Chepelare, Pamporovo & the Rhodopes

Chepelare - beautiful mountain town and modern ski resort

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If one decides to take a tour through the very heart of the Rhodopi Mountain, soon he will find himself under the magical influence of its extraordinary beauty. Approximately an hour past Bulgaria’s second largest city—Plovdiv, upstream the Chepelarska
river is the charming small town of Chepelare. Situated at an average height of 1150 meters above sea level, Chepelare is one of the highest Bulgarian towns.
Chepelare is situated 80 km away from the regional center Plovdiv,230 km away from the capital city Sofia and 22 km from the district center Smolyan and is one of the first places in Bulgaria where skiing has started.

Skiing

Chepelare has a long traditions in skiing. The first ski school in the town has been founded in 1954. The school trainees made first
achievements in skiing.
In 1969 has been created the Sport School For Ski Alpine And Biathlete Activities. The good trainers who work there gave to Bulgaria and to the world great sportsmen like Ekaterina Dafovska
who is an Olympic gold medalist.
There is a ski factory in Chepelare producing ski since 1975 and snowboards since 1992. In 2008 the factory has been bought
by AmerSports.

Ski runs

Almost 38 years after the first race for the “Chepelare Cup” in 1970, in 2008 Chepelare Resort welcomed tourists with nearly
20 km of ski runs. The existing runs have been thoroughly prepared and marked according to European standards.
One of the main runs in the center is for advanced skiers. It spans over a length 3250 m. and is equipped with 47, top of the range snow cannons produced by the French-American company
Johnson Controls. They would allow covering the track with artificial snow within 100 hours at -3 C air temperature.
Favorite for the intermediate skiers is the 6 km. long “Tourist Run”. For everyone with an adventurous spirit Chepelare offers “red hard” track with deep snow.
Chepelare is the first Bulgarian resort with free wireless internet broadcasting in the ski area.

Available to the of winter sports fans is a modern 4 man-chair lift with a capacity of 2000 per hour. It covers the 2700 meter distance from the town of Chepelare to the Mechi Chal peak in just
9 minutes. The lift line has been constructed by the French company Pomagalski.
For the first time in Bulgaria a special tourist admission system designed by the Austrian company Access will be used in Chepelare.
It will allow smooth access to the lift even during the rush hours of the day.


Town of champions

Ekaterina Dafovska is the most famous and successful Bulgarian biathlonist. She was born 28 November 1975 in Chepelare and during the 1998
Winter Olympics in Nagano,won a gold Olympic medal at the 15 km Individual event .
Ekaterina is the face of the Chepelare Resort.
Radoslav Yankov was born 26 January 1990 in Chepelare.
He is a gold medal winner at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Jaca - Spain 2007 In 2008 only 18 years old he won a Snowboard FIS World Cup for youth in Valmalenco - Italy. On 05 March 2009 in Yomase – Japan he became a world champion in Giant Snowboard Slalom.

Places of interest

As a real Bulgarian Town Chepelare has a specific character and atmosphere, and has kept centuries old traditions.
The Eastern Orthodox temple of St. Atanas was built in 1835. It is one of the oldest
Eastern Orthodox Churches in the area.
The ski and ski sport museum
offers a large collection of old ski and boots, photographs of famous skiers born in Chepelare and their medals and cups.


Chepelare is a remarkable ethnographic and folklore reserve. It has preserved the unique Rhodopian architecture (Uzunov’s House and Stoyu Shishkov’s House).
The town also features the only operational in Europe Karsts Museum.

Chepelare in the summer

In the summer the Rhodopi mountain completely changes itself and Chepelare changes from a thriving and modern ski resort to a tranquil mountain town. Local people go back to the routine
pace of the quite life in the mountain. The area around Chepelare has a lot to offer to the visitors.

Unique "The Wonderful Bridges"

A breathtaking rock formation named “The Wonderful Bridges” is one of the most popular nature phenomena in the Rhodopi mountain. It is situated 27 km. away from Chepelare and has become one of the most distinctive landmarks of the region. Due to the natural “antibiotic” - fituncidis, produced by the centuries old pine tree forests around, the air in the area is highly sterile. The specific climatic conditions host a flower unique for the Rodopi mountain– haberlea rodopenzis ,known to the locals as “silivriak”.

The National Observatory Rozhen

The National Astronomical Observatory Rozhen was officially opened on March 13, 1981, while the regular observations here have begun since September, 1980. NAO Rozhen still remains the biggest astronomical facility on the Balkan Peninsula and even on this part of South-eastern Europe.

Churches and monasteries

A large number of churches and monasteries in the past were completely destroyed and reduced to ruins. These which are preserved and renovated are very attractive for many Bulgarian and foreign tourists.
The Bachkovo Monastery is an important monument of Christian architecture and one of
the largest and oldest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Europe. It is located on the right bank of the Chepelare River, 43 km. away from
Chepelare.
The monastery is known and appreciated for the unique combination of Byzantine, Georgian and Bulgarian culture, united by the common faith.


In recent years, the Temple of St. Vissarion Smolyanski, which is one of the biggest East Orthodox temple in Bulgaria rises at the center of the district center—Smolyan.

Caves in the region

The caves near the Greek border (approximately 58 km away from Chepelare), such as Yagodinska Cave, Uhlovitsa, Devil's Throat Cave and others are popular among speleologists with their spectacular forms and underground lakes and rivers. The caves are electrified, the stair are hand-railed for tourists’ safety.

Photogallery