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Copyrighted Material
Copyright © 2010 by Blazhka Marinova. All rights reserved
The copyright in this eBook and the material on this eBook (including without limitation the text,
artwork, images, and snapshots, on this eBook) is owned by Blazhka Marinova.
For the avoidance of doubt, you must not adapt, edit, copy, change, transform, publish, republish,
distribute, or redistribute, in public this eBook or the material on this eBook (in any form or
media) without Blazhka Marinova’s prior written permission.
This copyright notice is based on a Freenetlaw template supplied by Contractology.
Preface
This guide ebook is dedicated to reveal the ancient history, unique natural sightseeings, and the
distinctive cuisine and wine of Bulgaria.
In the first part of the book, the different sightseeings can be found by regions, and their
respective districts. There are 228 images, with short annotation underneath each image.
The second part consists of 21 popular Bulgarian recipes, as well as short history of the
distinctive Bulgarian wines.
Blazhka Marinova hopes that you will truly enjoy Bulgaria, and its delicious cuisine!
This guide eBook was sponsored by “Radev Trade” – importer of fine wines and spirits from
Bulgaria into British Columbia, Canada.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents ............................................................................................................................ 1
1.
2.
Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 11
1.1
Size ................................................................................................................................. 12
1.2
Population....................................................................................................................... 12
1.3
Official Language ........................................................................................................... 12
1.4
Religion .......................................................................................................................... 13
1.5
Capital ............................................................................................................................ 13
1.6
Government System ....................................................................................................... 13
1.7
Currency ......................................................................................................................... 13
North Western Region .......................................................................................................... 14
2.1
District of Vidin ............................................................................................................. 14
2.1.1
Baba Vida................................................................................................................ 15
2.1.2
Stambolkapiya......................................................................................................... 16
2.1.3
The Library of Osman Pazvantooglu ...................................................................... 17
2.1.4
Belogradchik Rocks ................................................................................................ 18
2.1.5
Orthodox Cathedral of St Dimitar........................................................................... 19
2.1.6
Magura Cave ........................................................................................................... 20
2.1.7
Chuprene Bioreserve ............................................................................................... 21
2.1.8
City of Vidin ........................................................................................................... 22
2.2
District of Vratsa ............................................................................................................ 23
2.2.1
Cherepish Monastery .............................................................................................. 24
2.2.2
Kurtpasha Tower ..................................................................................................... 25
2.2.3
Ledenika Cave ........................................................................................................ 26
2.2.4
Rogozen Treasure ................................................................................................... 27
1
2.2.5
2.3
3.
City of Vratsa .......................................................................................................... 28
District of Montana ........................................................................................................ 29
2.3.1
The Village of Chiprovtzi ....................................................................................... 30
2.3.2
Eco-trail Damjanitsa ............................................................................................... 31
2.3.3
Chiprovtsi Waterfall................................................................................................ 32
2.3.4
Klisura Monastery St. Cyril and Methodius ........................................................... 33
2.3.5
Lopushan Monastery............................................................................................... 34
2.3.6
Chirpovtsi Rugs ...................................................................................................... 35
2.3.7
City of Montana ...................................................................................................... 36
North Central Region ............................................................................................................ 37
3.1
District of Pleven ............................................................................................................ 38
3.1.1
Pleven Panorama ..................................................................................................... 39
3.1.2
Storgozia Fortress ................................................................................................... 40
3.1.3
Kaylaka Park ........................................................................................................... 41
3.1.4
The Chapel-Mausoleum ―St. George the Victorious‖ ............................................ 42
3.1.5
―Saint Nicholas‖ Church ......................................................................................... 43
3.1.6
Ulpia Oecsus ........................................................................................................... 44
3.1.7
Valchitran Treasure ................................................................................................. 45
3.1.8
City of Pleven ......................................................................................................... 46
3.2
District of Lovech........................................................................................................... 47
3.2.1
Glozhene Monastery ............................................................................................... 48
3.2.2
Covered Bridge in Lovech ...................................................................................... 49
3.2.3
Hisarja Fortress ....................................................................................................... 50
3.2.4
Devetashka Cave ..................................................................................................... 51
3.2.5
Natural-Science Museum, village of Cherni Osam ................................................ 52
3.2.6
Troyan Monastery ................................................................................................... 53
3.2.7
Letnica Treasure...................................................................................................... 54
3.2.8
Lukovit Treasure ..................................................................................................... 55
3.2.9
City of Lovech ........................................................................................................ 56
3.3
District of Gabrovo......................................................................................................... 57
3.3.1
Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex ............................................................. 58
2
3.3.2
Dryanovo Monastery .............................................................................................. 59
3.3.3
Sokolski Monastery ................................................................................................ 60
3.3.4
Bozhentsi................................................................................................................. 61
3.3.5
Slaveikov House ..................................................................................................... 62
3.3.6
The House of Humor and Satire ............................................................................. 63
3.3.7
The city of Gabrovo ................................................................................................ 64
3.4
District of Veliko Tarnovo ............................................................................................. 65
3.4.1
Tsarevets Fortress ................................................................................................... 66
3.4.2
Sound and Light Entertainment – Tsarevets Fortress ............................................. 67
3.4.3
The ―St. 40 Martyrs‖ church ................................................................................... 68
3.4.4
St. Dimitar of Thessaloniki church in Veliko Tarnovo.......................................... 69
3.4.5
Assens‘ monument .................................................................................................. 70
3.4.6
Arbanassi................................................................................................................. 71
3.4.7
Samovodska charshia .............................................................................................. 72
3.4.8
Sararfkina‘s House .................................................................................................. 73
3.4.9
Museum of the Bulgarian Revival and Constituent Assembly ............................... 74
3.4.10 State Art Gallery ―Boris Denev‖............................................................................. 75
3.4.11 Kaloyan‘s Fortress .................................................................................................. 76
3.4.12 Gurko Street ............................................................................................................ 77
3.4.13 Nove Fortress .......................................................................................................... 78
3.4.14 City of Veliko Tarnovo ........................................................................................... 79
3.5
District of Russe ............................................................................................................. 80
3.5.1
Dohodno Zdanie...................................................................................................... 81
3.5.2
St Paul of the Cross Cathedral ................................................................................ 82
3.5.3
Basarbovo Monastery ............................................................................................. 83
3.5.4
Orlova Chuka Cave ................................................................................................. 84
3.5.5
National Museum of Transport and Communications ............................................ 85
3.5.6
Dunav Tours Travel Agency................................................................................... 86
3.5.7
Bjala Bridge ............................................................................................................ 87
3.5.8
Danube Bridge ........................................................................................................ 88
3.5.9
City of Russe ........................................................................................................... 89
3
4.
North Eastern Region ............................................................................................................ 90
4.1
District of Turgovishte ................................................................................................... 91
4.1.1
The park of Aeronautical space .............................................................................. 92
4.1.2
Kovachesko Kale .................................................................................................... 93
4.1.3
Krepcha Monastery ................................................................................................. 94
4.1.4
Misionis Fortress ..................................................................................................... 95
4.1.5
The town of Turgovishte ......................................................................................... 96
4.2
District of Razgrad ......................................................................................................... 97
4.2.1
Clock Tower Razgrad ............................................................................................. 98
4.2.2
Demir Baba Teke .................................................................................................... 99
4.2.3
Abrittus Archaeological Reserve .......................................................................... 100
4.2.4
Zamaka Residence ................................................................................................ 101
4.2.5
Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari.................................................................................. 102
4.2.6
The Town of Razgrad ........................................................................................... 103
4.3
District of Shumen ....................................................................................................... 104
4.3.1
Pliska – The First Bulgarian Capital ..................................................................... 105
4.3.2
Preslav – Capital of Bulgaria During The Golden Century .................................. 106
4.3.3
Tombul Mosque .................................................................................................... 107
4.3.4
Founders of Bulgaria Monument .......................................................................... 108
4.3.5
Shumen Fortress.................................................................................................... 109
4.3.6
Biserna Cave ......................................................................................................... 110
4.3.7
Shumen Plateau ..................................................................................................... 111
4.3.8
Madara Rider ........................................................................................................ 112
4.3.9
City of Shumen ..................................................................................................... 113
4.4
District of Silistra ......................................................................................................... 114
4.4.1
Silistra Archaeological Museum ........................................................................... 115
4.4.2
Medzhidi Tabiya Fortress ..................................................................................... 116
4.4.3
Srebarna Nature Reserve....................................................................................... 117
4.4.4
Durostorum Fortress ............................................................................................. 118
4.4.5
The Town of Silistra ............................................................................................. 119
4.5
District of Dobrich ....................................................................................................... 120
4
4.5.1
Ethnographic Complex Chukovo Chiflika............................................................ 121
4.5.2
Balchik Palace ....................................................................................................... 122
4.5.3
Balchik Botanical Garden ..................................................................................... 123
4.5.4
Kaliakra ................................................................................................................. 124
4.5.5
Lebed Restaurant .................................................................................................. 125
4.5.6
Ethnographic Complex ―Old Dobrich‖ ................................................................. 126
4.5.7
Albena Resort........................................................................................................ 127
4.5.8
City of Dobrich ..................................................................................................... 128
4.6
District of Varna ........................................................................................................... 129
4.6.1
Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral ................................................................. 130
4.6.2
Sea Garden, Varna ................................................................................................ 131
4.6.3
Ethnographic Complex Phanagoria ...................................................................... 132
4.6.4
Aquarium, Varna................................................................................................... 134
4.6.5
Dolphinarium, Varna ............................................................................................ 135
4.6.6
Planetarium ―Nikolai Kopernik‖........................................................................... 136
4.6.7
Roman Spa ............................................................................................................ 137
4.6.8
Varna Treasure ...................................................................................................... 138
4.6.9
Stone Forest .......................................................................................................... 139
4.6.10 Euxinograd Palace ................................................................................................ 140
4.6.11 Ovech Fotress........................................................................................................ 141
4.6.12 Asparuhov Bridge ................................................................................................. 142
4.6.13 Golden Sands Resort ............................................................................................. 143
4.6.14 Saints Constantine and Helena Resort .................................................................. 144
4.6.15 Sunny Day Resort ................................................................................................. 145
4.6.16 The Wonder Rocks ............................................................................................... 146
4.6.17 City of Varna......................................................................................................... 147
5.
South-Eastern Region ......................................................................................................... 148
5.1
District of Sliven .......................................................................................................... 149
5.1.1
Hadzhi Dimitar House .......................................................................................... 150
5.1.2
Karandila ............................................................................................................... 151
5.1.3
Zheravna Architectural Reserve ........................................................................... 152
5
5.1.4
Karanovo Tumulus................................................................................................ 153
5.1.5
Complex Sinia Vir ................................................................................................ 154
5.1.6
City of Sliven ........................................................................................................ 155
5.2
District of Yambol ........................................................................................................ 156
5.2.1
Ethnographic Museum Elhovo ............................................................................. 157
5.2.2
Archaeological Reserve Kabyle ............................................................................ 158
5.2.3
Basistena ............................................................................................................... 159
5.2.4
Church of St. George ............................................................................................ 160
5.2.5
City of Yambol ..................................................................................................... 161
5.3
District of Burgas ......................................................................................................... 162
5.3.1
Cathedral St. St. Cyril and Methodius .................................................................. 163
5.3.2
Sea Garden Burgas ................................................................................................ 164
5.3.3
Festival of sand sculptures .................................................................................... 165
5.3.4
Nessebar ................................................................................................................ 166
Church of Christ Pantocrator .............................................................................................. 167
Church of St Sophia ............................................................................................................ 168
Nessebar Windmill.............................................................................................................. 169
5.3.5
Sunny Beach Resort .............................................................................................. 170
Sunny Beach Aqua Park ..................................................................................................... 171
Dance Club Mania .............................................................................................................. 172
5.3.6
Pomorie ................................................................................................................. 173
Pomorie's ancient Thracian tomb ........................................................................................ 174
Black Sea Gold Winery/Distillery ...................................................................................... 175
Festa Pomorie...................................................................................................................... 176
5.3.7
Sozopol ................................................................................................................. 177
Ancient Fortifications ......................................................................................................... 178
Sozopol Street ..................................................................................................................... 179
5.3.8
Primorsko .............................................................................................................. 180
Primorsko Aqua Park .......................................................................................................... 181
5.3.9
Obzor Resort ......................................................................................................... 182
5.3.10 City of Burgas ....................................................................................................... 183
6
6.
South Central Region .......................................................................................................... 184
6.1
District of Stara Zagora ................................................................................................ 185
6.1.1
Silver Lake Complex ............................................................................................ 186
6.1.2
Shipka Pass ........................................................................................................... 187
6.1.3
Shipka Memorial Church ...................................................................................... 188
6.1.4
Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak ................................................................................. 189
Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak Frescos .................................................................................. 190
6.1.5
Golqma Kosmatka Mound .................................................................................... 191
Golqma Kosmatka Artefacts ............................................................................................... 193
6.1.6
6.2
City of Stara Zagora .............................................................................................. 194
District of Haskovo ...................................................................................................... 195
6.2.1
Aleksandrovo tomb ............................................................................................... 196
6.2.2
Bukelon Fortress ................................................................................................... 197
6.2.3
Mezek Fortress ...................................................................................................... 198
6.2.4
Villa Armira .......................................................................................................... 199
6.2.5
City of Haskovo .................................................................................................... 200
6.3
District of Kardzhali ..................................................................................................... 201
6.3.1
Dqvloski Most (Devil Bridge) .............................................................................. 202
6.3.2
Stone Wedding ...................................................................................................... 203
6.3.3
Stone Mushrooms ................................................................................................. 204
6.3.4
Perperikon ............................................................................................................. 205
6.3.5
City of Kardzhali................................................................................................... 206
6.4
District of Smolyan ...................................................................................................... 207
6.4.1
Devil‘s Throat Cave .............................................................................................. 209
6.4.2
Uhlovitsa Cave ...................................................................................................... 210
6.4.3
Marvellous Bridges ............................................................................................... 211
6.4.4
Jagodinska Cave.................................................................................................... 212
6.4.5
Shiroka Laka Reserve ........................................................................................... 213
6.4.6
Pamporovo Ski Resort .......................................................................................... 214
Grand Manastira Complex .................................................................................................. 215
Forest Nook Hotel ............................................................................................................... 216
7
The Castle ........................................................................................................................... 217
6.4.7
6.5
Town of Smolyan .................................................................................................. 218
District of Pazardzhik ................................................................................................... 219
6.5.1
Kemera Bridge ...................................................................................................... 220
6.5.2
Historical Museum Panagyurishte ........................................................................ 221
Panagyurishte Treasure ....................................................................................................... 222
6.5.3
Batak Ossuary ....................................................................................................... 223
6.5.4
Snezhanka Cave .................................................................................................... 224
6.5.5
City of Pazardzhik................................................................................................. 225
6.6
District of Plovdiv ........................................................................................................ 226
6.6.1
Palaeontology Museum – Asenovgrad ................................................................. 227
6.6.2
Starosel Thracian Complex ................................................................................... 228
6.6.3
Old Plovdiv Reserve ............................................................................................. 229
Balabanov House ................................................................................................................ 230
Lamartin House ................................................................................................................... 231
Georgiadi House ................................................................................................................. 232
Roman Stadium................................................................................................................... 233
Roman Amphitheatre .......................................................................................................... 234
7.
