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.[1][2] 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.[2]

Like Vihren, which towers to the south, Kutelo is built up of marble[2] 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[1] while to the north is the narrow karst edge Koncheto which links Kutelo to the summit of Banski Suhodol.[1][2] 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.[2] To the south-east is the cirque Golemiya Kazan with Europe's southernmost glacier, Snezhnika.[3] 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.[1]

Kutelo (Кутело)
Konceto and Vichren
Kutelo (in the front) and Vihren (back) viewed from Koncheto.
Highest point
Coordinates41°46′36.7″N 23°24′00.1″E / 41.776861°N 23.400028°E
LocationBlagoevgrad Province, Bulgaria
Parent rangePirin Mountains
Easiest routeFrom Bunderitsa hut, via Premkata saddle


  1. ^ a b c d Geographic Dictionary of Bulgaria 1980, p. 275
  2. ^ a b c d e Dushkov 1972, p. 99
  3. ^ Grunewald 2010, p. 129


  • Мичев (Michev), Николай (Nikolay); Михайлов (Mihaylov), Цветко (Tsvetko); Вапцаров (Vaptsarov), Иван (Ivan); Кираджиев (Kiradzhiev), Светлин (Svetlin) (1980). Географски речник на България [Geographic Dictionary of Bulgaria] (in Bulgarian). София (Sofia): Наука и култура (Nauka i kultura).
  • Душков (Dushkov), Добри (Dobri) (1972). Пирин. Туристически речник [Pirin. Tourist Dictionary] (in Bulgarian). София (Sofia): Наука и култура (Nauka i kultura).
  • Grunewald, Karsten; Jörg Scheithauer (2010). "Europe's southernmost glaciers: response and adaptation to climate change" (PDF). Journal of Glaciology. International Glaciological Society. 56: 129–142. ISSN 0022-1430. Retrieved 6 March 2015.

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.

Golemiya Kazan

Golemiya Kazan (Bulgarian: Големия казан) is one of the two cirques that form an area called Kazanite (the Cauldrons), situated in Bulgaria's Pirin mountain range. Kazanite are located below the two highest summits Vihren (2,914 m) to the south and Kutelo (2,908 m) to the north. It is composed of two cirques, Malkiya Kazan (The Small Cauldron), which is the lower one (2,200 m) and is grassy, and Golemiya Kazan (The Big Cauldron), situated at 2,400 m and with stony slopes. The size of Golemiya Kazan is 1,200 m by 1,100 m. They were named like that because there is often fog rising from the cirques. Due to the karst in the region there are no lakes or streams in Kazanite. A 450 m-high face of Vihren begins from Golemiya Kazan and at its foot a small glacier called Snezhnika is located, whose size is 80x90 m in summer, with a latitude of 41°46′09″ N it is the southernmost glacial mass in Europe. Chamois are abundant in this area.

Kamenitsa Peak (Pirin)

Kamenitsa (Bulgarian: Каменица) is a peak in the Pirin mountain range, south-western Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of Pirin on the 22 km-long Kamenitsa secondary ridge between the summits of Malka Kamenitsa to the north and Yalovarnika (2,763 m) to the south. Its height is 2,822 m which ranks it on fifth place in Pirin, behind Vihren (2,914 m), Kutelo (2,908 m), Banski Suhodol (2,884 m) and Polezhan (2,851 m). The peak is built up of granite blocks covered in lichens.A short ridge stems form the summit in western direction, ending with rocky slopes known as the Kamenitsa doll. It is with the Kamenitsa doll that Kamenitsa acquires its characteristic and very popular silhouette seen from Tevnoto Lake. To the south is situated the long Begovishki ridge that separates the valleys of the rivers Begovitsa and Mozgovitsa. To the north the summit is rugged with prominent pointy peak. Below the steep rocks there is a large field of moraines which give the name of the peak. On the northern face there is a climbing tour of category II "b". To the south the peak is rocky but less oblique and imposing.

Kamenitsa is accessible from the Begovitsa and Pirin refuges, as well as from the Tevno ezero shelter. There are no marked tourist paths leading to the summit but the views from the top are among the most impressive in Pirin.


Kaymakchal (Bulgarian: Каймакчал), also known as Izvorets (Изворец) is a peak in the Pirin mountain range, south-western Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of Pirin on the Polezhan secondary ridge. It is 2,753 m high and is built up of granite.Four cirques meet up at Kaymakchal - the Gazey cirque to the south, the Yulen cirque to the north-west, the Perlesh cirque to the north-east and the Desilish cirque to the east.

