Village of Mandritsa is charmingly nestled at the right side of Biala River (White River), at the most Eastern part of Rodopi Mountain, at the border with Greece. The village has kept its charm, authentic and language from the far 1636. The legend retells that the village had been established from three Albanian brothers, orthodox Christians from village of Vaskuki, near to Korcha, South Albania. The brothers had been cattlemen. The ottoman commander Ali Pasha obligated them to supply his army with milk, meat and other products to their way to Edirne region. The brothers with their families had to follow the army. They reached Eirene. Then Ali Pasha wanted to express his gratitude and suggested to the brothers to turn around all Edirne region and to find a free place which is suitable for their herds and to settle down there. He promised them to give a written permission – firman, which to make free from taxes the citizens of the future village, to allow the using of the Christian religion and to prohibitsettlement of Turkish people there. They turned around everywhere and finally found the most suitable place. They showed it to Ali Pasha. He gave them the ground and the promised firman. Instead the previous negotiated things the firman included the borders of the village marah as follows: passing of the herds beyond the river and their coming back for one day – these were the borders of the territory. Here they built а creamery (mandra – Bulgarian) and from this comes the name of the village. The village began to grow up quickly and at the beginning of 20th century the population reached 3500 persons. The manufacturing of tobacco, silkworm breeding and the trade had been the main activities of the citizens of Mandritsa. There were four mills, twenty two Mincers for sesame oil, one brickwork, and foundry for bells, manufacture for soft drinks, leather workshop and others in the past. There were two Greece schools in Mandritsa – one for men and one for girls and one kinder garden. There are two churches in the village – “St. Nedelya” (at the graves) was built in 1708 and is one of the oldest churches in the East Rodopi. The village church “St. Dimitar” was built in 1835. Nowadays the village is very depopulated. The old three floor adobehouses remind for the past times. There are some brick houses in Greece style, perfect representatives of Thracian architecture with carved ceilings, balconies from wrought iron and colonnades. The few still living there citizens go on the tradition to speak authentic Albanian language brought from their grandfathers and kept during the centuries of creation and rise of the village.


The ancient Roman villa “Armira” is the most interesting culture-historical monument in the region around Mandritsa. It is one of the earliest and exactly dated (1st century after Christ) villa complexes from the Rome epoch. It was found in 1964 during the construction of Ivaylovgrad dam and from some years is fully restored. Villa “Armira” is the richest decorated private home (palace) from those times founded ever in the territory of Bulgaria. The villa had been a center of a large land possession, property of big Thracian aristocratic family. To nowadays in the villa are kept unique compositions from mosaic and another architecture elements which make it priceless monument of the ancient building art worldwide.

When you have a walks around Mandritsa fortress “Liutitsa” may be the endpoint of the route villa “Armira”, Aterenski Bridge, “Liutitsa”. Fortress “Liutitsa” or also the Marble city (for its construction is used only marble) is the most saved Mountain fortress not only in the East Rodopi but in whole Bulgaria. The fortress is built between 12th and 13th century. The height of the fortress wall is until 10 m and it ends with battle platform, there are still battlements and towers and 9 of them are kept to nowadays in their original height. In fenced from the fortress walls area from 26 dca in the past there was hosted a whole city which if it had been necessary could hide from invaders the population from the surrounding villages. The entrance of the fortress is only one and is protected from two rectangular towers. The fortress “Luititsa” is built at the highest point of the region and when the weather is clear there is a beautiful view to Dimotika and Edirne. To reach the fortress you have to walk above three hours and the way passes through villa “Armira”, Aterenski Bridge and the medieval monastery “St. St. Konstantin and Elena”.

You can combine the pleasant holiday in village of Mandritsa with interesting walks to the cultural-historical sights of the region. One of the places you may visit is Aterenski Bridge – situated above Atmira River, called Aterenska River in its upper watershed. The Bridge in itself is not very old as construction, in this form it exists from 16th century but the legends retell us that there had passed ancient Roman way for the Aegean. The Bridge is announced for archaeological monument of the culture with local importance. In combination with the other cultural-historical landmarks of the region as Villa “Armira”, fortress “Liutitsa” and others and beautiful nature Aterenski Bridge is one really interesting and unique place which is well to be seen.


One of the most impressive places around Mandritsa is the Valley of Biala River. This is the only river in Bulgaria which doesn’t pass through any village or town and therefore in the River valley you can see unique plants and animals. The meanders of Biala River are famous to many fans of the nature. They are attractive with their unique beauty and amazing sights. The valley of White River is perfect for excursions and picnics in the nature, there are a lot of places suitable for sun baths during the hot summer days and excellent conditions for fishing.

Only around twenty kilometers from village of Mandritsa is located one of the biggest and most beautiful dams in Bulgaria – Ivaylovgrad dam. The bridge line of the dam is 64 kilometers and the nature around it is impressive. Surrounded by lush vegetation from green century threes there are cozy sunny meadows suitable for picnic and sun baths. For the lovers of fishing there are different types of fishes in the waters of the dam like: catfish, carp, perch, chub and many more. Dam Ivaylovgrad is suitable for different water sports like canoeing, kayaking and others.

Around Mandritsa may be seen many sights which show the presence of life at these places from the time of ancient civilizations. More famous ancient sights in the region are: Thracian Tomb near village Dolno Lukovo, the Grand Mound near to village Svirachi, Thracian dolmen next to village Plevun and others. Unfortunately these interesting archeological monuments had been found and looted from treasure hunters and witness for their existence are only stone ruins.

In Mandritsa region there are many Christian temples built during different periods. In the village of Mandritsa there are two churches – “St. Nedelya” (1708) – one of the oldest churches in the East Rodopi and “St. Dimitar” (1835). Another famous churches are: “St. Pantaleimon” (1834) – Plevun, “St. Anastasii” (1838) – Belopoliane, “St. St. Konstantin and Elena” (1806) – Dolno Lukovo. In more occasions there are no priests in these churches and their doors are open only at big Christian holidays. The churches may be visited and seen with preliminaryappointment.