Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Crystal Heartbeat of a Mountain Lake

Photography by Evgeni Dinev   
With summer slowly melting behind us, September often awakes craving for fresher waters, for landscapes more sensitive towards the change of seasons than the uniform, uniseasonal sea coast of sand and blue water. This remarkable photologue follows a route around the dam lakes of Bulgaria's Rodopi Mountains, speaking more in the language of photography than in words. It's author, Evgeni Dinev, seems to have stolen some of this area's stunning beauty, as if capturing a hidden rhythm in its motionless.

On the way from Kardzhali to Smolyan, along the Arda River, the relief becomes steeper and the forest changes from deciduous to coniferous. On the way through the town of Ardino, we miss out on seeing the famed Devil’s Bridge, but at least the Gorna Arda cascade offers a lot of photo ops.

The road between the towns of Smolyan and Dospat takes us to the Rodopi’s highest part, which is 1,000 metres above sea level. The village with the interesting name Stoykite (meaning ‘the stands’ in Bulgarian) is hidden up here.

A quick walk from the Ledenitsata mountain hut to the Shirokolashki Snezhnik Peak (now known as Orpheus), which – with its height of 2,188 metres, is just 3 metres shorter than the Ropodi’s highest peak – Golyam Perelik.


We travel to Dospat as the sun is setting. From the rain that has fallen in these parts, little clouds have formed, snuggled in the mountain’s higher slopes.

In the morning, we are ready to go for a boat ride.

From Dospat we head upward to Shiroka Polyana.

Shiroka Polyana

One of the most beautiful but also a very crowded dam lake. After going completely around it, it turns out it is almost impossible to find a free space and be alone for a while. From all directions, there are grandmas and grandpas popping out, children’s camps, families dragging motorboats…. Its like being in the overcrowded Pancherevo Lake near Sofia, and that somehow curbs my enthusiasm for taking pictures.

Golyam Beglik

There isn’t a lot of space for camping out here, which means that interest towards the place is considerably lower compared to Shiroka Polyana.

The whole dam lake is torn up in branches and outflows, so I left the car behind in order not to go around it from afar and entered the forest. On the opposite shore, one could see these little houses that seemed to me to be located very close by.

At the beginning I walked along a narrow path, which soon disappeared and I had to trust my GPS entirely. After some prolonged wandering it started to get dark and I figured it would be best if I head back to the car and reach the little houses with the car.

In the morning, the scenery is beautiful, like for a postcard.


It seems that some time ago, the Golyam Beglik dam lake was connected to a smaller one, Malak Beglik, of which now there remains only a small stream.


The trip ends at the Vacha Dam.

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