Silistra

Region of Silistra is an excellent tourist destination – a winner in the National contest EDEN 2009 “The water – a source of life and wealth” with a project entitled “Seven states of water: spirit, health, faith, history, beauty, tradition and lifestyle”.

Silistra is also one of the runners-up in the National contest EDEN 2007 “Thracian spirit” with a project entitled “The eternally living spirit of the Thracian God Zalmoxis”.

“Seven states of water: spirit, health, faith, history, beauty, tradition and lifestyle”

The history of Kaynardzhanska fountain, on which in 1774 the historical Kyuchuk-Kaynardzhan peace treaty between Russia and Turkey was signed, loaded with the spirit of the legendary Demir Baba whose name is related to the extraction of water from the ground, a place symbolizing religious tolerance and understanding, Kalimaritsa fountain – the water with its healing power and the legend that health comes to anyone who has washed with the fountain water, the belief that everyone who has visited Saint Marina Monastery, a place for pilgrimage burnt by the Turks during Bulgaria’s fall under Turkish rule and the news about a healing spring quickly spread after the return of the pilgrims who had visited this holy place, the tradition of the population in the region related to the ritual known as “Peperuda” /”Butterfly”/ - a magical local ritual without a fixed date which is performed in periods of prolonged drought in order to pray to God to show his mercy and “give” people some rain. This is a prayer for rain. The butterfly’s singing and dancing have an ancient and mythological meaning and also a prayer for the yield to be abundant and for the God of thunder and lightning Perun to give people rain. It has also preserved the lifestyle of the old Dobrudzha house and the restored mill which is always ready to welcome the exhausted travelers, serving them delicious fish soup made over an open fire based on an original recipe, pryasol with dried fish, fish skewers and the beauty of the swamp with the blossoming white water lilies near Kada Kyoy, which is the present day village of Malak Preslavets.  

The holy spring is located near the village of Ruyno, the municipality of Dulovo. It bears the spirit of the legendary saint Demir Baba (the Iron father), whose name is linked to the extraction of water from the ground. This place is also a symbol of religious tolerance and understanding in this region since for many years on end, both Christians and Muslims have gathered, celebrated and prepared boiled mutton. There is a tradition to tie pieces of cloth on the branches of trees in order to be healthy and lucky and also to perform a ritual washing.

Kalimaritsa fountain is located on the bank of the Danube in the village of Vetren. The place of the fountain is easily accessible. The legend about the healing water of the river Kalimaritsa has come from the distant past. Kalimaritsa fountain, dating back to Roman times, is located in the village of Vetren. There is a legend saying that the water of this fountain has a favourable effect on men’s potency and helps women conceive more easily.

Saint Marina Monastery is located in a picturesque area around the village of Syanovo, the municipality of Tutrakan. There is an old legend saying that in this area there was a town called Paskalya, which gave the name to the entire area – Paskarlaka. There were three monasteries near the town: Saint Marina monastery which is known for its holy spring, Saint Nikola monastery and Saint Mina monastery. Their fate is quite unclear but it is assumed that they were burnt by the Turks during the fall under Turkish rule. Even today stone plates are found during the cultivation of the land as well as human bones and mortar fragments.

Kyuchuk-Kaynardzhanska fountain is located in the village of Kaynardzha, the municipality of Kaynardzha. It is widely known that in 1774, the peace treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, with which the Christian church was patronized on the territory of the entire Ottoman Empire, was signed there. The story says that before sending her troops, Empress Catherine the Great ordered the general not only to please her by defeating the Ottoman army but also when it was time to sign the peace treaty, to find a place where there is a spring. According to the legend, this is actually what happened. At the place of the spring, a fountain was built in 1862, which has six spouts delivering spring water. Since then, it has been believed that whoever drinks from the spring receives a kiss from Empress Catherine the Great. Catherine was the empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796. Her reign was given the name “A golden age” by the Russians.

The swamp with the water lilies near the village of Malak Preslavets or Malak Preslavets Swamp is one of the last preserved wet zones along the Bulgarian bank of the Danube. The wide variety of birds consists of 147 types of birds, of which 82 types nest. What is most remarkable about this swamp is the great flora diversity on such a small area. About 180 types of higher plants have been established. The beautiful white water lily is undoubtedly the most important of them all.

