Regional Overview

The Balkan Highlands

For millennia, the Iskar and Struma Rivers have carved deep gorges through the Balkan, Rila, Osogovo, and Pirin mountains. This rugged region was known only for centuries for its simple, hardy mountain people, the Shopi. Spread over parts of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia, today, it is known for its dramatic mountain scenery, hidden monastic enclaves, and the city of Sofia.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • Monastic life from Medieval Bulgaria, e.g., St. George’s Rotunda, the Boyana Church, Rila Monastery, and others
  • Bulgarian Revival Architecture from the 19th century and its modernist interpretation from the Communist Regime
  • Rila National Park and the Iskar Gorge




Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel

What is Shopluk?

Any visit to Shopluk will naturally start in the only major city and the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. The city sits in a wide glacial basin surrounded by soaring mountain peaks. Within this range lie hidden monasteries, grottos, and spectacular scenery waiting to be discovered. Sofia is a relatively young city, with only a tiny tourist district and a poorly preserved historical center. The Bulgarians stereotype the residents of Sofia as difficult and rude, and my experience confirms this. Any adventure to Shopluk or Bulgaria should look outwards to the region’s natural and cultural landscapes.

Cities of the Shopi

Should You Visit Sofia?

Should You Visit Sofia?

★★★ Summary: Maybe if you like old churches, otherwise no. It’s a somewhat unpleasant city with only a handful of incredible things to see. Don’t let that stop you from…

Interactive Map

Traditional Recipies

Snezhanka Salad (Snow White Salad)

Snezhanka Salad (Snow White Salad) This is a salad spin on…

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

4 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 4
  • Transportation: 2
  • Volume/Capacity: 5
  • Infrastructure: 1
  • Interactivity: 8

5 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 3
  • Monuments: 8
  • Quality: 5

8 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 10
  • Tradition: 6


Shopluk / Shopsko

Balkan Highlands

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