The rich natural, cultural and historical heritage of the Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park – Assenovgrad municipality, provides opportunities for development of various types of tourism: cultural, religious, mountain, rural, eco, equestrian, bicycle, wine, speleological, hunting, fishing, etc.
The roads and paths along the sloping hillsides of this part of the Rhodope Mountains offer a great opportunity for cycling tours. There is a potential for the development of ornithological tourism – creation of ornithological routes – around the core zone of the park, where observation on a number of day and night birds of prey – vultures, falcons, eagles and others can be done.
Cultural and religious types of tourism have been developed on the territory of the biosphere park. One of the most famous monasteries in Bulgaria – the Bachkovo Monastery, a holy spring water and three chapels are located here and all of them are the subject to high tourist interest. Consequently, this is a prerequisite for the opening of new family hotels and guest houses.
In the transition zone of the park – the village of Bachkovo, farms for organic fruit and vegetable production have been established and respectively, eco holidays are organized – farm visits combined with visits to the Bachkovo Monastery.
The municipality of Assenovgrad is famous for the unique wine variety Mavrud (the famous Mavrud wine), which cultivates the ideal climatic conditions in the lower mountain slopes of this part of the Rhodopes. It is believed that the Thracian culture on these lands was the basis of the wine-making tradition and the related Thracian cult to wine, whose traces can be found in some of the modern celebrations and customs – an adequate opportunity for development of wine tourism.
Spa tourism is dynamically developing as well, due to the availability of mineral springs in Narechenski Bani in the transition zone of the park and possibility to enter for health-care procedures in the developed balneological infrastructure.
Because of its high potential for development of different types of tourism, Assenovgrad municipality attract more and more Bulgarian and foreign tourists.
For the purpose of tourism development in the municipality, a tourist information center has opened in the center of Assenovgrad. Further support to the development of tourism on the territory of the Park is maintained by the functioning Tourist Information Center and by distribution activities related to promotional materials on the Internet and in paper form.
A website of the Tourist Information Center of the Municipality of Asenovgrad – www.tic.assenovgrad.com has been created and maintained, where updated information on tourist sites and routes is published.
The core zone is the existing Chervenata Stena Reserve, declared in 1962. At present the area of the Chervenata Stena is 3.043,53 decares. The core zone is situated on the territory of the lands of Bachkovo, Dobrostan and Oreshets villages, Assenovgrad municipality and in the lands of Borovo village, Laki municipality, Plovdiv region.
The core zone of the proposed biosphere park – the existing Chervenata Stena Reserve is an exclusive state property under Art. 8 of the Protected Areas Act and is managed and safeguarded by the Ministry of Environment and Water, respectively by RIEW-Plovdiv.
According to the Protected Areas Act, tourist visits are allowed in this territory, but only on specially designated hiking trails. By an Order of the Minister of Environment and Water, eleven hiking trails for visitors in the core zone are defined:
Trail No.1: Chapel ‘St. Arhangel Mihail’ in the site ‘Kluviata’, village of Bachkovo – a gazebo with information plate sign – site ‘Kabata’, village of Dobrostan;
Trail No.2: Martsiganitsa hut – cave ‘Dobrostanski biser’ (Dobrostan pearl) – peak ‘Popa’ – site ‘Radoslavitsa’;
Trail No.3: site ‘Prevala’ – chapel ‘St. Peter and Pavel ‘;
Trail No.4: site ‘Prevala’ – site ‘Gyolcheto’ – site ‘Radoslavitsa’ – (forest road);
Trail No.5: site ‘Skalata’ – peak Chervenata stena – site ‘Bezov vrah’;
Trail No.6: village of Bachkovo -– TV tower– the ridge above the Ribarov Dol;
Trail No.7: Fishpond ‘The tunnel’, village of Bachkovo– waterfall ‘Slivodolsko padalo’;
Trail No.8: site ‘Prevala’ – site ‘Penchov vrah’ – site ‘Diva Voda’ – a forest road;
Trail No.9: site ‘Gyolcheto’ – site ‘ Dulga polyana’ – a forest road;
Trail No.10: site ‘Gyolcheto’ – site ‘Partizanski lager’– village of Bachkovo – site ‘Kluviata’ – village of Bachkovo;
Trail No.11: site ‘Kluviata’ – peak Chervenata stena.
For the aim of protection of plant and animal species, which are of conservation importance as well as their habitats, located in the core zone of the park and to preserve the landscapes, ecosystems and the genetic diversity, the following activities are prohibited when passing along the hiking trails:
- deviation of visitors from the trail and entry into the Reserve;
- contamination with household etc. waste;
- picking-up, harvesting, cutting, eradicating or otherwise damaging specimens of plant species;
- killing, catching, chasing, disturbing or otherwise damaging specimens of animal species;
- setting up fire and bivouacing.
To designate, mark and maintain the tourist trails in the existing Chervenata stena Reserve – the core zone of the biosphere park, RIEW-Plovdiv is responsible. Tourist information points have been created to inform the public. They are located on the most visited hiking trails on the border between the core and buffer zones in the villages of Bachkovo and Dobrostan. They are equipped with large information boards that provide information on the status and the legal regulations of the core zone and on the plant and animal species, which are of conservation significance and are accordingly preserved in the area.