Bulgaria has changed a lot during the last 20 years. From being a communist ruled state on the other side of the Iron Curtain it has changed into a country with some progress towards free market reforms and own tourist industry. The Bulgarian nation has come a long way since it threw off the 500-year old yoke of the Ottoman Empire in the 1870’s, and is now still struggling to cope with the aftermath of Communist misrule.
Renaming themselves the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Communist long remained the dominant force in national politics after 1989. The election of a right-of-centre government in April 1997 gave ground for new hope, although low wages and high unemployment seem to remain ever-present features of Bulgarian life.
Bulgaria has a large number of travel destinations, but independent travel is not really common, although there are relatively few restrictions and costs are very low. The country offers a beautiful mountainous scenery as well as sandy beaches on the Black Sea coast. You will find ski resorts, deep forests, ancient monasteries, greek and roman remains and the fascinating capital Sofia is a must for Bulgaria travelers. Veliko turnovo, the ancient capital, is a young and vibrant city that deserves a visit as well.
Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, is quite a nice city. It has a few very beautiful churches – the Nevski and the St. Sofia are the best known, a few good museums and nice parks to relax. Since the fall of communism new restaurants and bars have come up that cater for all tastes.
From Sofia you can make excellent day trips to the mountains nearby. The Rila Monastery which is not too far from the city is a must see for any traveler and a highlight of Byzantine art and culture.
Completed in 1912 in honour of the Russian casualties of the 1877-78 War of Liberation from Ottoman Rule. Gold-domed, it is the finest piece of architecture in the Balkans. Craftsmen and artists from 6 countries worked on the five-aisle church in the course of 30 years and created real masterpiec more..
The 4th-6th century basilica was built during the reign of Justinian. It has survived intact with 1600- year-old mosaic details and towards the end of the C14 gave the city its name. Beside the wall of the church is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Nearby is the grave of the national poet and wri more..
Palace of Culture
The biggest Congress Centre in the Balkans. It is located in the centre of the city and faces the Vitosha Mountain.
Built in medieval times and known as the Church of the Blessed Sveti Kral. The current building was reconstructed after 1925 when it was almost completely destroyed by a bomb explosion.
Vassil Levski was the principal architect of the campaign to free Bulgaria from the oppression of the Ottoman Empire. The monument marks the spot where he was hanged by the Turks in 1873.
Built a decade after Sofia became Bulgaria’s capital in 1879 with funds bequeathed by the brothers Evlogi and Christo Georgiev.
Veliko Turnovo, ( Veliko Tarnovo, Veliko Trnovo ) was a medieval capital of Bulgaria. It is situated in the foothills between the Danube Plain and the Stara Planina (“old mountains”) of the Balkan range.
Although there are few bona-fide tourist attractions here, it is a great place to relax, watch the people, and soak up some atmosphere. The “old town” is functional, and in many respects indistinguishable from the new.
VT is a university town, and the mood is young and upbeat.
Plovdiv is located in the southwestern part of Bulgaria. The city has been built upon seven ancient hills found on the Thracian plain, and now spreads on both sides of the Martisa River.
In the 7th century B.C. Thracian people were inhabiting the land around the Hebros (Maritsa) River. . Skilled craftsmen and artisans, they tended vines and made wine. Rare for the ancient world, roses with 60 to 100 petals grew in Thrace. Here on these hills along this river was one of the centers of a most advanced civilization. During the period of the first millenium B.C. settlements appeared near these seven hills and by the 5th century B.C. a town with a solid fortified wall, cobblestone streets and a drainage system was formed, Philippopolis. The ruins of this settlement can be found among the rocks of Nebet Tepe in Old Town Plovdiv.
