Belitsa and the Bear park

   Belitsa is one of the smallest Municipalities in southwest Bulgaria. Warm Mediterranean air flows along the Mesta river valley and provides Belitsa with a milder temperature than surrounding areas. The area around the town has been inhabited for many centuries, but in 1903 the town was burned to the ground during the Illinden Day Uprising. Today a monument commemorates the many inhabitants who lost their lives on that fateful day.
 
The area’s rich history, ethnography, and the Belitsan way of life are wonderfully displayed in the five rooms in the local Museum.
 
There were an estimated 25 'dancing' Brown Bears being worked in Bulgaria. Today, most of these bears have been 'bought' (rescued!) and now live peacefully in a reserve in the mountains above Belitsa. The various charities involved are negotiating the purchase of the bears from their owners and during 2007 ALL of the 'dancing' bears in Bulgaria hopefully will reside in the reserve finally ending this 'entertainment'.

As a result of their mistreatment and the resultant psychological damage inflicted on them over the years it is not possible to release the bears into nature as they would be unable to properly fend for themselves. They now live in large enclosures on a beautiful hillside where you can view them at close quarters.
 

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