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lake2 Glacial lakes are most numerous in Bulgaria. There are about 280 of them, located in the high mountain zones of the Rila and Pirin Mountains. Most are situated at altitudes of 2,200-2,400 m, the highest lying lake - Ledenika Lake in the Rila Mountains - being situated at an altitude of 2,715 m.

The lakes freeze around October and melt in June. The ice cover can be up to two metres thick. In summer they get their water from the melting snow-drifts on the mountain screes and peaks. Most of them flow into wild streams from which the big Bulgarian rivers - Iskur, Maritsa and Mesta - take their course.

These lakes either form separate groups or are located singly.

There are about 190 glacial lakes in the Rila Mountains. Most of them are scattered in circuses, but there are also a number of large groups of lakes: the Ribni (Fish), Malyovitsa and Moussala lakes, the Seven Rila Lakes, etc. Their depth varies between three and 40 meters. Okoto Lake (The Eye) is the deepest - 39 m. Average visibility is from 6 to 15 m.

The Pirin Mountains boast about 158-164 lakes, covering an area of 180 hectares. The larger lake groups include: Demyanitsa and Bunderitsa and the lakes along the Sandanska Bistritsa and Retizhe rivers. Average visibility is 15 m.

The champion of the Pirin lakes is Popovo Lake, also known as the "Pirin Sea". Located in the largest circus, it covers an area of 12.4 ha and is 480 m long and 336 m wide. The small rocky peninsula Popova Kapa, a popular tourist target, is located in its northwestern part.

The best known group of lakes in the Rhodopes are the Smolyan Lakes. They are located in the Western Rhodopes. Seven in all, they are amphitheatrically situated. The natural phenomenon Orlovi Skali (Eagle's Rocks) rises in the vicinity.


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