Visiting the Kara In rock tomb in the Eastern Rhodopes made me feel as if I were an archeologist. In fact, I am not an expert, but I read historical studies a lot and I am interested in going to such kind of places.
Kara In is one of the so many well preserved ancient rock sanctuaries in the Eastern Rhodopes, Bulgaria. It is a rock-hewn tomb in a high rock crown. Its entrance is from the southwest. The rock-hewn tombs precede the dolmens. Most researchers associate them with the Thracians. The dating is in the period XI – VIII century BC.
The Kara In tomb was discovered by the Haskovo local historian Boris Kolev, who discovered several more rock tombs in the area. It was studied by archaeologist Georgi Nehrizov. The rock massif in which it is carved is known as Ak Kaya (translated from the Turkish it means White Rock) because of its light color. The rocks’ origin is volcanic, and their shapes are quite strange, due to weathering over time.
How to get there
The Kara In rock tomb is located near the village of Pchelari, Eastern Rhodopes, Bulgaria. The walking route starts about 2 km southeast of the village. It is a narrow dirt road beginning from the main road to the city of Haskovo. It is convenient to leave the car right at the turnoff from the main road.
- Coordinates of the turnoff: 41.621418, 25.712161.
- Coordinates of the rock tomb Kara In: 41.627110, 25.696764.
About a kilometer you should walk on the dirt roads through the fields. To your right (north) is the rock massif of the tomb, and south of the fields flows the Arda River. As you approach the tomb (be sure to write down its coordinates), you have to go through the fields themselves. However, if you are there in a period of plantations, please walk along the edge so as not to ruin people’s work. At the end of the fields near the tomb you should go on a narrow trail that takes you to the foot of the site after a few meters.
The distance from the main road to the rock tomb is about 2 km and it takes about 40 minutes on foot.
The main focus of the place is the rock tomb with its trapezoidal entrance. Over time, due to erosion, a stone canopy formed above it. The second thing that catches the eyes is the strange shape and color of the rocks. The third thing is a beautiful panoramic view back to the Arda Valley and the rocks on the opposite shore.
Here is a short video about the pedestrian route to Kara In.
If you are interested in visiting other off-the-beaten path places in the Eastern Rhodopes, have e look this article about the unique village of Mandritsa.