6.6.4
Asenova Fortress ................................................................................................... 235
6.6.5
Bachkovski Monastery.......................................................................................... 236
6.6.6
Plovdiv Trade Fair ................................................................................................ 237
6.6.7
City of Plovdiv ...................................................................................................... 238
South Western Region ........................................................................................................ 239
7.1
District of Blagoevgrad ................................................................................................ 240
7.1.1
Komitite Complex ................................................................................................. 241
7.1.2
American University ............................................................................................. 242
7.1.3
Kordopulova House .............................................................................................. 243
7.1.4
Rupite Region ....................................................................................................... 244
7.1.5
National Park Pirin ................................................................................................ 245
7.1.6
Rozhen Monastery ................................................................................................ 246
7.1.7
Bansko................................................................................................................... 247
8
Bansko Ski Lift ................................................................................................................... 248
Bansko Ski Track ................................................................................................................ 249
7.1.8
7.2
City of Blagoevgrad .............................................................................................. 250
District of Kyustendil ................................................................................................... 251
7.2.1
Rila Monastery ...................................................................................................... 252
Rila Monastery –From Air .................................................................................................. 254
7.2.2
Rila Natural Reserve ............................................................................................. 255
7.2.3
The Seven Rila Lakes ........................................................................................... 256
7.2.4
Sapareva Banya ..................................................................................................... 257
7.2.5
Town of Kyustendil .............................................................................................. 258
7.3
District of Pernik ...................................................................................................... 259
7.3.1
Duhlata Cave ......................................................................................................... 260
7.3.2
Town of Tran ........................................................................................................ 261
7.3.3
City of Pernik ........................................................................................................ 262
7.4
District of Sofia ............................................................................................................ 263
7.4.1
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral ................................................................................ 265
7.4.2
St. Paraskeva Church ............................................................................................ 266
7.4.3
Koprivshtisa .......................................................................................................... 267
7.4.4
National Palace of Culture .................................................................................... 268
7.4.5
Vitosha Park .......................................................................................................... 269
7.4.6
Boyana Church...................................................................................................... 270
Boyana Church Frescoes..................................................................................................... 271
7.4.7
St. George Church ................................................................................................. 272
7.4.8
National Theatres Ivan Vazov .............................................................................. 273
7.4.9
National Parliament .............................................................................................. 274
7.4.10 President Palace .................................................................................................... 275
7.4.11 Sofia Land ............................................................................................................. 276
7.4.12 Borovets Ski Resort .............................................................................................. 277
7.4.13 City of Sofia .......................................................................................................... 278
8.
Bulgarian Cuisine................................................................................................................ 279
8.1
Banitza - Baked Cheese Pastry..................................................................................... 280
9
9.
8.2
Shopska Salad .............................................................................................................. 281
8.3
Tarator Soup ................................................................................................................. 282
8.4
Courgettes in a Yoghurt Sauce – A Great Starter or a Side Dish................................. 283
8.5
Aubergine/Eggplant Dip – Kyopolou .......................................................................... 284
8.6
Refreshing Creamed Zuccini (small summer squash) Soup ........................................ 285
8.7
Monastery-Style Bean Soup ......................................................................................... 286
8.8
Monastery Gyuvetch (This dish used to be prepared at the Rila Monastery Kitchen) 287
8.9
Pork Chops Sliven Style ............................................................................................... 288
8.10
Beef Kavarma Kebap................................................................................................ 289
8.11
Mackerel in Wine & Tomato Sauce ......................................................................... 290
8.12
Barbequed Meatballs (Kyufte) And Sausages (Kebabche) ..................................... 291
8.13
Pork Kavarma Kebap................................................................................................ 292
8.14
Stuffed Peppers With Minced Meat ......................................................................... 293
8.15
Moussaka .................................................................................................................. 294
8.16
Mish-Mash ................................................................................................................ 295
8.17
Peppers Stuffed With Cheese ................................................................................... 296
8.18
Eggs Panagyurishte-Style ......................................................................................... 297
8.19
Drob Sarma (Liver Tinsel) ....................................................................................... 298
8.20
Baked Pumpkin......................................................................................................... 299
8.21
Patatnik (Potato Dish) ............................................................................................... 300
Bulgarian Wine ................................................................................................................... 301
9.1
Mavrud ......................................................................................................................... 303
9.2
Broad Vine of Melnik .................................................................................................. 304
9.3
Pamid............................................................................................................................ 305
9.4
Gamza........................................................................................................................... 306
9.5
Misket ........................................................................................................................... 307
9.6
Dimyat .......................................................................................................................... 308
References ................................................................................................................................... 309
10
1. Introduction
Bulgaria is a country in the Balkans in south-eastern Europe. Bulgaria borders five other
countries: Romania to the north (along the River Danube), Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia
to the west, and Greece and Turkey to the south. The Black Sea defines the extent of the country
to the east. With a territory of 110,912 square kilometers, and population of 7.5 million Bulgaria
ranks as the 16th-largest country in Europe.
When someone speaks about the history of Bulgaria, usually he/she starts with the year 681 AD
– the foundation year of the Bulgarian state. The First Bulgarian Kingdom rivalled the
Byzantines for control of the Balkan region during the 9th and 10th centuries. At the height of its
power The Bulgarian emprire spread between Budapest and the Black Sea and from the Dnieper
River in modern Ukraine to the Adriatic Sea. In 864, Tsar Boris 1st Mikhail adopted Christianity
as official state religion.In late 9th century the brothers Cyril (Constantine the Philosopher) and
Methodius created and disseminated the Cyrillic alphabet. The cities of Ohrid and Pliska, and
subsequently the new capital city Veliki Preslav, became centers of Bulgarian and Slavonic
culture. The Slavonic alphabet spread to other Slavic countries. Today, it is used in Russia,
Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus, and Macedonia.
In 1185, the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was formed and remained in power until the rise of the
Ottoman Empire in the late 14th century, which ruled Bulgaria between the 15th and 19th
century.
Following a Russian victory in a war with the Ottoman Empire, part of Bulgaria was declared as
an autonomous principality in 1878. A year later, Bulgaria adopted a democratic constitution and
became a fully independent nation in 1908.
Following controversial political decisions, Bulgaria enters both World War I and World War II,
as a German ally, which was apparently a wrong decision. Apart of the tragic consequences of
the war, Bulgarian government managed to protect its Jews population of about 50,000 from the
Holocaust by refusing to deport them to concentration camps.
In the aftermath of World War II, Bulgaria was placed under Soviet control from 1947 until
1989. Consequently, the changes, which were introduced in the Soviet Union, encouraged
11
reformist elements within the Bulgarian Communist Party. On November 10th 1989, after 35
years in power, the communist ruler of Bulgaria Todor Zhivkov was forced to resign.
In 1991, Bulgaria held its first democratic Parliamentary elections and adopted a new
constitution. After a transition period, abided by inflation, economic and financial instability,
Bulgaria succeeded to gain political stability, which as a result helped the country to join WTO
1996, NATO 2004, and the EU 2007.
The history of Bulgaria is truly inspirational. It teaches us the power of determination,
persistence, and the definition of survival. Bulgaria has survived five centuries of Ottoman rule,
defied the Nazis, and endured forty-five years behind the Iron Curtain. Today, after 1329 years
of history, the economy of Bulgaria is an industrialized, modern open free market economy with
a moderately advanced private sector and a number of strategic state-owned enterprises. The
country is classified as an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank with a gross national
income per capita of US$ 5,490 in 2008. The country is expected to join the Eurozone (using the
Euro currency) in 2013.
1.1
Size
The total area of the country is 110,912 sq km (42,823 square miles). The greatest distance from
north to south is around 330 km (210 miles), and from east to west, around 500 km (310 miles).
1.2
Population
The Bulgarian population recorded in the 1985 census was 8,948,649, but by July 2000, largely
due to emigration , the population was estimated to have decreased to 7,796,694. In 2000, the
birth rate stood at 8.06 and the death rate at 14.63 per 1,000 population, but this downward trend
should be halted as the economy improves, emigrants return, and the country joins the European
Union (EU) in 2007. By 2010, the population is projected to reach 7.26 million. Population
density is about 70 persons per square km (181 per square mile). As of 2009, the population of
Bulgaria is estimated to be 7.5 million.
1.3
Official Language
Around 85% of the approximate 7.5 m population of Bulgaria speak the official language,
Bulgarian. About 2.5% speak Macedonian, considered in Bulgaria as a dialect of Bulgarian and
not as a separate language. Other minority languages include Romani, Turkish, spoken by 9% of
the population, and the related languages of Gagauz, Tatar, and Albanian.
12
1.4
Religion
Almost 82.64% of the population professes the Bulgarian Orthodox Faith (an Eastern Orthodox
branch). Muslims account for about 12.20% of the population. More than 3.57% does not selfidentify any religion.
1.5
Capital
Sofia is the capital and the biggest city of Bulgaria with an estimated population of 1.2 million.
Other major cities are Plovdiv (380,130), Varna (364,968), and Burgas (229,250).
1.6
Government System
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with a one-house parliament consisting of 240
representatives if 4-year mandate. The head of state is the president having 5-year mandate. The
central executive body is the council of ministers.
1.7
Currency
―Lev‖ is the national Bulgarian currency. The denomination of the notes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100
lev, while coins (stotinka) are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 1 lev, 2 lev. Since the entering of Bulgaria into
the European Union in 2007, the Lev has been tied to the Euro. 1 Euro = 1.956 Lev
13
2. North Western Region
The North West region includes Districts of Vidin, Vratsa, and Montana. This is the weakest
region in terms of economic strength, contributing about 6.2% (2001) to the country`s Gross
Value Added. The main industries are in the energy and chemical sectors. The leader in the
energy sector is the nuclear power plant "Kozlodui", generating 43% of the total electricity in the
country.
The most attractive natural phenomena are the Belogradchik rocks and the Ledenika and Magura
caves. The healthy mineral springs in the region should support the growth of the main tourist
centre at Varshets. The various artificial lakes and the Danube river are also important for tourist
development
2.1
District of Vidin
Vidin Region is one of the small regions in the country. It is located in the north-westernmost
part of the Danubian plain. The region is bounded north by the Danube River and west by Serbia
(both boundaries coinciding with the state borders of Bulgaria) and east by Montana Region.
The cultural history is reflected in the numerous archeological monuments, architectural
fragments, sculptures, bronze and clay items that are kept in the museums. The ancient
settlements of Ratsiaria (today‘s Archar) and Bononia (today‘s Vidin) and Castra Madres fortress
(today‘s Kula) are all evidence of the progress made by those settlements during the Roman
times. For two millennia the region had been an important military, transport and commercial
center, evidence for which are numerous defensive works built in the vicinity. Baba Vida fortress
and Belogradchik fortress give an idea about the Bulgarian medieval fortresses and remnants
from ancient castles can be found all over the area – in the town of Kula, the villages of Chichil,
Topolovets, Florentine (the Florentiana Roman castle) and elsewhere.
14
2.1.1 Baba Vida
Baba Vida is a medieval fortress in Vidin - the town's primary landmark. It consists of two
fundamental walls and four towers and is said to be the only entirely preserved medieval castle in
the country.
15
2.1.2 Stambolkapiya
―Stambolkapiya‖, 18th century: part of Vidin‘s system of fortifications.
16
2.1.3 The Library of Osman Pazvantooglu
The Library of Osman Pazvantooglu, built in 1800 in the city of Vidin.
17
2.1.4 Belogradchik Rocks
The Rocks of Belogradchik are situated in the western part of the Balkan Range, near the town of
Belogradchik. The area of the rocks is 30 km long and 15 km wide. The natural phenomenon has
fantastic outlines - a sea of frozen castles, fortresses, towers, silhouettes of people, birds and
animals, ships, mushrooms, obelisks, palaces, racing chariots and scattered skyscrapers rising at
a height of 200 m
18
2.1.5 Orthodox Cathedral of St Dimitar
Orthodox Cathedral of St Dimitar (St Dimitrius) built in 19th century in the city of Vidin.
19
2.1.6 Magura Cave
The Magura Cave is among Bulgaria's most famous and beautiful caves. It is located in northwestern Bulgaria close to the village of Rabisha, at 18 km away from the town of Belogradchik
in the Vidin Province. The total length of the Magura cave is 2,5 km. In one of the galleries of
the cave is produced a special wine which closely resembles the wines of Champagne, France
due to the unique micro climate of the cave which is similar to that region.
20
2.1.7 Chuprene Bioreserve
Chuperene Bioreserve is situated on the territory of Chuprene and Belogradchik municipalities
and covers the surface of 1439.20hec. In 1977 the world organization ―For education, science
and culture‖- UNESCO included Chuprene Reserve in its lists of protected natural reserves as
―inseparable part of international network of biosphere reserves.
21
2.1.8 City of Vidin
The city of Vidin‘s downtown
22
2.2
District of Vratsa
Vratza Region is situated in the eastern part of Northwestern Bulgaria. It is bounded by the
regions of Montana, Lovech, Pleven and Sofia. To the north it borders Danube, hence Romania.
The territory of the region covers part of the Danubian plain and parts of the Balkan Mountains.
The Ogosta, Skat and Iskar rivers cross the region. The international highway Central Europe–
Krajowa–Vidin–Sofia–Kulata–Thessalonica passes through Vratza Region too. The Iskar gorge
connects the region to the lands situated south to the Balkan Mountains. The first nuclear power
plant on the Balkans was built on the bank of Danube river, in the town of Kozloduy.
There are a lot of archeological and historic monuments in the region. Of particular value are
treasures masterpieces of Thracian art. Vratza treasure of the 4th century BC was discovered on
the Mogilan hill in Vratza. Near the village of Rogozen in 1986 a treasure dated back to the 4th5th centuries BC was uncovered, which belonged to a Thracian notable family – the biggest
treasure ever found. In includes 165 items made of massive silver with gilt. On the Borovan hill
there are remains of an ancient Thracian fortress. The monasteries offer unique environment of
peace and serenity – the Cherepish Monastery, Strupesh Monastery, the Monastery of Archangel
Michael near the village of Dolna Beshovitsa, etc. Botev‘s Path memorial complex is another
unique site. It is a 120 km long path starting from the legendary Radetzky steamboat to the place
where Botev, Bulgaria‘s poet and revolutionist, found his heroic death.
23
2.2.1 Cherepish Monastery
The Cherepish monastery is situated at the foot of the amazing rocks in Stara Planina Mountain
along the valley of the Iskar river. It is 29 km away from Vratsa.
In 1798 the great Bulgarian St. Sofroniy Vrachanski found an asylum in the monastery as he left
Vratsa because of the Turkish slaughters.
24
2.2.2 Kurtpasha Tower
The residential and defense tower of Kurt Pasha‘s family, 17th century
25
2.2.3 Ledenika Cave
Ledenika Cave features an abundance of galleries and impressive karst formations including
stalactites and stalagmites, dating back a thousand years. The cave is about 300m long and
contains ten separate halls. The biggest is the Concert Hall. The cave is located 16 km away from
the city of Vratsa.
26
2.2.4 Rogozen Treasure
Rogozen Treasure was discovered by chance in 1985 by a tractor driver digging a well in his
garden in the Bulgarian village of Rogozen. It consists of 165 receptacles, including 108 phiales,
55 jugs and 3 goblets. The objects are silver with golden gilt on some of them with total weight
of more than 20 kg. The treasure is an invaluable source of information for the life of the
Thracians, due to the variety of motifs in the richly decorated objects. It is dated back to the 5th4th centuries BC.
