Koncheto ("The small horse") is a name given to a knife-edge ridge in the Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria, at an elevation of approximately 2,810 metres, between the peaks Banski Suhodol (2,884 meters) and Kutelo (2,908 metres). There are steep slopes on either side: the northwestern side is almost vertical and 300–400 metres deep, while the southwestern side is less steep (approximately 30 degrees) but deeper (800 metres). There is a steel cable stretched along the top of the ridge to help hikers across. It is said that some less experienced hikers go through Koncheto by saddling the ridge edge like a horse and slowly advancing, hence its name. It is not recommended for hikers with acrophobia.
An arête is a narrow ridge of rock which separates two valleys. It is typically formed when two glaciers erode parallel U-shaped valleys. Arêtes can also form when two glacial cirques erode headwards towards one another, although frequently this results in a saddle-shaped pass, called a col. The edge is then sharpened by freeze-thaw weathering, and the slope on either side of the arete steepened through mass wasting events and the erosion of exposed, unstable rock. The word ‘arête’ is actually French for edge or ridge; similar features in the Alps are described with the German equivalent term Grat.
Where three or more cirques meet, a pyramidal peak is created.Banski Suhodol
Banski Suhodol (Bulgarian: Бански Суходол) is a peak in the Pirin mountain, south-western Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of Pirin on the main ridge. Its height is 2,884 m which ranks it on third place in Pirin after Vihren and Kutelo.To the south-east of Banski Suhodol on the main ridge is located Kutelo peak and the two peaks are linked by the Koncheto ridge — a dizzy karst ridge which on some places is only 70 cm wide.On the main ridge to the north-west is situated a nameless peak from which to the north-east deviated the secondary karst ridge Koteshki Chal. From there the main ridge runs in west-northwest direction to the nearby Bayuvi Dupki peak.
The north-eastern slope of Banski Suhodol is a vertical 300-meter marble wall that lowers down to the cirque of the same name. There are a lot of places in the cirque where the snow remains the whole year, several karst caves have been discovered there.
The south-western slope drops down to the valley of the Vlahina river at 70°. Although that slope is not so steep as the north-eastern one, the displacement between the peak and the valley below is around 1,000 m and forms a dramatic view. In that direction there is a view to the main summit Vihren and the second in rank — Kutelo, the granite Hvoinati Vrah and Muratov Vrah as well as the secondary Sinanishki ridge with its cirques and ridges and the Vlahini Lakes with the marble peak Sinanitsa in the distance.Banski Suhodol Glacier
The Banski Suhodol Glacier (Bulgarian: Ледника в Бански Суходол, Lednika v Banski Suhodol) is a small glacier (glacieret) in the Pirin Mountains of Bulgaria. It lies below the Kutelo peak (2908 m.) in the upper Banski Suhodol Valley (Bulgarian: Бански Суходол).
The glacier is on the northern slope of the Kutelo summit and is shaded from the east by the Koncheto ridge. After the nearby Snezhnika glacier (latitude of 41°46′09″ N) Banski Suhodol glacier is the southernmost in Europe, followed by three small glaciers below the Maja Jezerce summit in northern Albania, the Calderone glacier in the Gran Sasso mountain in Italy, and Debeli Namet glacier in Montenegro. Together with the nearby Snezhnika glacieret below Vihren, it is one of two surviving glacial masses in Bulgaria.Bayuvi Dupki
Bayuvi Dupki (Bulgarian: Баюви дупки) is a peak in the Pirin mountain range, south-western Bulgaria. It falls within the borders of the Bayuvi Dupki–Dzhindzhiritsa reserve in Pirin National Park. It is situated on the main ridge of the range between the peaks of Banski Suhodol to the south-east and Kamenititsa to the north-west. Its height is 2,820 m. The eastern slopes descend steeply to the Bayuvi Dupki Cirque, while the western slopes face the valley of the Vlahina river. A tourist eco-path traverses the western slope. The northern face is popular with climbers. The peak is built up of karstified marbles. The summit accommodates many rare herbaceous plants, including edelweiss (Leontopodium nivale) and the only locality of Euphrasia drosocalyx in the Balkan Peninsula.Bayuvi Dupki has three distinct peak points; the main elevation being the southern one. The rocky karst ridge Sredonosa takes its beginning at the north-eastern point. The main crest between the three points may be as narrow as 50 cm. The eastern slopes facing the homonymous cirque are vertical and inaccessible. The western slopes are heavily inclined to the valley of the Vlahina river.
