Spanning southern Bulgaria and parts of Greece, the Rhodope Mountains were named after Queen Rhodope of Thrace, a figure of Greek mythology. They’re home to such natural wonders as the marble cliffs of the Trigrad Gorge, which leads to a very interesting place: Devil’s Throat Cave.
You see, the Rhodope Mountains were the homeland of mythological singer and poet Orpheus, known well for his voyage into the underworld to save his wife, Eurydice. It was through Devil’s Throat Cave that Orpheus ventured into the inner realm, where he made a deal with Hades and Persephone: he could guide Eurydice back to the world of the living, but he could not look at her until they successfully returned.
They almost made it, too, but as Orpheus stepped through the final portal between our world and the underworld, he excitedly looked back too soon, only to see Eurydice fade away.
Oh, but that’s not the only interesting thing about the Rhodope Mountains.
In 2001, a local allegedly discovered an oddly-shaped skull and a fragmented metal disc at the border of Bulgaria and Greece, driven to the location by a strange dream. The bones were thinner than human bones, containing six cavities, and later DNA tests (again, allegedly) revealed they were not of human origin.
This led many to believe they were, in fact, the remains of an extraterrestrial. Some claimed they were, instead, the remains of an unsuccessful “science experiment,” created by the Atlanteans, to serve mankind.
So, probably a hoax.
Speaking of which, the Rhodope Mountains also play a rather prominent role in my upcoming science-fiction/horror novella, Death Rho From Outer Space, available next Fall.*
*I’m joking…or am I?**
**Yes I am.