The day is slowly melting away, and our suggestions for a weekend getaway are getting closer. Such is today's destination, which takes only about fifteen minutes to reach - the village of Belashtitsa. And no, we won’t take you on a tour of luxurious houses, but we will show you the thickest tree in Bulgaria - a proud plane tree, which is more than 1100 years old and has a trunk circumference of 13.7 m.
According to the legend, it was brought from Belasitsa mountain and planted by the blinded Samuil soldiers who moved here in 1014, and brought it as a sapling of the Roman general ruling at that time, Nicephorus Xyphius. The tower of the castle-fortress, which was built by the Byzantine and in which lived relatives of Assenevtsi during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, is preserved to this day. Among them were Ivanko, known as the assassin of Tsar Assen, but also as a skilled military strategist and a cruel Roman murderer, as well as despot Alexius Slav - an independent ruler of a principality in the Rhodopes from 1207 to 1230. The locals also say that Tsar Kaloyan tied his horse to the thousand-year-old plane tree, and Tsar Boris III and Tsaritsa Joana also came to the village to admire the life-giving tree. Surrounded by other old plane trees and a younger plane tree forest, the tree has sheltered under its shadow one of the most original Bulgarian artists of the 20th century - the painter Zlatyu Boyadzhiev. It is no coincidence that the artist painted it on one of his canvases - Landscape from Belashtitsa. Apart from a painting, the tree is immortalized in the work of Pencho Slaveykov, who dedicated his work Inseparable to it.
In December 2011, the entire Chinarite area was declared protected by an order of the Minister of Environment and Water, and in addition to the millennial tree, you can see several other "younger" representatives of the species.
The area is very suitable for recreation and picnics, as well as for short walks, even with children. You walk along a well-trodden and sloping path, and you can combine it with a visit to the Belashtino Monastery, which is famous throughout Bulgaria for its healing spring. Its garden and yard are also well maintained and suitable for relaxation, especially in autumn, when everything shines in different colors.