The dome shaped massif of Mount Vitosha rises majestically approximately in the middle of South-Western Bulgaria. Its foothills have been inhabited by 7 000 years. Between the 1st and the 4th centuries AD the Romans built numerous fortresses on the mountain, which were later rebuilt and used by Byzantines and Bulgarians. About forty monasteries were built there in the Middle Ages. Only two of them (Dragalevski and Kladneshki) have survived to this day.
Vitosha is 20 km long and 18 km wide, covering a total area of 278 sq. km. There are ten peaks over 2 000 m. The highest peak, called Cherni Vrah (meaning black peak) is 2 290 m above sea level. Vitosha has a soft rounded shape. Its northern slopes, descending towards Sofia, are steeper than the southern ones.
The capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, is situated to the north of Vitosha, which gives the city its scenic beauty. It is for this reason that the mountain is represented on the coat of arms of Sofia. Vitosha Mountain offers wonderful places for recreation and sport.
According to many sources, the ancient name of Vitosha was Scombros, 2 400 years ago Aristotle himself called it by that name, which supposedly came from the Thracian tribe of Scombrae who inhabited the surrounding area.
Vitosha is extremely rich in water. A multitude of springs, brooks creeks and peat bogs give water to nine rivers, the longest of which is Struma, which winds its way towards the Aegean Sea. Vitosha is famous for its mineral springs, some of which are of world renown. Particularly healthy are the waters at Gorna Banya, Knyazhevo, Ovcha Kupel and Pancharevo.
The well-furnished tourist and sports centre Aleko is the most popular tourist centre in Vitosha.
Skiing gear may be hired from any of the ski rentals. The Vitosha Mountain has 6 pistes of different level of difficulty and length, homologated by the International Ski Federation for international ski competitions. The total length of the pistes is 29 km and the longest is 5 km. The highest skiing point is 2 290 m. There are four seat lifts with total length of 4 500 m and a cable car.