27
2.2.5 City of Vratsa
The city of Vratsa – with an estimated population of 77,318 as of 2009
28
2.3
District of Montana
Montana Region covers the central regions of Northwestern Bulgaria. It is bounded by Vidin,
Vratza and Sofia Regions; to the north it reaches out to the Danube and borders Romania and to
the southwest it borders Serbia. The territory of the municipality covers parts of the hilly Danubi
an Plain, the fore-Balkan Mountains and of the proper Balkan range. The landscape is
predominantly hilly but in the northern parts it is plain; in the south one can find the higher
ridges of the Chiprovtzi-Berkovitsa Mountains and Koznitza.
Water transport is a significant factor for the development of the region. The harbor of Lom is
the second biggest river port in Bulgaria after Ruse. The Danube River is connected through the
so-called "Europe Channel" with the rivers of Main and Rhine and connects the North Sea with
the Black Sea. Some of the bigger rivers crossing the region are the Ogosta, the Lom and the
Tzibritza. There are mineral springs near Varshetz and the villages of Zamphirovo, Spanchevtzi
and Barziya. The Balkan Mountains shelter reserves with age-old spruce trees – Usketo and
Gorna Koriya; the protected area of Kopren (with the Kopren ecological path), Mishin Kamak
cave, waterfalls.
In the plain part of the region plant growing is well developed, there are favorable conditions for
automated tillage and artificial irrigation. Ogosta dam is near Montana – it is one of the biggest
artificial lakes in the country. The area of the Chiprovtzi-Berkovitsa Mountains has been a
prominent gold-mining area ever since ancient times. Ore mining was also well developed. The
carpet industry developed as a craft in the 17th century. Chiprovtzi carpets are famous for their
unique motley colors and design. Typical of them are floral ornaments, the basic colors being
winy red, red and dark blue. There are favorable conditions for development of balneological
tourism, ecotourism and water sports. Traces of pre-historic settlements, medieval fortresses and
churche were found in the region.
29
2.3.1 The Village of Chiprovtzi
Chiprovtsi is 35km. away from the city of Montana and 155km. away from the capital Sofia.
Natural sights and monuments of culture: The Chiprovski waterfall; Mishin Kamak cave; Trite
Koukli - large rock formations; The rock wreath of Shiroka Planina; The Deyanitsa eco-path;
The Chiprovski Monastery St. Ivan Rilski of the 10th c.; The church Holy Ascension; The ruins
of the large catholic cathedral Xanta Maria (14th c.).
30
2.3.2 Eco-trail Damjanitsa
Eco-trail Damjanitsa is located 10 km away from the village of Chiprovtsi. The trail passes
through the Chiprovtsi waterfall, and it can be walked for about 6 hours.
31
2.3.3 Chiprovtsi Waterfall
Chiprovtsi Waterfall – 18 metres high, located near the village of Chiprovtsi.
32
2.3.4 Klisura Monastery St. Cyril and Methodius
Klisura Monastery is located 85 km from Sofia, and 9 km from the town of Berkovitsa. The
monastery has been built in the 13th century, and during the Turkish slavery, it has been
destroyed many times. The monastery is restored at the end of the 19th century.
33
2.3.5 Lopushan Monastery
Lopushan Monastery is located 8 km west from the town of Berkovitsa. It has been built in 1850
by three monks that came from the ―Chiprovtsi Monastery‖.
34
2.3.6 Chirpovtsi Rugs
Traditionally Bulgarian Rugs from Chiprovtsi - the carpet industry developed as a craft in the
17th century. Chiprovtzi carpets are famous for their unique motley colors and design. Typical of
them are floral ornaments, the basic colors being winy red, red and dark blue.
35
2.3.7 City of Montana
The city of Montana - it is located 50 km south of Danube, 40 km northwest of Vratsa and 30 km
east of the Serbian border. Estimated population as of 2009 is 45,350.
36
3. North Central Region
The North-Central Region is situated in the central part of Northern Bulgaria. It borders the
Danube to the north, which marks the Bulgarian border with Romania, the Iskar River to the
west, the river of Rusenski Lom to the east and the Balkan Mountains to the south. It borders
with all planning regions of the country: the Northeastern to the west, the Southwestern, the
South-Central and the Southeastern to the south, and to the east with the Northerneastern
Region.
The region North-Central consists of 5 districts: Veliko Turnovo, Gabrovo, Lovech, Pleven,
Rousse.
The location of the North- Central Planning Region favours the development of transport due to
the opportunity to combine all types of transport - waterway, railway, road and air as well as to
the fact that important Pan-European corridors cross the region.
37
3.1
District of Pleven
Pleven Region encompasses the central part of the Danube Plain and a section of the fore-Balkan
Mountains. It is bounded by the regions of Vratza, Lovech and Veliko Tarnovo and north by the
Danube River.
Pleven district is a well-developed agricultural region. There are deposits of natural oil and gas
near the town of Dolni Dubnik and the village of Gigen. The most important water resources in
the region are the Danube River and its tributaries, the Iskar, the Vit and the Osam rivers. The
region provides excellent conditions for ecotourism and balneological tourism.
Life in the region can be traced for several millennia back into the past: remains from the
Paleolithic Age near the village of Muselievo; remains from the Chalcolithic Age near the
villages of Telish and Todorovo; the Romans constructed roads, roadside transit stations and
fortresses throughout the region; the ruins of the ancient Roman fortress of Ulpia Escus near
Gigen and Tsar Shishman`s Fortress in Nikopol.
The largest Thracian treasure dated back to the 16-12th centuries BC was discovered in 1925, in
the vicinity of the village of Vulchitrun. It consists of 13 vessels of solid gold and weights a total
of 12.45 kg. A copy of the artifacts can be seen in the History Museum in Pleven, the original
artifacts are kept at the National Archeological Museum in Sofia.
In Pleven region there are more than 450 archeological and cultural sites, approximately 215
memorials of the Russian-Turkish Liberation War of 1877-1878.
38
3.1.1 Pleven Panorama
Pleven Panorama, is a panorama located in Pleven, Bulgaria, that depicts the events of the
Russian-Turkish War of 1877–78, specifically the five-month Siege of Plevna (Pleven Epopee)
which made the city internationally famous and which contributed to the Liberation of Bulgaria
after five centuries of Ottoman rule. The panorama was created by 13 Russian and Bulgarian
artists and was constructed in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Pleven Epopee and was
officially unveiled on 10 December 1977.
39
3.1.2 Storgozia Fortress
Storgosia fortress is a Roman fortress built in 4-6th century. The fortress spreads over 3.1
hectares of land. It is located northeast from the city of Pleven, on the territory of Kaylaka Park.
40
3.1.3 Kaylaka Park
Kaylaka is a large park and protected area south of Pleven, Bulgaria, situated in a Karst valley.
The park is spread over 10 km² and is surrounded by sheer cliffs that suggest favourable
conditions for rock climbing. The ruins of the Roman fortress of Storgosia are located in
Kaylaka, as well as ponds and reservoirs with boats and pedalos, a swimming pool, hotels, cafés,
restaurants, discothèques and playgrounds.
41
3.1.4 The Chapel-Mausoleum “St. George the Victorious”
The chapel-mausoleum ―St. George the Victorious‖ was built in 1907. The bones of Bulgarian,
Russian, Romanian, Finnish, Ukrainian, Belarus, Moldavian soldiers who laid down their lives
for Pleven are kept in a crypt. Iconostasis and icons have been made by famous Bulgarian
masters.
42
3.1.5 “Saint Nicholas” Church
―Saint Nicholas‖ Church has been built in 1834. The church contains one of the riches icon
collections from Dimitar Zograph (noted 19th-century Bulgarian painter known for his icons),
comprising of 68 icons.
43
3.1.6 Ulpia Oecsus
Ulpia Oecsus was a Roman town built in 106 by a Roman imperator called Trajan. Today Ulpia
Oecsus is located near the village of Gigen.
44
3.1.7 Valchitran Treasure
The Valchitran Treasure was discovered in 1924 by two brothers who were working in their
vineyard near the village of Valchitran, 22 km southeast of Pleven, Bulgaria.
The hoard consists of 13 receptacles, different in form and size, and weighs in total 12,5 kg
45
3.1.8 City of Pleven
The city of Pleven – with an estimated population of 137,001 as of 2009
46
3.2
District of Lovech
Lovech Region is situated in central northern Bulgaria. It is bounded by the regions of Pleven,
Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Plovdiv, Sofia and Vratza. Its territory is a combination of plains and
hills. Nature has been very generous to these lands where the Balkan Mountains and the
Danubian Plain meet, the Vit, the Osam, the Vidima Rivers run together with their tributaries.
There are 8 natural reserves and protected areas. The unique natural reserves of Steneto (one of
the largest in Bulgaria), Boatin and Tzarichina, and the largest part of the Central Balkan
National Park.
The region is rich in karst springs (Glavna Panega near village of Zlatna Panega is the second
largest in the country) and remarkable caves: Devetashka Cave (one of the largest ones), Sueva
Dupka, the caves in the vicinity of Karlukovo, Tabashka Cave and Vassil Levski Cave near
Lovech.
In the region there are over 600 monuments of culture, many of them dating from the Middle
Ages and the National Revival period – the Troyan and Glozhene Monasteries, the architectural
historical reserve of Varosha, the famous Covered Bridge, designed by master Kolyu Ficheto.
The oldest monuments of culture are from the Paleolithic Age discovered in Devetashka Cave
and the Temnata Dupka Cave near Karlukovo. The Silver Lukovit Treasure is an outstanding
work of the Thracian art.
The spa springs in Shipkovo, Slivek, and Krushuna, as well as the mountain resorts of Teteven,
Troyan, Apriltzi, the villages of Ribaritza, Oreshak, Cherni Osam and the locality of Beklemeto
offer excellent conditions for balneological tourism and ecotourism.
47
3.2.1 Glozhene Monastery
According to the legend, the monastery was built in the 13th century (1224), when Ukrainian
knyaz Georgi Glozh settled in the area with Ivan Asen II's approval. The knyaz founded a
monastery carrying the name of St George, whose icon he had brought with himself. The icon
then disappeared numerous times only to be found on a hill not far from the village of Glozhene,
which was interpreted by the monks as a divine sign to move the monastery there. This was
eventually done near the end of the 14th century. The two monasteries existed in parallel for a
short time, being connected by a tunnel to each other, but the tunnel, used many times by Vasil
Levski during his secret missions, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1928.
The monastery church was erected after the creation of the monastery in the 14th century, but
was destroyed by another earthquake in 1913 along with its frescoes. The modern church was
constructed in 1951 on the grounds of the old one.
48
3.2.2 Covered Bridge in Lovech
The Covered Bridge, as the name suggests, is a covered bridge in the city of Lovech. The bridge
crosses the Osam River, connecting the old (Varоsha) and new town parts of Lovech, being
possibly the most recognisable symbol of the town.
After the bridge that then served the town was almost completely destroyed by a flood in 1872,
the local police chief ordered the famous Bulgarian master builder Kolyu Ficheto to construct a
new one. Ficheto personally chose the material for the wooden bridge. Each citizen of Lovech
contributed to the building process, the poorer ones working themselves and the wealthier
donating money and paying other workers. Building finished in 1874.
49
3.2.3 Hisarja Fortress
Hisarja fortress has been built by the Roman empire. It is located on Hisarja hill, which is
situated on the south side of Lovech. Here, in 1187 a peaceful treaty has been signed between
Bulgaria and Byzantium, which recognized the second Bulgarian kingdom.
50
3.2.4 Devetashka Cave
Devetashka Cave is one of the places to include in the tourism program. Situated in the Lovech
region, Devetashka cave is located between the villages of Doirentsi and Devetaki, Bulgaria. It is
discovered in 1921 and is one of the biggest caves in Europe. In 1996, the cave was named a
nature landmark. Cave impresses with its enormous size. This natural phenomenon is about 1500
m long and has a huge entrance – 35 m high and 55 m wide. The cave has 11 underground lakes
and rather beautiful cave formations. One of the ceiling openings (with height is 41 m) is used
for bungee jumps in the cave. According to archaeological research, it sheltered people since the
late Paleolithic era. Devetashka cave is a monument of culture and a place of national and
international significance and protection. Some time ago, the cave was labeled a military site and
was used for the storage of petroleum.
51
3.2.5 Natural-Science Museum, village of Cherni Osam
The Natural-Science museum exhibits more than 700 species from the mountain flora and fauna.
The village of Cherni Osam is located 13 km from the town of Trojan.
52
3.2.6 Troyan Monastery
Troyan Monastery is the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of
the country in the Balkan mountains and was founded no later than the end of the 16th century.
The monastery is situated on the banks of the Cherni Osam near Oreshak, a village 10 km from
Troyan in Lovech Province, and is a popular tourist destination.
The main church of the monastery was reconstructed near the end of Ottoman rule during the
Bulgarian National Revival period by a master-builder called Konstantin in 1835. The ornate
interior and exterior of the church were painted between 1847 and 1849 by Zahari Zograph, a
popular Bulgarian painter of the time, who also painted the central church of the Rila Monastery,
the largest monastery in Bulgaria.
53
3.2.7 Letnica Treasure
Letnica Treasure is a Thracian treasure from the 4th century AD, accidentally found in 1963 in
the village of Letnica. There were 49 receptacles found, 8 of them represent a Thracian knight.
54
3.2.8 Lukovit Treasure
Lukovit Treasure is a silver Thracian treasure found in 1953 near the town of Lukovit, Lovech
Province, north-western Bulgaria. The treasure consists of three small pitchers, nine phials and a
large number of silver appliques, decorated with animal motifs and figures of horsemen. The
objects are made of silver but some of the applications are curved with gold. They give the
scientists precious information for the life and customs of the ancient Thracians and proves the
rich artistic life in northern Thrace.
The Lukovit Treasure is dated from 4th century BC and was made by different craftsmen. It was
most probably buried in the ground during the Alexander the Great's invasion of the northwestern Thracian lands.
55
3.2.9 City of Lovech
City of Lovech – with an estimated population of 39,943 as of 2009.
56
3.3
District of Gabrovo
Gabrovo Region is situated in Central Northern Bulgaria, bounded by the regions of Veliko
Tarnovo, Lovech and Stara Zagora. Regional center is town of Gabrovo.
The relief of the region is diverse, mostly mountainous. The area of Gabrovo Region covers
some middle parts of the Balkan Mountains and the fore-Balkans, the valleys of the Yantra,
Rositza, Vidima, Drianovska rivers as well as several kettles and plateaus, and Gabrovo and
Sevlievo heights. The Ruse–Podkova railroad runs through the region crossing the Balkan
Mountains and connecting Northern Bulgaria with Southern Bulgaria.
The leading sector in the region is industry while stockbreeding is the most developed one in
agriculture.
The area of Gabrovo Region has been inhabited since ancient times. The oldest vestiges of life
(dating to the Paleolithic Age) are found in Bacho Kiro Cave. Medieval fortresses guarded the
Balkan passes (near the villages of Batoshevo and Gradnitza, located in the vicinity of Gabrovo).
There are more than 650 monuments of culture, most of which are related to the National
Revival period. Handicrafts thrived in the region during the National Revival period giving rise
to the Tryavna Arts School. Master builders, woodcarvers and icon painters became famous for
their talent and skills and their fame traveled far beyond the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire.
