Anevo Kale Fortress, Sopot

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 Статията на български

NB* I would like to express gratitude to the author of "The Medieval Fortress near Sopot" for the comprehensive work, published with the reports of the archaeological survey of Anevo Kale. In principle, it is part of specialists' obligatory duties to present at public disposal complete and free to reach and use information from the studies on every case and type of heritage of national and regional significance, since these are our common property and it is professional teams' obligation to serve the public interests of each citizen. However, those interested in heritage are familiar with the existing tendency of general deficit in both mass media and the providing itself with information of public importance. In this spotlight, every example of quality work and professional attitude deserves and receives recognition and encouragement.

The best time of the year to visit Anevo Kale is right now, in May, in order to get the chance to melt down in the sea of lilac scent overflowing from the painted in the same colour meadows spread all around the approaches to the fortress. These most beautiful moments of spring, honeyed with lush, fragrant, fresh and warm nature, are divine nectar for the senses, filled with numberless advantages. If you like to roam around the lands of Bulgaria, it is more than certain that you are already aware of them; if you are still new to the craft of wandering, it is more than likely that you feel the irresistible desire to know about them by yourself. Nevertheless, in case you are in need of advice and despite the fact there is not a month when I have spared myself from tramping in the wilderness, I recommend the spring with handfuls, the season preventing you from not that nice encounters with not that welcomed creeping, stinging and biting wild creatures, providing in the meanwhile the necessary dose of weather ideal for your travel.

My meeting with Anevo Kale happened exactly in such days, more than a couple of years ago. An unforgettable journey for me that it was, motivated by similarly special personal occasion and executed in two successive tours during the stretch of the entire dream month. Regardless of the repeated changes in direction, west to the east, east to the west, here slightly to the north, there a little more of the south, the main run followed stick obedient course, parallel to the impressive spine of the Balkan Mountains. The southern sub-Balkan slopes abound with natural and human creations, values and beauties grown densely like forest mushrooms after rain, inviting you to simply follow your path and pick them up in your basket. The great love that I feel to the Rodopi mountains does not close my eyes before the treasures of the legendary Balkan. Cool is its warmth, soaked in rich crystal moisture, dense is its verdure, covering it gently, soft and deep like velvet.

It was my first visit to Sopot and meeting it found to be a gift full of surprise and satisfaction from the comfort I was taken care with, the calm daily pace of its population, the cosiness of the delicious night with its tasty dishes, the clean air, where your sleep is of a baby, the memorable atmosphere inside the courtyards and outside the walls of the old traditional architecture, and the sights that it yet had to show me save the fortress. Anevo Kale is located in close proximity to this historic town and is visible from the adjacent former village and now its neighborhood that has given the name of the stronghold, otherwise left unnamed in the sources. Looking north from this point, its beautiful silhouette stands clearly out on one of the lower hills, where a road with half-expired date (regarding the time of my visit) starts and leads to... My memories wind together with it and lose from sight, pass by an area with freshly digged out plots of land for villas and reach a flat artificially wooded glade, exposing the outermost structures of its undefended town quarters.

Typical for my fortress campaigns is to take place, if rarely completely improvised, with the only information available for the approximate location of my aim to an inhabited place in its range. This personal style of approach has enriched my experience with numerous, sometimes reaching a serious level of difficulty situations, inevitably accompanied by a variety of emotions in types and degrees, always ending with immense excitement, yet not always with the success to be able to call yourself a proud conqueror of strongholds. In no different way, the accession to Anevo Kale to one stage relied on guidance obtained on foot at the beginning of the route and afterwards entirely on my own strenghts, good luck with orientation and success in the final. After certain tramping upward the hills in search of that particular of the fortress, out of sight from long time, my meeting with it was sudden, front and colossal, right before the walls of its southern tower, streching in full height like giants.

This first collision with the stunning ruins of the fortress is followed by still more striking one from the sight of the almost vertical slopes of the steep, crowned by its citadel. Only after the earth floating under feet and over head stands again on its previous firm foundations, from within the space of the southern tower the structure of the northern reveals at the opposite end of the western wall, the only one of all preserved in an intact state, over the crest of the hill. Access to the second tower is only possible down a ladder mounted to the rock, challenge even worthy of extremist climbers, and with no chance of its attractive red frame to prevail over my highly manifesting sense of self-preservation. These are all of the ruins that are visible to sight. The rest of them remained a long time mystery even to professionals before the running of the archaeological research.

With its notable size inspiring respect, is it further growing in your vision when you learn that instead of two its towers are all eight in number, and what you see is only a minor part of the citadel of a feudal town?! Anevo Kale was declared a cultural heritage further in the middle of the 60's, but only started 20 years later excavations have proven the great rank of the fortress. Remains of structures used for defense and communication are available as early as the passes at the hill foot. The town ensemble incorporates two main parts, the strongly fortified center crowning the top and neighborhoods, less yet still with data to have been secured by fortress walls, built along the slopes in two levels, upper and lower. Residential and church building was discovered in the town quarters, the most interesting of which are the monastery complex and the necropolis with over a hundred graves. Naturally, the most exciting for me in particular remains the citadel with its impressive fortification system, towers called "donzhon"-s, and residential and church feudal architecture.


bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The road leading to Anevo Kale and its silhouette standing out on the hill top.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

A closer view to Anevo Kale seen from the hill foot.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

Approaching the rocky nest where Anevo Kale lies.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The sea of lilac-covered meadows all around the approaches to Anevo Kale.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

Colliding with the might and fortification of Anevo Kale.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The striking sight of the steep slopes of Anevo Kale rocky nest to its east side.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The two walls-giants of Anevo Kale southern tower.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

Part of the western wall seen from inside Anevo Kale southern tower.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The external and transverse walls of Anevo Kale southern tower enclosing its internal space and dividing it into three halls.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

Part of the eastern wall seen from inside Anevo Kale southern tower. A single one of its eleven preserved stone bands exceeds half a human size.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The magnificent panoramic view to the south with the settlement of Anevo and the northern slopes of Sredna Gora mountains seen from the fortress southern tower.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

Width and internal construction of the eastern wall of Anevo Kale southern tower with its base founded in the rock above mortar seating.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The top of the eastern wall of Anevo Kale southern tower and its external construction seen from the north.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

Part of the eastern and one of the transverse walls of Anevo Kale southern tower seen from the north eclosing the innermost of its three halls.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

A view to the east where the main part of Anevo Kale citadel spreads from the only entrance to the fortress southern tower in its eastern wall accessible from outside through a ladder hanged down from its middle hall.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

Tower No6, part of Anevo Kale southern tower attached to the construction of its eastern wall and used for observation purposes.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The northern tower of Anevo Kale seen from inside the southern one at the opposide end of the citadel western wall along the hill crest. Another couple of the fortress eight towers are integrated here attached to its internal side.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The northern tower of Anevo Kale and part of the Balkan mountains southern slopes seen from outside the fortress citadel from its south-west.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

View to the west from outside Anevo Kale citadel across one of the fortress neighbouring hills to the valley of Stryama, the western part of the famous Rose Valley of Bulgaria.

bulgaria anevo kale fortress

The structures of Anevo Kale outermost town quarters.
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