Around BulgariaSpeleo Expedition

The rock paintings and graffiti near town of Roman, Vratza

When we started filming for National Geographic of rock graffiti in areas of Tsarevets (Mezdra) and Karlukovo, in two publications I read about another place with graffiti. But the information about the place was minimal, and the only person I knew for sure that he had see them refused details with the argument that they were not thoroughly studied. Which did not prevent him from mentioning them in his autobiographical books. The fact that they are no studies or surveys by decades, while same time well-known by local and looters for me meant one thing – they were not same caliber of those in Tsarevets and Karlukovo. So even though I wanted to go search for them with quick hints from 1-2 books, I was not in a hurry, I just did not expect to be worth the walk.
But when Sunday morning, both Krasi and Margo call to leave Sofia for a trip, and this destination immediately came to me as an idea. Just little bit more that 100 km, most on the highway would not take more than an hour. And as the idea was formed in the morning, it matured as we pack, we managed to get to 1 afternoon.
Between the town of Roman and Kunino are 10 km along the Iskar River. No problem we could have cross them for 2.5-3.5 hours, but we had three people with cameras and with all the interesting places around the river would take days. With Krassi and Alex alongside the film, finding artifacts has become easy and intuitive. We just know where to look. And the graffiti of Duzhdovnitsa discovered by Alex are the best example of this. That’s why we stopped in the middle of the road to Kunino and looked around for the places. On the first 2-3 closest places hit a stone, literally. There were many niches, but not those we were looking for. While most impressive are in the region of Kunino and Karlukovo, rocks of Karlukovo gorge began shortly after Roman and continue until after Reselets. There was a serious bushing, but before we went back home, we decided to look some further in the direction we had already been. We make a chain through the bushes and the thorns, each choosing a way according to clothing and sacrifice to him, which could have done and luck. And I did not a snap of the down jacket, and first I reached a promising rock. I called Margo, which was close to me, and dived into the first niche to check. I just got out and the Margo shared:
“Well here, there is something written about …
“Inscriptions like Tsarevets,” I thought, but they turned out to be crosses and a horseman with red paint.


In fact, I can not say either a paint or an ocher. Certainly not painted with a brush but fingers. The original impression is that this is something new with the paint, but the entrances of the niches are collapsed, and there are prominent stones with red crosses and other signs under tons of earth and stones. And if the last 20-40-60 years have not collapsed… so the drawings are old. Next time I’ll take a sample or take a specialist.
And when I looked closely behind collapse back the on rock covered with limestone deposits I started to see them – small, casual but fine – carved graffiti. Krasi appeared on the other side looking around and we both stuck noses and lenses into the wall …


Part of graffiti carved deeply as those of Tsarevets, other sketchy as in Karlukovo, most carved on cave deposits, some of which fell. For the time we’ve had, we’ve been able to look at the few more noticeable, but there’s a lot to search on, in and over the stones in the niche. Probably a some crawl in the archive of the Vratsa Museum… Someone was already at Tsarevets, trying to emphasize with a pencil the carved and fence (count) the interesting graffiti. Dear people, the emphasis on an obvious fact does not make it real, but on the contrary – it starts to come out of the context. This with the blackening of the graffiti is a bad practice type – a misunderstood culture. That you see an art better does not mean you will understand it more easily. Sometimes it takes a bit of imagination and a second flash.



And the best thing is that the area has become a real palaeological field…

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