The icon painters and woodcarvers of Tryavna have left wonderful works of art.
Dryanovo is the hometown of the greatest Bulgarian builder of the National Revival period,
bearing the title of "architechton" – Nikolay Fichev, surnamed Kolyu Ficheto. Gabrovo Region
is also connected with the origins of the Bulgarian secular education beginning with the
foundation of Aprilov‘s High School in town of Gabrovo.
57
3.3.1 Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex
Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex is an open-air museum and a neighbourhood of
Gabrovo (8 km south of its center) in northern Bulgaria. It is located on the northern edge of the
Bulgarka Nature Park, between the park and the city of Gabrovo.
It presents the Bulgarian customs, culture and craftsmanship. It spans over an area of 7 ha and
contains a total of 50 objects, including water installations and houses with craftsmen's
workshops attached. As a whole, the complex's goal is to illustrate the architecture, way of life
and economy of Gabrovo and the region during the Bulgarian National Revival.
The museum's construction started in 1963 under the direction and project of Lazar Donkov. The
pre-existing Karadzheyka water-mill, built around 1780, was thoroughly reconstructed, with the
other objects being constructed later. The complex was opened on 7 September 1964 and
proclaimed a national park in 1967, as well as a monument of culture in 1971.
58
3.3.2 Dryanovo Monastery
The Dryanovo Monastery is a functioning Bulgarian Orthodox monastery situated in the Andaka
River Valley, in Bulgarka Nature Park in the central part of Bulgaria five kilometers away from
the town of Dryanovo. It was founded in the 12th century, during the Second Bulgarian Empire,
and is dedicated to Archangel Michael. Twice burnt down and pillaged during the Ottoman rule
of Bulgaria, the monastery was restored at its present place in 1845. It was the site of several
battles during the April Uprising of 1876.
59
3.3.3 Sokolski Monastery
The Sokolski Monastery is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery founded in 1833 and named after its
founder Yosif Sokolski. It is located 15 km southwest of Gabrovo on the northern slopes of the
Balkan Mountains in the Bulgarka Nature Park and is close to the Sokolovo cave.
Originally, a small wooden church was built in 1833 and the frescoes were finished a year later.
Hristo Tsokev, a Gabrovo-born artist, donated the church icon, which represents the Virgin Mary
and Christ and is considered to be miraculous. In 1862, Father Paul Zograf and his son Nikola
from the village of Shipka decorated the church with frescoes.
60
3.3.4 Bozhentsi
Bozhentsi is a village and architectural reserve in Gabrovo municipality, Gabrovo Province, in
central northern Bulgaria. The village lies in the middle part of the Balkan Mountains, 15 km
east of Gabrovo and just north of the Shipka Pass. It is noted for its well-preserved Bulgarian
National Revival architecture and history, and is thus a well-known tourist destination in the
area.
61
3.3.5 Slaveikov House
Slaveikov House is built in the 19th century and it was the place where the famous Bulgarian
poet, publicist, public figure and folklorist Petko Slaveikov, lived.
62
3.3.6 The House of Humor and Satire
The House of Humour and Satire in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, is an exposition of traditional local
humour art, including cartoons, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and verbal humour. The
House combines features of a museum and an art gallery. The city of Gabrovo is also known as
an international capital of humour and satire. Its motto is "The world lasts because it laughs".
63
3.3.7 The city of Gabrovo
The city of Gabrovo – with an estimated population of 65,947 as of 2009.
64
3.4
District of Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo Region is situated in Central Northern Bulgaria. It is bounded north by the
Danube River and south by the Balkan Mountains. It also borders the regions of Pleven, Lovech,
Gabrovo, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Targovishte and Ruse.
The relief in the region is diverse – there are lowlands, hilly plains, river valleys and heights of
the fore-Balkan Mountains, parts of the central Balkans. The Yantra is the largest and high water
river in the region. Some other big rivers are Yantra`s tributaries – the Rositza and Dryanovo
Rivers. Well-developed is the stockbreeding sector.
Here are some of the most visited cultural and historic sites which make tourism a significant
part of the region‘s economics. There are 140 cultural monuments of national significance within
the area of Veliko Tarnovo Region. The cultural history of the area dates back to the prehistoric
age. Near the village of Nikyup lie the remnants of the Roman town Nicopolis ad Istrum and in
the vicinity of Svishtov are the remnants of Novae. There are remains of ancient and medieval
castles near the villages of Vetrentzi, Vishograd, and Draganovo. The region was also the host of
the capital city of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom – Veliko Tarnovo. Among the most visited
sites are the medieval castle of Tzarevetz and the impressive audiovisual spectacle "Sound and
Light", a unique performance on the Balkan Peninsula.
Very valuable are the architectural monuments of the National Revival period – a multitude of
churches, monasteries and houses that were built by talented Bulgarian masters. The largest
number of churches and monasteries in Bulgaria is in Veliko Tarnovo Region which is a very
good condition for the development of pilgrimage tourism. Place of interest also is the village of
Arbanasi - a unique ensemble of fortified stone-made houses and richly painted churches.
The numerous cultural monuments, the rich and diverse fauna and thermal waters near the
village of Voneshta Voda ("Stinking Water") provide conditions for cultural and hunting tourism
along with medical and balneological tourism. The vine-growing complexes in Lyaskovetz,
Suhindol, Karaysen and Svishtov stimulate the wine tourism. The municipalities of Elena,
Zlataritza, Strazhitza and Pavlikeni specialize in rural tourism.
65
3.4.1 Tsarevets Fortress
Tsarevets is a medieval stronghold located on a hill with the same name in Veliko Tarnovo in
northern Bulgaria. It served as the Second Bulgarian Empire's primary fortress and strongest
bulwark from 1185 to 1393, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces, and is a popular tourist
attraction
66
3.4.2 Sound and Light Entertainment – Tsarevets Fortress
Dramatic music, colorful lights, lasers and the sound of the church bells – that‘s what the
audiovisual show ―Sound and Light‖ is all about. The spectacle is unique in Europe, and one of
the most famous place in Bulgaria, where tourists could see something that resembles the
Pyramids in Egypt.
67
3.4.3 The “St. 40 Martyrs” church
The ―St. 40 Martyrs‖ church is the most famous medieval building in Veliko Tarnovo. It is
located in Assenova mahala, just next to Tsarevets. It was built and its walls were painted during
the reign of Bulgarian king Ivan Assen II after the victory against Epyrus despot Theodor
Comnin on 22 march 1230.
68
3.4.4 St. Dimitar of Thessaloniki church in Veliko Tarnovo
Church involves milestone events in the history of Bulgaria – announcement uprising of the
brothers Assen and Peter against Byzantine domination, resumption of the Bulgarian state and
the proclamation of Veliko Tarnovo as a capital. In the first few decades of restored Bulgarian
state it was Church of Assen dynasty who were also its donors.
Architectural restoration of the church began in 1977 on a draft of Arch. T.Teofilov. Art
restoration took place under the leadership of B. Dzhivdzhanova.
69
3.4.5 Assens’ monument
Assens‘ monument (Assen, Peter, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II) was built in 1985, to cellebrate 800
years of the uprising of the brothers Asen and Peter.
70
3.4.6 Arbanassi
Arbanassi is a village in Veliko Tarnovo municipality.It is known for the rich history and large
number of historical monuments, such as 17th and 18th century churches and examples of
Bulgarian National Revival architecture, which have turned it into a popular tourist destination.
71
3.4.7 Samovodska charshia
The Samovodska charshia is the old market in the old capital of Bulgaria – Veliko Tarnovo. In
the early 19 th century, when the town was rapidly developing, there emerged a shopping centre
with lots of workshops, bakeries and cafes. The nowadays existing workshops recreate the
Renaissance atmosphere. There are cutlery, tannery, pottery, a carpenter‘s shops and a weaving
workshop, where the artisans follow authentic technologies of work.
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3.4.8 Sararfkina’s House
Sarafkina‘s house is one of the town‘s architectural masterpieces. It is situated at the picturesque
street of Gurko. The house was built in 1861. It was a property of the wealthy merchant Dimo
Sarafina. The building had to accommodate the house and the office of the trader. But he died
before its finishing. And the house has never been used as an office. It was inherited by his wife
Anastasia.
The house has a very interesting history. In the end of XIX c. a tunnel of a railway line was built
in the rocks under the house. But its bases resisted as well during the digging as the earthquake
in 1913. Sarafkina‘s house was a property of various people during the years. The house has
been a museum since 1981. Now it houses an ethnographic exposition ―Folk- art of Tarnovo‘s
region‖.
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3.4.9 Museum of the Bulgarian Revival and Constituent Assembly
The Museum of the Bulgarian Revival and Constituent Assembly is in the north side of the
square ―Saedinenie‖ in Veliko Tarnovo. Its collection is housed in the old Turkish ―konak‖ – the
building where the Turkish authorities were. This architectural monument was built by the
famous Revival muster builder Kolyo Ficheto in 1872. The entry of the cross formed building is
from the north side. The steep terrain determines the interesting location of the building – it has
two stories to the north and four to the south. The building was transformed into museum in
1985.The exhibition is situated on three floors.
On the third floor is restored the hall of the Constituent Assembly. This is the place where the
First Bulgarian Constitution was worked out and signed in 1879.
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3.4.10 State Art Gallery “Boris Denev”
The gallery exhibits the works of numerous Bulgarian artists, representatives of different trends
and generations.
On the first floor you can find pictures of Veliko Tarnovo, while on the second floor different
kinds of exhibitions are displayed.
The gallery is one of the oldest in Bulgaria, being opened in 1934. It now boasts of over 5000
paintings, sketches and sculptures.
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3.4.11 Kaloyan’s Fortress
Attraction Kaloyan‘s Fortress located 2 km from the Sofia-Varna highway on the road between
Veliko Turnovo and Arbanassi. The complex is situated on the famous for its fresh air and
outstanding south current Arbanassi plateau, near the horse base and the television tower. The
attraction reveals a magnificent bird‘s eye view of the ancient former capital.
Attraction Kaloianova Krepost is one bold challenge to history – a medieval castle with
embrasures and towers, which can be reached only through a plank bridge. The monument of
Czar Kaloian is majestically raised before the fortress and is the newest among the contemporary
history of Bulgaria.
76
3.4.12 Gurko Street
Those of the tourists, who enjoy the beautiful sights, often can be seen taking a walk along the
cobbled Gurko Street, with cameras in hands. The houses in it, built during the 18th and the 19th
centuries, raise amphiteathrically one above the other, reflected picturesquely in the river below.
The street also offers an unequalled view towards the Monument of the Assens, the Veliko
Tarnovo Hotel and the marvelous meanders of the Yantra River. The cozy coffee shops, little
restaurants and the ethnographical exhibits in The Sarafkina‘s House enrich the walk in Gurko
Street and leave unforgettable impressions of beauty and romance from the city of Veliko
Tarnovo
77
3.4.13 Nove Fortress
Nove Fortress is located 4 km from the town of Svisthov. Its size is 485 x 365 m and it is situated
in vicinity of the Danube bank. The fortress has been built in 45 AD, by imperator Claudius. The
very first settlers of this place came in 3000-2600 AD.
78
3.4.14 City of Veliko Tarnovo
City of Veliko Tarnovo – with an estimated population of 72,111 as of 2009.
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3.5
District of Russe
Ruse Region includes a part of the hilly Danubian Plain, the Danubian riverside plain of
Pobrezhie and part of Ludogorie lowlands. It is bounded by the regions of Silistra, Razgrad,
Targovishte and Veliko Tarnovo, and borders Romania to the north with the Danube River as a
boundary. Some of the big rivers are the Yantra and the Rusenski Lom.
The region is important for the national transport system. The Danube River is linked through the
European waterway system with the Mein and the Rhine rivers and connects the North Sea with
the Black Sea. The first railroad line in Bulgaria – Ruse–Varna, built in 1866, crosses the region.
Important roads and railways connect the region with the rest of the country and the only bridge
over the Danube on Bulgarian territory connects the country with Romania. The middle point of
the bridge marks the boundary between the two countries.
Landmarks: Protected areas on the territory of the region include the Rusenski Lom Nature Park,
which comprises the picturesque canyon of the river valley, rock formations near the villages of
Pisanets and Mechka, and the Orlova Chuka Cave.
Vestiges of prehistoric life in the region have been found in the Orlova Chuka Cave and in the
mound of Russe. Thracians, living in the area around the 4th c. BC, have left about 250 mounds.
The Thracian silver treasure, discovered near the village of Borovo, known as the Ruse Treasure,
is notable for the fine skillful decoration of animals‘ figures and mythological scenes. The castles
built during the Roman times to defend the Danube frontier include Sexaginta Prista (near Ruse),
Yatrus (near the village of Krivina), Tigra (near Marten), etc. The rock churches of Ivanovo are
notable cultural landmarks of the region and they are included in the UNESCO List of World
Cultural Heritage. Other point of interest id The medieval fortress of Cherven.
80
3.5.1 Dohodno Zdanie
Dohodno Zdanie is an imposing Neoclassical edifice on Freedom Square in the city centre of
Russe, built in 1898–1902 to accommodate the local theatre performances.
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3.5.2 St Paul of the Cross Cathedral
The St Paul of the Cross Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Rousse in
northeastern Bulgaria. It is the cathedral church of the Nikopol diocese and it is dedicated to
Saint Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists.
Built in 1890 to the designs of the Italian architect Valentino, the cathedral is a rare example of
Gothic Revival architecture (and Brick Gothic in particular) in the country. The interior is
decorated with sculptures and stained glass windows
82
3.5.3 Basarbovo Monastery
Basarbovo Monastery - the Monastery of Saint Dimitar Basarbowski - is a bulgarian-orthodox
cave monastery near the city of Russe in north-eastern Bulgaria. It has the same name as the
nearby village of Basarbovo and lies about 35 m above sea level above the river Rusenski Lom,
south of the Danube.
The oldest written mention of the monastery dates to the 15 century in an ottoman tax register.
83
3.5.4 Orlova Chuka Cave
Orlova Chuka Cave is located in the vicinity of the villages of Pepelina, Shirokovo, Ostritsa, and
Dve Mogili, district of Russe. The length of the cave is 13,437 m and the temperature inside is
relatively constant during the whole year (+ 14 degree Celsius). In 1962 the cave is officially
recognised as a natural sightseeing.
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3.5.5 National Museum of Transport and Communications
National Museum of Transport and Communications is located in Rousse, on the banks of the
Danube, and is unique in the country. Situated in the building of the first railway station in the
country, built in 1866 designed by brothers Barkley.
The museum is categorized as a national museum of railways and communications of June 26,
1966 on the occasion of 100 anniversary of the start of rail transport in Bulgaria.
The exhibition is located in 2 parts in the station building and outdoors - several steam
locomotive, different models of cars, here is kept as a Pullman "Sultanie - special car of Sultan
Abdul Azis, made to order in 1866, with wagon impresses its rich decoration. Stained blue in
Turkish, with rich ornaments and patio.
Another interesting exhibit is made in Newcastle in 1866, locomotive 148. He is one of the first
locomotives delivered in Bulgaria, and was carrying passengers and mail in the first railway line
Russe - Varna in 1901.
