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Bulgarian Mythology Creatures

Bulgarian mythology is rich with fascinating creatures that have been passed down through generations. These creatures range from fierce dragons to mischievous spirits and everything in between. One of the most well-known creatures is the lamya, a female version of a dragon that is said to have three or nine dog heads, razor-sharp claws, and webbed wings. Its body is covered in yellow scales, and some stories even suggest that it has the ability to shape-shift into a beautiful woman.

Another popular creature is the ispolin, a giant in Bulgarian mythology that is believed to have inhabited the Earth before humans. The appearance of the ispolin varies according to myth and region, but they were generally considered to be considerably taller than humans. The word “ispolin” comes from the Bulgarian word “ispolin” which means “giant.”

In addition to these creatures, Bulgarian mythology also includes the ala, a female demon that is considered to be a demon of bad weather. The ala’s main purpose is to lead hail-producing thunderclouds in the direction of fields, vineyards, or orchards to destroy the crops or loot and take them away. These creatures and many more are an important part of Bulgarian culture and continue to be celebrated today.

Origins and History

Bulgarian mythology creatures have a rich history and a diverse set of origins. The country’s mythology is a blend of Thracian, Slavic, and Christian influences, which have shaped its folklore and legends.

Thracian Roots

The Thracians were an ancient people who inhabited the Balkan Peninsula and parts of modern-day Bulgaria. They had a rich mythology that featured a variety of deities and creatures. Some of the most notable Thracian creatures include the Zmey, a dragon-like creature that was revered as a protector of humans. The Lamya, on the other hand, was a female water spirit that was known for its beauty and seductive powers.

Slavic Influences

After the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century, their mythology began to merge with that of the Thracians. The Slavs brought with them a variety of creatures and deities, including the Samodiva, a wood nymph that was said to lure men into the forest with her beauty and then drain their life force. The Vodenitsata was another Slavic creature that was said to inhabit water mills and help with grain production.

Christianization Impact

With the arrival of Christianity in Bulgaria, many of the pagan beliefs and practices were suppressed. However, some of the creatures and deities from the old mythology were adapted to fit into the new religion. For example, the Zmey was often depicted as a Christian saint, while the Lamya was transformed into a demon.

Overall, Bulgarian mythology creatures have a rich and complex history that reflects the country’s diverse cultural influences. From the Thracians to the Slavs and the Christianization era, these creatures have evolved over time and continue to fascinate people to this day.

Types of Creatures

Dragons and Serpent Beings

Bulgarian mythology is full of dragons and serpent beings. One such creature is the Lamya, a female dragon with three or nine dog heads, razor-sharp claws, webbed wings, and a body covered in yellow scales. Another is the Zmey, a dragon-like creature that consumes mainly milk, white bread, and heavy wine. Zmeys are friendly towards humans and are often associated with places like Zmeyova dupka (Zmey’s hole) and Zmeyov kladenetz (Zmey’s well).

The Samodivi Nymphs

The Samodivi are beautiful nymphs that inhabit the forests and mountains of Bulgaria. They are known for their alluring singing voices and their ability to lure men into the woods. These creatures are often depicted as having long hair and wearing white dresses made of flowers. They are said to be the daughters of the goddess of nature and are known for their connection to the earth.

Chthonic Entities

Chthonic entities are creatures that inhabit the underworld and are associated with death and the afterlife. One such creature is the Kikimora, a female house spirit that can be either helpful or harmful to humans. Another is the Vampir, a blood-sucking creature that is said to be able to transform into a variety of animals. These creatures are often feared and are associated with dark magic and evil deeds.

In Bulgarian mythology, creatures come in all shapes and sizes, from beautiful nymphs to terrifying dragons. Each creature has its own unique characteristics and abilities, and they play an important role in the stories and legends of the Bulgarian people.

Famous Mythical Figures

Krali Marko

Krali Marko is a legendary hero of Bulgarian folklore, known for his strength and courage. He is often depicted as a tall and muscular man, with a long beard and a fierce gaze. Krali Marko is said to have fought against the Ottoman Turks and defended the Bulgarian people from their oppression. He is also associated with the mountains and is said to have lived in a cave in the Balkan Mountains.


Orpheus is a mythical figure in Bulgarian and Greek mythology, known for his musical talent. He was said to have been the son of the god Apollo and the muse Calliope. Orpheus was a gifted musician and poet, and his songs were said to have the power to move even the gods. He is most famous for his attempt to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld, a story that has inspired many works of art and literature.