At 470 m to the south-east of the summit on the main ridge is situated the highest alpine shelter in Bulgaria — Koncheto. To the north of Bayuvi Dupki is located the saddle Kamenititski Preval. There are three paths leading from Kamenititski Preval to the shelter. The most frequently used is marked in red and cuts down the steep western slopes of Bayuvi Dupki. The second one follows the main ridge. The third path cuts the northernmost point and then joins the second one. The last two paths are not marked.Blagoevgrad Province
Blagoevgrad Province (Bulgarian: област Благоевград, oblast Blagoevgrad or Благоевградска област, Blagoevgradska oblast), also known as Pirin Macedonia or Bulgarian Macedonia (Bulgarian: Пиринска Македония; Българска Македония), (Pirinska Makedoniya or Bulgarska Makedoniya) is a province (oblast) of southwestern Bulgaria. It borders four other Bulgarian provinces to the north and east, the Greek region of Macedonia to the south, and North Macedonia to the west. The province has 14 municipalities with 12 towns. Its principal city is Blagoevgrad, while other significant towns include Bansko, Gotse Delchev, Melnik, Petrich, Razlog, Sandanski, and Simitli.E4 European long distance path
The E4 European long distance path or E4 path is one of the European long-distance paths. Starting at its westernmost point in Portugal it continues through Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece to end in Cyprus. It also visits the Greek island of Crete.
It is more than 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) long, but the route through Romania and part of Bulgaria is not yet completely defined. An alternative route through Serbia, instead of Romania, has been defined.Kutelo
Kutelo (Bulgarian: Кутело) is a summit in the Pirin mountain range, southwestern Bulgaria. With a height of 2,908 m it is the second highest peak in Pirin after Vihren (2,914 m), and the third one in Bulgaria, behind Musala (2,925 m) in Rila and Vihren. Kutelo is a double peak with a small saddle between the two parts, the lower being only one meter below the higher one, at 2,907 m. Seen from the town of Bansko it appears higher than Vihren.Like Vihren, which towers to the south, Kutelo is built up of marble but its slopes though sheer are not so rocky and it is not very difficult to climb. On the north-eastern slopes there are alpine climbing tracks of category II "b". The Premkata saddle is situated to the south and leads to Vihren while to the north is the narrow karst edge Koncheto which links Kutelo to the summit of Banski Suhodol. There are no marked tracks to the summit of Kutelo, but on the slanting western slope among the rocks is nestled the track between the Vihren refuge and Yavorov refuge. This track also leads along Koncheto. In the homonymous waterless cirque to the north-east there are snow-drifts all the year. To the south-east is the cirque Golemiya Kazan with Europe's southernmost glacier, Snezhnika. Pirin's second glacierlet, Banski Suhodol Glacier, is situated below the northern face of Kutelo.
