The Magura Cave is located in Northwest Bulgaria, 17 km away from Belogradchik, 2 km from the village of Rabisha, 35 km from Vidin and 180 km from Sofia. It was hollowed out in the limestone hill Rabishka Mogila, 421 above sea level.
Geologists believe that the Magura Cave was formed by a river about 15 million years ago, during the Tertiary. The human traces are nearly 12 000 years old. The Triumph Hall was inhabited during the Early Bronze and Early Iron Age. Among the finds are remains of dwellings, fireplaces, ovens, stone and bone tools, metal and pottery. Animal traces have also been discovered: bones of cave bear, cave hyena, wild horse, bull, deer, stag etc.
The cave-men made their dwellings from wooden poles that they stuck into the clay floor at a distance of 25 cm and bound them with clay-covered sticks. The rock ceiling of the Podmola (Reef) served as a roof. The floor was covered with yellow clay. The charcoaled remains of walls and burned floor indicate that some dwellings were destroyed by fire and later restored.
The greatest attraction of the Magura cave is the extraordinary prehistoric drawings cut into the rock and made with bat guano. They feature dancing women, dancing and hunting men, masked human figures, animals, stars tools, plants. It is believed that the drawings were created during different periods: the Epipaleolithic, the Neolithic , the Aeneolithic, and the Early Bronze Age. There is also an annual solar calendar. The calendar and the drawings were made with amazing precision.
The drawings and the calendar cast light on the life of the prehistoric humans, their everyday life, rituals, festivals, the way they marked time etc. It is interesting to note that the representations in the Magura cave have counterparts in well-known prehistoric centers in Italy, the Iberian Peninsula and Asia.
The Magura Cave is one of the largest of its kind in Bulgaria. It is also among the first to have been made accessible to visitors. The cave has several entrances. The largest entrance is situated on the southern slope of the hill. It consists of a main gallery and three side galleries. Their total length is about 2500 m. The halls are enormous: over 200m long, 50m wide and over 20m high. They bear different names, e.g. Hall of Triumph, Bat Gallery, Stalactone Hall, Hall of Drawings, the Fallen Pine, Poplar Hall, Throne Hall, Ceremonial Hall, Fiords etc.
There is a great variety of formations in the cave: stalactones, stalagmites, stalactites (the Madonna, the Dragon, and the Snow-Covered Pines), cave pearl, cave milk (soft limestone colloidal substance). Some of them are over 20m high. Here is also the largest stalagmite in Bulgaria, the Fallen Pine. It is 11m long, with a diameter of 6 m. Of special interest are the so called Harps (or Bells). When struck, they produce various sounds. Worth seeing in the Throne Hall are: the Throne, the Stone River and the Mushroom.
There is a wine cellar in one of the halls. The conditions it offers in terms of climate and terrain are comparable to those in the Champagne region in France.
The Magura Cave has been declared a natural sight and is on the list of the 100 Tourist Sites in Bulgaria selected by the Bulgarian Tourists’ Union.
Near the Magura Cave is the Rabisha Lake. It is of tectonic origin and is 35-40m deep. The lake is good for surfing, swimming, hunting birds and fishing carp, white amur, catfish etc.
Rising 2251 m above sea level, Mount Ruen is the highest point of the Osogovska Mountain. It ranks 5th on the list of Bulgarian peaks, after Mussala, Vihren, Botev and Cherni Vruh. Mount Ruen is made of granite and metamorphic rocks.
Mount Ruen has a rounded ridge covered with deciduous forests. In clear weather it commands a beautiful view to the Kraishte area and Western Stara Planina to the north; to the northeast are the mountains Konyavska, Lyulin, Vitosha and Verila. Rila Mountain is to the east and Pirin Mountain is to the southeast. To the southwest is the Kamenitsa region and behind it is the valley of the Bregalnitsa River. In the distance rises Kozhuh Planina; to the southwest some parts of the valley of Vardar River can be seen; to the northwest is Shar Panina and some mountains within the territory of South Serbia.
During the Second Balkan War (1913) lieutenant general Todor Kantarjiev commanded the operations of the Bulgarian army beneath Mount Ruen.
The Bistritsa and Eleshnitsa rivers start from Mount Ruen.
Until 1997 Mount Ruen was part of the border strip dividing Bulgaria and Macedonia and could be reached only with a special permission from the Border Police Directorate. Today it is completely accessible.
Mount Ruen can be reached from Osogovo Lodge situated in the Plavilo Locality, at the foot of Mount Kyunek. Another way to get to the top is via Tri Buki ( Three Beeches) complex, lying 20km southwest of Kyustendil. The trail takes about 3 and half hours.
Mount Ruen is on the list of the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria selected by the Bulgarian Tourists’ Union.
Osogovska Mountain is located on the border between Bulgaria and Macedonia and belongs to the so called Osogovska-Belasitsa mountain group. It has two distinct ridges pointing southwest-northeast and northwest-southeast. The ridges intersect on Mount Ruen. Osogovska Mountain has high and rounded ridges, and steep slopes overgrown with coniferous and deciduous forests. It was formed from metamorphic rocks and granite.
Summer working hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (last group entry at 4:00 pm)
Winter working hours: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm (last group entry at 3:00 pm)