Georgi Dimitrov Raychev


With great regret we must announce the death of our dear friend Georgi Raichev  (Zmeat)  who had been an active proponent of performing the Symposium at Chepelare, in Bulgaria, to make known his beloved places to many and many other friends.

Given his openness and experience, he had been immediately suggested to be part of the Scientific Committee of the ICBS 2018, and he accepted this position very willingly.

Unfortunately, an incurable disease did not give him the opportunity to participate in the inauguration of the Symposium to which he had so much believed in the spread of science and knowledge of his Rodopes mountains, with its interesting paleontological finds.

We have given the task to Ms.Yovka Raicheva, paleontologist and expert in cave bears,  as a substitute for Georgi.

Thanks George for your cooperation and for your complete  willingness  to share any time your knowledge and  your great experience.


June 27, 1953 - February 15, 2018

In Memoriam

Georgi Raichev (Zmeat) was born on June 27, 1953 in Chepelare, in the family of the father of the cave and the speleology in the Rhodopes, the unforgettable Dimitar Raychev. With an example, and naturally, little Georgi was involved in the adventure of " cave " when he had  10 years old . May 12, 1963 is the date of his "caving" baptism. To this day, he  descend  his 21 meter chasm . That same year participated, willy-nilly in the study of Sbirkovata cave near Chepelare and a large expedition to explore the caves in the mountain Radyuva. After the last one, he says, "I think I had decided since then that I would go to caves and expeditions ...". So it happens. In the years ahead, Georgi is involved in dozens of expeditions of the officially functioning cave club "Studenets", Chepelare and of the Bulgarian  caving  federation (BFPD) . He matures as a caveman during the cave studies at the end of Yagodina, Trigrad, the upper valley of the Arda River . The family environment and its contact with karst and caves and the accumulated experience deepen his interest in cave studies and he enrolled the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" and graduated in 1978 with a degree in "Geomorphology and Cartography" . In 1983, the club in Chepelare together with the BFDD organized an international expedition in the area of ​​Dryanovo, Luki Municipality. In the same year again under the guidance and personal participation of G.Raychev began the modern mapping of Yagodinska Cave. It was completed in 1990 with a length of 8501 m. In the same year, together with the clubs "Orpheus" - Devin and "Silivryak" - Trigrad, Chepelare organized expedition on the plateau Kugitag in Tukmenistan. Under the direction of G. Raichev there are infiltrations in the caves Kap Kutan (38 km ) and Promenodokchia (17,8 km ); Gulsherin and Hashima Oyug (8 km ). Meanwhile, in the period 1980-1990, together with his father Georgi organized a number of expeditions with various research purposes - paleontological expeditions in the Borikovsk and Triangle caves, exploration of the Paleolithic deposits in the Western Rhodopes / Borino village /, excavations on the cave exploration sediments and clarification of the paleographic peculiarities in the formation of karst complexes, hydrochemical studies together with Polish Professor Marian Pulina , bio-speleological research together with Dr. Janez , Juberti from France, etc.


Since 1986 Gorge was elected as a  chairman of the Chepelare Caving  Club. In the next period, the club has become more active in its time in various directions and dimensions . By joining the national expedition in 1993, our friend was involved in exploring the karst and caves of Albania. In 2005 he participated in a second expedition in the Albanian Alps, this time in an expedition of the cave club " Helictit " -Sofia. Between 2006 and 2010 he participated actively in the Bulgarian speleological and ethnological expeditions in the area of ​​Golo Brdo in Albania, indirectly contributing to the recognition of a Bulgarian minority in Albania.

Along with his research and organizational work , Georgi has increased his training by acquiring various qualifications - cave rescuer, mountain rescuer , instructor of speleology . He passes his knowledge to the young cavers  as a lecturer and instructor in a number of national courses for the training of trainee instructors , instructors, technical improvement and mapping of caves. In the period 1989-1996  George realized part of his speleological competences as a member of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Federation of Speleology. In 2015, however, due to disagreement with the policy conducted by this federation, he was one of the organizers and founders of the Bulgarian Caving Society.


One should not forget the contribution of Georgi for the development of the Balkan Speleological Union. Together with the already deceased K. Hadzhiyski , S. Genchev and Al.Zhalov  he embraced the idea of ​​organizing Balkan caves and became one of the main organizers of the first one in 2007. Next, he did not fail to participate in the following 9 Balkan Cavers Camps, which often times were announced by his Rhodopean caba bagpipe.


His professional qualities he ever performed as a curator of the Museum of Speleology and Rhodope karst , and later his director. Along with this, it has its undisputed share in the organization of the prosperity of the three Rhodope caves Devil's Throat, Yagodinska , but above all Uhlovitsa ( Ultatska ), by preparing her marcheshooter's photo and the project for its development. Some of the results of his research find place in publications as: " Microclimatic peculiarities of the Yagodinska cave system", series of Bulgarian Speleology, vol . 3, 1991 , "Morphology and Genesis of the Yagodinska Cave System (Imamova Doupka)" (1991) , "Kladeto" Slide - Rudozem. - Bulgarian Speleology, 2: 33-37, " Geo Morphological Development of the Triangular Cave", "No Climatic Phenomena of the Yagodinska Cave", "Distribution and Subdivision of the Underground Carst of the Rhodope Mountains", "Some Observations on Glacial Forms and Karst Complex in the Massif "Veledzhik" - northern Albania. " Georgi Raychev did much to enrich the national speleological writing wealth. Together with A. Zalov he initiated the publishing of the collection "Bulgarian Speleology" and edited the 3 books he published during the period 1989-1991. At the same time, under the aegis of the Museum, the work of Iv.Stoilova was published - " Bibliographic index of the publications on speleology in periodical seal 1980-1986   ". Together with his father, he was compiled and edited not in the collection " 50 years of cave work in Chepelare (1950-2000) ". Thanks to this tandem, Publishing "Medicine and Physical Education" published in 1983 the booklet of the Small Tourist Library "The Strawberry Karst Region". In - later, George became a co-author of two new books about the homeland "karst wealth with. Jagodina" and "Trigrad Gorge and Devil's Throat Cave." 


Georgi Raichev was a wide-cut personality and he had a variety of interests outside the sphere of speleology - beauty, ethnology, photography, collectibles, highlighting of traveling, music . He had a generous character with a wide range of appearances - from kindness and goodwill to goodness to irreconcilability and strong criticism to his " soulmates ", and people who are not in his arms. His path was not quite equal, but it made sense because he left behind a deep trace.


With his untimely defeat, the Bulgarian speleology, indirectly the speleology in the Rhodope region and his countless friends , not only in Bulgaria but also abroad, lost a devoted co-worker and a good friend. It is sad - there is no one to swallow the bagpipes to comfort us and excite us, but we can hardly remember it. Goodbye, you will always be in our hearts. Rest in peace.


Alexei Zhalov

Bulgarian  Caving Society