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From the Black Sea, the legend takes us a bit further west in Bulgaria – to the rock phenomenon of Belintash – 60 km away from Plovdiv.
Belintahs is a rock plateau, about 800-850 m long and between 20 and 40 meters wide in some parts. It is a cultural as well as a natural phenomenon. The plateau, formed as a result of volcanic and tectonic processes, reveals a 360° panorama to the surrounding mountain tops.
The hands of the compass practically ‘go berserk’ under the influence of the strong magnetic anomaly in the region, and snow melts as soon as it touches the surface of the volcanic rock, which seems to have preserved some of the heat of the molten lava.
Translated from the ancient Turkic languages, Belintash means ‘rock of knowledge’. Here the web of fissures in the rock face and traces of volcanic activity interweave with the millennia-old traces of human activity. Even today you can clearly see the profile of a male head, ‘ring’, caves, wells, canals, etc., as well as numerous traces of ritual constructions which have survived the impact of time.
Legend has it that during the great deluge, this awe-inspiring rock provided shelter to Noah and his Ark. The rings to which Noah moored his Ark can still be seen today in the walls of the rock.
"The Stone of Knowledge" According to popular belief, this is what belintash means in the ancient Turkic language
spoken by the Bulgars - the original Bulgarians from Central Asia. However, if you visit the Thracian sanctuary of Belintash, located 30 km, or 18.6 miles, from Asenovgrad in the Rhodope, you'll discover few hard facts but plenty of rumours of mysterious events. Local legends multiply so quickly that whatever kernels of truth may have existed have been lost under layers of fiction. The human love of mystery usually wins out over common sense - even for people like Dilyana. She is in her mid-20's and comes from an atheist family. She grew up in the Socialist pre-fab city of Dimitrovgrad and is now writing her doctoral dissertation in archaeology - but even she isn't immune to superstition. She has been excavating Thracian sanctuaries for several years now, but no amount of intellectual curiosity can convince her to visit the rocky plateau at Belintash: "I know it's very interesting, but I'd rather not go there