Dobarsko is located very close to the Rila Monastery and through the ages there was the fundamental center of the Christianity in our country. Probably that was a precondition eight sanctuarities to be scattered in the region around Dobarsko, surrounding the village as a fence.

According to the legends those were quarters, inhabited by particular families, before they all got together and built one compact settlement. At all these places there was in the past at least one century-old tree, near which sacrificial stone or cross was put, where rituals and sacraments were held. The century-old tree is symbol of the divine life - it was represented in the ancient Egyptian and Assyrian monuments. For the locals it is sacred and should not be cut down.

At the entrance of Dobarsko from the south side is the place "St. Elias". At the end of the 20th century the ethnographer Vasil Kanchov noticed there 20-something centuries-old black pine trees and mentioned this place as troalishe (sanctuary).

The consecrated ground "St. Elias" is a small hill at the entrance of Dobarsko, from where a fascinating view to the majestic Pirin mountain opens out. There, on 20th of July, in honor of the prophet Elias, an offering is made. The place itself is shaped like a mound and at this strategic height in the past the whole valley of Razlog could be seen.

To the west is "Atanasova tsrakva". Klinets river and the gully called "Babin dolets" divide this place from the village.

All around there were all fields, worked until the 50s of the 20th century. The erosion had its influence, the gully took a lot of the former fields and it gapes creepy and endless. Only the tender name "Babin dolets" has remained. On this consecrated ground no one centuries-old tree has left, but the altar stone and debris from an old temple are preserved. From there the view of the surrounding area is also impressive.

In less than a mile to the west, now on the land of village Godlevo remains of an ancient settlement were found, not studied by specialists yet, but roughly scoured by treasure-hunters. Roman coins from the time of Constantine the Great were found.
What actually connects the mentioned place with the consecrated ground "Atanasova tsrakva"?

It is the closest Christian sanctuary to it. Most likely, there at "Atanasova tsrakva" the inhabitants of that ancient settlement had carried out their religious rituals - as pagans in antiquity and as Christians after the conversion to Christianity.

When you go to the northeast on a path, well trampled by the local shepherds, you go down in a small valley where an old cart-way can be seen. Meadows spread out around, sloping to several small gullies. At the lower end of one of them is the consecrated ground "Gergeva tsrakva." At that place best preserved are the remains of a Christian church, functioning in the past. At least one meter of the walls of the temple were preserved and its size can be easily determined.

But there we see also something impressive. The center of the consecrated ground has the form of a mound, where the church was built. Whether this form was obtained after the Ottoman invasion, when the temple was probably destroyed (the locals preferred to cover it up in order to stop a further desecration by the invaders) or this church was built up on an ancient Thracian mound after the conversion to Christianity, let the experts say.

The path, winding through the rocks in the same direction leads to the next consecrated ground "Virgin Mary." According to the locals there had lived the ancestors of Baykovi. Tombstones around the consecrated ground are still visible. By the construction of the new chapel, when the foundations were laid, human bones were found. Apparently the place was a cemetery and it was inhabited relatively until later on compared to the others.

Another interesting and associated with legends sanctuary is the place "Petrovo vazhe." The consecrated ground is named after the apostles Peter and Paul, but through the ages the place has got its present name after a dramatic event that happened in this place.

Here's what the story tells us:
Every year on St. Peter's day, the unmarried men tied a swing on the branches of the old pine and everyone swung his bride. The day passed in songs, laughter and badinage. The turn of the most beautiful maid Petra to swing came. She climbed on the swing and her young man swang her strongly. She filled the whole place with her bubbling laughter. But something terrible happened. The rope of the swing tore off and Petra flew into the nearby precipice. Thereafter the area was named "Petrovo vazhe" /"Peter's rope"/.


About 20 minutes away from that place, to the southeast, is the consecrated ground "Kopana tsrakva". Its other name is "St. Trinity." A legend about this place is also told. The locals worshiped it as a sanctuary, although they did not know exactly where it was. Because of a woman's dream they began to dig out the place from her dream and so they dug up the remains of the walls of an old temple. That's why they called the place "Kopana tsrakva."


A well-trodden path leads to today's village. It passes along the current cemetery of Dobarsko, where the next consecrated grounds "St. Dimitar" is.


Low in the river, on the territory of the village is the eighth sanctuary "Spasova tsrakva." There, in the 30s of the 20th century was found a stone slab with a rider depicted on it. Is this a Christian saint or as some people claim the Thracian Heros, we can only guess, because the relic is lost no one knows where.


High in the mountains there is a place named "Kozarska tsrakva". It is assumed that there was an ancient Thracian sanctuary.

These are the places around Dobarsko, briefly mentioned in the present discription, that are related to the spirituality and the rituals of its inhabitants in the past and today. Some people suggest that these are pagan shrines, converted into Christian consecrated grounds after the conversion of the tribes inhabiting the area. Between the Christianity and the old pagan beliefs exists syncretism, succession of certain traditions and rituals.

Source: and