Perperek (Perperikon)

Perperek (Perperikon) is an archeological complex located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the town of Kardzhali. The complex occupies a large area and includes several cultural layers from different periods. There is a megalithic pagan sanctuary, a variety of monuments from the period of Antiquity, churches and a mediaeval fortress with somewhat preserved defence tower.

The place was visited and described by Ivan Velkov back in the 1930s. Later, in the end of 1960s and the begging of 1970s, the first archeological survey of the area was carried out. The excavation started in 2000 and soon the place was turned into a tourist attraction. There are many questions concerning the way the excavation and the conservation works were done and some people even mockingly call the place Перперибетон (Perperibeton), which comes from the Bulgarian word for concrete - “бетон”. It is fortunate that even after the so called socialization the place has still preserved its character and stature.

The entrance fee is 2 levs for students and retired people and 6 levs for everyone else. Children younger than 7 years old visit the place for free and groups of 20 people and more get a discount. Hiring a guide costs 20 levs.

The following pictures were taken in June 2017 and show the beauty of the place as seen through my camera. Spending а great part of a night taking photos in the area was an amazing experience for me. The place was empty and soon after the sunset I started to see faces and strange forms in the rocks all around me. The light of the full moon was delicately covering the wounds of commercialisation. My imagination was transferring me all the way back to the ancient times, when this place was something quite different. Looking at the forms of the rocks and listening to the songs of the night birds I was wondering what kind of mindset the people had back then in this sacred place. Did they have the same lust for money as the people today? Did they feel and think about time and space like we do, where were they going and what did they believe in? I hope that these questions have somehow found their way into the images I captured that night and I wish you have the possibility to go and explore this wonderful place for yourself.

The easiest way to get to the archeological complex of Perperek is to travel by car. It is located about 270 km away from the capital town of Sofia. Taking the distance requires about 3 hours. For the most part (for the first 220 km) you can drive on the highway if you prefer to do so. The second part of the journey follows the main road from the town of Dimitrovgrad towards the town of Kardzhali until you get to the village of Kozlets (Козлец), and then continues south in direction of the villages Zornitsa (Зорница), Beli Plast (Бели пласт), Sokolyane (Соколяне), Lyulyakovo (Люляково) and Gorna Krepost (Горна крепост). About 2 km south of the village of Gorna Krepost you have to turn right and follow the asphalt road until you get to the paid parking area next to the archeological complex. A 10-15 minute walk will take you to the top of the hill where the ancient remains are located.