I own a company called Bansko Adventure Tours.
During the past seven years I have been taking tours into the Rila and Pirin mountains using snowmobiles, Rangerovers and off-road buggies. During the summer, I spend time in the mountains learning the routes, places to shelter and so on above the village of Bachevo where I live.
It was during one of these "study days" that I noticed some interesting rock formations and standing stones. I uploaded the pictures to my computer. On the big screen the rocks looked worked or sculptured... not the usual erosion.
So I walked back to the location of the standing stone and I saw an eye, then a nose... a huge rock, maybe 2 metres high, had a face carved on one side... I took more pictures, hands shaking.
I had been learning the mountains and the legends from the villagers, but had never been told about the stone head. Had I discovered something?
Then, as I was putting my camera away, I saw another big rock with a face – a head outline. On closer inspection the carving was on all sides, not just one. Then I noticed another head, then a lizard relief, then a horse head, a monkey head... I was surrounded by massive stone carvings!
Walking around the area I came to a stream, searching for the easiest way across. On the other side I could make out two distinct stone walls forming a path. I crossed the stream and followed the path, after 50 metres there were buildings made from rocks. The roofs long since collapsed and trees growing through the ruins...
No one, including the mayor and the old ladies in the village, had heard anything about this, so I revisited with my French neighbour and an expert from the museum. He assessed that the ruined buildings are 400-plus years old and the carvings even older.
I named the gorilla head picture that I enclose "Boyko" – an obvious likeness!