The Three-Headed Dragon

The Three-Headed Dragon is a fearsome creature from Bulgarian folklore, known for its size and strength. It is said to have three heads, each with a different power: one can breathe fire, one can breathe ice, and the third can breathe poison. The Three-Headed Dragon is often depicted as a symbol of evil and is said to have terrorized the Bulgarian people in the past. However, some legends also tell of heroes who were able to defeat the dragon and save their people from its wrath.

Mythological Places

Bulgarian mythology is full of stories about enchanted places that are said to be inhabited by mythical creatures. These places are often difficult to find and are shrouded in mystery and magic. In this section, we will explore some of the most famous mythological places in Bulgarian folklore.


Belintash is a rock formation located in the Rhodope Mountains. This place is known for its mystical energy and is considered to be a portal to other dimensions. It is believed that the ancient Thracians used this place for religious rituals and that it was a center of spiritual power. Today, many people visit Belintash to meditate and connect with the spiritual energy of the place.

The Caves of Bulgaria

Bulgaria is home to many caves, some of which are said to be enchanted. The Devil’s Throat Cave, located in the Rhodope Mountains, is said to be the entrance to the underworld. According to legend, the musician Orpheus descended into the cave to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld. Other famous caves in Bulgaria include the Magura Cave, which is home to prehistoric cave paintings, and the Yagodina Cave, which is known for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites.

Enchanted Forests

Bulgaria is also home to many enchanted forests, which are said to be inhabited by mythical creatures such as fairies and wood nymphs. The Rila Forest is one such place, and it is believed to be the home of the forest spirit known as the Leshy. This spirit is said to be a protector of the forest and is known for its mischievous behavior. Other enchanted forests in Bulgaria include the Strandzha Forest, which is home to the mythical creature known as the Samodiva, and the Vitosha Mountain, which is said to be the home of the mountain spirit known as the Vodenica.

In conclusion, Bulgarian mythology is full of stories about enchanted places that are said to be inhabited by mythical creatures. These places are often difficult to find and are shrouded in mystery and magic. Whether you believe in these stories or not, they are an important part of Bulgarian culture and history.

Rituals and Practices

Kukeri Dances

Kukeri dances are traditional Bulgarian rituals that are performed during the winter season. During these dances, men dress up in elaborate costumes and wear masks that represent different creatures from Bulgarian mythology. The purpose of these dances is to chase away evil spirits and bring good luck and prosperity to the community. The dancers move in a rhythmic and synchronized manner, and their costumes are adorned with bells, ribbons, and other decorations that create a festive atmosphere.

Folk Healing

Bulgarian mythology is rich in stories about magical creatures and their healing powers. Folk healers, also known as znaeyshti, use these stories to cure people of various ailments. They use herbs, potions, and other remedies to help people recover from illnesses and injuries. Many of these remedies are passed down from generation to generation, and they are an important part of Bulgarian culture.

Seasonal Festivities

Bulgarian mythology is closely tied to the changing of the seasons, and many of the rituals and practices are associated with the different seasons of the year. For example, the spring equinox is celebrated with the festival of Baba Marta, which is a time to welcome the arrival of spring and to chase away evil spirits. The summer solstice is marked by the festival of Enyovden, which is a time to celebrate the power of the sun and to honor the goddess of fertility. The winter solstice is celebrated with the festival of Koleda, which is a time to welcome the return of the sun and to celebrate the birth of new life. These festivals are an important part of Bulgarian culture, and they are celebrated with music, dancing, and feasting.

Modern Depictions


In modern literature, Bulgarian mythology creatures have been depicted in various ways. Some authors have taken inspiration from the traditional folklore and created new stories featuring these creatures. For example, the lamya has been featured in a number of novels, including “The Lamya Chronicles” by Bulgarian author Maria Nikolova. Other authors have used Bulgarian mythology creatures as inspiration for their own creatures, creating new hybrids that combine elements from different mythologies.


Bulgarian mythology creatures have also made their way into the world of cinema. In the 2016 film “The Abandoned,” the lamya is depicted as a terrifying creature that haunts an abandoned Soviet-era building. The film also features other Bulgarian mythology creatures, such as the samodiva and the kikimora. In the film “Viy,” based on the Nikolai Gogol story of the same name, the vodnik (a water spirit from Slavic mythology) is featured prominently.

Video Games

Video games have also embraced Bulgarian mythology creatures. In the popular game “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt,” players encounter a number of creatures from Slavic mythology, including the leshy (a forest spirit), the noonwraith (a ghostly woman who haunts fields and meadows), and the chort (a demon). In the game “Kingdom Come: Deliverance,” players can encounter the kikimora, a creature that is said to inhabit swamps and marshes.

Overall, Bulgarian mythology creatures have found their way into various forms of modern media, from literature to cinema to video games. These depictions have helped to keep the mythology alive and introduce it to new audiences.