Osogovo mountain
from book "Osogovo Mountain", 2002, Yordan Kotev
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(mob: 0878452095, e-mail: kalendar_kyustendil@mail.bg)
Translator: Mariya Koteva

In the boundless star kingdoms, among billions of heavenly bodies with different characteristics, the Blue planet makes its way in a spiral form of the Milky way star fields. In the gravitational part of the Solar system, the planet is the universal home of sensible creatures. Along the parallel of 42nd degrees North is to be found the Osogovo Mountain, with length of 110.250 km and a width of 49.350 km. Its coordinates and are the most northern part of Osogovo-Belasitsa group of Rila-Rhodope Massive, the Balkans in the European continent. Northern and northwestern slope s of the mountain are steep and the south – sloping. According to a scientific concept in modern orography, the boundary of the mountain passes through the Velbuzhd Pass /Deve Bair/ to the east in the Kamenishka valley, extending northeast along the its south end. It goes over the Gurlianska ravine /Derveno/ and runs east along the Vratichka river till the town Kyustendil. At the southern end of its field, in the southeast is the Struma River. It descends along the river and to river Eleshnitsa, south and upstream, it passes to river Rechitsa, then continues west to its sourcing field. It passes through the high saddle / Black Rock / initially south, then southwest along the river Zvegorska to the river Bregalnitsa and from the city of Delchevo - along the river Bregalnitsa. After entering in the Kotchansko field, it passes along the northern edge, intersects the city of Kotchani, Zletovskata River and continues upstream to the northwest of its right tributary passing through the village Pleshantsi. It continues almost west to the village of Dolni Stubol then transferred to the northwest, saddles southwest of the village down to the erratic left tributary of the Kriva river and it reaches its valley. Upstream and northeast goes through the city Kriva Palanka, thence south to the village Uzem. Below it leaves the Kriva river and to the northeast directs itself to Velbuzhd col. From the era of new life, supposedly during the Neogene, the mountain gained its current appearance. Later, the current fencing mountains of the Kyustendil Valley began to rise, with the ripping of the ancient Pontic basin. The deep bay at the places of rivers Struma and Vardar withdrew. In levantikum, the epigenetic forces of the continent formation began to raise the further Osogovski chains and in the Miocene and Pliocene, the structures of the mountain underwent powerful eruptions. In recent times, its forms are the result of subsequent swinging movements in the transience of everything around us. Starring at the majestic stillness of the mountains and in the intertwining paths of dramatic events and legends, whole ages past, sinking into the gray Uranium stones - silent witness of obliviousness... Osogovo Mountain is an old Slavic name. There are also the names Duvanitsa, Dovanitsa, Doganitsa whose contents are derived from words of different meanings. Osogovo name may be derived from migrant miners or sasi-Saxons who settled in these places. From the Old German words God and bow / place / that occur in the forms "Osso" - god "gow" - the bow of God's Osogovo-bow, God's grace, or place of God. Slavic origin of the word means Osogovo Mountain, which extends around a certain area. In the manner of their formation the ‘osog-“ in Osogovo reminds the old-Bulgarian “ostrog” - military camp formed by the preposition o-"around" and the quaint – “guard, defend”. The classical writers Herodotus, Strabo, Pomponiy Mela, Pliny, Arianne, Claudius Ptolemy mention Orbelus, not meaning a strict topographical object as modern geography understands it, but had in mind the different parts of mountainous labyrinths on both sides of the river Struma. Specifically Orbelus is perceived as a collective name for all these mountains. The Balkan specialist Ami Bue takes Orbelus as the old name of Osogovo, prof. G. Zlatarski – for a region of Rila Mountain and K. Irechek – for Pirin Mountain. Pomponii Mela from Italy – around year 40, mentions the mountains – Hemus, Rodopi and Orbel, which were famous for the holidays of Libera /Dionis/, as well as the gathering of the Maenads, organized for the first time by the Orpheus. Today is the characteristic that any orographic area in the mountain has its own name: Maleshevsko, Pianechko, Kamenichko, Kraishte, Razmetansko, Stratsin, Slavishte, Sredorek, Gladno field. Osogovo fauna takes a border place between Sarmatian and Mediterranean area. Here lived and farmed buffalo bull. Herodotus, describing the march of Xerxes from Kain to Therma, wrote that as he was passing through the Paeonian and Krestonska area /parts of Osogovo/ his camels were attacked by lions. Memories