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Kardzhali (Bulgarian: Кърджали; Turkish: Kırcaali), is a city in The Rhodopes, Bulgaria.


Kardzhali dam

The climate is somewhat similar to the Mediterranean countries which isn't surprising since it is only 35 miles from Greece and Turkey. The landscape is one of mountains and forests of oak and pine. The population of Kardzhali is mixed with 55% Turkish and 40% Bulgarian as of 2011. Both languages are spoken.

Get in

Perperikon, Top view

You can easily get to Kardzhali. It is recommended that you arrive in Kardzhali by bus, as there are buses from most of the major Bulgarian cities. From Greece you go to Komotini from where a well-developed road leads to Kardzhali.

Get around

Map of Kardzhali


Perperikon fortress wall

The region around Kardzhali has numerous ancient sites. Make sure to see the ancient city and fortress Perperikon, the temple and tomb at Tatul and the artificial astronomic cave near the village of Illinica.

Historical sites

  • 1 Perperikon. The ancient Thracian town of Perperikon is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, about 15 km northeast of the Kardzhali on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to have been a sacred place. The village of Gorna Krepost ("Upper Fortress") is located at the foot of the hill and the gold-bearing Perpereshka River flows near it. Perperikon is the largest megalith ensemble in the Balkans. It is thought that the famous Temple of Dionysius is located at this location. Perperikon (Q1943549) on Wikidata Perperikon on Wikipedia
  • 2 Tatul. The Thracian sanctuary is one of the most imposing megalithic monuments discovered on the territory of Bulgaria. The sanctuary is a massive rock structure and its top is a truncated pyramid. The complex comprises two sarcophagi, a rectangular bed for the main altar, and a three-metre-deep well. It dates back to the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 4th centuries BC. Tatul (Q43734661) on Wikidata

Natural landmarks

  • 3 The Womb cave. This Thracian megalith - The Womb Cave (Cult complex “Utroba cave” Тракийско светилище Пещера Утроба) is located near village of Ilinica. The temple is shaped like the opening to a vagina. It leads into a 22 m deep cave. At the end of the cave, a carved altar (1.3 in height) symbolises the womb itself. At midday as the sun approaches its highest point, the sun light seeps into the cave through a special opening in the ceiling and projects a perfectly recognisable representation of a phallus onto the floor. As the sun progresses further, and the light slants across the interior of the cave, the phallus grows longer, reaching out to the womb altar. Only during some months of the year, when the sun is lowest on the horizon, the phallus becomes long enough to reach the altar and symbolically fecundate the womb. A well marked tourist route exists through Enchec village and around 300m after mountain cottage “Borovica”. The way to the cave includes around an hour of walking up. The path is steep but with three big alcoves and a shelter right under the cleft of the cliff. Local people know the place as Dangardak kaya (The echoing stone). Today childless couples visit the Womb cave to gain a long-awaited child. The Womb (Q12297316) on Wikidata Utroba Cave on Wikipedia
  • 4 Fotinovo Turtles. Turtle-like reliefs, cut in the rocks by an ancient culture. Largest is 7 by 5 m. Fotinovo Turtles (Q20500417) on Wikidata

Religious sites

  • 5 Kardzhali Central Mosque, Kardzhali 6600, 26 Republikanska str, . Located near the open market of the town, the Kardzhali Central Mosque is a massive and elegant building that was constructed in 1812 and reconstructed in 1874. It can accommodate up to 500 worshipers and consists of a temple building, minaret, and administrative building, as well as renovated fountains for ritual washing. It is a functioning temple and a cultural monument, boasting over 200 years of history. Hundreds of Muslims gather there for daily prayers and the two major Muslim holidays, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, and the yard is home to Kardzhali Ali's grave, which is said to be the source of the town's name. Kardzhali mosque (Q60851352) on Wikidata


  • 6 Water Mirror. In 2009, the long-awaited "water mirror" in Kardzhali was finally completed. Both local and national governments recognized the significance of this project, from economic to ecological, tourist, sports, and cultural aspects. Unfortunately, the dream of correcting the river and building a navigable canal remained just that until several years ago. The dam is a one-of-a-kind hydro-technical facility, featuring 9 segment locks with hydraulic activation that can produce a water depth of 4.5 meters when closed and 5.3 meters when the turbines are in use, at a rate of 160 cubic meters per second.



Recreational activities

  • 1 Kardzhali Reservoir. The Kardzhali Dam is located to the northwest of Kardzhali, about 3 km away from the town. It is crescent-shaped, with a water power station, and covers an area of 1,607 hectares. This area provides opportunities for rowing, fishing, and water sport activities. Kardzhali Reservoir (Q6369169) on Wikidata Kardzhali Reservoir on Wikipedia
  • 2 Studen Kladenets. The Studen Cladenetz Dam is located southwest of Kardzhali, covering an area of 2,560 hectares. This beautiful body of water, also known as the "Sea of the Rhodopes", provides fishing and recreational activities, as well as bungalows, restaurants, and boat and pedal boat rentals. All of these activities can be experienced near the village of Kaloyantsi, which is 28 kilometers away from Kardzhali. Studen Kladenets Dam (Q115452881) on Wikidata Studen Kladenets on Wikipedia



In the centre are three big supermarkets and many specialist shops. Also the fruit market is worth visiting.



Be sure to try their Turkish Biurek (Бюрек), which is something like Banitza. Of course there are many good restaurants offering good food. At least you can always go and eat a pizza.

In the dam lake there are also ship restaurants where customers can choose living fish for their meals.





There are several hotels in Kardzhali where you can stay at night. It is not expensive and the conditions are good.


  • 1 Glavatarski Han, . The Glavatarski Han hotel complex is situated 7 kilometres away from the town of Kardzhali, and is nestled within the beauty and untouched countryside of the Rhodope Mountains. This complex has been designed with a combination of the traditional Bulgarian Revival style and modern design, and is renovated each year to preserve its unique character. It is conveniently located 259 km away from Sofia Airport, 100 km from Plovdiv, 85 km from Smolyan, and 50 km from Greece. The "Glavatarski Han" hotel complex is equipped with a luxurious recreation center which features a Finnish sauna, steam bath, jacuzzi, contrast shower, body therapies, rehabilitation procedures, beauty parlour and two outdoor pools, two children’s pools and a large outdoor jacuzzi.

Go next


Getting out is as easy as getting in Kardzhali. There are about 15 buses leaving to Sofia, especially in the morning, so getting out is not a thing to worry about.

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