Getting There: Gela - Craddle of Orpheus

Society | December 20, 2002, Friday // 00:00

Gela is one of the oldest settlements in the Rhodopi with a history of over 3,300 years. In the early writings of the ancient Greeks, it was connected with the Rhodopi sanctuary of Dyonysios and the birthplace of the mythical singer Orpheus. According to the legend when Orpheus started singing, everything around fell into deep silence. The wind would subside as if listening among the branches, and all beasts would calm down.

Perched on the foothills of the mountain below the highest Rhodopi peak Goliam Pereli (2191 m), Gela village is a real paradise for rest. Such a marvelous view can rarely be found anywhere else in the Rhodopi mountains. Today the village has no more than a few dozen habitants. Inside the village there are ruins of an old monastery as well as two old churches.

You can stay in private houses where you may prepare meals yourself or ask your hosts to prepare for you some traditional specialties. In the nearby villages Shiroka Luka and Stoikite villages you can find a few restaurants. You may reach the region only by car or by bus. You can go by train only to Plovdiv. You can go by bus to mountain resort Pamporovo or Smolian from Sofia (the bus station is close to the main train station) or from Plovdiv (bus station Rhodopi). Only one bus from Smolian goes to Gela village in the afternoon.

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