Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)

Rupite: A Volcano, Thermal Springs, and a Blind, Clarvoyent Baba

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What a title, right?!

The final stop on our whirlwind weekend in southeastern Bulgaria the weekend before last was a visit to the small village of Rupite and the area around the extinct Kozhuh Volcano.

Rupite

To get to Rupite, we drove through the city of Petrich. Unfortunately, we didn’t stop and I regret it now. It looks like an interesting town and I hope we can make it back some day.

Rupite is  known as the home and burial place of the Bulgarian mystic/healer, Baba Vanga, as well as the site of the Kozhuh Volcano and a series of thermal springs.

After a quick drive through Rupite village to ask for directions, we made our way to the thermal springs and nearby baths. The smell of sulfur and steam rising from the springs was a little intense. The average water temperature is about 78 C (172 F); how someone could lay in near-boiling water is beyond me!

Kozhuh volcano thermal springsKozhuh volcano thermal springsKozhuh volcano thermal springsThermal springs--water is up to 78C (172F)!Bath houseBath house

Right next to the springs is the Baba Vanga Monastery Complex. Vanga had a very colorful life. She was born prematurely  in present day Macedonia in 1911, “healed” her friends with local herbs, was sucked up into a twister and blinded, hobnobbed with Communist party leaders, foretold Chernobyl and other events, and even predicted the date of her own death and burial.

I don’t know what to believe when it comes to all that, but the woman was fascinating and her monastery continues to attract people from all over the world.

The huge, open complex consists of the Church of St Petka, Baba Vanga’s house and grave, several out buildings, gardens, and thermal fountains.State of Baba VangaChurch of St PetkaChurch of St PetkaV. drinking from the spring fountainChurch of St PetkaBaba Vanga's graveWater from the thermal spring

A large stone cross built into the nearby hill (close to the thermal springs) is also part of the complex and honors those who died when Kozhuh erupted centuries ago.Cross on hill honoring those who died in the Kozhuh volcanic eruptionCross on Pchelina Hill, KozhuhView of cross on Pchelina Hill

The murals on the church, painted by artist Svetlin Rusev, did not go over very well with the conservative Bulgarian Orthodox church and I can see why. There are probably the most unique (and slightly frightening) church icons I have seen in Bulgaria.Entrance to Church of St PetkaIcons by Svetlin RusevInside Church of St Petka

This little detour on our drive home from Melnik didn’t take too long and was definitely worth it. Rupite is a really interesting part of Bulgaria and should be on your list of must-sees if you are in the area.

W.

:::

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4 thoughts on “Rupite: A Volcano, Thermal Springs, and a Blind, Clarvoyent Baba

  1. Oh my gosh, those church murals look amazing! I love seeing traditional religious art, but I find the nontraditional to be more unique and interesting.

    • It really was some of the most interesting religious art I have seen in BG. The murals in the church at Tsaravets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo was really different as well. OH! And there was a stretch penny machine in that “church,” so I was over the moon!

  2. I loved Rupite! Apparently there have been UFO sightings in that area. I got good vibes from that place, not sure what that says about me, haha. But it is definitely interesting.

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