Yailata Reserve


Yailata is a national archaeological reserve located 2 km south of the village of Kamen Bryag and 18 km east of the town of Kavarna. It is a coastal terrace with an area of 300 decares, separated from the sea by rock massifs with a height of 50-60 m. The reserve starts north of Kamen Bryag and extends to the Roussalka Resort Complex on the south; it also includes the sea area abutting the coast, with a width of 500 m. The name “Yaila” is of Turkish origin and means “high pasture”. The two terraces of the reserve (The Large Yaila and the Small Yaila) are separated by a small cove. The local people called the cove The Asalik, which is also of Turkish origin and means “the place at the very bottom”. The cove depths reach almost the foot of the Dobrudzha plateau. In the past it used to be a harbor. Numerous monuments belonging to different historical ages, from the VI millennium B.C. to the middle of the XI century, are located on the territory of the archaeological complex.

The caves

In the reserve, a host of caves are located. They were hewn by human hand, and are single or grouped in complexes. Only on the Large Yaila's territory they are 101, but they are difficult to access. In the course of several years, with the aid of speleologists, geodesists and technicians, they were fully documented. The caves are located on several levels in the vertical slopes framing the locality and dividing it from the Dobrudzha plateau and the sea. In the course of millennia, the caves were used as dwelling places, and some of them were tombs or churches. In the early Byzantine period – V – VI centuries, they served as a monastic dwellings, i.e. one of the so called rock monasteries in Dobrudzha existed here.

The fortress

In the north part of the level terrace, the so called Large Yaila, remains can be seen of an early Byzantine fortress built at the time of emperor Anastasius - V-VI centuries, on a total area of 2.5 decares. Vestiges  have been preserved of five towers, three staircases, and one tower-gate, destroyed in the VI century.

The landscape

Yailata not only treasures interesting and significant cultural and historical monuments; it is also a unique nook of nature. There are diverse plant and animal species. It is on the Via Pontica, one of the main migration routes for birds of passage. Two times per year at this spot the migration of 174 bird species can be observed; 50 of these species nest in the rocks of the reserve. The Yailata caves are populated by rock pigeons and bats. The Aristotelis cormorant, the hoopoe and the European roller also consider the “high pasture” their home. There can also be seen steppe polecats and Newton hamsters which are rare for Europe. In the recent past, the lower caves were inhabited by monk seals. The total number of the animal species at Yailata is over 270. There are also 19 species of rare plants which are on the brink of extinction. Yailata is especially beautiful in spring and in fall. Irises, cornflowers and peonies are abloom. If you are an aficionado of archaeology, or a keen ornitologist and nature lover, or you simply happen to pass by the sea coast in the vicinity of Yailata,don't miss visiting it. You will definitely have lots to see and admire.