Once our national poet Ivan Vazov, in his travel book "The Great Rila Desert", defined Rila as "the most magnificent Bulgarian mountain", as "a big piece of the Alps thrown at the navel of the Balkan Peninsula".

And in its natural splendor, the Seven Rila Lakes shine with their perfect beauty - enchanting, "cloudless" and crystal clear.

Located in circus in the northwest of the mountain, they have glacial origin. The legend tells us that thousands of years ago, before the appearance of people, a couple of giants- a man and a woman, who strongly loved each other, lived in the place of the lakes. One day the evil forces passed past their beautiful home, saw their love and envied them. They were angry and decided to destroy everything. They began to send black clouds, hurricane winds, terrible earthquakes. The man defiantly defended both his home and his beloved. But he finally got killed. The giant woman’s grief was so great that clear lakes were formed from her tears. And the purity of the water dazzles everybody. Today, before they reach the Kidney Lake, the mountain guides show the tourists a huge rock that resembles the figures of a man and a woman. And they tell them the legend of the two giants in love that have been immortalized by nature.

The "Tear" is the highest of the seven lakes. It bears that name because of its crystal clear waters. It is situated at an altitude of 2 535 m below the Otovishki peak. The "Eye" is the deepest - 37.5 m, it is oval-shaped and deep blue. Below it, is the Kidney Lake, in the form of a human kidney. It has an area of ​​85 decars and has steep rocky shores. The next one - "Twins" - is wide but narrow in the middle. In the waterless years the lake melts down to two smaller ponds, from where the name derives. Below are the "Triplets" and the "Fish Lake". Near the last one is the famous hut "Rila Lakes". The lowest one is the "Lower" (2 095 m), which gives rise to the Djerman River. The lakes are fed by the melting of the snow and the rains. They are connected to each other with streams. In some of them fish live, but their biodiversity is modest because of the cold mountain water.

The Seven Rila Lakes are also known by the fact that every year in August, the followers of the White Brotherhood join in to celebrate their New Year. Near the Lake of Kidney, on the 19th of August, they perform their ritual dance - Paneurhythmy. For the followers from all over the world this place in the Rila Mountain is sacred.

The high-mountain areas around the Rila Lakes hut, located above the forest belt, are part of the Rila National Park. So the Seven Rila Lakes are a protected territory. In order not to break the fragile eco-equilibrium there, there are a number of bans such as: fire, tents, waste disposal, lake and river bathing, and others. However, there are also environmental issues.

The beauty of the Seven Rila Lakes attracts, especially in the summer, thousands of tourists from all over the world. In recent years their number has jumped dramatically, which is associated to the commissioning of a lift to the hut "Lakes" in order to facilitate the access to the natural phenomenon. And this affects the eco-equilibrium. Several years ago, specialists and environmentalists warned that urgent measures must be taken to protect these aquatic ecosystems. Will the Seven Rila Lakes remain crystal clear as they have been for thousands of years, and how – today it all depends on us. To give a chance to our children by reading Vazov to follow the call with which he ends his travel books, "Go to Rila to see joys and majesty of nature! Go to Rila to see how great and beautiful our Bulgaria is! "

Photos: "Diplomatic Spectrum"