of bears and mysterious world of reptiles are immortalized by many names of places. Reality are now deer, rabbits, badger, black mink, marten, marten, wild cat, wild boar, fox, Osogovo wolf. From the family of the birds, eagle was immortalized with a number of geographical names – Machkalishta - springs of the Orlova river, where eagles were showering, Sokolova river-flow of Vodenichnitsa, Sokolov stone next to the eponymous river in Vratsa. From the cliffs of the river Bistrica shelter find sparrows, partridges, starlings, thrushes, sparrows, woodpeckers. In floristic terms Osogovo Mountain is a separate mountain – plant area, which occupies a border position between Mideuropean and Mediterranean areas. In botanical terms decays into two distinct zones - subalpine grassland and forests that start below the grazing height of 1800m. Geographical position, fertile soil and availability of minerals in the mountains are the reason for the existence of strategic trade routes in the region. Still from ancient times, there has been the main road from Asia to Central Europe and the perpendicular connections in north-south direction are formed in the valleys of the rivers Struma, Morava and Vardar. Now here can be found the pan-European Transport Corridor ¹ 8 - Durres-Tirana-Caftan /Kafasan-Skopje-Deve Bair/ Gyueshevo-Sofia-Plovdiv-Bourgas-Varna. It is part of pan-European transport infrastructure and is one of nine multi-modal transport links, representing European economic interest, known as Cretan corridors /of the Second Pan-European Transport Conference, Crete 14th – 16th March 1994/. It provides increased bandwidth, speed of travel, a high level of comfort and traffic safety. It connects the ports of Varna and Burgas port of Durres in Albania, providing cargo transportation links between the Black Sea area and Adriatic Sea, which defines it as a natural area for trade and communications between Europe, Middle East and Asia. Perpendicular relation to the north-south direction is provided with Pan-European Transport Corridor ¹ 4 - Dresden-Prague-Bratislava-Gyor-Budapest-Arad-Craiova-Thessaloniki-Sofia-Plovdiv-Istanbul. The Fifth Ordinary Assembly of the Bulgarian Parliament, in a 2nd Ordinary Session from 18th – 12th 1888, the law was accepted for making a railway Sofia-Kyustendil and later the line was drawn to village Gyueshevo. Over the mountains there are several air corridors with extremely high intensity of movement . Around Mount Ruen, Shapka or Tsarev peak, every minute is detected a flight in the sky. Winner of Osogovo is Mount Ruen, Ruyan, or Rui /2251m/. In clear weather the peak reveals surveillance landscape. To the north is the maze of Kraishte region and the outlines of the Western Balkan Mountain. To the northeast Konyavska mountain is to be discovered, as well as Lulin, Verila and Vitosha mountains, snowy Rila mountain to the east, to the southeast - the legendary Pirin Mountain. In the southwest, behind the valley of Kamenica, part of the river Bregalnitsa is revealed, hereinafter Plachkovitza and beyond them - the distant edges of the Kozhuh. In the southwest can be seen parts of the "most beautiful", according to the ancient Homer, valley of the Vardar. Shar Mountains are to the northwest and mountains in southern Serbia. Some associate the name of the peak Ruen with the herb "Rui", which was used for painting and they put the name in the etymological connection with the adjective “rouen”. It is supposed that it relates to the making of sparkling /healthy, red/ Thracian wine in lower areas around the mountain. It was originally sparkling wine to have meant wine in which is soak Sabazios / Dionysian / Rui herbs to give it more resistance to souring, on the other hand, to get a nice, clear, ruby-red color. In the Old Bulgarian language, in written sources from the XIII-XIV century, the period in the calendar of the current month September is marked as rouen, in others ruen. The name is associated with characteristic purple sunset in the mountains during autumn when the green color of blueberries is changed to reddish brown. Indeed, in late September, the slopes in the vicinity of Rouen, Rouen Mali, Shapka, and towards Deve Bair somewhere to Stoichkov wall, where down the hill there is an abandoned lead zinc mine ruined galleries, neighborhood gets a fiery, reddish color with undressing of the autumn dress of the blueberries. Others believe that the name comes from “ruchi” – i.e. “it flows”. With its constant whiz and hiss, it changes its sound as a result of the weather. It feels like you can hear the songs for the nymph Eurydice, bitten by a snake, mixed with disturbing, threatening warnings of Osogovo viper. The muse Calliope – the beautiful voiced mother of Orpheus, the grass and forest silently sing in harmony, enriching the sound of falling on stones water. But in stormy weather, the melodies are like