West of Veliko Tarnovo is one of Bulgaria’s most beautiful canyons – Emen. Named after Emen village, where the canyon origins, it is a perfect example of Bulgaria’s untouched nature. In thousands of years, the Negovanka river has cut through soft limestone and created the ridges, waterfalls and a lake in the canyon’s central part. The Negovanka Trail, which crosses the canyon, was Bulgaria’s first.
As the descent is quite steep, wooden structures as steps and bridges are constructed to make the walk more pleasant. The scenery changes as the seasons do – the canyon is at its most beautiful when flowers blossom in early spring and their sweet aroma entices you for a long hike into the canyon. The canyon’s main sight is its crystal clear lake, with a quiet waterfall providing its water. As do many natural sights in Bulgaria, so does this place have a legend attached to it. The lake’s name is Momin Skok = ‘Girl’s Leap’. Legend goes that a couple of young Bulgarian girls threw themselves in into the lake rather than being captured by approaching Ottoman forces.
Negovanka River’s patient, continuing stream has left many treasures. There are over a dozen caves in and around Emen Canyon. These have fascinated historians for many years, as evidence of human presence from the Neolithic era was found. One of these caves, Emen cave, was used to grow mushrooms and mature cheese during communist times. Nowadays, access is regulated as many bat species populate it. Emen is only 20 kilometres from Veliko Tarnovo. In Emen village are some guesthouses, should you prefer an overnight stay. The whole area around Emen is known for its natural beauty, small streams, lakes, limestone and quiet villages. Combining Emen Canyon, Veliko Tarnovo and its nearby monasteries – possibly Arabanasi village as well, is guaranteed to be an exciting trip.