Strandzha is a mountain located in the eastern part of the geographical and historical area of Thrace. It is situated between the lowland of Burgas, The Black Sea and the еast plains of Thrace. Strandzha has three well defined ridges. The southern is the main one and is located in Turkey, there is also one on the borderline which is named after the village of Rezovo and the third one is the Bosna hill which is entirely located on Bulgarian territory. The southern ridge which is located in Northwest-Southeast is entirely in Turkey and there is the highest peak of the mountain (1031m) – Mahiada. The borderline ridge is surrounded by the valleys of Rezovska and Veleka rivers. Its highest point (710m) is called Golyamo gradishte and this is also the highest peak of the Park and in the Bulgarian part of the mountain. The Bosna hill is positioned in the Northeastern and Eastern part of Strandzha mountain. Its highest peak (501m) is called Papiya and has two branches called Rosen bair and Medni rid which are crossing the borders of the Park.
The geographical and historical area of Hasekiyata is located within the Veleka valley, between the borderline ridge of Rezovo and Bosna hill.
Strandzha is a mountain with thousands of years of history, whose lands and spiritual spaces have preserved the heritage of several civilizations. The oldest traces of life in the mountain, stone axes and ceramic fragments found on the Ahtopol peninsula, date back to the Neolithic and the Copper and Stone Ages (6,000 -3,000. BC).
Through the centuries it has been called Tratonzos, Salmidessos, Mons Astikus, Hemimont, Paroria. However, for various reasons it remains almost unknown in the historical geography of the ancient world. There is more information about the Strandzha coast, which was called Salmidessos during the Bronze and the Early Iron Ages.
As a coastal mountain, Strandzha is inextricably connected to the water and the sea. The rich ore and marble deposits, combined with the dense oak forests providing abundant high quality wood for the construction of ships, create favorable environment for the development of mining, seamanship and trade. Not by chance, the famous ancient Greek colony Apolonia (today’s Sozopol) was founded in 610 BC on a small peninsula in northern Strandzha.
The oldest known population of Strandzha, as well as of the rest of our lands, were ancient Thracians. The Thracians were numerous tribes of Indo-European origin, which formed an ethnic identity in the middle of the second millennium BC on the lands between the Aegean Sea and the Carpathian Mountains. But they were constantly fighting among themselves and with their non-Thracian neighbors, which led to a change in their tribal territories. According to the historians in Strandzha, during the different centuries of the first millennium BC, the region was inhabited with ancient Thracian tribes – Thynes, Astae, Scyrmiadae, and Melanophagi and Nipsaei in the northern parts.
Strandzha became part of the Bulgarian State in 705 during the rule of Khan Tervel. A century earlier, the mountain was already populated by Slavs, mixed with numerous survived Thracians. After 705, proto-Bulgarian military men probably also settled in the mountain to guard the border.
The final accession of today’s Strandzha to Bulgaria took place after the disastrous Second Balkan War in 1913, when to the kingdom of Bulgaria were added today’s municipalities of Tsarevo and Malko Tarnovo – tiny part of the land of Strandzha and Eastern Thrace with predominantly Bulgarian population back then. The hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians who remained abroad were forced to leave their homelands and accept the fate of refugees in the free Bulgaria.
Today, the territory of Strandzha Nature Park hosts 21 settlements with a population of about 7,000 people. The entire municipality of Malko Tarnovo, the majority of Tsarevo municipality and a very small part of Primorsko municipality fall within the borders of the protected area.
Ethnographically speaking, the population on the territory of the Park belongs almost entirely to the southern rupska community.
History of Strandja Nature park – www.strandja.bg