unstoppable desires, changing in unique visual images and mind-blowing variety, according to the set of sun, clouds, the Moon and the stars. “Ruan” in Albanian has the meaning of “sentinel”, in Roman “rue” means “river”, in Persian – “image of a face”. Taking into account that peak Ruen is an important hydrographic center, from the verb "ruina" - water flowing suddenly, it is reasonable to deduce the origin of its name. Here begin the springs of the river Bistrica /Main River/, the largest in the northwestern part of the mountain, mentioned below as Sovolyansksa Bystrica. It rises and collects water in the creek from the steep slopes located northwest of Rouen, a place that has traces of glacier. In winter there is a huge snow avalanche that gathers. From Mali comes another Rouen flow, both after flowing together, are passing north of peak Shapka /2188 m/, which stands on the main ridge east of peak Ruen, as the main river between lead and silver deposits, the famous "Silver colo", areas of old mining activities. The river continues down to the south of Bear stone, it collects sparkling waters from noisy like little children streams, in a picturesque gorge, among fantastic rock formations. On the right are flowing into its “sisters” – Mala and Leva from “Crni stone” of 2069 m, which collects the waters of Ilan /snake/ and Begbunarsko gullies, Orlova from Choveka, 2047 m and Persha from Crnotrav, 1865 m. On the right is the rocky hill Dobrashtitsa that starts from the Ruen ridge. It coincides with the state border in direction northwest-southeast from Kamen peak /Tash tepe/, under which there used to be Karakachan huts with a northeast direction with the peaks Buzovinek, 1783m and Kulata, 1758m. And Dobrashtitsa – 1508 m. The ridge serves as a watershed between Bistrica and its left / west / tributaries. On the other side the water mountain stream Kamenica collects water, as under the little Ranensko field, it joins with Lebnitsa – mentioned below as river Gyueshevska. Instituted by them basin is called Lebnitsa, Kamenitsa or Ranenska. The river gave its name to the field, or vice versa. East from Dobrashtitsa the Bistrica gorge gradually narrows and forms a beautiful gorge. Here live shadows of many local and foreign mythical characters that in evening times jump from rock to rock or hide in bushes. In the region "Gyrloto" from where the name of the village Garlyano comes, the river leaves the mountain slope around the northwest peak Lisets, takes on Gyueshevska river that runs through the villages under Deve Bair - Gyueshevo, Prekolnitsa, directs to Sovolyano and flows into the Struma River at the village Konyavo. North of peak Bozhderitsa, 1300 m. stems Lebnishka River, originally between her and the Kriva river lies the border ridge -Tash Tepe, Bozhderitsa, Devebair. It passes through the closed lead-zinc mines, Gyueshevo, Prekolnitsa and in Dolno Village, before river Kopriva empties into Bistrica. More significant is its right tributary Razhcha, which springs under peak Tash Tepe and flows into it under village Gyrliano. Bistritsa river group gathers the waters north of Deve Bair, Bozhderitsa-Rouen, Begg-Bunar-Rouen and west of Vratsa saddle. From the peak Choveka arrays peak Kyunek 1929 m springs Glogovska / Glogoshtitsa /. It takes water from Mechkina waters, hole Lamuchka and Bella waters. It passes through village Zhilentsi, west of the town of Kyustendil, where it flows into Vratechka river which springs from 1700 m east of Mount Crna chuka in which Glushechka Vodenichnitsa. Rabushka springs under Mount Platno and runs along the northern slopes of the mountain above Zhilentsi between Zhilenski cow place and Senokos, passes through the spring city /Pautalia/ today Kyustendil, where it’s named Banska or Banshtitsa. In ancient Thracian times, Strimon has embodied the River God. Novoselska /Slokoshka/ river springs in the saddle Predela 1173 m in the village of Chepiopashtsi, runs in the north direction, named after the splashed in its upper course Novo Selo. On the right, in its upper stream stands Black Peak 1695 m, southeast of the region "Tri Buki," a ridge between Mlachka, Manastirska and Skokova river, named so because of its beautiful waterfalls. One of the tributaries of Skokova, between the flows in the valley, which springs between Kyunek and Kulin stone is called Plavilo, as sheep were showered there before shearing them. Orehovski coulee that groups a whole system streams between Bayram and Orehovski hill, under Novo Selo gets together with its larger sister. Novoselska and Dobra, which also springs from the saddle, run in opposite directions, Dobra flows into Eleshnitsa. Both serve as a border between east /low/ and west /high/ share of Osogovo Mountain, located northeast of peak Ruen. Western part has two distinct round ridges was with multiple branches intersecting at peak Ruen. Novoselska River tributaries