To the south-east of Kaimakchal is situated the rocky Ushitsite ridge. A long saddle connects the summit to the first needle from the Ushitsite - the Golyamata Strazha. To the north of Kaymakchal is one of the last peaks on the Polezhan secondary ridge, Konarevo (2,438 m). A short ridge stretches in north-western direction, forming the right bank of the Demyanitsa river, and enclosing the Yulen cirque from the west. To the north-east of Kaimakchal is the stony ridge of Disilitsa, which ends with the eponymous peak and forms the southern and south-eastern slopes of the Perlesh cirque.

Kaimakchal is an easily accessible peak. The summit and its surroundings are located within the protected area of the Yulen Reserve in Pirin National Park. There are no marked paths in the area and access to the top is desirable to be done with permission from the Park Guard. From the summit there are view to the Razlog Valley, the Rila and Rhodope mountain ranges, and the summits of Vihren and Kutelo in Pirin.


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.

List of mountain peaks in Pirin

This is an incomplete list of mountain peaks in Pirin, south-western Bulgaria.

List of mountains in Bulgaria

Mountains constitute a significant part of Bulgaria and are dominant in the southwest and central parts. Bulgaria's highest mountains are Rila (highest peak Musala, 2925 m; the highest in the Balkans) and Pirin (highest peak Vihren, 2914 m). The large mountain chain of Stara planina (Balkan Mountains) runs west-east across the entire country, bisecting it and giving the name to the entire Balkan peninsula. Other extensive mountains are the massifs Rhodopes and Strandzha in the south.

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.


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.


Polezhan (Bulgarian: Полежан, old name Mangar Tepe) is the highest granite peak in the Pirin Mountains and the fourth highest after Vihren, Kutelo and Banski Suhodol (all three are marble peaks). The closest mountain hut is Hizha Bezbog named after Bezbog which lies near Polezhan. Depending on weather conditions the mountain hut is about 2-3h from Polezhan. Two of the highest lakes in Pirin are situated next to Polezhan, namely the Upper Polezhan Lake (2706 m), the second highest lake in Bulgaria, as well as the Upper Gazei Lake.

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.


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.

Subterranean river

A subterranean river is a river that runs wholly or partly beneath the ground surface – one where the riverbed does not represent the surface of the Earth (rivers flowing in gorges are not classed as subterranean). It should also not be confused with an aquifer which may flow like a river but is contained within a permeable layer of rock or other unconsolidated materials.

Subterranean rivers may be entirely natural, flowing through cave systems. In karst topography, rivers may disappear through sinkholes, continuing underground. In some cases, they may emerge into daylight further downstream. Some fish (colloquially known as cavefish) and other troglobite organisms are adapted to life in subterranean rivers and lakes. The longest subterranean river in the world is located in Mexico.Subterranean rivers can also be the result of covering over a river and/or diverting its flow into culverts, usually as part of urban development. Reversing this process is known as daylighting a stream and is a visible form of river restoration. One successful example is the Cheonggyecheon in the centre of Seoul.Examples of subterranean rivers also occur in mythology and literature.


Todorka (Bulgarian: Тодорка) is a massive peak in the Pirin Mountains of south-western Bulgaria. It is the only peak of the Todorka side ridge and has a summit elevation of 2746 m (9009 ft.) above sea level. Todorka is the 11th highest peak in Pirin and is made of granite, and although not rocky, it is steep. It is a relatively short crest with three peaks - Golyama (Big), Sredna (Middle) and Malka (Little) Todorka. Golyama Todorka is located to the north and viewed from the town of Bansko looks like a dramatic pyramid. There are several ski tracks from its slopes, and has been developed extensively since 2000 and is now a major ski area, with a lift-served summit of 2600 m (8530 ft). Bansko hosted World Cup races for the women in 2009 and for the men in 2011.Following the ridge to the southwest of Golyama Todorka is Sredna Todorka at 2706 m (8878 ft.) and to the southeast is Malka Todorka (2712 m, 8898 ft.). To the east of the cirque their form are situated the two lakes Todorini Ochi (Todora's eyes) which are part of the Vasilashki Lakes near which runs the route between the Vihren refuge and Demyanitsa refuge. To the west is the Banderitsa valley which makes a peculiar twist following the twist of the Todorka peak. That is the reason why the end of the valley lies invisible from Bansko.

There is an impressive panorama from the peak. To the west can be seen Vihren and Kutelo, to the east is the Strazhite edge. To the south Kamenitsa rises above the other peaks. To the north in cloudless days there is a dramatic view to Bansko in which the streets and buildings are clearly visible.


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.


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