Ancient history – the facts, the myths, and the legends of antiquity attract tourists from all over the world to Bulgaria, where many different cultures throughout the centuries left their mark on the country’s history. A tale of mystery shrouds the sacred site of the Mother Goddess and the megalith known as the Bulgarian Stonehenge. The ancient stone dates back to 4 000 years ago. Today, the so-called “Gate of the Mother Goddess”, stands above the village of Buzovgrad in Kazanlak. Getting to the megalith requires a 40–60-minute hike along an eco-path, created through a European project in 2005. Trekking lovers will find the eco-path is in excellent condition, and worthwhile on its own leisurely experience. Along the way, stop to take a few pictures of several seemingly man-made stones, which continue to this day to mystify the scientific community.
The “Gate of the Mother Goddess” is the name of the megalithic rock window, created nearly two millennia before Christ by a people, who predated the Thracians on these lands. Later it was served a ritual purpose for one of the most numerous peoples on earth according to Herodotus.
There are various theories as to why the megalithic structure came into being. It is a fact, however, that during the summer equinox on June 21, the sun’s rays at sunset pass through the stone window near the village of Buzovgrad, Kazanlashko. And since, according to the beliefs of the Thracians, the sunset symbolizes the world of the dead, it is assumed that the megalith was a kind of gate between the worlds. Moreover, according to the legends, the Thracians rejoiced when someone died, because for them death marked the beginning of life proper, as opposed to the punishment of staying on earthly existence. In 2006, the ashes of the Bulgarian Prof. of Thracian Culture Alexander Fall were scattered on this spot, and a memorial still reminds visitors of this fact.
Some claim the megalith was used for burials of Thracian aristocrats. Another version suggests the rock window to the sky was actually an ancient stargazing observatory. A third theory gives it a much more prosaic meaning – a place from which signals could be sent to the opposite peaks of Stara Planina – in clear weather through bronze mirrors that reflected the light, and at night – with fires. From the megalith there was also a view of the capital of the Odrysians, Sevtopolis, which today is submerged under the waters of the Koprinka Dam. Few preserved artefacts from the city can be seen in the Historical Museum of the city of Kazanlak.
According to another scientific theory, the megalith was used as a calendar that helped the Thracians organise their lives more easily. The rock portal is 1.80 metres high and through it you can see the framed mountain peak Triglav. In addition to the portal itself, there are other stones in the rock group, likened to a “throne” and a “sacrificial place”. Viewed on a larger scale, the megalith falls on one of the vertices of a triangle, on whose other two corners are the Odyssian capital Seutopolis and the mound Golyama Kosmatka. According to Alexander Fol, there are similar facilities built on the opposite mountain hills, visible through the “window”. The ruins of the Buzovo Kale fortress are also a 15-minute walk away. The access to the area is completely free.