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Short characteristic of the way of the Post- ICS congress excursion in Bulgaria.


3 Days Post-congress excursion in Bulgaria:

1st day: Sofia city- the Big Iskrets cave- Iskrets karst spring- Shopov’s cave system- Tserovo water cave- Lakatnik karst ridge- Cherepish karst- Vratsata karst gorge (400 meter high)- cave Ledenika- Vratsa city

2nd day: Vratsa city- visit of 6 caves, a magnificent rock bridge and a closed valley in Karlukovo karst region- Glava Panega karst spring- Sueva Dupka cave- Zlatna Panega karst spring- sink of Vit river- Bojentsy village.

The museum village of Bojentsy is situated only 12 km. from Gabrovo. The architecture of the houses in Arbanassi is unique, they resemble small fortresses. The oldest of Bozenci's five churches is The Birth of Christ (1637 - 1649), dug into the ground without a belfry and with hidden cupolas, but hiding a genuine art gallery with over 3,500 stunningly realistic figures and Biblical scenes, painted by unknown artists throughout the ages.

3rd day: Bojentsy village- Etara folk museum- Dryanovo karst region- Shipka National Monument- Shipka church monument-- Try Vody karst spring- Belovo karst spring- Sofia city

Open-air museum town of Etura
Eight km from the center of Gabrovo, you will discover an untouched piece of the Bulgarian Renaissance. Here you can see how the locals made their living last century, their economic development and their way of life.

Price: 210 $Euro (including food and accommodation)

This tour begins from the city of Sofia. The city is situated on a place of ancient settlements since IV-II BC. The Thracian tribe of Serdi lived here during the first century BC and they gave the first name of the place – Serdika. Later Romans named the town Ulpia Serdika and turn it into an important center on the Balkans. Bulgarians occupied the place in 809 year and named it Sredetz. Sofia is known as a name of this town for the first time in 1329 y. as it is named of the church St. Sofia. Nowadays Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and there are about 1,000,000 citizens.
The valley of Sofia is complicated asymmetric tectonic ridge, set over geological structures of the Sofia West Srednogorie. The ridge is limited by the Zadbalkanski deep fracture from the North, but from the South by several tectonic structures, which follow the northern range of Ljulin, Vitosha and Losenska mountains. The ridge is constructed by composite fractured terrigenic and volcanic rocks of Late Cretaceous, terrestrial deposits and Jurassic and Triassiac carbonate rocks. It is fulfilled with thick lake and river deposits of Miocene age.

(1) After the town of Novi Iskar the route enters in the mountain range of Stara Planina - the Balkan Mountains. The range of Stara Planina separates Bulgaria into two parts – northern and southern. This is a complicated tectonic structure set up by Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks. The Iskar river crosses the mountain and makes the geological structures well visible. According the main hypothesis the gorge is set along tectonic breaches and a Pleiocene lake formed in the Sofia valley flowed away from here.
Permian sandstones and conglomerates are uncovered in the opening of the defile, a little past - older Ordovician and Silurian rocks (mainly alevrolites). Carbon terrigenic deposits are revealed after the station Thompson. An interesting object is the find of carbonic fossil vegetation from sort of Calamites, s. Lepidodendron and others.

(2) The region of the Iskretz springs is located on the west of Svoge, which is the biggest town in the Iskar gorge.

(3) These springs drain over 80% of so called Iskretz Karst basin. It is build of monoclinaly laying triasssic limestones and dolomites on the south. They are covered by Jurassic terrigenic sediments in their high parts. Their upper parts are covered with Jurassic terrestrial sediments, over which are situated separate spots of karstificated Upper Jurassic limestones.
Feeding of underground waters is carried out by the rain and rivers which entirely loose their flows (about 10 km. north of the springs). The place of the springs is determined by the structural preconditions. The front of the Iskretzki overlaying is next to springs. It is composed by Ordovician terrigenic sediments, which are barrier for the karst waters. The springs are characterized with strongly variable flow –from 280 up to more than 50,000 l/s (the highest measured maximum flow for karst spring in Bulgaria). In the case of higher flow of the springs in the complex the cave Dushnika becomes their overflow. The cave is dry during the summer and autumn except the lake on its bottom. The level of the lake is situated on 2 m. over the elevation of the springs and marks the upper part of the saturated zone of he Iskretz karst basin. After intensive precipitation and snow melting watertable in the lake abruptly raises and fills the gallery so a river starts to flow from it and the raising of the watertable is over 13 m. A risk of sinking the road above the cave appears during the last years because of activating of gravitation processes. So minding this strengthening activities were taken during 2001 year.
Another interesting objects near the Iskretki spring are the polimetalic ore mines with karst caverns. Many interesting cave minerals are found in these caves (see the attached paper).
The way follows the Iskar valley. Disclosures of Triassic limestones appear after a clear tectonic contact near the Tzerovo village. These are the most south- east parts of the Iskretz karst basin. Here is situated one of the smaller springs draining the basin – Tzarovski. (4) The spring has been formed at the line separating the carbonic rocks and the underlying non- karstic rocks and goes out of the cave which is over 3 km. long. A big limestone quarry is situated in the vicinity of the cave entrance.
At the Lakatnik station begins the next karst basin of the west Stara Planina – Lakatnishki (Milanovski).Triassic carbonate rocks are karstificated and build a block- fractured shallow sinclinale. The main spring is Zhitoljub (5) its flow is from 27 to more than 8,000 l/s. A part of the water pass through the higher- placed cave Temnata Dupka which is more than 7 km. long. To use that part of the waters has been digged out a tunnel. It violates the microclimatic conditions in the cave, known with the presence of 22 throglobitic species. Another part of waters come from the sink of Petrenitza river.
At the Chepelish station (6) the tour goes into the most eastern part of the third large karst basin – Vrachanski. Two of the big canyons which limit the basin are clearly seen – Plakalnishki on the south and Vrachanski upcast on north. Large Upper Jurassic – Early Cretaceous rocks are karstified.
Here right near to the bed of the Iskar river are situated two of the springs draining the basin. The Vrachanski Basin is situated on the limit of the Balkan and the Pre-Balkan (low mountains) parts of Stara Planina. Many cave openings can be seen in the slope of the valley. One of them is crossed by a tunnel of the road. The longest cave in the region is Labirinta, about 240 m. long.
In this region the Cherepishki monastery is situated. It is build at the first part of the 15 c. There are old books, pottery and weapons in the monastery.
(7) The nature phenomena “Ritlite” can be seen near the Ljutibrot village. It is Early Cretaceous vertical layers of sandy limestone and is 2.6 to 6.5 m. in width and 60 – 80 m. in higth.


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