Lilyache village, Vratsa municipality, Vratsa region.
See detailed description below.
|Classification:||Karst Cave Natural Bridge Karst Spring|
|Dimension:||L=443 m, VR=6 m.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1964||declared a natural landmark.|
Божия мост (Bozhiya most, Bridge of God or God's Bridge) is a huge cavern or cave ruin, it is actually a sort of natural bridge as it is a huge through cave. The name is due to the fact, that this bridge was not built by man, and so people believed it was built by God. The main bridge is 20 m high and 25 m wide, and the underground course of the river about 100 m long. The main bridge at the upper end is separated by a sinkhole, or better karstfenster, from the rest of the cave passage downstream to a third entrance. The cave was once much longer, but the rest of it collapsed rather recently in geological terms, probably during the last few ten thousand years.
Another name is Жабокрек (Jabokrek, Frog's Croak), which is a result of the huge amount of frogs living in the pools in the cave. The cave has a river which forms pools inside the huge passage, but during summer the creek almost dries up, leaving only some frog filled puddles.
There are numerous trails through the cave and across the hill. But there is actually no development except for some steps in the main bridge. There are huge steps forming a sort of amphitheatre on a slope in the main bridge, made from earth and some wood. Its unclear if they are intended as seating for some kind of event, or if they were installed to keep the slope from sliding down.
The area has numerous unique rock formations which start right at the town Lilyache, in the northeast of the town is the Скален лабиринт "Пешкето" (Peshketo Rock Labyrinth). It is also dubbed Малкият Божи мост (Small God's Bridge) and definitely also worth a visit. Another strange rock formation are Кадин вир (Kadin Heath) and Tigancheto (Frying Pan). The Chiren-Lilyache karst region is considered one of the most attractive in Bulgaria and includes many water caves, karst springs, and rivers. Close to the cave, to the east, is the Изворна чешма "Жабокрек" (Spring fountain "Jabokrek", Frog's Croak), which is another cave with a spring. And another pool with frogs, obviously. It is one of the springs of the river which flows through the natural bridge, which is called Лиляшка бара (Lilyashka bara). It springs at the eastern end of the Natural Monument, flows through the natural bridge and a romantic valley to Lilyache, through the town and vanishes then underground. The natural bridge and the spring are protected by the Божите мостове (Bozhite mostove, God's Bridges) Natural Monument. The loosing stream on the other side of the village is not signposted and not protected. It is located at the road from Lilyache eastwards to highway 101, about 650 m from the city limits. There are numerous dry river beds in the plain which are reactivated in times of very high flow.
The site may be reached from two sides, from the town Lilyache or from the town Chiren. The easiest way is from Chiren south on the highway, after 2.2 km turn right on a paved single lane road. After 1.4 km there is a fork, turn right, after 100 m the paved road ends, becomes a poor gravel road. It's best to park here and follow the road on foot, it's about 400 m (10 minutes) walk to the Gradishte Fortress (Lilyache Fortress), some ruined castle walls. Some say it's a Roman fortress, but we guess its Medieval. If you are brave and your car has enough ground clearance, you may also drive to the small parking lot at the fortress. The other access is from Lilyache, from the Света Троица (Holy Trinity) church in the center follow the road to the east-southeast. At the end of the village keep left, it's about 1.6 km on a rather poor single lane gravel road. Poorly signposted, even in Bulgarian, as the site is off the beaten track. There are numerous trails, and we recommend to plan at least an hour. We strongly recommend a good map (e.g. OpenStreetMap) as there are numerous trails but no signs. Light is actually not necessary, as the short passage has no completely dark sections, nevertheless we recommend to take one. More important are probably gum boots if you visit outside the driest summer months or tend to explore a little.
Finally a last option we would recommend. Make this a half or even full day trip, start at the parking lot in Lilyache near Peshketo Rock Labyrinth. Visit the small natural bridge, follow the trail upstream, cross the big natural bridge, visit the ruined castle, the follow the valley to the karst springs. Then return the same way, it's about 7 km, less than 2 h walk, with lots of sightseeing, cave exploring and taking spectacular pictures. It there is time you might take a look at the ponors west of town.