The Stone Wedding nature phenomenon near the town of Kardzhali, Bulgaria, is an awe-inspiring landmark that has captivated the hearts of visitors for generations. Located close to the village of Zimzelen, only 3 km from Kardzhali, in Southern Bulgaria, this natural wonder has been declared a landmark by the Ministry of Forestry and Environmental Protection since 1974.
The Stone Wedding is a group of numerous stone pyramids shaped like a wedding procession. These formations are made of volcanic tuffs with a rhyolite composition about 35 million years old. During the Oligocene period, the Eastern Rhodopes were covered by the sea. Due to frequent volcanic explosions, thick layers of volcanic ash were formed on the sea floor. These sediments compacted slowly and turned into layers of tuffs, which form the “Stone Wedding” today.
These unique formations are incredibly diverse in shape and size, ranging from 0.5 to over 10 meters in height. The different mineral composition of the rocks determines their different strength, which is an essential condition for modeling the fantastic figures of the pyramids. The rocks are colored in different hues, including white, yellow, pink, green, and rusty red, giving them a vibrant and attractive appearance.
Visitors to the Stone Wedding can enjoy a picturesque landscape that presents no difficulty in all seasons. The place is of little importance from the point of view of biodiversity conservation, but its beauty and uniqueness more than make up for that. The popular imagination has likened this excellent natural composition to a wedding procession and linked it to a stirring legend in which good triumphs over evil.
The legend of the Stone Wedding tells of a young man who falls in love with a girl from a neighboring village. After the father bought off the beauty with a bag of gold coins, a big wedding occurred. The procession went to Zimzelen, and in front of the group, mounted on a mule, walked the bride with her face covered. The father-in-law was walking next to her, and the happy groom was behind. However, when the wind blew, it revealed the face of the bride, and the father-in-law was stunned by her beauty, and impure thoughts popped into his head. The wind, realizing this, became enraged and petrified the bride, the mule, and the father-in-law, together with the whole wedding. Only the boy remained, numb with grief and terror. He wept, bowed his head, and asked the wind to petrify him. The wind granted his request, and the poor boy’s tears formed a small pond.
The legend of the Stone Wedding is a testament to the enduring power of nature and its ability to shape our lives in unexpected ways. Visitors to the Stone Wedding can be inspired by the beauty of this natural wonder and reflect on the power and majesty of nature. The Stone Wedding is a national treasure and a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Kardzhali region.