and defensive center. The mountain peak Turlata was a fortress, whose remains you can see even nowadays from the mountain top. There are ancient Roman roads everywhere around the village, as they connected the Aegean cities with the Upper Thracian Plain. The village hosts two Orthodox churches and four chapels. The people of Gela village have preserved their traditions and way of life for many generations, and even to this day they cultivate the land manually and keep free-range farm animals, which feed freely on the green meadows around the village.

The location of this village is one of the sunniest in the whole of Europe – here the sun shines at least 280 days per year. This is one of the reasons for the nearby observatory in Rojen to be built in this region- Rojen observatory is the fifth biggest astronomical observatory in Europe and the biggest one in the Balkans.

Every summer the village hosts a National Bagpipe Music Festival. The Rhodope mountain is famous worldwide for being a unique center of bagpipers.