There's a place in Bulgaria where you can see as many dolmens as you can take in before getting bored. About a dozen of these ancient structures survive in the low, wind-swept hills surrounding the villages of Hlyabovo and Sakartsi, in the Sakar mountain, in Bulgaria's southeast. They are evidence that the area teemed with life in the half-millennium between the 10th and the 5th centuries BC. 

The biggest, most interesting and most photogenic of Hlyabovo's dolmens is also the easiest to reach. You will find it in a ravine in the Nachevi Chairi, an area southeast of the road between the villages of Hlyabovo and Balgarska Polyana. It is the end point of a clearly signposted tourist path. 

ancient thracian dolmen bulgaria hlyabovo

The dolmen was under a 10-metre-high mound and was excavated in the 1970s, revealing a design and structure without a match so far: two attached dolmens with two chambers each, and a monumental façade. The stones covering them were still in situ, and in one of the chambers human remains were discovered in such structure for the first time in Bulgaria. The finds pointed to the 9th or 8th centuries BC as the building date. 

Among the most interesting dolmens around Hlyabovo is the two-chamber structure, in the Gaydarova Peshtera area, which is clearly visible from Nachevi Chairi. 

ancient thracian dolmen bulgaria hlyabovo

To the south there are more dolmens, scattered around a small artificial dam. Most are hard to notice among the undergrowth and are in a bad condition, but the dolmens in the areas of Slavova Koriya, Byalata Treva and Avdzhika are worth the effort. 

Two more, relatively well preserved dolmens are located further south, near the village of Sakartsi. 

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