85
3.5.6 Dunav Tours Travel Agency
Dunav Tours, located in the city of Russe, is the successor of the Balkantourist Company
created in 1948. In October 1978 was set up the Tourist Complex Interhotels. The
complex is managing High class hotels and tourist destinations in Bulgaria.
On October 17th, 1983 the two luxury passenger ships ROUSSE and SOFIA have been
transported on a swimming dock by see from Holland to the Danube Delta.
The ships were build in the shipyard de Biesbosch-Dordrecht in Holland.
The first cruises for the ships RUSSE and SOFIA begin from 26.04.1984. The two ships
have had around 10 000 passengers each season. Now Dunav Tours purchased three more luxury
ships, making the company of the biggest River Cruise Traveling companies in Bulgaria. For
more info go to www.dunavtours.bg
86
3.5.7 Bjala Bridge
Bjala Bridge – built in 1867 by one of the greatest Bulgarian builders – Kolyo Ficheto
87
3.5.8 Danube Bridge
Danube Bridge (formerly known as the Friendship Bridge) is a steel truss bridge over the
Danube River connecting the Bulgarian bank to the south with the Romanian bank to the north
and the cities of Russe and Giurgiu respectively.
Opened on 20 June 1954 and designed by Georgi Ovcharov, the bridge is 2,223.52 m (7,295.0 ft)
long and is the only bridge over the Danube shared by Bulgaria and Romania as of 2008, with
the other traffic being served by ferries. It has two decks, one for road (two lanes) and one for
railway traffic, as well as sidewalks for pedestrians, and was constructed in two and a half years
with the aid of the Soviet Union.
88
3.5.9 City of Russe
The city of Russe – with an estimated population of 175,058 as of 2009.
89
4. North Eastern Region
The North-Eastern Region is situated in the east part of Northern Bulgaria. It borders to Romania
to the north by Danube river and land. On east there is Black Sea (the region is wide open to it
through the 3 ports: Varna, Devnia and Balchik). On south the region is bordered by the SouthEastern and on west by the North-Central Regions.
The region North-East consists of 6 districts: Varna, Dobrich, Razgrad, Silistra, Turgovishte and
Shoumen.
The North-Eastern planning region includes two national parks - Golden Sands (Zlatni piasaci)
and Shumansko plato with total area of 5250,6 hectares. There are 3 preserves as ecosystems
with total area of 1 592,2 hectares - Kamchia, Kaliakra and Bukaka; 9 maintained preserves
(with total area of 1371,5 hectares) with threatened with extinction species - Srebarna (under
UNESKO), Baltata, Patleina, Dervisha, Valchi prohod, Momin grad, Varbov dol, Kirov dol and
Kalfata.
90
4.1
District of Turgovishte
Targovishte Region is situated in North-Eastern Bulgaria. It borders Ruse Region, Razgrad
Region, Shumen Region, Sliven Region, and Veliko Tarnvo Region. The relief is a combination
of hills and plains. The territory of the region involves the eastern part of the Danubian Plain, the
Popovo Uplands, and parts of the Razgrad Heights, the eastern fore-Balkan and Lisa Mountains.
The rivers have low waters and most of them dry out in summer. The Black Lom River, the
Vrana River, and the Grand (Golyama) River are the larger among them. There are spa springs
near Targovishte and the largest dam is Yastrebino.
The region has transport importance. It is crossed by Hemus Highway and the Sofia-Varna
railroad.
Agriculture is well developed here. The Chardonnay and Muskat wines from the Targovishte
Region are prominent all over the world.
Covered with dense forests, the territories of the region have been populated since distant ancient
times. A lot of settlement mounds, ceramics, and idol plastic art have been discovered. The
architectural culture in Polyanitza gives us an idea about the life in the Chalcolithic Age, and the
Neolithic Age is represented through the archaeological culture in Ovcharovo. A Thracian
masonry mound has been discovered at the village of Kralevo along with a gold treasure from
the 3rd century BC (it is preserved in the History Museum of Targovishte). There are remains of
the Thracian culture at Gorna Zlatitza, Dralfa, Opaka, Pirinetz, Krepcha and elsewhere.
The lands of the region were within the boundaries of Khan Asparuh‘s Bulgaria as early as the
state was established. New fortresses were built and the old ones were restored. Remnants from
them can be found at many places – in the vicinity of Targovishte, Opaka, Omurtag, Razdeltzi.
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4.1.1 The park of Aeronautical space
The park of Aeronautical Space is officially opened for the public in 2008. The idea for the park
is given by Alexander Alexandrov – the second Bulgarian cosmonaut. The park exhibits 12
aircrafts.
92
4.1.2 Kovachesko Kale
Kovachesko Kale is a Roman Fortress located 6 km from the town of Popovo. Its area is about
40 000 square meters, and is considered to be built in 308-324.
93
4.1.3 Krepcha Monastery
Krepcha Monastery is a medieval rock monastery, carved into limestone cliffs, which is located
2 km from the village of Krepcha. In the monastery are preserved two old Cyrillic inscriptions
carved on the walls, which are considered to be the earliest Cyrillic inscription found on the
Balkans. The inscriptions are considered to be written in 921.
94
4.1.4 Misionis Fortress
Misionis is an ancient town located 7km from the town of Turgovishte.
95
4.1.5 The town of Turgovishte
The town of Turgovishte – with an estimated population of 37,375 as of 2009
96
4.2
District of Razgrad
Razgrad Region is situated in the northeastern part of the Danubian Plain, in a plain and hilly
area. It is bounded by the regions of Ruse, Silistra, Shumen and Turgovishte. The larger part of
the region being in the Ludogorsko Plateau.
The region is poor in water resources. The only large river is the Beli (White) Lom, which
divides the region in two – the northern and the southern parts.
The international road Ruse-Varna passes across the region as well as the Ruse-Varna railroad
the first railway built in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian Alians (Kazilbashi) occupy the area near the towns of Kubrat and Isperih. They
have interesting customs and traditions preserved even today.
There are about 1,200 stationary cultural monuments in the region, which, along with the
thousands of items and documents, illustrate the rich material and spiritual culture of the tribes
and peoples who have been living in the Ludogorie throughout the millennia. The archaeological
reserve of Sboryanovo is in this area, having been a cult and religious center of several religions
from antiquity to present time. The unique Tomb of Shvestari, with a frieze of caryatids, which
belonged to a Thracian ruler is among the preserved over 100 Thracian mounds. It was
discovered during archaeological excavations in 1982 and has been put on the UNESCO List of
World Cultural Heritage. Other sightseeing is the ancient town of Abritus near Razgrad. Vestiges
of ancient and medieval settlements and fortresses have been found in other places of the region
as well.
The hunting site of Voden offers wonderful conditions for hunting tourism. The populations of
red and fallow deer, wild boar, aurochs and moufflon are regarded high as trophies.
97
4.2.1 Clock Tower Razgrad
The Clock Tower is the symbol of the town of Razgrad. The tower is built in 18th century, and
renovated in its present condition in 1864. Total height of the tower is 26.15 metres.
98
4.2.2 Demir Baba Teke
Demir Baba Teke is a 16th-century Alevi mausoleum near the village of Sveshtari, Isperih
municipality, Razgrad Province in northeastern Bulgaria.
The mausoleum is thought to be the resting place of Demir Baba, a 16th-century Alevi saint. The
tomb itself is a heptagonal building constructed out of local sandstone. It has a lower rectangular
antechamber and is covered by a hemispherical dome 11 metres (36 ft) in height. Demir Baba's
grave lies in the middle of the heptagonal inner premise. Constructed out of bricks and wood, the
sarcophagus is 3.74 metres (12.3 ft) in length and is positioned with the saint's head pointing
southwest.
99
4.2.3 Abrittus Archaeological Reserve
Abbrittus is an ancient Roman village (from 2-4th century it was a town), located 3 km from the
town of Razgrad.
100
4.2.4 Zamaka Residence
Zamaka Residence is located 2 km from the village of Malak Provets, district of Razgrad. Main
material used is ashlars, and the residence resembles a medieval castle. The residence is a onefamily house, giving rooms for rent. The total building area is 800 square meters. The hotel part
of the residence has 8 rooms with two beds each, plus one VIP apartment for special guests.
101
4.2.5 Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari
The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari is situated 2.5 km southwest of the village of Sveshtari,
Razgrad Province, which is located 42 km northeast of Razgrad, in the northeast of Bulgaria.
Discovered in 1982 in a mound, this 3rd century BC Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental
structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb's architectural decor is considered to be
unique, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The ten female
figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decorations of the lunette
in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands. It is a
remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getae, a Thracian people who were in contact with the
Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers. The Tomb of Sveshtari is
part of UNESCO World Heritage.
102
4.2.6 The Town of Razgrad
The town of Razgrad – with an estimated population of 36,820 as of 2009
103
4.3
District of Shumen
Shumen Region is situated in the central part of North-Eastern Bulgaria. It is bounded by the
regions of Varna, Burgas, Sliven, Targovishte, Razgrad, Silistra and Dobrich. It extends over the
Shumen Plateau, parts of the Ludogorie Plateau and the Provadiysko Plateau, parts of the Samuil
Heights, the Dragoevska Mountain and the eastern Balkan Mountains. The region is cut by the
Goliama Kamchia River, the Ticha River, the Vrana River, the Provadia River, etc. There are
mineral springs at the foot of the Balkan Mountain and a spa resort – Mineralna voda. A big dam
is built on the Ticha River.
The Sofia-Varna and Shumen-Karnobat railroad lines, the Hemus highway, the Russe-ShumenVarna, Sofia-Targovishte-Belokopitovo and Silistra-Shumen-Yambol international roads pass
through the region. The Varbishki Pass and the Rishki Pass connect Northern and Southern
Bulgaria. The region has well-developed industry and agriculture. White and rose wines were
produced here as well as the wormwood wine of Osmar. The oldest stud farm in Bulgaria is
located by the village of Konyovets.
The Shumen Plateau Nature Park, the reserves of Patleyna Monastery and Konski Kesten("Horse
Chestnut"), a variety of caves, natural and cultural landmarks are all prerequisites for
development of tourism.
The cultural history of the region dates back to the Neolithic Age. Prehistoric communal
cultures, mound necropolises, a great number of Thracian mounds and fortified settlements and
Roman fortresses have been found in Shumen Region. The area has been part of the Bulgarian
state ever since its establishment in 681. A lot of archeological landmarks related to the history
of the First Bulgarian Kingdom have remained. The monumental remnants of the first capital
cities of Bulgaria – Pliska and Veliki Preslav – are discovered there. The literary schools of
Pliska and Preslav were founded in the 9th century establishing Bulgaria as a center of the Slavic
culture and the reign of Tsar Simeon is dubbed the "Golden Century of Bulgarian Culture".
The cult site near the village of Madara has been worshipped by the Thracians and then by the
Bulgars. The unique bas-relief of the Madara horseman (Madarski konnik) near the village is
included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
104
4.3.1 Pliska – The First Bulgarian Capital
Pliska was the capital of Bulgaria between 681 and 893 AD. According to a Bulgarian chronicle,
it was founded by Khan Asparukh. It is called Pliskusa by Georgios Kedrenos and Anna
Comnena. It had an area of 23 km² and was surrounded by a moat and earthwork ramparts. The
walls of the inner fortress were 2.6 meters thick and about 12 meters high.
The ruins of the city of Pliska lie 3 km north of the modern village of Pliska. The site of the city
is currently a National Archaeological Reserve. Ruins of the Great and the Small Palace, the
strong stone fortifications and the Great Basilica (c. 875), one of the largest Christian places of
worship of its time, used both as a royal church and as a national patriarchal cathedral, can be
seen in the reserve.
105
4.3.2 Preslav – Capital of Bulgaria During The Golden Century
Preslav was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire from 893 to 972 and one of the most
important cities of medieval Southeastern Europe. The ruins of the city are situated in modern
northeastern Bulgaria, some 20 kilometres southwest of the regional capital of Shumen, and are
currently a national archaeological reserve
106
4.3.3 Tombul Mosque
Tombul (or Tumbul) Mosque, located in the city of Shumen, is the largest mosque in Bulgaria
and among the largest on the Balkans. Built between 1740 and 1744, it was initially located in
the northeastern Bulgarian (then Ottoman) town's centre, but is now in Shumen's southwest parts
as the town centre shifted. The mosque's name comes from the shape of its dome.
107
4.3.4 Founders of Bulgaria Monument
The main idea for the monument, being realized by the creative team headed by Prof. Krum
Damyanov, is the foundation, recognition and prosperity growth of the First Bulgarian State. It is
exhibited for close and distant perception. The eight blocks of visible concrete, forming a spiral
symbolizing the gradual development and prosperity of the Bulgarian state and the only one
pictorial moment – the lion, are to be seen from a distant place. The natural idea is realized
through characters, fragments of inscriptions, as well as through the strongly impactive mosaic
work.
108
4.3.5 Shumen Fortress
Shumen Fortress is located in the Shumen Plateau, near the city of Shumen. Archaeologists
believe that the first settler came to this place in 12th century AD. First inhabitants were the
Thracians, probably from the ―Geti‖ tribe. The total area of the fortress is 3.2 ha
109
4.3.6 Biserna Cave
Biserna Cave is located in the Shumen Plateau, near the city of Shumen. The cave is 300 meters
long, out of which 180 meters are accessible for tourists. Scientists assume that the cave was
formed 3.5 million years ago.
110
4.3.7 Shumen Plateau
Shumen Plateau is recognised as a national park for tourism and recreation in 1980. The total
area of the park is 3895.8 ha
111
4.3.8 Madara Rider
The Madara Rider or Madara Horseman is an early medieval large rock relief carved on the
Madara Plateau east of Shumen in northeastern Bulgaria, near the village of Madara.
The relief depicts a majestic horseman 23 m (75 ft) above ground level in an almost vertical
100 m (328 ft)-high cliff. The horseman, facing right, is thrusting a spear into a lion lying at his
horse's feet. An eagle is flying in front of the horseman and a dog is running after him. The scene
symbolically depicts a military triumph.
The monument is dated back to circa 710 AD and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List
since 1979. The dating means the monument was created during the rule of Bulgar Khan Tervel,
and supports the thesis that it is a portrayal of the khan himself and a work of the Bulgars, a
nomadic tribe of warriors which settled in northeastern Bulgaria at the end of the 7th century AD
and after merging with the local Slavs gave origin to the modern Bulgarians. Other theories
connect the relief with the ancient Thracians, claiming it portrays a Thracian god.
112
4.3.9 City of Shumen
The city of Shumen – with an estimated population of 103,016 as of 2009
113
4.4
District of Silistra
Silistra Region is situated in the north-eastern part of Bulgaria, on the bank of the Danube River.
It is bounded by the regions of Russe, Razgrad, Shumen and Dobrich. It also borders on
Romania by land and by the Danube River. The territory of the region includes parts of the hilly
Danubian Plain, Dobrudzha and Ludogorie lowlands.
The relief is predominantly plain. Rivers, which flow through the region, are small and they
often run dry in summer. The Danube River is a natural waterway connecting Silistra with
Central and Eastern Europe.
The economic and cultural development of the region has been heavily influenced by the
Romanian occupation of South Dobrudzha. After the Balkan War of 1913 the town of Silistra
has been taken in Romanian possession and was regained by Bulgaria in 1940.
The landscape is agricultural; grain and technical crops are generally grown. Conditions related
to natural climate and soil in the region are extremely conducive to developing modern farming.
