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The Western Rhodopes

The Western Rhodopes is the bigger part (8061 sq. km, constituting 66% of the total area), the higher, more developed and visited part of the mountain. The highest and best known peaks are also here (more of 10 are over 2000 m) including the leader Mt. Golyam Perelik (2191 m). Among the interesting peaks are Mt. Shirokolushki Snezhnik (Karlak 2188 m), Mt. Golyam Persenk (2091 m) covered with the impenetrable spruce forest, the beautiful Mt. Persenk (2074 m), the blueberry paradise Mt. Batashki Snezhnik (2082 m), the huge massif of Mt. Syutkya - Golyama (1286 m) and Mt. Syutkya - Malka (2078 m), the wonderful Mt. Turlata (1800 m) with a sharp straight peak, overgrown with spruces, and many others. Some of the deepest and most picturesque river gorges are here, too - the Trigrad, Buinovsko, of the Gerzovitsa River, of the Mostova Sushitca River and others. The rocky phenomenon Chudnite Mostove (Wonderful Bridges), the Chaira Lakes and the dams Dospat, Batak, Shiroka Polyana, Iglika, Toshkov Chark and others excellently fit into the environment. The unbelievable architecture reserves Shiroka Luka, Kovachevitsa, Momchilovtsi, Kosovo and many other interesting villages are in the Western Rhodopes, too.

The town of Batak is also located here as well as the large tourist centres Smolyan and Velingrad, the winter resort of Pamporovo, the Christian sanctuary - Bachkovo Monastery, the ruins of Assenov Fortress and many others. There are approximately 40 tourist chalets and near 15 hostels and tourist dormitories in the Western Rhodopes. There are hundreds of kilometres marked tourist routes good not only for hiking and skiing but for mountain biking as well.

The subranges of the Western Rhodopes with their highest peaks are: from the west to the east - Alabak with Mt. Chernovets (1834m), bordered by the Rila Mountain there are 3 chalets and many marked hiking tracks; Velishko-Videnishki subrange with the Mt. Golyama Syutkya (2186 m) - the largest and the longest but with few chalets and relatively few marked tourist routes; Dabrash with Mt. Beslet (1938 m) bordered by the Pirin Mountain, where there are no tourist chalets but there is the village of Kovachevitsa (where there is a tourist hostel) - practically no marked tracks; Batashka Planina with Mt. Batashki Snezhnik (2082 m) - a lot of towns (Batak, Rakitovo, Peshtera, Bratsigovo) and Batak Dam. There are 2 chalets and 3 toursit dormitories as well as many marked routes; Perelik with Mt. Golyam Perelik (2191 m) - the leader of the whole mountain as well - this is one of the most visited areas. Here are the towns of Smolyan, Pamporovo Resort, the town of Shiroka Luka. There are 4 chalets, 1 tourist base and 3 tourist dormitories, as well as tens of kilometres of marked tracks; Chernatitsa with Mt. Golyam Persenk (2091 m) - one of the most beautiful and definitely most visited subsection of the Western Rhodopes. Here are the rock phenomenon Chudnite Mostove (Wonderful Bridges) and the 7 Persenk Peaks. There are more than 10 chalets, some hostels and dormitories and this is the area with highest density of marked tracks; Dobrostan with Mt. Staria Bunar (1517 m) - a karst massif with many caves (some of them explored, others - not). There are 3 chalets and a tourist hostel as well as enough marked tracks.

One of the smallest subranges of the Western Rhodopes is the Prespan sector with Mt. Prespa (2000 m). The highest village in Bulgaria - Manastir (over 1500 m) is crouched in the northern foot of the peak. There are 6 chalets and 4 tourist dormitories and many kilometres of marked tracks. The range of Ardino is relatively less visited because of the border with Greece. The famous building Agushevi Konatsi is here - in the village of Mogilitsa and in the hills of Kainadina, immediately to the south of Smolyan is Mt. Srednogorets (referred to as the Shipka Peak of the Rhodope Mountains). There are no chalets or hostels but nearby Smolyan offers lodging and food. Marked routes are available only in the Kainadina rocky area. The eastern sub-range of the Western Rhodopes is Zhalty Dyal (the Yellow range) with Mt. Buchovitsa (1319 m), but most impressive is Mt. Alada (1214 m) with the Alada Shelter next to it. Near the beautiful Belite Brezi area is the only chalet in the region with the same name. There are almost no marked tracks. 

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