In an attempt to attract visitors, a number of archaeological sites in Bulgaria have been comparing themselves to the most famous cromlech, or stone circle, in the world: Stonehenge. More often than not, however, the Stonehenge tag has been applied to places which have nothing to do with stone circles.
In fact, Bulgaria did have quite a number of real cromlechs in the past, but only two survive today: near the village of Dolni Glavanak, in the Eastern Rhodope; and close to the village of Staro Zhelezare, between Hisarya and the southern slopes of the Sredna Gora mountains.
The first to be discovered, in 1997 by Dr Georgi Nehrizov, was the cromlech of Dolni Glavanak. Situated on a low ridge overgrown with thick oak forest, the stone circle consists of 15 rocks about 1.5 m high. Its diameter is about 10 m. Archaeological research has shown that the complex was built between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, and was in use until the end of Antiquity.
Nearby, two smaller circles of boulders have been found.
Why the megalith was built remains unclear. The usual explanation given to tourists is that it was a sort of observation post for watching the sunrise to calculate sacred dates in the Thracian calendar.