are mainly from the left side /Borovina, Ivanov, Suhoborski coulee/. Along its stream rises the ridge of Breza east of that place flow three small streams, in the summer inhospitable and gloomy, with peak Beltok 1524 m. Novoselska flows into the Struma at village Zhabokrat. Eleshnitsa River is formed by two rivers in the Red Apple /Tsravena yabuka/. One rises south of the high archaic part included between the peaks of Rouen, Baltadzhiynits and Begg bunar at about 2100 m, flows initially southwest, almost parallel to the watershed to Shtyrbi stone. Dobra river gains water from Predela and before peak Gorovets 1134 m flows into Eleshnitsa. Karovitsa, after taking its right, relatively large tributary Mala river, it flows into Eleshnitsa. Passing the village of Rakovo in the northern Piyanets and empties in its central neighborhood, then heads northwest and passes Smolichano village, village Vaksevo where it accepts Rechitsa or Tsarvarichkata river which springs under the region Cherna skala. In the east is situated the wildlife sanctuary Gabra. In its wildly, winding movement towards its large sister Struma, it goes through almost all geological traces, left signs on the mountain. Kopriven, named after its neighborhood, springs east of the peaks Brezovic 1266 m, Yamata 1325 m and Ersenovitsa 1277 m, joined by several low water rivers and valleys and it flows into the Struma at the Dragodan village. In the middle turn of Kopriven is incised the peak Bochvata. Once in the midst of one of the fairs, which were made of this place, it was said that the Bashi are coming. Frightened people gathered their valuables and hid them in a barrel and buried that well. Out of fear, no one remembered the place which persistent hunters are still hunt down nowadays. Bersinski river rises within the Lelinska chuka. Its two streams - valleys Tarsinski and Lelinski, visit hill Madzhovitsa and at Bersin make a mutual river flows into the Struma in Nov Chiflik. The Granichka river springs from the crown, formed in the east of ridge Brezovski towards peak Kozhmanitsa 1069 m. It runs in the northeast direction through the villages Pelatikovo, Raska Grashtitsa, Nedelkova Grashtitsa and over Nevestino, it flows into the Struma. Kamenica /Saska/ river, or Turanitsa, named after the neighborhood Turanitsa, located in the upper course, springs from below the peak Rouen. It leaves on the left side a watershed: Turanitsa peaks, Baltadzhiynitsa, Zhdrapanitsa, Prosechenik, goes through the Pianechni villages, known as Osogovia: Sasa /by the lived there German sakski miners, killed in the late seventeenth century/ Vartislavtsi, Kamenica. Tsravnichkata river of the Mohammedanized by Sultan Mohammed IV Tsarevo village, or Vasilevo, headquarters of the Southern Piyanets at the foot of the mountain Golak belongs to Bregalnishki drainage basin. Osoynitsa which is formed by the rivers of Peklyanska of hill Golak, Lachka of Malashevtsi mountains, Borboshtitsa of Plachkoviza, Tarsinska of Golak and rivers Blatechki, Gradska, Zarnovska and Radanska and flow from the left side in Bregalnitsa river. In the field Kotchansko region they come from Plachkovitza to the town Radovish /in the name of a Queen Rada, whose stronghold on the right side of the river was captured by the Turks/ and on to city Strumica /known as the ancient city of Pontus, in the Middle Ages Tiveriopol, related to the legend of the 15 martyrs from Tiveriopol/. Azmak is the largest tributary of Bregalnishki from the Ovchepolie. Kochan /Old or Large/ River originates at the top of Zaimitsa from Mount Kitka, northwest of Mount Tsarev /Sultan Tepe/ against the sources of the Kriva and Orizarska River. Kochan River flows into the Bregalnitsa below the city of Kocani, and Orizarska – below village Orizari. Zletovskata river or Zletovshtitsa formed by Drenachka, Zaimitsa and Lopino. They spring from Drenachki and Lopenski peaks. Waters of Chatal chesme divide into Durachka and Zletovska River. The three rivers merge in the valley Rumenin stone /in the name of Rumena/ and form the river Zletovska. It passes near the villages Knezhevo, Emiritsa, Koykovo, Yamishte, Zletovo /near which the slopes of Plavitsa was erected Lesnovski monastery/. The river streaks the valley Zletovska east of Kratovo /Tranupara-of "kyr"-forest and "ova" - field/ and over Stip flows into Bregalnitsa. In the mid Bregalnitsa to Struma extends Piyanechki region /Old Paeonians/ with about 50 villages, and in its upper stream - Maleshevo. Durachka River rises under the Tsarev Peak /Sultan Tepe/, the most significant topographical unit in the mountains after Rouen. According to a legend in the invasion of Turks, sultan came to the summit, which was named Tsarev /Sultan Tepe/ and his troops stood on the river. From the "dur" – standing - Durachka River. On the right side of the river is Kalin stone, and on the left – Sredna gora and Redki