The ritual known as “Peperuda” /”Butterfly”/ (a prayer for rain) in the municipality of Alfatar. It does not have a fixed date but is usually performed during Peter’s month (the second half of June) when the weather becomes drier. It is performed on certain days determined by the local tradition and also during periods of drought. This ritual has been preserved and is performed by elderly women as a tourist attraction.  

The fishermen’s settlement of the village of Garvan has existed since 1984. This settlement is at the 409th kilometer, where the Bulgarian flag is waving today. There are already 21 wagons. At present, 10 fishermen have 15 boats and only some of them are used for sailing along the river.

“The eternally living spirit of the Thracian God Zalmoxis”

This destination has integrated unique Thracian cultural monuments and a living Thracian cultural tradition preserved to date. The material monuments are a complex of five rock sanctuaries located close to each other, which were made by the Thracians in the VI-IV century B.C. in honour of God Zalmoxis. Today, they are located in a picturesque protected area called “Malak Kanagyol” /the region of the village of Strelkovo, municipality of Kaynardzha, district of Silistra/ and have preserved the authentic interior and exterior of the Thracian age. The archeological findings discovered here are preserved in the Archeological Museum in the town of Silistra. These monuments are linked in a unique way to a living cultural tradition manifested in the mummers’ festivals in this region, which are considered to have originated from the Thracian rituals related to the local Getian God Zalmoxis/Cronos.

Thracian rocky cult centre near the village of Strelkovo

The only unquestionably documented Thracian rocky cave sanctuaries in Dobrudzha and to the north of the Balkan range are located on the right bank of the Taban river. They form a cult complex of sanctuaries, rocky temples, cult niches, cult pits, cult grounds. When taking a look inside the imposing rocky altars of the temples above the river, the underground galleries and the impassable karst halls with carved alter niches, we instinctively recall that ancient Thracian myth of Zalmoxis, who the local Getae worshipped as a God and who used to perform mysteries in the cave temple above the Kegeyon River.

The rocky sanctuary near the village of Voynovo

This is the northernmost sanctuary of the rocky cult complex, which is located on the right bank of the dry riverbed of Taban (specimen 1, 45), 7 km north of Badzhaliyata. To the left of an impressively formed natural rocky shelter located at an inaccessible height there is a natural cave with traces of processing, facing the east. Fragments of Thracian ceramics were found in its foot. In a cave near the sanctuary, an Old-Bulgarian hermit monk made a small chapel and a cell in which he lived in the X century. This is where a colony was formed, which includes over 40 Old-Bulgarian rocky monasteries, sketes and cells, which later expanded along the adjacent dry riverbed of Kanagyol in the region of the town of Alfatar and to the south near the village of Skala, district of Silistra.  

Holy Apostles Peter and Pavel Cathedral Church of Silistra

The temple Holy Apostles Peter and Pavel is a cultural monument built after the Crimean War by brick-layers from the Dryanovo Architectural School which was the leading one in the period of the National Revival. It is a cathedral temple of the holy father in the IV century Doroslol metropolis. It is the only temple in Bulgaria in which in addition to the images of the 12 Dorostol martyrs from the IV century, all the Early-Christian saints from the Bulgarian lands were also depicted.

Durostorum – Drastar – Silistra Archeological Museum

The building was erected in 1926 in „Brancovenesc“ style on the ruins of a massive Roman pagan temple dating back to the II-III century. Since 1984, it has been declared a cultural monument and in 1990 it was turned into an Archeological Museum. Over 20 000 archeological monuments are stored in it, such as the Thraco-Roman helmet dating back to the I century, a clock bearing the image of Orpheus from the II century, a statue of a Roman woman (Pudicita) dating back to the II century, a Roman chariot dating back to the III century, the swords and jewellery of an eminent Roman magistrate from the III century, a gold ring from the grave of a martyr saint from the IV century, the gold jewellery of the Draster despotess from the XIV century, the collection of crosses from the X century of the medieval patriarchal temples are unique and have an exceptional artistic and historical value.