Short historical information
The Rhodope Mountains is one of the European civilization cradles. The first traces of human presence have been since the late period of old-stone epoch 20-15 000 B.C. Proofs for human presence during the Eneolita are found in the caves in the region. Remains are found in Yagodinska cave – the longest cave in Bulgaria /6450m/, Haramiyska cave in the Trigradsko couloirs, etc…
During the second millennium of B.C. in the Rhodopes is laid the beginning of the civilization of the Thracians. Witnesses of this epoch are numerous castles, settlements, necropolises and sanctuaries.
Rolling in mysterious legends and myths, somewhere around the Rhodopean peaks is kept the Greek God Dionysius’s sanctuary dark. The Rhodopes are also the birth place of the main character of the Thracian mythology – mythical Rodopean singer Orpheus.
After the decline of the Thracian civilization, the Romans enjoined their domination on these places. Numerous are the archeological monuments from the epoch of the Roman domination in the Rhodopes. It is still possible to walk along the roman roads’ remains, which had been connected the towns on The Aegean Sea with The Gornotrakiyskata /the Upper-Thracian/ nizina.
The Middle Ages is characterized with feudal characters for a long time. Old Bulgarian fortresses’ remains can be seen on many places in the region.
Besides the rich historical and archeological heritage, it can be seen numerous of architecture monuments and complexes in the area.
Only in the town of Smolyan more than 100 buildings have the dignity of architecture monument. A few architecture complexes all together 108 units of area are located in the town of Zlatograd. The most famous from ethnical monuments are the Alibeevia konak /town-hall/ and Pangalovata Kashta – monuments with national significance.
One of the most preserved villages in the Sredni Rhodopi is the village of Shiroka Laka, regarding particular houses and ensembles – Zgurovski konak /town-hall/ a monument with national significance, as well as regarding the infrastructure.
On the territory of the region is located one of the biggest and interesting feudal-aristocratic residential ensembles – “Agushev konak” /town-hall/ in the village of Mogilitsa.
Here are situated numerous historical monuments and places, as well as museum collections. Among them we’ll mention briefly the first state cultural institution in the Sredni Rodopi the Historical museum “Stoyu Shishkov” – Smolyan /more than 150 000 museum pieces/, the unique exposition “Rhodopean crystal”, enlisted in the world reference book of mineralogy, the “Museum of ore output” in the town of Madan, the only one in Europe “Museum of speleology” and The Ski and ski-sport museum in the town of Chepelare, etc…
Talking about the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region, at last but not at least, we have to mention also immaterial cultural heritage of the region – original Rhodopean folklore, local artistic crafts, customs and traditions.
The rich resources, the region has, including permitting climate during whole year, varied lay, excellent conditions for ski sport in the winter, rich forest vegetation and fauna, presence of water areas and balneological resources, define the tourism as the main priority for development of the region.
The tourism is a priority programme in Strategy for economical stability and development and in the Region Plan for regional development of region Smolyan.