“God’s Bridge” (“Божият Мост” – Bojiyat Most, or “Жабокрек” – Zhabokrek – “Frogscroak”) is located 15 kms from Vratsa, close to Lilyache village.
This is an almost unknown tourist attraction – a unique karst natural formation that looks like a real stone bridge 20 metres high, 25 metres wide and nearly 100 metres long.
If you are lucky to find this place (this is not an easy task), a mountain path takes you from the remains of the Roman fortress to the Ponora cave (“пещера Понора” – peshtera Ponora) and God’s Bridge itself.
Almost nobody will be there, apart from an echo, huge ancient rocks, the cave and a quiet creek named Lilyashka Bara. They say, the cave is about four kilometers deep. Only bats and ghosts live there. I definitely saw a ghost hiding under the arches of the cave. (You can see it on one of my photos)
After days of searching for any interesting legends about God’s Bridge, I managed to find only a mention that it is the bridge between our world and the world of the dead. It was created by gods, and every century their guardians patrol the bridge to stop the penetration of the dead into our world.
But I stumbled upon another legend that tells us, where all caves came from. The legend was written down by some unknown monk in a monastic almanac of the 14th century. The legend itself is probably a thousand years older. By the way, in the pre-medieval and medieval Slavonic literature tradition it has been completely forbidden for writers to use their imagination. And this is amazing. If you meet any unbelievable medieval story in an ancient church almanac, it always means that some unknown writer believed in it himself.
Anyway. I translated the legend, and here it is.
“Thousands of years ago, when people could talk to trees and animals, a huge and terrifying Dragon-snake lived there in the heart of Thracian mountains. His nest was full of treasure but the Dragon-snake felt very lonely, and his only desire was to find a nice human woman to live with him as a darling wife.
Every year he flew far over the sea and captured a beautiful girl in people’s lands. But every time, when he was flying back, carrying a girl in his strong claws, the girl managed to escape and to kill herself, falling down into the sea. Many proud girls died but the Dragon-snake was still alone, and he wept and wailed, causing storms and earthquakes in the mountains.
When another girl jumped into the sea, the Dragon-snake was so upset that he decided to kill himself and fell into the sea after her. A big storm began, but the sea spat the Dragon-snake out, because only pure heroic souls could be buried in its deep grave with honour.
The Dragon-snake flew very high and crashed into the mountains. His strong heavy body fell to pieces, and the pieces made bottomless holes in the stone – very deep caves that led to the middle of the Earth, to its burning heart (“Such is the fate of the Devil – to stay alone forever”, the unknown chronicler adds gloatingly.) But the caves still exist, and the souls of poor girls still appear in the mountains from time to time.
The girls can’t rest in peace because they killed themselves and didn’t leave human posterity. “Every decision has its own price”, the chronicler says. So ends the story….. Ksenya Greenwood (Old Mountain Tales)
More pictures of Gods Bridge courtesy of:
Carol Dodsley – Creator of this website and the Living In Bulgaria Facebook page:
(Click an image below to open them all in a larger slideshow)
For more Bulgarian stories – historical myths and legends visit: Ksenya Greenwood – Old Mountain Tales