Legend of the Kaliakra Fortress, Bulgaria

Cape Kaliakra is located 12 km southeast of Kavarna. It is a long, narrow rocky peninsula that juts out about 2 km into the sea. The waves have carved caves that can be approached only by the sea. In the past, these tunnel-caves were connected to the fortress and were used for loading ships. The fortress idea was to guard the treasuries of Lyzimah, a successor of Alexander the Great. Today there are not many remains of those ancient settlements, and they are exhibited in a museum. The fortress was successively used by Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, and Bulgarians.

One of the legends is related with the creation of the cape and especially with St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. He was trying to escape from the Turks, and God extended the land under his feet to help him. This is how the nose was formed. Eventually, he was captured. Now there is a chapel, restored in 1993, symbolizing his grave.

But the most interesting legend is related with, of course, the lovely Bulgarian girls.

A long time ago, soldiers managed to conquer the seaside villages and captured 40 girls by choosing the most beautiful ones. They took the captives of Cape Kaliakra Fortress and closed them in the last cave, leaving a guard to watch them over from the entrance. They wanted to give the beauties to the bravest warriors as a reward.

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The girls did not know each other, but their common destiny drew them closer, and none of them wanted to be betrayed in the hands of the assailants. The bravest of them revealed the way to save their honor - escape through the window, which guaranteed them a sure death. Some of the girls were frightened initially, but eventually, everyone agreed that it was better to die in the sea than to fall into the hands of the soldiers.

They braided their hair together to make sure no one would look back. As the sun began to set, they went outside. In the middle was the bravest and most beautiful girl. She took a step toward the window and the two rows of girls formed wings of a bird. When the soldiers saw them, they were dazed by the sight, and no one thought to try to save them.

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Petya Petrova

Petya Petrova is a journalist, believer, and traveler.

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