The Blood Rock near Vrattsata

Learn the legends and lore of Blood Rock by the Gates.

....It is a stone's throw away from the city of Vratsa Vrattsata – a narrow passage in the middle of the high rocks. At noon, the stone wall on the left side of the passage turns black, the old people here say that this is the Great Blood. Zgorigrad and Vojvodin dol are nearby...

It is also called the Great Blood and the Blood Stone. It is located at the very pass over the Leva River. The name comes from the color of the stone.

There are several legends, but the most common one is related to the Turkish invasion and Radan voivode - defender of the city. When his heroes fell under the Turkish scimitar, he killed his only daughter on the steepest rock, so that she would not fall alive into the hands of the infidels, and then killed himself. Even today, the blood of the innocent girl can be seen – the red-stained rock can be seen from afar (Kral-bair 2000). The monument of Radan Voivoda is located opposite Heritage Trail "Ancient and Medieval Vratitsa".

Another legend, described in the "Toponymy of the Natural Park "Vrachanski Balkan", takes us even further back in the centuries - to the time of the Byzantine emperor Basil, when the Bulgarian kingdom fell under Greek rule. The then fortified fortress of Veliko Tarnovo, as well as some buildings in the plain and most of the mountain villages, had not yet been conquered. Among them was the city of Vratsa. At that time, the voivode of Vratsa was Raden. Having seen the general trouble and understood the hardships that stood before him in order to protect the open city of Vratsa, he retreated behind the pass of the narrows near Vrattsata, in the fortress of Zgorigrad, and there he valiantly defended himself and repelled all attacks.

After many bloody attempts, the Greeks saw that because of the convenient location and the valor of the Bulgarians who closed themselves in the fortress, as well as because of the skill and cunning of the voivode, they would not be able to capture the city. In addition, the Bulgarians scattered across the Balkans and the forests gathered every day under Raden's voivodeship banner and increased his power. The Byzantines were afraid that Raden's fighters would one day attack their camp, so they decided to use trickery. While they devised this ruse, they retired to the plain and wandered for several days.

The son of the Greek general stuck in the plain, thirsty for glory, was too proficient in the Bulgarian language. He decided to disguise himself as a Bulgarian peasant from this region and sneak into the Zgorigrad fortress, so that he could kill the valiant Raden when it was his turn. As he thought, he managed to sneak into the fortress. He presented himself as the son of another Bulgarian voivode, whose city had already been captured by the Greeks. He said that he had studied in Constantinople and when he realized that his fatherland was dying, he hurried to help his father, but he was too late. But he managed to get hold of the only valiant voivode who still prevailed over the Greeks, and therefore he came to him to help as much as he could and knew.

Raden knew well the voivode, whose son the Greek presented himself as, and therefore received him with joy and great respect. The spy felt that he would easily be able to poison the duke and disperse his soldiers. He sensed an easy victory, but he waited for the most opportune time.

Raden voivode had a beautiful daughter - her name was Velika. She liked the Greek and fell in love. Raden suspected nothing wrong with his daughter's behavior, respected the very illustrious family from which the Greek presented himself, and was infinitely pleased with his hospitality. But at some point his faithful scouts caught a letter and found out who the man was and why he came to their fortress. They gave the letter to Raden voivode, and he was immeasurably bitter about the treacherous deception. His restless blood was bubbling. On the other hand Velika loved the handsome and young Greek, not suspecting exactly what he was like, she was ready to go with him, to leave her father and relatives, birthplace and patronymic.

The voivode looked for the foreigner and soon found him together with Velika above Vrattsata, from where he showed her the position of the Greek camp in the field and the Greek guard ready to receive them. The soldiers who were walking with the voivode quickly fell upon the Greek, and Raden took his daughter by the hair and said:

"Die, damned daughter!" He who does not like his family and his father's country, he is not worthy to look at the sun - and with one stroke he cut off her head.

The frightened Greek stood bound in front of him, but the voivode swung his sword, cut the rope and set him free with the words:

- Go and tell your father to be ready, tomorrow with my heroic suitors I will come to his bloody wedding!

And indeed, the next day, he led his brave company to the field, where in a bloody battle he killed the person responsible for the death of his beloved and only daughter and then he himself fell dead. (From the Danube to the Balkans 2005)


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