Kazana Refuge (El Tepe)

Kazana Refuge
Picture: Vladislav Terziiski

Kazana Refuge, also known to mountain climbers as El Tepe, is one of the small refuges in Pirin mountain. It is at an altitude of 8020 ft (2445 m) above sea level, right atop the moraine in the middle of Golyam Kazan cirque, hence its name.

The refuge is near the year-round snow field, beneath the northern slope of Vihren peak. It is a tiny shack with wooden paneling and an area of just 4 sq m.

El Tepe refuge was built by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences back in 1957 and has been used by scientists as shelter during their studies of the snow field in the cirque.

The refuge is built of metal and wooden paneling for better insulation from severe climate conditions. It also has a lightning rod.

The refuge offers no comforts of any kind, there's no electricity or water. It has no bathroom.

Kazana Refuge is maintained by the tourist agency El Tepe in the town of Bansko, which ask tourists to use it only as a last resort.

The starting point for Kazana Refuge is the town of Bansko. There's a 9 mi (14 km) asphalt road from the resort to Bunderitsa hut. From the hut there is green-marked trail leading to Premkata (the saddle between Kutelo and Vihren peaks).

Once you enter Golyam Kazan cirque, after about a 90 min. hike, look to the right and you'll see the moraine, where Kazana Refuge sits.

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