Kutelo is home to chamois and on its slopes grow edelweiss (Leontopodium nivale) and a number of other rare herbaceous plants.Papaver degenii
Papaver degenii, the Pirin poppy (Bulgarian: Пирински мак), is a poppy endemic to the Pirin Mountains of south-western Bulgaria where it is found at altitudes from 2,100 to 2,900 m. It is included in the Red Book of Bulgaria as vulnerable species. It is considered by some authors to be conspecific with the Alpine poppy (Papaver alpinum).The Pirin poppy is a perennial herbaceous plant. The stems is 5 to 15 cm long. The leaves are skewered, swallowed, their portions are ovoid. There are four 13-15 mm long petals coloured from bright yellow to orange. The stamens are numerous with yellow anthers. It blooms from July to August. It is distinguished from the other species of poppy in Bulgaria by the basal leaves and the colour of the petals.This poppy is very rare and is found in low numbers; there could be as few as a few dozen individuals on 100 m2 It is found on limestone rocks on the slopes of Pirin's highest summit Vihren (2,914 m), the knife-edge ridge Koncheto that links the peaks Kutelo (2,908 m) and Banski Suhodol (2,884 m), Golemiya Kazan cirque and the surrounding summits. There areas are protected within the Pirin National Park and the Bayuvi Dupki–Dzhindzhiritsa nature reserve.Pirin
The Pirin Mountain (Bulgarian: Пирин) is a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria, with Vihren at an altitude of 2,914 m being the highest peak. One hypothesis is the mountain was named after Perun, the highest god of the Slavic pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. Another version is that the etymology of the range derives from the Thracian word Perinthos, meaning "Rocky Mountain".
The range extends about 80 km from the north-west to the south-east and is about 40 km wide, spanning a territory of 2,585 km2 (998 sq mi). To the north Pirin is separated from Bulgaria's highest mountain range, the Rila Mountain, by the Predel saddle, while to the south it reaches the Slavyanka Mountain. To the west is located the valley of the river Struma and to the east the valley of the river Mesta separates it from the Rhodope Mountains. Pirin is dotted with more than a hundred glacial lakes and is also the home of Europe's southernmost glaciers, Snezhnika and Banski Suhodol.
The northern part of the range, which is also the highest one, is protected by the Pirin National Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Pirin is noted for its rich flora and fauna, as well as for the presence of a number of relict species. Much of the area is forested, with some of the best preserved conifer woods in Bulgaria, holding important populations of the Balkan endemic species Macedonian pine, Bosnian pine and Bulgarian fir. Animals include many species of high conservation value, such as brown bear, gray wolf, wildcat, European pine marten, wild boar, red deer, roe deer, chamois, etc.
The combination of favourable natural conditions and varied historical heritage contribute makes Pirin an important tourist destination. The town of Bansko, situated on the north-eastern slopes of the mountain, has grown to be the primary ski and winter sports centre in the Balkans. A number of settlements at the foothills of Pirin have mineral spring and are spa resorts — Banya, Dobrinishte, Gotse Delchev, Sandanski, etc. Melnik at the south-western foothills of the mountain is Bulgaria's smallest town and is an architectural reserve. Within a few kilometres from the town are the Melnik Earth Pyramids and the Rozhen Monastery.Pirin National Park
Pirin National Park (Bulgarian: Национален парк "Пирин"), originally named Vihren National Park, encompasses the larger part of the Pirin Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria, spanning an area of 403.56 km2 (155.82 sq mi). It is one of the three national parks in the country, the others being Rila National Park and Central Balkan National Park. The park was established in 1962 and its territory was expanded several times since then. Pirin National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The altitude varies from 950 m to 2,914 m at Vihren, Bulgaria's second highest summit and the Balkans' third.
The park is situated in Blagoevgrad Province, the nation's south-westernmost region, on the territory of seven municipalities: Bansko, Gotse Delchev, Kresna, Razlog, Sandanski, Simitli and Strumyani. There are no populated places within its territory. Two nature reserves are located within the boundaries of Pirin National Park, Bayuvi Dupki–Dzhindzhiritsa and Yulen. Bayuvi Dupki–Dzhindzhiritsa is among the oldest in Bulgaria, established in 1934 and is included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme. The whole territory is part of the network of nature protection areas of the European Union, Natura 2000.
Pirin is renowned for its 118 glacial lakes, the largest and the deepest of them being Popovo Lake. Many of them are situated in cirques. There are also a few small glaciers, such Snezhnika, located in the deep Golemiya Kazan cirque at the steep northern foot of Vihren, and Banski Suhodol. They are the southernmost glaciers in Europe.