There are no century-old forests and the scenery is varied by forest shelterbelts.
Natural and historical realities of the region enable the development of cognitive, cultural,
ecological, rural and hunting tourism. The most interesting natural site in the region is Lake
Srebarna. It is located in the south-western part of the plain and is part of the Srebarna Biosphere
Reserve, included in the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage. Several islands have been
formed in the Danube, some of which are suitable for recreational and tourist purposes. The
Karakuz natural game preserve provides opportunities for hunting tourism and the nature
reserves of Malak Preslavets (a lake with water-lilies) and Srebarna are convenient places for
ecotourism.
There are numerous archeological objects and artifacts throughout the region – Thracian
mounds, remnants of fortresses, the unique Silistra sepulcher. Due to the strategic location of the
region, fortresses have been built there until the 19th century. Houses and churches from the
National Revival period have been preserved and the fishermen‘s neighbourhood (Ribarskata
mahala) in Tutrakan is the only architectural complex of this kind in Bulgaria.
Amongst
the
historical
landmarks
in
Silistra
district
are
also:
- Kyuchuk Kainardzha drinking fountain (Kyuchukkainardzhiiska cheshma) in the village of
Kainardzha, where a peace treaty between Russia and Turkey was signed in 1774;
- Military Tomb Memorial Complex near the village of Shumentsi, in memory of those who died
in 1916 for the liberation of Dobrudzha.
114
4.4.1 Silistra Archaeological Museum
Silistra Museum is built in 1923-1924. Today the museum has more than 60,000 archaeological
units in its possession.
115
4.4.2 Medzhidi Tabiya Fortress
Medzhidi Tabia Fortress is located south of the town of Silistra. The fortress was part of the
ottoman fortification system which was used during the Crimean War in 1853-1856. It was built
during the period 1841-1853.
116
4.4.3 Srebarna Nature Reserve
The Srebarna Nature Reserve (Природен резерват Сребърна, Priroden rezervat Srebarna) is a
nature reserve in northeastern Bulgaria (Southern Dobruja), near the village of the same name,
18 km west of Silistra and 2 km south of the Danube. It comprises Lake Srebarna and its
surroundings and is located on the Via Pontica, a bird migration route between Europe and
Africa.
The reserve embraces 6 km² of protected area and a buffer zone of 5.4 km². The lake's depth
varies from 1 to 3 m. There is a museum constructed, where a collection of stuffed species
typical for the reserve is arranged.
The area was proclaimed a nature reserve in 1948 and is a Ramsar site since 1975. The reserve
was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.
117
4.4.4 Durostorum Fortress
Durostorum Fortress was built by the Romans in 29 AD on the site of an earlier Celtic
settlement. It became an important military centre of Moesia and grew into a city at the time of
Marcus Aurelius. In 388, Durostorum became the seat of a Christian bishopric and a centre of
Christianity in the region, and Roman general Flavius Aëtius was born in the town in 396. After
the Roman Empire was split, the town (Durostolon in Byzantine Greek) became part of the
Byzantine Empire.
118
4.4.5 The Town of Silistra
The town of Silistra – with an estimated population of 40 412, as of 2009
119
4.5
District of Dobrich
Dobrich Region is located in the easternmost part of the hilly Danubian Plain and area of
Dobrudzha. It borders the regions of Varna, Shumen and Silistra. The boundaries with the Black
Sea, the Danube River and Romania coincide with the national borders. The region lies remote
from major international transport corridors.
The relief consists of lowlands and hilly plateaus - the low plateaus (up to 150–200 m high) are
very typical for the region. The area is arid, one of the driest in the country, with few rainfalls in
summer but yet very fertile - it is called the "Granary of Bulgaria". Typical of the agriculture in
the region is wheat, fodder and technical crops. There is an oil and gas field near Shabla.
The development of the region was affected by the First National Catastrophe in 1913 (a
historical and political term referring to the defeat of Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War) when
the territory of Southern Dobrudzha was annexed to Romania. The former summer villas of the
Romanian royal family, situated in a beautiful park in Balchik, date back from that period.
There is an interesting ethnic group with distinctive customs and costumes living in Dobrudzha
villages. These are the Gagauz – Bulgarian Christians who speak Gagauz, a language of the
Turkic group. They are considered to be of proto-Bulgarian or Kuman origin.
Tourism:
The territory of the Dobrich is a unique mosaic of natural and archaeological sites of interest.
Preserved remnants of ancient Greek colonies and Thracian cultural centers, medieval citadels
and ethnographic landmarks are all places of cultural interest.
The area is also where one of the two major birth migration routes passes – the so-called "Via
Pontika". Kaliakra Reserve is the only one in Bulgaria, which extends over sea area. The furthest
northern riparian dense forest at the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria is located in Baltata. The Lake
of Shabla is one of the biggest habitats of water lily and yellow pond-lily (Nuphar lutea) in
Bulgaria.
The seaside holiday tourism is concentrated mainly in Albena and Rusalka holiday resorts, the
towns of Balchik and Kavarna, the village of Kranevo and the camping sites near Shabla.
Dobrich Region offers also suitable conditions for hunting tourism (four game preserves are
located on the territory of the region), business and conference tourism (in Albena and Rusalka),
and fangotherapy (in the resorts of Shablenska Tuzla and Balchishka Tuzla).
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4.5.1 Ethnographic Complex Chukovo Chiflika
Ethnographic Complex ―Chiflika Chukovo‖, is located in the village of Prilep, district of
Dobrich. EC Chiflika Chukurovo has a hotel part (75 beds) in unique renaissance style consisting
of main part – the ―Monastery‖, west wing - ―Panorama‖, three cosy bungalows (each with a
living-room, bedrooms and a mini-kitchenette) and one magnificent family house. ―The
Monastery‖ bears that name due to its architecture taken from the sacred cloisters of the men
devoted to God.
The hotel at EC ―Chiflika Chukurovo‖ gives you the magic of a unique relaxation. You can lay
by the pool with its sweeping vista or to embark in a variety of sport recreational activities. The
virgin nature lovers have the opportunity to devote themselves to acquainting with the
environment which in itself offers large diversity of entertainment. EC ―Chiflika Chukurovo‖ is
close to the beach (20 km away from Albena resort), to preserved territories (Golden Sands
National Park, Aladzha Monastery, Yaylata) as well as to natural springs (The spring of
Durankulak, Springs of Shabla, Varna spring, Beloslav spring, etc., as well as the dams of
Eleshnitsa, Tsonevo, Ticha, etc.) Thanks to its geographic location the complex offers variety of
attractive options for recreation and repose.
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4.5.2 Balchik Palace
The Balchik Palace is a palace in the Bulgarian Black Sea town and resort of Balchik in Southern
Dobruja. The official name of the palace was the Quiet Nest Palace. It was constructed between
1926 and 1937, during the Romanian control of the region, for the needs of Queen Marie of
Romania. The palace complex consists of a number of residential villas, a smoking hall, a wine
cellar, a power station, a monastery, a holy spring, a chapel and many other buildings, as well as
most notably a park that is today a state-run botanical garden.
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4.5.3 Balchik Botanical Garden
In 1940, after the reincopration of Southern Dobruja in Bulgaria with the Treaty of Craiova, the
Balchik Botanical Garden was established at the place of the palace's park. It has an area of
65,000 m² and accommodates 2000 plant species belonging to 85 families and 200 genera. One
of the garden's main attractions is the collection of large-sized cactus species arranged outdoors
on 1000 m², the second of its kind in Europe after the one in Monaco. Other notable species
include the Metasequoia, the Para rubber tree and the Ginkgo.
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4.5.4 Kaliakra
Kaliakra is a long and narrow headland in the Southern Dobruja region of the northern Bulgarian
Black Sea Coast, located 12 km east of Kavarna and 60 km northeast of Varna. The coast is steep
with vertical cliffs reaching 70 m down to the sea.
Kaliakra is a nature reserve, where dolphins, cormorants and pinnipeds can be observed. It also
features the remnants of the fortified walls, water-main, baths and residence of Despot
Dobrotitsa in the short-lived Principality of Karvuna's medieval capital. The Bolata Cove with a
small sheltered beach lies just north at the mouth of a picturesque canyon, also part of the nature
reserve.
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4.5.5 Lebed Restaurant
Completely refurbished in 2004, Lebed (swan) Restaurant is located on the shore of Lake
Pancharevo, city of Dobrich. The restaurant combines some of the most important things –
beautiful scenery, sophisticated atmosphere, excellent cuisine, and good service. The main hall
of the restaurant has two floors and has 200 seats, which is suitable for business meetings,
cocktail parties and weddings.
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4.5.6 Ethnographic Complex “Old Dobrich”
Old Dobrich ethnographic complex is an open-air museum with over 35 workshops, which still
operates recreates the life and livelihood of Bulgarians in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Many different crafts are shown infront of tourists decided to visit the complex. You can see:
knitting, wood carving, turnery, tailoring, goldsmith, blacksmithing, pottery, weaving,
cooperage, and others.
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4.5.7
Albena Resort
Albena is one of the largest tourist resorts in Bulgaria, and it is located 12 km from Balchik and
28 km from the sea-capital Varna, and Varna International Airport. Albena is especially famous
for its amazing 5 km long, 150 m wide sand beach. The beach offers sea water that is usually
crystal clear, calm and warm, and which is perfect for swimming and water-sports. Uniquely,
Albena is located inside the Baltata National Reserve. This location offers visitors a rare
combination of unspoiled forests, green nature, beach-life and a welth of sports activities.
ALBENA offers a total of 14,900 beds in 43 hotels, 5 holiday villages and 1 campsite. A wide
variety of restaurants, bars and discos provide a vibrant night-life. The air temperature in the
summer is generally over 25°C and often reaches 30-35°C. The temperature of the sea water
reaches 20°C in May already, and in June, July, August, and September it is around 22-25°C.
Recently, Albena has found fame among the sport and Golf-enthusiasts, as 3 world class Golf
Courses has just opened in the Balchik area, just 12 km away. Albena also offers a yachting club,
horse-riding club, 4 football fields, wind surfing, 8 tennis courts, paragliding, 9 swimming pools,
a bowling alley, water-skiing, boat-driving banana, para-gliding and diving courses.
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4.5.8
City of Dobrich
The city of Dobrich – with an estimated population of 114,990 as of 2009
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4.6 District of Varna
Varna Region is located in North-Eastern Bulgaria. It borders the regions of Dobrich, Shumen
and Burgas as well as the Black Sea to the east. The region is generally hilly and along the river
valleys of Kamchia and Provadiyska, it is plain. The seashore has wide stripes of sand towards
which wooded mountain slopes run down in terraces. The coastal line is shaped by the bays of
Varna, Kamchia and Sveti Yani as well as the promontories of Galata and Cherni (Black). The
area is rich in ground and karst water. There are two firth lakes beside the sea - Varna and
Beloslavsko, connected in 1923 by a navigable canal. There is mineral water rich in iodine near
Varna and in the valley of Kamchia River.
Both industry and agriculture are well developed in Varna Region. The Ruse-Varna railway line,
the oldest one in Bulgaria, passes through this area linking the Black Sea and Danube region.
Varna region offers conditions for cultural, balneological and eco tourism. The resort complexes
of St.st. Constantine and Helena, Golden Sands, Riviera, Sunny Day Kamchia, pearled along the
coastal line, are wonderful places for rest.
Landmarks: Interesting places to visit are the dense riparian forests in the river valleys of
Kamchia and Batova, Provadia River, the caves near the village of Beloslav, Orlov Kamak
Waterfall at Armira River. The unique natural formation of upright stones (Pobitite Kamani)
west of Varna occupies an area of 70 sq. m and resembles columns of up to 2 m in diameter
driven into earth and rising up from 5 to 7 m from the ground.
The cultural history of the region is millennium old. The oldest vestiges of life – pole dwellings
from the chalcolithic and bronze age – have been discovered near the Beloslavsko Lake. Dark
Hole (Temnata Dupka) Cave on its bank also preserves traces of a prehistoric life. Remains of
ancient settlements, structures, necropolises, castles are found at many places in the region. The
cultural monuments are evidence of the well-developed civilization in this area. A gold treasure
was found in 1972 during archaeological excavations of the chalcolythic necropolis at Varna.
The treasure dates from 32–30th c. BC and is believed to be the oldest golden works of art. The
largest Roman thermal (baths) that have been found so far in Bulgaria are those in Varna. Good
evidence of the medieval culture in the region are the gold treasure from the beginning of the 6th
c. found in 1961, Aladzha Rock Monastery, etc. Some architectural monuments of the National
Revival period are preserved too.
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4.6.1
Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral
The Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral is the largest and most famous Bulgarian Orthodox
cathedral in the Bulgarian Black Sea port city of Varna, officially opened on 30 August 1886. It
is the residence of the bishopric of Varna and Preslav and one of the symbols of Varna.
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4.6.2
Sea Garden, Varna
The Sea Garden is the Bulgarian port city of Varna's largest, oldest and best known public park,
also said to be the largest landscaped park in the Balkans. Located along the city's coast on the
Black Sea, it is an important tourist attraction and a national monument of landscape
architecture.
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4.6.3
Ethnographic Complex Phanagoria
Ethnographic Complex Phanagoria is a unique active open-air museum in the country. The
complex is copy of proto – Bulgarian battle camp of 6 – 8th century and includes wood protected
walls with battle towers, equipped jurta (ancient Bulgarian tent), active craft work – shops,
restored old suites, armaments, objects of life and furnishing. There is a formed square with
khan‘s and shaman‘s jurtas, an archery and a platform for the audience. The tourist program
includes: lecture about the ancient Bulgarian warriors, visit of the jurtas and craft center,
shooting with a bow, information brochures and a lot of souvenirs – duplicates of ancient
objects.
The night program includes very interesting and dynamic horse performance. The purpose of this
performance is to represent the proto – Bulgarian feast - The horses and the young warriors. Here
can be seen high - class riding, horse cascades, teaching fight, the Bulgarian khan, the divines
and the prays of the Bulgarian shaman. Tourists can take a photos of the khan‘s throne and with
the participants of the performance.
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133
4.6.4
Aquarium, Varna
The Varna Aquarium is a public aquarium in Varna, Bulgaria's largest city on the Black Sea
coast. The aquarium's exhibition focuses on the Black Sea's flora and fauna which includes over
140 fish species, but also features freshwater fish, Mediterranean fish, exotic species from
faraway areas of the World Ocean, mussels and algae.
Today, the aquarium's research unit, the adjoined Institute for Fish Resources, includes 12
scientists who conduct research related to hydrobiology, hydrochemistry, marine microbiology,
ichthyology, plankton and benthos. The Varna Aquarium's library houses 30,000 volumes of
specialized literature, including rare 19th-century books and maps.
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4.6.5
Dolphinarium, Varna
Dolphinarium is a unique attraction facility, lying amidst a green landscape in the northern part
of the Sea Garden in Varna, allowing a magnificent view to the sea.
It was opened on 11 August 1984, and since then it has been one of the symbols of Varna and
tourism in Bulgaria. Dolphinarium is a favorite spot in the sightseeing program of all tourists
visiting the Black Sea.
The building strikes with its futuristic design and face of both aluminum and glass. It is been
designed by a team under the direction of the well-known architect Simeon Saraliev (1948 2008), and was opened for the public on 19 August 1984. The building itself is designed as a
lightweight three-dimensional structure in the form of a glass cube 30x30 meters and 14 meter
height. It has three amphitheatric viewing stands seating 1200 people.
