The natural phenomenon “Pobiti kamani” found in the outskirts of Varna is unique. It is represented by disclosures of sands among which stand upright stone columns made up of limestone and sandstone.
The unique natural phenomenon "Pobiti kamani" has been the subject of observations, research and discussions for nearly 200 years, and there is still no analogue described in the world. The site is a rock formation, which are located in several groups in the Varna region. The area where the Pobiti kamani are located is the only naturally formed desert in Eastern Europe and the second one in Europe in general, the other being the Tabernas Desert in Spain.
The natural landmark "Pobiti kamani" is a discovery of Eocene sands, among which are upright stone columns resembling a stone forest. The impressive landscape of the stones is observed in seven large and several smaller discoveries. The most famous is the group "Center - South". There are about 300 large and small columns, up to 6 m high, rising mainly south of the old road Varna-Devnya. Many hypotheses have been proposed about the origin of the Pobiti kamani, which can be devided into two main groups, the first of which advocates the inorganic origin of the columns, and the second - their organic origin. In the first group, the claims suggest the mechanical formation of structures through erosion processes under the action of the atmosphere and water, the surf, weathering or infiltration of groundwater. According to proponents of organic origin, stone columns are remnants of coral reefs, petrified gas springs, biogenic algae clumps or petrified forest. According to one of the last biogenetic theories the columns are formed with the mass participation of foraminifers.
It is not yet possible to say with certainty which of these hypotheses most accurately reflects the origin of this phenomenon, but they all exclude the idea that they are a creation of human. This can be clearly seen in the “Career - Beloslav” group, where all four levels of the Pobti Kamani have been discovered. The most impressive groups Pobiti Kamani (Center-South, Beloslav-West, Sunny-Southeast), as early as 1938, were among the first protected areas in Bulgaria.
The columns are with height up to 5 meters and diameter from 0.5 – 2.5 meters. Most of the columns are hollow in their central part. On the territory of around 50 km2 there are 17 zones with finds most of which with their specific features. The standing stone columns are most numerous, tall and impressive in the central groups.
The only evidence of human presence in Bulgarian lands during the Mesolithic has been found in the area of the Pobiti kamani. On the territory of the Central group are discovered archaeological finds from the Palaeolithic. Two of the groups are found during the quarry activities (quarry West and quarry Drenaka (Kiomurluka). Four of the groups (Banovska, Slanchevo West, Slanchevo South-East and Central Groups) are shown as Corine sites.
Observation of a unique landscape, which is the only semi-desert in Bulgaria. The landscape is rocky - sandy, with unique plant and animal species. Unique habitat and landscape. The site is important for the existing of invertebrate fauna.
“Pobiti kamani” are the biggest inland sand (dune) habitats in the country with specific flora, vegetation and animal world. They are part of the morphology center, in which endemic species for the West Black sea coast originate from such as Aurinia uechtritziana (Bornm.) Cullen et Dudley, Verbascum purpureum (Janka) Hub.- Mor., Anchusa velenovskyi (Gusul.) Stoj., Centaurea arenaria Bieb., Anthemis regis-borisii Stoj. et Acht. The flora of the protected territories counts 244 species.
The Pobiti kamani in connection with experiential tourism can be considered from several aspects. Undoubtedly, in the first place, this is the geological phenomenon. For the purposes of national and international tourism, the opportunities are greater for organized travel.
There are naturally formed niches in the site in the limestones, which most probably served as shelters and dwellings for the Mesolithic man. To this day, the Mesolithic tools have been found among the sands - flint tools, flint knives and arrows, stone axes and hammers.
Experiential and interactive activities
Embryonic columns, complex columns and other geological phenomena can be observed during the site visit. A number of species listed in the Red Book of Bulgaria can be seen as rare and endangered species. In the area live rabbits, foxes, lizards, snakes and many others.
Apart from observation, unfortunately, it is still not possible to have any interactive activities, because despite the crucial importance for the development of tourism in the area, the site still has no electricity.
Despite the great tourist potential, unfortunately there is no conceptual design to expand the activities in the site. The construction of a small museum with an interactive hall will give the opportunity to present to tourists the geological development, moments of human presence through prehistory in the area and more.
Main features and services that attract public
The uniqueness of the site makes it a unique tourist attraction. The preserved nature attracts visitors, as the combination of natural forms with archeological finds has always been among the fascinating combinations for experiential tourism.
Key partners and supporters
The site is managed by the Regional Historical Museum in Varna. The main supporters are representatives of NGOs, and the tourist trails in the area are maintained by tourist societies at the Bulgarian Tourist Union.
Participants, local community and customer segment
The site is visited mainly by individual tourists, although tour operators offer it in their packages. The proximity to a tourist center such as Varna, as well as the numerous resorts on the North Black Sea coast, further contributes to the promotion of Pobiti Kamani.
The site is of interest to all who want to get in touch with nature, it is of interest to biodiversity students, ornithologists, etc.
Communication and dissemination channels
The site is relatively well known among the tourist agencies and operators, but still uses various channels for information and advertising, such as websites, social media pages.
The landmark Pobitite kamani is in the list of 100 national tourist sites in the Republic of Bulgaria.
Specific elements and features
Managerial and organizational specifics
Responsible for the Nature monuments is the administration of Nature Park "Zlatni piasatzi", Varna. Meanwhile, as the site also has cultural-historical value (availability of archaeological finds) the site is managed by the Department of Nature (Natural-historical museum) at the Regional Historical Museum - Varna.
They are located in an extremely accessible place by car. You can reach Pobiti Kamani by car or by bus line № 43 to the “Razklon Banovo” bus stop in the village of Slanchevo. There is a large and convenient parking for cars and buses.
Liaison with other activities and events of the Black Sea Basin Region
In Greece there are six geoparks and one in Romania listed in the UNESCO heritage. Unfortunately, so far Bulgaria is not represented in this list, but it has the potential to be included with this site.
Image Sources: https://time2travel.bg/pobitite-kamyni/
The site Pobitite kamani is located 18 km west of Varna on both sides of the first class road Varna - Sofia E 70. They are located in 18 groups, administratively belonging to the municipality of Aksakovo.
The biodiversity of the area is very important and valuable. This is one of the first protected areas in Bulgaria, with several consecutive acts protecting a total of 14 groups with an area of 253.3 hectares, and by Order of the Minister of Environment and Water in 2002 the natural landmark was recategorized as a protected zone. Pobiti Kamani is a protected area in the Natura 2000 network, declared in order to protect the country's largest inland sand habitats with specific flora (phlox, cactuses) and fauna.
May - September: 10:00 - 19:30, closed: Monday and Tuesday
01.10.2021 - 31.10.2021: 10.00 to 19.00, closed: Monday and Tuesday
01.11.2021 - 30.11.2021: from 09.00 to 18.00, closed: Monday and Tuesday
01.03.2022 to 30.04.2022: from 10.00 to 17.00, closed: Monday and Tuesday
Organizer and contact information
Regional Historical Museum - Varna, Maria Luiza Blvd. 40
Phone number: +359 888 544 506