Home TravelsBulgaria The Rhodopean mastodon in Dorkovo village, Bulgaria

The Rhodopean mastodon in Dorkovo village, Bulgaria

5 minutes read

Anancus arvernensis – The Rhodopean mastodon

It’s Friday and we are enjoying the pools with thermal water in Velingrad. We are almost in the center of the Rhodope Mountains and for the last two days we haven’t done anything tiring. But after all we got tired of lazing and we needed a walk, on sunset.

Almost two years ago we were again wondering where to meet the yellow-orange autumn outside and went to Tsepina fortress. Now we are going there again, but on our way there are new signs leading to a place named Pliocene Park. Full of curiosity we are heading to see the Pliocene.


The Pliocene is the series between the Pleistocene and Miocene. It started 5,3 million years ago and ended 2,6 million years ago. The continents looked almost the same as today and the first hominins appeared in Africa. The fauna is also similar to nowadays, except the “big elephants” that are now extinct. And some more information: this happened in Neogene system, Cenozoic era, Phanerozoic eon.

Now more difficult to translate information: in the late Miocene and early Pliocene in Eurasia was developing a specific mammal fauna: mastodons, rhinos, hipparions, great apes, hyenas, pigs, giraffes and many others. Many of them later migrated to Asia and were replaced by bears, bulls, bison, deer.  What I’m writing about happened just before the migration.

The Rhodopean mastodon

The signs led us to the village of Dorkovo. We were happy to find a brand new museum – Pleistocene Park. It had opened on 19 September 2013.

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Upon entering we saw the Anancus arvernensis (Mastodon from Auvergne). The full-scale model of this majestic creature is 3,90 m tall. It is made of gypsum and plastic, not of flesh and bones, but looks as real with its C-shaped tusks. It is a miracle to see it in its full scale. You almost touch a mastodon that has lived 5 million years ago.

Pliocene park Dorkovo, Bulgaria

Rhodopean Mastodon

Pliocene park Dorkovo, Bulgaria


The other landmark in the museum is the diorama made by the painter Velizar Simeonovski from The Field Museum in Chicago. On the 10-metres-wide picture you can see the area around Dorkovo 5 million years ago.

The Rhodopean mastodon

Tsepina – a great place in this area

I will never get bored of Tsepina fortress and the beauty surrounding it. I have been there in autumn and winter and its beauty is stunning. This time I will share only photos. If you want to read stories about that place – browse among my older posts.

 View from Tsepina

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]The admission to the museum costs 5 lv (2.5euro) for adults and 3 lv (1.5euro) for children. It is open every day. The ticket is valid also for the museum in the former Tsepina hut.[/dropshadowbox]

the museum in the former Tsepina hut

The building of the museum in the former Tsepina hut


[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#dddddd” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Don’t miss the Bulgarian Persian carpets in town of Kostandovo.


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