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Orehovo is a Bulgarian village in the Rhodope mountain range. It is approximately one hours drive from Plovdiv (European Capital of Culture 2019) and two and half hours drive from Sofia (the Capital city).
No matter who greets you in Orehovo, they will do it with humility, friendliness and a sincere desire to make your visit the best they possibility can!! This is not done in a false or customer service trained way, this is done as apart of the culture that has excited there and in that region, for generations.
Food and drink will be a mayor part of your your stay, at this amazingly and charming destination, as virtually everything is produced locally!! Yogurt, cheese, vegetables, all parts of a salad, meat and fish etc. Plus milk, fruit drinks, wine, Rakia (traditional brandy type drink) and even the bottled water, which comes from the local mountain springs and streams (although the local tap water is just as pure).
Try and go on a Winery Tour, as Bulgarian wine is now well established in the world market. It’s not only the wine tasting that is good, it’s the history of each Winery, plus the buildings, scenery, methods used and some traditional food as well. One of the best in the region is VILLA YUSTINA, which has a beautiful countryside vineyard, professionally run winery and a great wine tasting experience too.
This self sufficiently is great for all visitors, as they have plenty of choice and all is always in stock. This shows in the portions you will offered, which will large and regular!! Also, there are types of food made there that are unique to Orehovo, not made anywhere else in the world!!
The first thing you should do on arriving in the village, is simply take a large and deep breathe, as the air there is so fresh, you can feel your lungs opening up to taking in the clean and pure oxygen!!
The majority of the accommodation is traditional chalet type design, which fits is so well with the surroundings, history and culture of the mountainous regions!! the buildings are built in the traditional way, with wood, straw and mud, not with bricks and cement. To say the accommodation is reasonably prized is an understatement, as you will probably pay less than EUR 10 per person per night?
The mountain views alone are enough of a reason to visit Orehovo, but there is also a multitude of interesting places to visit and activities to take part in. You can keep it simple by just hiking around the mountain foot paths, taking in views of the valleys, water falls, streams, flora and forma. If your doing this a must is a visit to ‘The Wonderful Bridges’ which a nature phenomena, whereby, over thousands of years, the local river eroded a hole in the rock!! This created two holes, one being 45 metres high and has now become naturally made bridges over the river itself. For the more adventures of people, don’t just view this amazing piece of mother nature, rope slide down through it??
A small stole around the village reveals a few hidden venues worth a visit. St Nedelya church is a beautiful small building with religious significance, due to its history, icons and traditional design. The Orehovo Museum is a really interesting venue, as it traces the history of the village through pictures, photographs, traditional tools, equipment and even family trees.
On the edge of the village is Persena; a ‘rose water’ factory. Rose water is an extremely popular drink worldwide, especially in Asia, due to its medical benefits and lovely taste.
An exciting addition to the village is Telesfor Guest House and Conference Venue. There is space for 24 people to enjoy all the facilities required for a corporate day, weekend or full week. There is also accommodation for 12 people, but working with the nearby Konakat Guest House, there is more than enough room. Mixing the corporate environment with the local; nature, fresh air, food, drink, heritage, scenery, walks etc, has to be great venue for small businesses or departments in large organisations.
Another interesting place to visit would be the ‘The Screaming Rock’, which got it name from when the Ottomans reigned the region. The indigenous Bulgarian population, were taken to this ‘rock’ and were given a choice; to convert to the Ottoman faith or die, thousands refused and were thrown to their death into the valley below! Many didn’t die straight away and laid mortally wounded for days, their ‘screaming’ heard throughout the mountains for days and days! Although, this appears a piece of history you would think the people in this region would want to forget, it is totally the opposite. They believe it shows the lengths their ancestors went to, to try and protect their culture and believes. This is in fact true, as the Bulgarian people have had many invaders and rulers and yet managed to retain true to themselves and national identity!!
This region is actually a part of the ‘Spice Trail’ which goes from Asia to Europe and was established as early as 3000 BC!! It was used to transport spices, herbs and salt!! It was so important, the Romans built a 2 meter wide road over the mountain and there is a preserved section measuring 5 km long, which is a very popular tourist attraction. Walking this road does not only take you back in time to the days of those adventures and traders of the time, but it also has stunning views and a number of other famous rock formations and and points of interest!!
Not far from Orehovo is the National Astronomical Observatory and is one of the largest in Europe. You can listen to a lecture, see the planets and walk around the balcony, which gives some of the best views in the region. Something a bit more down to earth, is the large outdoor washing in the region and maybe the one one you will ever see? It works by funneling the natural mountain water into a very large wooden barrel. Due to the power of the water, it creates a swirling motion, just like a cycle in a washing machine. Locals attend there with carpets and rugs, to get them cleaned. It is Eco Friendly as it just uses the water that cleans the items, no detergent or additives at all. An added reason to use this venue is that has a fantastic restaurant attached that services all the local dishes and drinks too!!
Orehovo is an all-year-round destination, as it is just as beautiful in the Winter as it is in the Summer. Also, there are different views and activities in the two different parts of the year. Therefore, no matter when you go, you will want to return and therefore have the perfect excuse to do so?
Go to Orehovo and discover the beauty, purity and culture of the Bulgarian Mountains, plus the people who inhabit them. If you immerse yourself in the way of life and culture there and you may even find or rediscover the beauty and purity within yourself ??