The old city centre of Plovdiv has been declared an architectural museum reserve with over 150 monuments, most of which date from the beginning of the 19-th century, the National Revival period. Many houses have been turned into museums, galleries, workshops, restaurants or pubs. The best examples of the Baroque style of Plovdiv are the house of Koiumjioglu (now an ethnographical museum), the house of Georgiadi (now the Rennaissance museum of the national struggle), the house of Nedkovich (the municipality), the house of Chomaka (the gallery of the renowned Bulgarian painter Zlatyo Boyajiev), the house of Balabanov (now a gallery of modern painting, as well as a concert hall), the house of Lamartin (the house of writers) where the French poet Alfonse de Lamartin stayed during his diplomatic mission in Turkey.
The streets of the old town are steep and cobbled with bow-windows and eaves above them. Facades are colored in harmonious combinations, with stylish patterns of white and blue. Windows have either wooden shuttles, or iron nets.
The economically most important city in North-central Bulgaria. Named by the great fortress of Rahovec.
Stara Zagora is located in the central part of Southern Bulgaria. The City of is set in the heart of the Region with the same name and has a population of 180,000 people.
Among the region’s attractions are the Rose Festival, the Opera and Ballets Festival, some Neolithic Dwellings, Roman ruins and natural thermal hot springs healing spas. The photographer, hiker, hunter, and fishing enthusiast will appreciate the Region’s mountains and mountain resorts, the moderate weather and easy accessibility to the Black Sea.
Amonth the sights of the city the National Opera Theater deserves mention. Founded in 1928, it is the first provincial opera company in Bulgaria and continues to provide world class operas.
Other sights include museums, libraries, art galleries, Roman ruins, and many lovely parks. Eternally green, the Ayazmoto Park dominates the northern section of the city with 939 acres of exotic trees, an astronomy observatory, a zoo, children’s playgrounds, a sports complex and an open-air theater, where the National Festival of Gypsy Music and Songs is held each summer. It is a popular weekend gathering place.
The nearby Valley of the roses is magically transformed with breathtaking blooms in May and early June each year when “The Festival of Roses” is celebrated. The capital of the rose growing region is Kazanlak where rose picking rituals and folklore displays are presented. The Museum of the Rose Industry is also located in Kazanlak
Burgas is Bulgaria’s main port located on the Black Sea. At the same time, it’s an important industrial centre hence why it is recommended to only look at the waves and save your skinny dipping for elsewhere.
Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the industrial side of Burgas. The old town is fairly well preserved and the collection at the archaeological museum gives a good overview of the town’s past. The city also boast one of the oldest art galleries in the country, the Burgas Art Gallery, located in a former Jewish synagogue.
Some 400 kilometres from Sofia.
The history of the village of Parvomayci (untill 1955 – Temnisko and Sergyuvec) can be traced back to 12 century. This is the biggest village in Veliko Tarnovo region. Pop. 3128. Two churches built in 1892 and 1895.
Sozopol is one of the nicest resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Lying on the Gulf of Bourgas, Sozopol was one of Ancient Greece’s oldest settlements – formerly known as “Apolonia Pontica” named after Apollo, the patron of seafarers. Today teh city resembles a cluster of welcoming turn-of-the century housess dotted along the rocky headland, interested with small garden shrines.
Somewhat quieter than Nessebur , the resort also provides the tourist with two fine, sandy beaches, set off nicely against the tranquil charm of fishing life. One lies within a sheltered bay with the second, larger beach extending southwards beyond the headland. Sozopol is traversed by beautiful narrow lanes, old houses and its romantic charm has attracted artists and writers throughout the centuries.
Accommodation in Sozopol consists of a small guesthouse-inn, a former naval club, or either private rooms in old houses on the peninsula or else larger chalet-style dwellings in the new town. Nearby, the port of Burgas is well worth a visit. In addition to an international airport, this important commercial coastal town has an attractive centre with lively terraces and plentiful cafés, offering tourists a warm welcome. The presence of visiting ships and passing tourists lends Bourgas a certain cosmopolitian air, especially during its folk festival, held in late August.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.