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4.6.6
Planetarium “Nikolai Kopernik”
Planetarium ―Nikolai Kopernik‖ is built in 1968 and is name after Nikolai Kopernik. It consists
of astronomical observatory, planetarium and a tower with Phuko‘s pendulum.
The observatory is the first of this type in Bulgaria. The diameter of the coupon is 10,5 m. It is
managed from the lector‘s deck and can project over 5500 stars. In addition there are searchlights
used for demonstration of the moving planets through the stars. There is also a special device
which shows the solar system from 5-billion km. From the beginning till 1998, the planetarium
was visited from over 800 000 people.
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4.6.7
Roman Spa
Situated in the south-eastern part of the contemporary city of Varna the Roman spa was the
biggest social building from the past discovered in Bulgaria till now.
The church St. Atanasii is close to it. Its walls comparatively well preserved outline an imposing
building which area is 7000 sq. m. Built at the beginning of the 3 rd C., the Roman Spa
functioned at the end of the century.
There were also gymnastic halls, recreation halls as well as halls for meetings and conversations
with a rich decorated interior. A lot of graphic drawings and inscriptions were found in the
galleries.
The grandeur of the building, the brilliant archeological conception, the richness of the
decoration define the spa like an remarkable monument, eloquent proof of the cultural bloom and
the prosperity of Odessos during the 2 nd – 3 rd C. The Roman Spa was the biggest in the
European part of the Roman Empire.
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4.6.8
Varna Treasure
The Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis was accidentally found in October 1972. It is situated about
500 m north of the Varna Lake and about 4 km west of downtown Varna. Area from about 7 500
sq. m. was explored and were found more than 3000 golden objects dating back 6000 years ago.
The treasure was discovered in 294 graves. The Varna treasure is the oldest treasure in the world.
The discovery turned into a sensation in the scientific world and was announced ―the
archaeological discovery‖ of the century.
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4.6.9
Stone Forest
Located 18 km westwards from Varna they are one of the most incredible natural phenomena in
Bulgaria. The natural stone pillars - some reaching 6 metres high, some up to 12 metres across at
their base are known as ―the petrified forest‖.
Some columns resemble animals, others remind you of frozen fountains or cascades. Several
rows of columns create the impression that each is made up of two cones balancing on their
sharp points. The prevailing theory is that the ―stone forest‖ near Varna was formed some 50
million years ago.
At that time it was a part of the sea bottom. After the receding of the water the inorganic
sediments eroded, thus attaining the marvelous forms we admire today.
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4.6.10 Euxinograd Palace
The construction of the Euxinograd Palace started in 1882. It was designed by the Viennese
architect Ruppelmeyer. The palace was first named Sandrovo (after the name of its owner
Alexander Battenberg - Sandro) but in 1883, at the request of Princess Maria Louisa, wife of the
new Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand, the estate was given a new name - Euxinograd which means a
―hospitable town‖.
Over 200 different plant species from the Mediterranean, Asia and South America, personally
selected by the Tsar grow here in amazing harmony. A deodar (a cedar from the Himalayas) as
old as one hundred years is planted in a special fertile soil taken from the mouth of the Kamchia
River. Next to it grow tall palm trees. Two exquisite bridges - one made of metal, the other made of cement imitating the trunk of a felled tree, give the finishing touch to the park
architecture.
Today Euxinograd is a government residence. At the edge of the estate the famous and delicious
Euxinograd wine, cognac and rakiya are bottled.
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4.6.11 Ovech Fotress
Ovech, as it has been called by the Bulgarians, is situated in the Kaleto plateau, to the east of the
town of Provadia. Ovech has been called by the Byzantines - Provat, and by the Turks - Tash
Hisar. During the different periods the castle has been inhabited by Thracians, Romans,
Byzantines, Jews. It has been conquered by knights, Turks, Russian armies. During the Second
Bulgarian Realm Ovech is an important administrative, economic and church center.
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4.6.12 Asparuhov Bridge
Asparuhov Bridge is a bridge in Varna on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, connecting the
Asparuhovo neighbourhood to the rest of the city over the canals between the Black Sea and
Lake Varna.
The bridge is 2.05 km in length and 50 m in height, weighing 3,200 tons. It has 38 pairs of
supports, each one capable of carrying 2,400 tons. The installation experiences significant traffic,
with 10,000 vehicles crossing it every 24 hours.
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4.6.13 Golden Sands Resort
The resort of Golden Sands is the largest one on the northern Black Sea coast. It is situated 18km
north-east of Varna, 488km east of Sofia. It is bounded on the north by Kranevo and on the south
by Chaika (Seagull) villa, and merges with the resort of St.St. Konstantin and Elena.
The mineral waters, the warm sea and the wonderful beach as well as the marvelous deciduous
wood turn the resort into one of the pearls of the Bulgarian coast Its beach strip is 3,5 km long
and 100 m wide at some places and is covered with fine golden sand.
The constant temperature of 27° and microclimate of Golden Sands throughout the season,
makes the resort a wonderful place for having a rest and fun.
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4.6.14 Saints Constantine and Helena Resort
Saints Constantine and Helena is a resort town on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast within a
landscaped park 10 km north of downtown Varna, 2 km east of its Vinitsa neighbourhood, and
7 km south of Golden Sand. Bulgaria's oldest Black Sea resort was also known in the past as
Druzhba and Varna Resort. It is served by the Varna International Airport and bus lines of the
Varna public transit system.
Constantine and Helena also comprises of the Grand Hotel Varna and Sunny Day luxury resorts
and several villa communities. There are sandy beaches, punctured by rocky promontories, hot
mineral springs, modern hotels, and sports and health facilities, including spa centres and yacht
marinas
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4.6.15 Sunny Day Resort
Sunny Day Resort with its posh place is located at the far end of a secluded scenic bay with fine
sand beach. Similar to Riviera resort, Sunny day is comparatively new development with modern
Bulgarian hotels. It used to be called Emerald Park, a name that fully describes its lush greenery.
In addition to its quiet and restful atmosphere, it takes pride of the high standard of its spa
facilities- mineral waters in the region are recognized as being among the best in the world with
proven curative powers. The medical centres in Sunny day hotels offer treatments for a variety of
conditions and disorders from weight loss to kidney and heart troubles.
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4.6.16 The Wonder Rocks
Wonder rocks are located 4 km from the village of Asparuhovo, and 90 km from the city of
Varna. The rocks represent an array of about a dozen incredibly beautiful rock needles, 40-50 m
in height, resembling towers of a castle. Rocks emerge directly from the shores of the lake,
where in most areas they are steep and vertical. There are three tunnels dug under the rocks, so
cars can pass through this magnificent phenomenon.
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4.6.17 City of Varna
City of Varna – with an estimated population of 364,968 as of 2009
147
5. South-Eastern Region
On south the South-Eastern Region borders on the Republic of Turkey by three Cross Border
Checking Points: Burgas, Tzarevo and Malko Tarnovo. On east the region is wide open to the
Black sea through the 8 ports – Burgas, Ahtopol, Tzarevo, Sozopol, Pomorie, Nesebar, Rosenetz
and Ribno Port. On west the region is bordered by the South-Central and on north by the NorthEastern Regions. The region consists of 3 districts: Bourgas, Sliven, Yambol.
Main cities in South-Eastern region are Burgas, Stara Zagora, Yambol and Sliven. In Bourgas
region are situated some of the well known Bulgarian sea resorts, such as Sunny Beach and St.
Vlas. They offer luxury, comfort, first class service, as well as marvelous conditions for water
sports. The town of Nessebar is a preferable place for sea vacations. It combines excellent
opportunities for sea and cultural tourism.
The most important rivers in the region are Tunja, Luda Kamchia, Dvoynitsa Hadjiiska, Aytoska,
Rusokastrenska, Sredetska, Fakiyska, Ropotamo, Veleka, Rezovska (bordering Turkey).
The largest dams are Jrebchevo (bordering the South-Central region), Kamchia, Mandra,
Ovcharitsa, Malko Sharkovo. The Southeastern region is rich in mineral waters and the most
important are: Bourgas (on Vetren), Sliven, Korten (Nova Zagora municipality), Straldzha, and
those near the village of Stefan Karadzhovo (Bolyarovo).
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5.1
District of Sliven
Sliven Region is situated in South-Eastern Bulgaria and is bounded by the regions of Yambol,
Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo, Targovishte, Shumen and Stara Zagora. The Sofia-Burgas railroad
crosses the territory of the region. Several passes in the Balkan Mountains (Tvarditza, Kotlen and
Vratnik) connect the region with Northern Bulgaria. The relief is diverse – semi-mountainous
and mountainous to the north, and plain – to the south. The region covers the Tundzha hilly area
and the plains of Nova Zagora, Kermen and Sliven. The Elena-Tvarditza Mountains and the
Sliven Mountains, which are parts of the Balkan Mountain range, rise to the north. The territory
of the region is cut by the Tundzha River (the biggest tributary of the Maritsa), the Luda
Kamchia River, the Assenovska River, the Blatnitza River, the Stara Reka (the Old River), etc.
Zhrebchevo dam, one of the oldest in the country, is on the Tundzha River, and Assenovets Dam
is in the valley of the Assenovska River. Spa springs near Sliven and Nova Zagora are
prerequisites for the development of balneological tourism.
There are opportunities for cultural and educational tourism, mountaineering, spelaeological
tourism and paraplaning in Sinite Kamuni (Blue Stones) Nature Park and Kutelka Reserve, the
rock phenomena (the Ring and the Glove), the caves (Haidushka, Bachvata, Peschenik), the
protected nature areas of Aglikina Poliana, Haidut Dere, Zhelezni Vrata and Bozhura.
Industry and agriculture are well developed here. Traditions of weaving date back to 1836, when
Dobri Zheliazkov - `the Factory Man` - established in Sliven the first weaving factory in the
Ottoman Empire. Kotel is one of the main centers of the carpet industry on Bulgarian lands.
The lands of Sliven Region have been populated since ancient times. Many prehistoric tells have
been discovered there, among them – one of the biggest in Europe, the Karanovo tell. Thracians
have left cultural landmarks in almost all of the settlements in the region. The mountain passes,
used yet by Romans, have been safeguarded by fortifications, the remnants of which are
preserved near Sliven and Tvarditza, the villages of Kipilovo, Gavrailovo, Topolchane, Sotirya.
During the Ottoman rule the region was one of the most rebellious. In the mountains near Sliven,
Nova Zagora, Tvarditza and elsewhere hundreds of rebel groups used to operate, which are
commemorated today by monuments dedicated to heroic chieftains and rebels in many of the
towns and villages.
During the National Revival period crafts and trade boosted up and the population became better
off. Big houses have been built in many settlements in the mountainous part of the region.
Separate ensembles and even whole settlements of revivalist architectural style have been
preserved – in Zheravna, Kotel, Katunishte, Medven, and Sliven. Folk and religious feasts,
preserved in their authenticity in many parts of the region, are of interest to tourists.
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5.1.1 Hadzhi Dimitar House
The Hadzhi Dimitar House is opened as a museum in 1975. Dimitar Nikolov Asenov (10 May
1840 – 10 August 1868), better known as Hadzhi Dimitar was one of the most prominent
Bulgarian voivods (captain) and revolutionaries working for the Liberation of Bulgaria from
Ottoman rule.
Here you can see the family tree of the rebel family, original haidouk (rebeler) weapon, a copy of
the flag of the detachment of Stefan Karadja and also restored uniforms from that time. The
exhibition presented maps, facsimiles, charts, and other books, but mostly it is focus on materials
associated with the heroic actions of the detachments of Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha.
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5.1.2 Karandila
Karandila is part of the ―Blue Stones‖ Nature Park, and is located 10 km north from the city of
Sliven. There are trails that go all the way to the top of the hill, where the whole city of Sliven
can be seen. There is a lift as well, for those that prefer not to walk. Inside the park there are
cabins, small restaurants, a swimming pool, and a soccer field.
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5.1.3 Zheravna Architectural Reserve
Zheravna is a village in central eastern Bulgaria, part of Kotel municipality, Sliven Province. The
village, set in a small valley at the southern foot of the eastern Balkan Mountains, is an
architectural reserve of national importance consisting of more than 200 wooden houses from the
Bulgarian National Revival period (18th and 19th century), and a quickly developing tourist
destination.
The village emerged between the 12th and 14th century and grew to become a cultural and
handicraft centre in the 18th century. As the local population came to wealth, the architectural
appearance of the village was shaped by one- or two-storey wooden houses surrounded by stone
walls and cobblestone alleys.
Popular sights in the village include the museum house of the merchant Rusi Chorbadzhi from
the early 18th century, the Church of St Nicholas inaugurated in 1834 and housing icons from
the 18th and early 19th century, the museum house of the noted writer Yordan Yovkov born in
1880, the art gallery occupying the old class school and the museum house of the educator Sava
Filaterov.
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5.1.4 Karanovo Tumulus
The Karanovo culture is a neolithic culture (Karanovo I-III ca. 62nd to 55th centuries BC) named
for the Bulgarian village of Karanovo. The site at Karanovo itself was a hilltop settlement of 18
buildings, housing some 100 inhabitants. This site was inhabited more or less continuously from
the early 7th to the early 2nd millennia BC.
Karanovo Tumulus is one of the oldest and biggest village tumuli in Bulgaria and Europe. It is
located 10 km east from the town of Nova Zagora, and 5 km from the highway Sofia-PlovdivBurgas.
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5.1.5 Complex Sinia Vir
Sinia Vir Complex is located next to the village of Medven, and offers its guests all the
amenities, comfort and relaxation needed for a complete relaxation, away from the stresses and
strains of modern life. The villas are 7 consisting of 2 separate rooms and are in a common yard
area of 0,65 ha. Each room has private bathroom, 2 beds, possibly with additional children beds,
cable TV, and internet. The view which opens from the balconies would make you stay for hours
to enjoy your surroundings. The complex has its own restaurant, parking, playground, pool, and
mountain guide. The complex will please you with a warm and hospitable welcome, surrounded
by a great atmosphere filled with happy mood.
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5.1.6 City of Sliven
City of Sliven – with an estimated population of 115,758 as of 2009
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5.2
District of Yambol
Yambol Region is situated in the southeastern part of Bulgaria. It is bounded by the regions of
Sliven, Burgas, Haskovo and Stara Zagora, and borders Turkey to the south. The landscape is
predominantly plain and hilly. The region encompasses the Yambol Plain, the Elhovo Plain, the
Bakadzhik Hills, parts of the Sakar Mountains, the Svetliyskite, the Derventskite and the
Manastirskite Heights. Tundzha is the largest river in the region. Malko Sharkovo dam is
constructed on the Popovska river. There are mineral springs in the village of Stefan
Karadzhovo, near the town of Straldzha and the village of Pravdino.
Along the course of the Tundzha River there are well preserved riparian dense forests, called the
"ormani". In the nature reserves of Gorna Topchiya, Dolna Topchiya and Balabana, and in the
protected areas of the Ormana and "Тhe Swamp" (Blatoto) there are many rare animal and
herbaceous species. The clean air and beautiful nature offer excellent possibilities for recreation
and health tourism. The valley of the Tundzha River offers good conditions for hunting tourism,
and boat sightseeing cruises in picturesque areas amidst the lush vegetation.