buki. Not far from the springs is situated the village Stantsi where river Stantsiyska flows in. Down the river is the medieval monastery "Joachim Osogovski" /Sarandaporski/ to place Babin coulee. Kriva river /Sarandapor/ - in the Medieval centuries, later in translation in Turkish “egri su” or “egri dere”, springs from the ruins Gradishte, from a beautiful valley between pean Kamen and Tash tepe /Saka or Sakar bashi/. It is called this way because of the many stones on its surface where used to live Karakachans - Greeks and Ruen-Sultan Tepe, still keeping sad memories of a fratricidal war in 1913. Along the river valley with around 30 villages around, the area is known as Slavishte. Between the rivers Kriva and Pcinja stretches an area with about 60 villages known by the name Kozyak. The river initially flows southwest, to the town of Kriva Palanka /Egri Palanka/ and streaks the array Turanitsa that is mature in the same direction. Here goes the road of Bayram Pasha, achieved in the time of Murad IV /1623 -1639/, along the river and the fortified city of Egri Palanka was founded in 1634. Further, the Kriva takes the rising from the hill Lisets above Kratovo Kratovska /Tabashka/ river in Lyubevski Khan. In Kuman village Klechovtsi, it flows into the river Pcinja /to the upper stream of was erected the monastery Pchinskiya/ coming from Karadag and breaking Ovche field is flowing into the river Vardar before Veles. In orographic terms Osogovo is difficult Mountain for orientation. Its backbone consists of two main perpendicular to each other ridges. The perpendicular to the border ridge is more diverse in many branches and all directions. The intersection of the two ridges is the 2251 m peak Ruen, chief topographical unit of the mountain. The highest and longest ridge, with a northeast-southwest direction, stretches between the town of Kyustendil - town with eight thousand year history, with coordinates 42 16 '48 "north latitude and 22 41' 33" east longitude and the town of Kocani. From Kyustendil, planted with forest park Hisarlaka in the autumn of 1891 with a pine forest, in the direction of village Bogoslov begin steep hills with domed base. These are the peaks Grave 1320 m, Kyunek 1923 m , as on the ridge south of it, located between the opposing currents of Mlachka and Novoselska rivers, are rising the peaks Gramadite 1654 m, Tri Buki 1571m, Cherni Peak 1707 m, Yurushki cemeteries - whose name recalls the old inhabitants /Muslims, katunari nomadic/. After peak Kyunek follow Kulin kamyk 1919 m, Choveka /Begbunar/, Shapka 2188 m /because of their physical characteristics/, Mali Rouen, Rouen, saddle Falcon 1859 m, peak Tsarev 2085 m. According to one legend Despod Constantine /whom the town of Kyustendil was named after/ built fountain here, so the top has held his name. The ridge from Kyustendil to Tsarev peak is called Begbunarsko and from Tsarev peak /where Mehmed passed by/ to Kocani is known as Lopen. Here is the peak Markova stypka 1781 m and the ridge ends in a tip over Zletovska River near the town of Kocani. Once the current city land was swampy pasture for pigs and there were plenty of pens. In folk etymology the name of the town is Kocani, i.e pens. During the reign of Mohammed IV in 1670 the population was Mohammedanized by the Grand Vizier Mehmed Kjupria. Ruen /border/ or main ridge with direction northwest-southeast, starting from the saddle of the Velbuzhd pass or Deve Bair /camel height/ continues to Bozhderitsa /Bozhdaritsa/ 1580 m. Near it stands still a building /ruins/ the old customs, which today is located at the " Ravni niva." It continues to Tash Tepe 1993 m, Rouen 2252 m, after which round high peaks are arranged, among them low and steep Baltadzhiynitsa 1995 m, Zhdrapanitsa 1814 m, Prosechenik 1753 m, Captain Shopov 1750 m, Koprivata 1780 m, Shamska chuka 1680 m, Grey mare 1602 m, Omar 1190 m, Shtyrbi stone 1132 m and ends at the Black Rock 948 m. From the main ridge spring mountain water divide to head in different directions in Vardar and Struma drainage basins. In Dalgiy model, the boundary ridge goes along the border between Turkey and Bulgaria under the Treaty of Berlin /1878/. And a small correction in the southeast part was established the Bulgarian-Serbian border according to Bucharest and Neuilly /1919/ peace treaties. Before the border split the mountain in its ridges there have been Yurouks and Karakachans that in summer took their flocks in the mountains, and were descending in autumn to have the winter on the White Sea. Their fate in captivity has always been to help people outside the law, because otherwise they risked their lives, families and their flocks. Osogovo is a powerful natural temple, which is impossible to crawl, an oasis of nature, rich cultural and spiritual record that it is impossible to get to know up until the end.

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