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Mysterious monster inhabits Bulgarian Rabisha Lake near Belogradchik

Photo: Veneta Nikolova
The mythical Nessy monster inhabiting the Scottish Loch Ness has a Bulgarian equivalent, citizens of the Bulgarian northwestern village of Rabisha claim. According to them, an enormous mysterious creature, which probably comes from prehistoric times, lives in the depths of the nearby lake. The Rabisha Lake is situated near the Belogradchik Rocks that are a unique natural landmark, associated with legends and mysteries.

Underwater shadows as big as submarines, sudden water splashes, half-human, half-animal sounds, and other unexplained events trigger the imagination of local fishermen. Some of them are ready to swear they have personally met the fearsome creature. Rumors about such monsters attract tourist and media attention. A big Bulgarian newspaper even announced an award for those who can take a picture of the Rabisha monster. An interesting fact is that the Rabisha Lake is the oldest and biggest tectonic lake in Bulgaria. Judging by discovered fossils, the lake and the nearby Magura cave were once at the bottom of a warm sea. Rabisha is an undrained lake, which means no water from it reaches surrounding valleys and rivers. This confined habitat provides the necessary isolation for the underwater monster. “The lake is 3-4 million years old, just like Loch Ness in Scotland,” Belogradchik mayor Emil Tsankov says. The rumors of the monster are fostered by an old legend that tells the story of a so- called water bull that inhabited the lake and attacked cattle of the local people. In order to appease the monster, the villagers used to give him a local girl every year. In the end, the most beautiful lass from the village remained. When the water bull saw her, he fell in love and asked his sister, magician Susha, to make the girl immortal so she could become his wife.
“Whoever wants to learn more about the secrets of the lake and the Bulgarian equivalent of Nessy must come to Belogradchik,” Emil Tsankov says. The Loch Ness legend is a popular one but the world does not know about the Rabisha monster yet. The local legend is more than 150 years old and is told from generation to generation. The lake itself has not dried for millions of years and is not well studied by scientists. Local fishermen claim they have caught huge fish in the lake, reaching 5 meters in length and weighing about 350 kilograms.”

The Belogradchik municipality is already developing tourist attractions related to the Rabisha mystery. A special lakeshore performance related to the legend is planned to start next summer. The show with the participation of local actors will take place at tour operators’ request. Tourist paths are to connect the Belogradchik Rocks to the Rabisha Lake. The municipality also pays special attention to the nearby Magura cave, which is one of the biggest in Bulgaria and is famous for the 8000 year-old cave paintings. With the financial cooperation of the EU, full-size models of people from the times of the Rabisha monster, as well as ancient animals that inhabited the region millions of years ago will be displayed nearby. Thus everyone who visits the lake and the cave will enter a mysterious lost world. 

English: Alexander Markov

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