Pirin National Park falls within the Rodope montane mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. Forests cover 57.3% of the parks area and almost 95% of them are coniferous forests. The average age of the forests is 85 years. Bulgaria's oldest tree, Baikushev's pine, is located in the park. With an approximate age of about 1,300 years it is a contemporary of the foundation of the Bulgarian state in 681 AD. The fauna of the Pirin National Park is diverse and includes 45 species of mammals, 159 species of birds, 11 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibia and 6 species of fish.Pyramidal peak
A pyramidal peak, sometimes called a glacial horn in extreme cases, is an angular, sharply pointed mountain peak which results from the cirque erosion due to multiple glaciers diverging from a central point. Pyramidal peaks are often examples of nunataks.Ridge
A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geographical feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance. The sides of the ridge slope away from narrow top on either side. The lines along the crest formed by the highest points, with the terrain dropping down on either sides, are called the ridgelines. Ridges are usually termed hills or mountains as well, depending on size.Snezhnika
Snezhnika (Bulgarian: Снежника, "the snow patch") is a glacieret in the Pirin Mountains of Bulgaria, a remnant of the former Vihren Glacier. The glacieret lies at an elevation between 2,425 m (7,956 ft) and 2,480 m (8,140 ft) in the deep Golemiya Kazan cirque at the steep northern foot of Vihren (2,914 m (9,560 ft)), Pirin's highest summit. Due to the relatively easy access and its location along a popular hiking trail, Snezhnika is Bulgaria's most famous glacieret. Snezhnika has an average area of 0.01 km2 (0.0039 sq mi) and in 2006 it had a volume of 30,000 m3 (1,100,000 cu ft).Snezhnika's size varies in length from 70 to 100 metres (west to east) and in width from 40 to 90 metres (north to south). Its firn is 8–11 m thick at the base and its snow cover, which is mostly fed by avalanche snow, can be as deep as 20 metres in March and April. Snezhnika's latitude of 41°46′09″ N makes it the southernmost glacial mass in Europe; the nearby Banski Suhodol Glacier below Koncheto, although larger, is slightly to the north.
Snezhnika lies in an east-facing hollow adjacent to the almost vertical north wall of Vihren and is surrounded on three sides by a moraine or moraine-like rock debris. The north wall of Vihren supplies Snezhnika with avalanche snow. The strong shade of the high vertical wall and the high albedo of its white marble as well as the karstified bottom of the hollow provide suitable conditions for glaciation.Snezhnika has existed continuously since at least the Little Ice Age, when it presumably reached a maximum area of 0.93 hectares, and its age is estimated at more than 500 years. While its size varies greatly from year to year, it has remained relatively stable from the mid-20th through to the 21st century, despite low precipitation and a relatively high and increasing annual mean temperature. Snezhnika exhibits less variability in size than the glaciers and glacierets of Albania (below Maja Jezercë) and Montenegro (Debeli Namet), which lie at a lower altitude and rely on heavier precipitation. Otherwise, Snezhnika has a very comparable topography to these and to the Calderone glacier of the Apennines.The presence of perennial snow in Pirin has been documented since the 1920s. The first in-depth study of Snezhnika dates to 1957–61 and was conducted by Vladimir Popov of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences's Institute of Geography. Further research was done by a team under Karsten Grunewald of the Landscape Research Centre in Dresden, Germany, from 1994 to 2007.Vihren
Vihren (Bulgarian: Вихрен) is the highest peak of Bulgaria's Pirin Mountains. Reaching 2,914 metres (9,560 ft), it is Bulgaria's second and the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus. Although due to the karst topography Vihren is deprived of lakes and streams, a number of Pirin's lakes are located around the peak, as is Europe's southernmost glacial mass, the Snezhnika glacielet. Until 1942 Vihren was known as Eltepe (peak of storms); it was also called Buren (stormy) and Malnienosets (lightning-bringer). The UNESCO World Heritage Site Pirin National Park was originally known as the Vihren National Park. Vihren is included in the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria under No. 2.