Krastova gora – Кръстова гора, is a famous Christian center in Bulgaria. Interesting legends surround the place and a large number of pilgrims visit it every year. It is situated in the Rhodope mountain at about 60km from Plovdiv.
Many legends surround Krastova gora, including one that a piece of the holy cross was buried in the region causing many small pebbles there to have a little cross naturally carved in them. Another one is how Bulgarian tsar (king) Boris III was advised to send his daughter there to be cured of her epilepsy, which she was. The king ordered a 66-kg bronze cross to be made and installed at Krastova gora as a thank you for having his child cured. The cross was stolen shortly thereafter, but was later returned with a chilling note attached to it from the thieves stating that they had been 3 men, but 2 of them had died mysteriously and the third one was now returning the cross fearing divine revenge.
The cross is again where it belongs, the places where the thieves cut it are clearly visible.
Adding to the mystical vibe of the place, some people say they sense a special energy in the air out there. Superstitious Bulgarians go there to absorb some of this energy and believe it would cure diseases, infertility etc.
Getting to Krastova gora can be a bit tricky, as the road is narrow and curvy. I wouldn’t dare it in snow conditions, but when the weather is dry, there won’t be a problem. The road goes through a small typical Rhodope village and can offer some nice views. All in all, I would recommend adding Krastova gora to One day: Sofia – Asen’s Fortress – Bachkovo monastery – Plovdiv – Sofia and combining it with a visit to the Wonderful Bridges making it into a two-day trip.