Popovi Lakes

Popovi Lakes
Picture: Georgi B. Todorov

The beauty of Pirin mountains can literally take your breath away. But one of the greatest richest of this mountain are its picturesque lakes. There is a total of 186 lakes on Pirin territory, some of which are seasonal.

All Pirin lakes are glacial. They are situated in small and large granite cirques. The lakes in Pirin stand out with their relatively deep waters and crystal clarity.

Popovo Lake
Picture: Георги Христов

Keeping in mind that these water bodies are located at a high altitude - their waters are very cold.

One of the largest groups of lakes in Pirin mountain are the Popovi Lakes, located in the large Popovo Lake cirque. Actually, cataloging these lakes is not something that's been generally agreed upon.

A broader view states that there is a total of 16 lakes in the Popovi Lakes group, including Popovo Lake itself, the Bansko Lakes, Ribni Popovo Lakes, Polezhan and Samodivski Lakes.

Ribno Ezero
Picture: Antonia Ilieva

According to the more conservative notion however, only Popovo Lake, Bansko Lakes and Ribni Popovo Lakes should be considered as part of the Popovi Lakes group.

The Popovi Lakes sit high in Pirin - their average altitude is 7216 ft (2200 m) above sea level. The average temperatures of these water bodies varies between 50°F (11 °C) and 60°F (14 °C). Their water is slightly mineralized.

The lakes are connected with each other by a river system, their waters forming the source of Retizhe River. The water bodies sprawl over an area of about 1 mile (1.5 km) and are surrounded by the most impressive peaks in Pirin - Dzhengal, Kralev Dvor, Sivriya and Polezhan.

Popovo Lake is the largest and deepest lake in Pirin. It also takes the top spot as far as water volume. It has a surface area of 123 600 sq m and is the 4th largest lake in Bulgaria, coming in after Smradlivo Ezero, Gorno Ribno Ezero and Bliznaka in Rila.

Its waters flow into the Popovi Ribni Lakes, situated in a balcony formation under it. They comprise a group of 6 glacial lakes, the largest having dimensions of 410 ft (125 m) by 262 ft (80 m) and an area of nearly 6 ha.

The uppermost Popovo Ribno Lake is rainbow-shaped but that which truly distinguishes it from the rest of the lakes in the group is the floating flowers and plants that cover half of its surface.

A picturesque waterfall links together Gorno Ribno Ezero with Dolno Ribno Ezero found under it.

Dolno Ribno Ezero is entirely surrounded by mountain pine. It is barely 6.6 ft (2 m) deep and its area is just a little over 1000 sq m. The remaining 4 lakes in the group are shallow and relatively small.

The Samodivski Lakes or so-called Kraledvorski Lakes are located some distance below them and are some of the most frequently visited points of interest in Pirin.

After them are the Bansko Lakes. 2 of them are permanent, while there are several smaller ones that are drying. They are located in a grassy region right next to the slope of Dzhengal Peak.

The lake that sits at the higher altitude is also the largest of the 2. It measures 410 ft (125 m) by 394 ft (120 m) and has an area of 9500 sq m. It is also quite shallow. The 2nd lake has a slightly smaller area and an elliptical shape.

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