The Wonderful Bridges in the Rhodopes Are the Skeleton of a Dragon

The rock formation “Wonderful Bridges” in the Rhodopes mountains was sculpted by a dragon. At least, that’s what the legend says. For years the mythical creature stole sheep from the nearby village of Zabardo. The people suffered, but no hero dared to slay the foul beast. At last, the keen shepherds of Zabardo figured to trick the monster. They fetched a donkey, covered with dry powder, and led it to the dragon’s cave. Just as the dragon was tossing the poor donkey in its mouth, the shepherds set it aflame with an arrow, and the fires ignited the dragon’s belly. The terrible creature tossed and turned, but all was in vain. The fire burned and killed the dragon. Years later, the dragon’s rotten bones are all that remain, huge arched bridges, which no longer terrorise poor sheep, but rather entertain tourists from all over the world.

wonder bridges

Most tourists choose to visit the landmark in the summer, but if you find yourself in Zabardo in the winter, do not miss to enjoy the snowy rock bridges covered with bizarre icicles. Then the vaults in the rocks contrast with the surrounding snow-covered hills, the centuries-old spruces around, and through the rock windows formed by the bridges, incredible winter landscapes are revealed.

wonder bridges

The largest is 45 meters high

The old name of the Wonderful Bridges is Erkupriya, named after the river, which carved a cave out of a marble rock. Part of it subsequently collapsed and formed the rock formations we see today.

The large bridge has three arches, the highest of which is 45 metres high and 40 metres wide. It’s total length is nearly 100 metres. The arch of the second bridge is 30 metres high. There is also a very small third bridge, which is an abyssal cave. There the water of the Erkupriya river disappear, only to resurface 3 kilometres later.

wonder bridges 

Visiting Wonderful Bridges is special not because you can fill your social media with pretty vistas. The true adventure is taking your time crossing the bridges and going under them. One of the longest mountain trolleys in the Balkans, with a length of 240 metres, departs from the smaller bridge. However, you can “fly” over the bridges only in warmer weather.

The Wonderful Bridges are located some 1450 metres above sea level, at the foot of Mount Golyam Persenk in the Western Rhodopes. They are part of Bulgaria’s top 100 most important national tourist sites.

To enjoy the incredible panorama of the Wonderful Bridges, you can start your hike from the Rhodopes village of Zabardo. After an 8 kilometres trip, you’ll be enjoying the “dragon’s old bones”.

The natural landmark is about 220 km away from Sofia, and about 80 away from Plovdiv. Around the location are the Wonderful Bridges and Rocky Bridges huts, but you can also plan a stay in Chepelare, Pamporovo, Asenovgrad, and even in Plovdiv.

At the parking spaces just before the bridges themselves, one can find local producers selling a variety of homemade food and souvenirs. Some popular purchases include dried mushrooms, potatoes, jams and fridge magnets.

This content has been prepared as part of a project of the Ministry of Tourism.

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My greatest pleasure in life is to travel. Undoubtedly there are a lot of amazing places around the world worth visiting at least once in life. However, Bulgaria is such a place where you will wish to come back again and again. In every season and every region of this small country, you can find unique wonders. So share my travels.