A 8000 year old sanctuary in the Belogradchik region
At the beginning of March 2017, an unknown rock sanctuary was discovered in the area of Markashnitsa, not far from Belogradchik. It is identical in shape to the rock niches in the Rhodope and Strandja Mountains. According to experts, they were used 8,000 years ago. The newly discovered sanctuary is located around a rock opening. It forms a light system with other rock openings and sanctuaries in the area. Perhaps the function of the newly discovered sanctuary was to modify the light through the primary opening to give it specific properties.
With this finding, the famous sanctuaries in the Markashnitsa area became eight. This proves the thesis of the local researcher Kiril Kirilov. In 2013 he published the book “Sacred Belogradchik Rocks” and on the basis of then known sites, he predicted the existence of many rock sanctuaries in the region with specific ritual purposes.
In 2016, Kiril Kirilov made a series of expeditions in the Markashnitsa area to find traces of forgotten rock sanctuaries. As a result of the work done so far, the megalithic two-storey cave with a hatched vault on the second floor – Lepenitsa is known, where are found traces not only of cult, but also of astronomical activity; the star map in the rocks over the cave with its Throne column; another six rock sanctuaries with different number of ritual wells, and some with separate cauldron altars. Some of the altars are located in light systems with rock openings to nearby sanctuaries. The overall impression is for a whole cult complex with an area of about 1.5 square kms.
The complex can be looked around in three days. It consists of many rocky massifs connected by forest roads and paths. For the most part, the tour around the area is a little harder than walking through a forest park. Only about 30 percent of the time will be needed to overcome more uphill but easy descents and climbs through convenient places in the rock massifs.
Also interesting is the connection of the complex with the rock sanctuary Chachin kamak near Belogradchik. This connection continues along perfectly straight line to the Kozarnika cave.
The area is filled not only with sanctuaries, but also with unique landscapes as well as interesting rocks such as the rock of the God of the sex.
Autor: Ing. Kiril Kirilov