This October an exhibition titled “Lords of the Rhodopean Skies” is taking place at the Regional History Museum of the town of Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria. The aim of the exhibition is to reconnect people with nature by presenting the wild beauty and diversity of the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area.
The exhibition was officially opened on October 6 by the LIFE Vultures team, local officials and museum director Daniela Kodjamanova. The photographic section of the exhibition, displayed in a park attached to the museum, will be open to visitors until October 29.
Kardzhali’s Regional History Museum, an impressive building, is an architectural monument of national importance dating back to 1930. Museum visitors will therefore be able to enjoy both the rich natural and historical heritage of the area.
“We can’t imagine a better place for this exhibition,” said Daniela Kodjamanova at the opening event. “Here, in this museum, there is always a connection between activities that take place in the field and our presentations of the natural and cultural heritage of the Eastern Rhodopes.”
A special highlight of the exhibition is the photography of local griffon and black vultures. The Rhodope Mountains are a stronghold for the only indigenous population of griffon vultures in Bulgaria, and for the only population of black vultures on the whole Balkan peninsula.
Exhibition visitors will also be able to view pictures of breathtaking landscapes, rare mammals, birds and reptiles and beautiful flowers, and learn more about the European bison and tarpans (a wild horse), which are making an impressive comeback in the area.
“The photography on display is simply awe-inspiring,” said Kardzhali deputy mayor Vesselina Tihomirova. “I am sure of the exhibition’s success, and have complete confidence that visitors will appreciate the drama and magnificence of Rhodopean nature.”
“Through this exhibition and the lenses of some of the best European and Bulgarian wildlife photographers, we are bringing the beautiful landscapes of the Rhodopes and their wonderful flora and fauna into the backyard of this town,” added Hristo Hristov of the Rewilding Rhodopes team.
Hristo invited the guests at the opening to share their experience with friends and acquaintances to ensure more people visit and enjoy the exhibition.
“With this exhibition we also want to celebrate European Bird Watching Day, which took place on the last weekend in September,” said Hristov during the opening ceremony. He reminded everyone that the Rhodope Mountains are one of the most ornithologically diverse places in Europe, with over 270 species of birds – nearly 70% of the total number of birds found in Bulgaria.
Their location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the influence of the nearby Mediterranean, and a relatively sparse human population combine to make the Rhodope Mountains a favourite haunt of numerous birds, including many migratory species, which are the main focus of European Bird Watching Days. During the autumn months millions of birds began migrating from Europe to the places where they overwinter in Africa.
The opening event was followed by a small party, with guests able to enjoy the exhibition’s stunning imagery with a glass of wine or cocktail in hand. This is the second exhibition of the LIFE Vultures project – the first was held in Sofia in May, where it was also received with great interest and acclaim.