Polovrak shelter

Polovrak shelter is located in Lozenska Planina (Lozenska Mountain). It is a small building that presently offers primitive (rustic) conditions and though I can not say it is dirty inside, it is neither clean. For sure the place is not ready for those who are used to the comfort of the hotels but when needed one could sleep inside and at least it will be warmer. The shelter is not lavishly furnished. There are two tables, five benches, a wood-burning stove, a fireplace which was full with litter when I last visited the place, and a bunkbed big enough for 8-10 people. The stove is indeed well built and it warms the spacious room quickly and very effectively. Water is to be found 50 metres west of the shelter, in the highest part of the nearby forest. Next to an old beech tree, there is a spring box. Unfortunately I can not give you any guarantee that the water is indeed drinkable. It should be. Yet the spring box lid is open and there are also signs that other people have used it so it may as well be contaminated.

Just a few metres above the shelter there is a beautiful panoramic view towards the greater part of Lozenska Planina, Vitosha and most of the northern ridges of the Rila Mountains which stretch in the distance like a great dark wall. Between them and the foreground you can glimpse the glittering waters of the biggest dam lake in Bulgaria (yazovir Iskar) though the bigger part of it lies hidden between the ridges of several lower mountains.

If you continue to climb further up the hill, after 10 minutes or so you will get to Polovrak peak (1182 m). The visibility from up there is even better and you can see not only the aforementioned mountains but also Stara Planina (the Balkan Mountains) which fences Sofia plain from the north. The capital itself lies down at your feet between the massive body of the Vitosha Mountain to the left and Stara Planina to the right. The view of the city at night is impressive. Hundreds of thousand of lights are flickering all over the plain and highway A1 is like a glowing river that brings down its stream a never ending current of people and cars. Turn around and suddenly you are now out of this modern world. For many kilometres south the are no lights, no villages and most likely no other people. Only far in the distance you will see some lights and they all lies well beyond yazovir Iskar. Probably once again it has been proven to you that Bulgaria is a land of high contrasts...

A marked tourist path goes to Polovrak shelter. It connects the village of Dolni Lozen with the village of Dolni Pasarel. There is public transport to both of these villages which means that you can do this walk paying just the price of two normal bus ticket (3.20 leva). The bus line that goes to Dolni Lozen is number 5 and the one to Dolni Pasarel is number 3. The first station of these two buses is located in Geo Milev district. To get there from the centre of the town you need to take tram 20 or bus 11 (check the location in google maps here).

No matter which of the two villages you choose for a starting point, the hike begins with climbing. The good news is that the path is well marked and for the most part of it - wide and easy to walk on. There aren't any really steep sections and after about hour and a half you will get above the tree level and soon after that reach peak Polovrak (if coming from Lozen) From there the shelter is just hundred metres down the slope.

The path passes close to St. Spas Monastery so if you are interested in religious architecture you may visit it as well. The monastery was initially established back in the Middle Ages but it was later destroyed and its present-day architecture dates back to the first part of 19th century.