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Gela

 

 

     The village is situated on the foothills of Karluk mountainous area, 7 km from the village of Shiroka Laka. Gela is one of the oldest settlements in the Rhodopes, with a history of over 3300 years. Nowadays a few people live in the village. A legend says that the village is the birthplace of the mythical singer Orpheus. Archeological remains from the Thracian period as well as remains from a Roman road can be found near the village. There were found a lot of funeral marks of over 20 Thracians. According to the archeologists it was a ritual funeral of an eminent Thracian leader.
     Some ceramic vessels were found in the graves as well. A lot of ornaments, amber objects are proving evidence for the cultural connections of the ancient population with distant nations. The Holy Trinity Church is of a great interest too, built on top of a Christian monastery from the Early Bulgarian Kingdom. One can hear a lot of legends about this monastery by the local population.
     Orpheus flower, stamped on coins in ancient times, can be found in the vicinity of Gela. Orpheus flower is a unique endemicity and the only one of its kind worldwide to fall into anabiosis. Even extracted and herbarium-kept for long years, its rootstock regenerates when replanted.
     Ilinden is a traditional local fest that takes place near the village of Gela, during the first week of August. People from around the region and the country come for this extended family gathering to dance and listen to music on a large meadow. One can enjoy famous lamb barbecue in Rhodopean style, called Cheverme. With its playing annual bagpipe competition the fest attracts a lot of tourists.