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Ivaylovgrad

Located in the most southern part of the Rhodopes, the area of Ivaylovgrad enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Olive trees and Laurel show it. Here you can find some of the most virgin forests in Bulgaria..Ivaylovgrad’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in the  dolmens, mounds, tombs, fortresses and temples. The nature and the rich history have left their marks in the local culture, which still preserves unique traditions.

 Ivaylovgrad has the reputation being a clean region, as there are no big industrial objects to pollute the environment. On its territory is the third reservoir of  the Arda river, that was built in 1964 and which is one of the most picturesque in Bulgaria. Its coast is lush and green and attracts many naturalists. The damlake offers excellent opportunities for fishing. Every year at the beginning of June there are the finals of the national canoe-kayak regatta.

Ivaylovgrad town has a population of 4423 inhabitants. Architecture wise  the dominant building in the town center is the community center “Probuda” (Awaking), built in 1971. Right next to it is the Mutafchiev’s house, which  happens to be the tourist information center. The nearby building of the local History Museumonce was a roman bath. It also holds an information center. In the old city center of Ivaylovgrad some traditional houses of the old  style  of rich Rhodopean houses are preserved. You shouldn’t miss to visit the churches in the villages of Pelevun, Pokrovan, Huhla, Svirachi, Belopolyane, Mandritsa and Dolno Lukovo, as well as the monastery “Saints Constantine and Helen” southwest of Ivaylovgrad on the way to the fortress Lyutitsa.

Among the most valuable cultural monuments in the Eastern Rhodope is the antique villa “Armira”, located at around 4 km south of the Ivaylovgrad town. This is a magnificently decorated villa  from the roman age, which is unique in Bulgarian. Good roads lead to the villa, there is a good parking and competent guides to show you around. Not far from villa Armira are the remains of one of the biggest mounds from Roman age, near the village of Sviratchi. Other interesting objects are the Byzantine fortress near the village Huhla (north of Ivaylovgrad) and the Aterenian bridge near the monastery “Saints Constantine and Helen”.

The medieval fortress Lyutitsa is located southwest of Ivaylovgrad and is one of the biggest fortresses in Bulgaria from the Byzantine age. It is also known as the Marble city, as for the building of the walls marble was used. It can be reached on foot only. There are two possible routes – coming from Ivaylovgrad via  the monastery “Saints Constantine and Helen” or via dirt roads coming from the villages Kobilino and Pelevun.

There are several protected areas in the Ivaylovgrad region, which hold special flora and fauna. However, the whole region  is very rich in nature . There are marked eco trails around protected area Byala Reka, towards the fortress Lyutitsa, towards the fortress near the village Huhla, etc.

In the protected area Byala Reka  some very rare fish, reptiles, birds and dragonflies occur.  The  protected area Likana holds anexceptional number of orchid species. Wine lovers should visit the winery of Yamatiev family and those who admire good traditions and healthy food – the ground baking sesame seed house.

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