9:10 am. The southeast part of Bulgaria is covered by a sea of clouds, through which poke the steam columns emanating from the cooling towers of the large Maritsa Iztok power plant complex. Located in a large lignite coal basin, the complex consists of three lignite-fired thermal power stations: Maritsa Iztok-1 (a), Maritsa Iztok-2 (b) and Maritsa Iztok-3 (c):
9:11 am. Maritsa Iztok-2 in particular (hidden by the motor) is the largest single thermal power plant in the Balkans, and is ranked by the European Environment Agency as the industrial facility causing the highest damage costs to health and the environment in Bulgaria and the entire European Union:
9:28 am. I take the last shot of Bulgaria while flying above the city of Vratsa. The Vratsa Balkan natural park is visible in the center (b), while in the back beneath the smog is the capital Sofia (a):
9:37 am. And reaches Niš (a), the 3rd largest city in Serbia and the birthplace of 3 Roman emperors. The city is served by Constantine the Great airport (b), the country’s 2nd busiest after Nikola Tesla airport:
9:50 am. The borders of Montenegro are not far behind the narrow valley, and the column of steam visible in the back comes from the Pljevlja power plant (a), which produces a third of Montenegro’s electricity:
9:52 am. In the foreground, the Lim river valley continues in an east-west direction, while in the back are the Pljevlja power plant (a) and Bobotov Kuk (b), one of Montenegro’s highest mountains at 2,523 meters:
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