Bulgaria: A Walk in a Stone Forest

Wandering Amid the Gigantic Rock Pillars of Pobiti Kamani

“Strange” and “unusual” are definitely two words that pop into my mind when I think back on our trip to Pobiti Kamani, also known as The Stone Desert in Bulgaria. The name itself is pretty telling as all around the area stone columns dot the landscape, poking out of a desert, like oddly shaped fingers. Joey and I had a blast on our visit to Bulgaria, spending hours upon hours playing amid these humongous petrified rock pillars.

Bulgaria’s Stone Desert

Located near the city of Varna, Pobiti Kamani, roughly translated to “stones beaten into the ground” is a UNESCO World Heritage site well worth a trip if you are visiting the area. This desert landscape is filled with naturally occurring hollow columnar rock formations, showing like the remains of an ancient forest built completely out of stone.

Pobiti Kamani’s upright stones vary in size with some measuring as tall as 9 meters (30 feet). They vary from hollow to solid cylinders. The stone’s diameter ranges from 0.3 to 3 meters (1 to 9 feet) thick. Some were so big I could practically sit inside them!!

Ali Sitting In A Rock Formation At The Stone Desert In Bulgaria, Traveling Europe

The total area of the Pobiti Kamani rock forest covers 13 square kilometers. Seven large and several separate groups are located north and south of Beloslav Lake. The Dikilitash rock group is in the best state of preservation. The Karierata rock group includes man-made outcrops.

In order to preserve this strange geological phenomenon, the site was designated a natural landmark in the late 1930s. Nowadays, it is part of the ecological network Natura 2000. This area has a big conservation value as the largest inland sand habitat in the country with specific flora and fauna. As mentioned above, it eventually progressed into a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Joey Standing On Top Of A Column Of Rocks At The Stone Forest In Bulgaria, Travel Europe

How Pobiti Kamani was Formed

Pobiti Kamani is a unique place to visit. The only other similar formations known on the planet are in Shark Bay and Nambung National Park in Australia.

There are several theories surrounding the Stone Desert’s origin with nothing fully conclusive to date.

Some speculate that the formations are a result of environmental factors such as sea waves, wind, rain, prismatic weathering. Others explain the phenomenon with, the stones being coral complexes or lower Eocene natural gas seepages termed “bubbling reefs”.

While we still cannot say which of these ideas is the best explanation for Bulgaria’s Stone Desert origin – the idea of human creation has certainly been excluded.

Enjoying The Sites Of The UNESCO World Heritage Rock Forest Site In Bulgaria, Travel Europe

Practical Traveler Information:

Have you been to the Stone Desert of Bulgaria? How much fun did you have walking between the gigantic vertical pillars of prehistoric rocks?

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The Rock Pillars Of Pobiti Kamani, Bulgaria Travel, Europe
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