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The ispolin (or ispolini in plural form) is a renowned giant in Bulgarian mythology that populated the Earth before humans.

Origin and appearance

According to the Old Bulgarian myths, the first people that God created were the dwarves. Since they are little, they cannot protect themselves from wild animals and they cannot cultivate the land. As a result, they eventually die.

To succeed the dwarves, the ispolini were created. They are up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall and have big heads. Other legends described them to have three heads, single eye or single leg. There are also myths that illustrated them as cyclops-like creatures with supernatural powers.

They are believed to thrive on prehistoric mountains and caves. The ispolini were also carnivorous and prefer raw meat. They can communicate with each other even if they were just standing on top of far-away mountains. In general, they are the natural enemy of the dragons.

The weakness of the ispoline were the blackberry bush. Due to their height and slow movement, they can’t spot the blackberry bushes immediately. Typically, they would trip, get caught in the thorns and die. To gain the favour of these bushes, the sipolini offer sacrifices.

Later on, God destroyed the ispolini because they seemed unfit to live on Earth.


  • Фасмер, Макс (1964–1973). "исполин" (in Russian). Этимологический словарь русского языка. Москва: Прогресс. OCLC 639928003.
  • Стойнев, Анани; Димитър Попов, Маргарита Василева, Рачко Попов (2006). "Исполини" (in Bulgarian). Българска митология. Енциклопедичен речник. изд. Захари Стоянов. pp. 147–148.
  • "За лексикалните особености на песните от сборника “Веда Словена”." (in Bulgarian). BulTreeBank.
  • Илиев, Атанас (1890). "Бъларски предания за исполини, наречени елини, жидови и латини" (in Bulgarian). Сборник за народни умотворения (Българско книжовно дружество) (3).