There are more than 270 ancient villages and approximately 1000 burial mounds in the region;
most of them are located along the valley of the Tundzha River and its tributary system. In
Yambol Region, within the area of Sakar Mountains, there is the highest concentration of
megaliths and dolmens (Neolithic tombs built from large stone blocks). They can still be seen
near the villages of Hlyabovo, Sakartsi, Bulgarska Polyana, and in various other locations. The
most famous ancient historical site in the region is the Thracian city of Kabille, near the village
of Kabille. In the region there are more than 30 fortresses from the Antiquity and the Middle
Ages that used to defend the southern frontier.
There are also many historical sites reminiscent of the struggle for liberation of the Bulgarian
people against the Ottoman rule, and the guerrilla detachments (chetas) of brave voevods
(haidouks), who used to traverse the area between the Bakadzhik Hills and the Balkan
Mountains. After Bulgaria‘s liberation in 1878 Yambol and the region remained in East Rumelia,
a vassal county of the Ottoman Empire. After the Unification of East Rumelia with the Bulgarian
Principality in 1885 the area was completely liberated.
Many ancient and traditional ritual and crafts are preserved in the region and can be observed
during the numerous folklore holidays, gatherings and singing competitions. The famous red
wines of Yambol should not be overlooked.
156
5.2.1 Ethnographic Museum Elhovo
Ethnographic Museum Elhovo is built in 1958 in the town of Elhovo. The Museum keeps over
22,000 exhibits. They are divided into several categories - Agriculture and Livestock, "Housing
and Living arrangements, Transport, Hunting, Fishing, Clothing and Jewelry," "Fabrics and
Embroideries," Traditional Crafts and Folk Art " . The museum stores more than 3050 volumes
of specialized literature, plus 1,600 units of scientific journals.
157
5.2.2 Archaeological Reserve Kabyle
Archaeological Reserve Kabyle is an ancient Thracian city situated at less than 10 km of
Yambol, south-eastern Bulgaria. Kabyle used to one of the most important centers of southeastern Thrace. It was established around 2000 BC on the Zaychi Vrah Heights. The territory of
the city and the surrounding area was proclaimed a territory of national importance in 1965 and
converted to an archaeological reserve. The area of the reserve is around 65 km2.
Many of the findings are housed in the onsite museum which also includes an exhibition tracking
the excavation history of the site
158
5.2.3 Basistena
Basistena is the most characteristic monument in the city of Yambol. The monument is built in
1509. Some experts say that main hall has the best acoustics in Bulgaria and could be used for
various concerts. The building was thoroughly restructured (practically built new) in the 70's.
Today it houses various small shops. Yambol Municipality has a project to make Bezistena a
cultural center with concert hall.
159
5.2.4 Church of St. George
Church of St. George is built in 1737, and is one of the symbols for the city of Yambol.
160
5.2.5 City of Yambol
City of Yambol – with an estimated population of 83,410 as of 2009
161
5.3
District of Burgas
Burgas Region is one of the most developed regions in Bulgaria. It is situated in the southeastern
part of the country and is the second biggest after Sofia Region. It is bounded by the regions of
Varna, Shumen, Sliven and Yambol; the eastern and southern boundaries to the Black Sea and
Turkey coincide with the national borders.
The region is widely known for its vine-growing and wine production traditions. The wines of
Sungurlare and Pomorie are very famous. They are produced of the following grape varieties:
Misket, Muskat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Riesling, Ugni Blanc – for white wine, and Cabernet,
Merlot, Pamid – for red wine.
The Black Sea coastal areas and beaches with fine golden sand together with the thermal mineral
springs provide favorable conditions for relaxation and recreation and for the development of
balneological and sea tourism. The dense riparian forests with overgrowth along the rivers of
Ropotamo and Veleka, the beauty of the rivers of Dyavolska and Fakiiska, the diverse wildlife in
the Strandzha and Sakar Mountains and the nature reserves are a prerequisite for the
development of ecotourism and hunting. Apart from the Silkosia, the oldest reserve in Bulgaria
(1933), here one can visit the Ropotamo and Strandzha National Parks, the Duni (the Dunes) and
Vodnite Lilii (the White Lilies) reserves, the fiords and the seals cave on Maslen Nos Cape and
other
sites.
To the north and south of Burgas one can visit numerous holiday complexes and villages which
offer wonderful conditions for vacation and relaxation – Pomorie, Nesebar, Sunny Beach
(Slanchev Bryag), Duni, Sozopol, Primorsko, Tzarevo, Ahtopol and Obzor. All of them are
connected by a panoramic seaside road. Rezovo, the southernmost Black Sea village belongs to
the region too.
Archeological, architectural and historic monuments in the region are favorable for development
of cultural tourism. The Old Nesebar is a unique monument of culture and is inscribed on the
UNESCO World Heritage List. In the Strandzha Mountains can be seen some of the most ancient
structures made by humans – the dolmens. Thracian mounds, ancient Greek poleis, remains of
ancient and medieval fortresses have been found here. One can immerse in the unique
atmosphere created by the seaside houses from the National Revival period in Nesebar and
Sozopol and the preserved samples of the Strandzha house in the villages of Fakia, Brashlyan,
Bulgari, Kosti, Brodilovo, etc. The region still preserves in their purest form the fire-dances on
live coals, which are performed on the holidays of the Saints Constantine and Helena. After the
Liberation in 1878 the southern parts of the region (the Strandzha region) remained within the
boundaries of Turkey until 1913 when the area was returned to Bulgaria.
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5.3.1 Cathedral St. St. Cyril and Methodius
The cathedral St. St. Cyril and Methodius is the biggest Orthodox Church in the
city of Burgas. It was built during the period 1894-1907, according to plans of the
Italian architect Ricardo Toskani. The church is a three-nave basilica. The great
hall of the cathedral is divided by five coupled marble columns.
163
5.3.2 Sea Garden Burgas
Sea Garden Burgas is located in the central part of the city. The total area of the park is 60 ha.
164
5.3.3 Festival of sand sculptures
The first ever Festival of sand sculptures in Bulgaria was held in the month of July 2008 in
Burgas. It made world-famous artists from Indonesia, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Russia,
Ukraine, Bulgaria.
165
5.3.4 Nessebar
The ancient town of Nessebar is situated on a romantic rocky peninsula connected to the
mainland by a narrow causeway. The peninsula is 850 metres long and 300 metres wide. The
town has a century-old history and it has preserved architectural monuments from all periods in
its thousand year old existence. There are the remains of the Roman and Medieval walls, the
Byzantine and Bulgarian churches and the old houses from 18th and 19th cc.
The town is proud of its churches. The church of St. Sofia, known as the Old Metropolitan
church, and the church of Virgin Eleusa, situated on the northern shore, are three-isled basilicas
dating back to the early Byzantine period from 5th to 6th cc. The church of St. John the Baptist
from 11th c is distinguished for its cylinder dome and St. Stephen‘s church is remarkable for its
frescoes from 16th c.
Nessebar is the cultural treasury of Bulgaria. In 1956 it was declared ―a museum-town, an
archaeological and architectural reserve‖. Because of its unique historic colour it was listed as a
World Cultural Heritage Monument in 1983.
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Church of Christ Pantocrator
Church of Christ Pantocrator along with the entire island and all of the historical structures are
protected by UNESCO.The structure was erected in the 13th century and is a rare example of a
religious structure which has not experienced significant changes through the centuries.
Although small in dimensions (16 meters by 6.7 meters) this cross-domed church still remains
one of the best examples of period architecture in European history.
167
Church of St Sophia
The Church of Saint Sofia, also known as the Old Bishopric is an Eastern Orthodox church in
Nessebar. It is situated in the old quarter of the town which is part of the UNESCO World
Heritage Site. The church has a total length of 25.5 m and a width of 13 m. The basilica was
constructed in the late 5th and early 6th century. Its present appearance was dated from the
beginning of the 9th century when it was reconstructed.
168
Nessebar Windmill
An ancient windmill located in the beginning of the old town of Nessebar.
169
5.3.5 Sunny Beach Resort
Sunny Beach is a major seaside resort on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, located approximately
35 km north of Burgas in Nessebar municipality, Burgas Province. It is the biggest and most
popular holiday resort in Bulgaria, and is home to over 800 hotels with more than 300 000 beds.
There are also 130 restaurants and numerous live music bars, pubs, nightclubs, discos, cafes. It
has been undergoing continuous expansion for many years. In recent years almost the whole
hotel base has been renovated and several new luxurious hotels have been built as well as many
apartment complexes.
The climate of the area is Mediterranean, explaining Sunny Beach's popularity with tourists since
the Soviet Union existed. Since that time the resort's popularity has grown among German
holidaymakers, who add to the already large numbers of Russian visitors. More recently, Sunny
Beach has begun to attract the attention of the British, Irish, Scandinavian and Dutch for which it
is a more affordable alternative to the established Mediterranean resorts.
170
Sunny Beach Aqua Park
171
Dance Club Mania
Dance Club Mania is situated in the center of the biggest resort on the Black Sea coastline Sunny Beach. The club first opened its doors on 21.06.2002. Located at 2 levels on over 1500 sq.
m. fully air conditioned.With it's stylish design and capacity Club Mania gives a clear request,
that it will be the club, which apllies its own style in the night life of Sunny Beach resort.The
building itself is made exclusevly for a night club and that gives it the benefits like
multifunctinality, space and confort for it's own clients. Dance club Mania is the biggest dance
club on the Balkans.
172
5.3.6 Pomorie
Pomorie is a town and seaside resort in southeastern Bulgaria, located on a narrow rocky
peninsula in Burgas Bay on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is located in Burgas
Province 20 km from Burgas and 18 km from Sunny Beach. The ultrasaline lagoon Lake
Pomorie, the northernmost of the Burgas Lakes, lies in the immediate proximity. Pomorie is an
ancient city and today an important tourist destination.
Pomorie was founded by the Ancient Greeks under the name Anchialos deriving from Ancient
Greek "anchi-" ("near, close to") and "als-" (either "salt" or a poetic and uncommon word for
"sea"). In Latin, this was rendered as Anchialus. During the Ottoman rule, the town was called
Ahyolu. In 1934 the town was renamed to Pomorie, from the Bulgarian "po-" (in this context "by,
next to") and "more" ("sea"), corresponding to one of the two etymologies of the original Greek
name
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Pomorie's ancient Thracian tomb
The Pomorie Thracian tomb dated 3rd-4th century AD. A corridor of 22 m length and a central
round room have been preserved. In the center of the room there is a hollow column like a
mushroom towards the top. The corridor ceiling is an arch, merging with the central column: a
unique architectural solution – a return to an old Thracian burial tradition.
174
Black Sea Gold Winery/Distillery
Black Sea Gold AD is an exceptional winery, situated in the region of Pomorie town. Black Sea
Gold AD has a long history of excellence. Its production facilities are located at three sites: a
wine cellar in the town of Pomorie with two plots, and a second winery in the village of
Kableshkovo, close to Pomorie. The Pomorie winery is specialized in the production of red
wines and wine brandy, the Kableshkovo winery is producing exclusively white wines. Bottling
facilities are in Pomorie only. The two wineries are now focused on own brands production and
marketing. The old tradition of producing exceptional quality wine brandy is kept alive. The
investments in own vineyards, plus exceptional control over supplies, are the keys for the
production of a high quality products.
The Black Sea Gold Conglomerate produces and sells about 15 million bottles annually. Black
Sea Gold is among the three leading wineries on the domestic market with an estimated 20%
market share in the wine segment and 15% in the brandy and wine brandy segment. More than
60% of the Black Sea Gold production is exported. The winery is the biggest Bulgarian exporter
to Russia, the Baltic Republics and CIS. Other main export destinations are USA, Japan, UK,
Germany, France, Poland, and Czech Republic.
175
Festa Pomorie
Festa Pomorie Resort is located on the south beach of Pomorie. The four complex has a hotel and
apartment area and provides many opportunities for recreation and relaxation. Festa Pomorie
combines impressive architecture and comfort of the interior and exterior spaces. The complex
offers all amenities for a pleasant holiday at Sea combined with high level of service and style of
the brand "Festa Hotels".
176
5.3.7 Sozopol
Sozopol is an ancient town and seaside resort located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern
Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria. Today the town is mostly a seaside resort known for the Apollonia
art and film festival (which takes place in early September) and is named after one of Sozopol's
ancient names.
The busiest times of the year are the summer months, ranging from May to September as tourists
from around the world come to enjoy the weather, sandy beaches, history and culture, fusion
cuisine (Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish), and atmosphere of the colourful resort. The increasing
popularity of the town has led to it being dubbed the Bulgarian St. Tropez. Stars like Ralph
Fiennes, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Goldfrapp have been visiting Sozopol, exploring its
beauty and charm.
Sozopol is one of the oldest towns on Bulgarian Thrace's Black Sea coast. The first settlement on
the site dates back to the Bronze Age. Undersea explorations in the region of the port reveal
relics of dwellings, ceramic pottery, stone and bone tools from that era. Many anchors from the
second and first millennium BC have been discovered in the town's bay, a proof of active
shipping since ancient times.
177
Ancient Fortifications
Ancient Fortifications in the town of Sozopol
178
Sozopol Street
A typical street in the town of Sozopol
179
5.3.8 Primorsko
Primorsko is a town and seaside resort in southeastern Bulgaria, part of Burgas Province. A wellknown resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, it is located on a gore 52 km south of Burgas
and has a beach strip of about 1 km². The average temperature is 27°C in July, often reaching 3033°C and making Primorsko a favourable place for tourism. The rivers Ropotamo and Dyavolska
reka run close to the town, and the Snake Island reserve is also nearby.
Remains of stone anchors from the second half of the 2nd millennium and the 1st millennium BC
have been discovered in the waters around Primorsko, which can possibly be linked to Neolithic
navigation. Remains of lead anchors from the 4th-5th century BC have also been found, as well
as traces of Copper Age pottery and stone tools
180
Primorsko Aqua Park
Primorsko Aqua Park – one of the town‘s biggest attractions.
181
5.3.9 Obzor Resort
Obzor is a small town and seaside resort on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. It is part of Nesebar
municipality, Burgas Province.
The Thracian and ancient Greek name of Obzor was Naulochos, a small port on the coast of
Thrace, a colony of Mesembria. The ancient Romans named it Templum Iovis (Temple of
Jupiter); Pliny called it Tetranaulochus. During the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria, it was known as
Gözeken. The modern name was introduced in 1936; Obzor obtained town privileges on 9
September 1984.
182
5.3.10 City of Burgas
City of Burgas – with an estimated population of 229,250 as of 2009
183
6. South Central Region
The South central region is situated in the southern part of the Republic of Bulgaria. In its
northern part it borders on the North Central Planning Region, and the central part of ―Stara
Planina‖ mountain presents a natural northern border of the region; in the east it borders the
South-East Planning region, in the west – on the South-West Planning Region, and inthe south it
borders
on
the
Republic
of
Greece
and
the
Republic
of
Turkey.
Its territory encompasses six districts – Pazardjik, Plovdiv, Smolyan, Haskovo, Stara Zagora and
Kyrdjali, including totally 69 municipalities. The South Central Region‘s area is 27 516 square
km, which presents almost a quarter of the whole territory of the country – 24,79%
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6.1
District of Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora Region is situated in the middle of Southern Bulgaria. It is bounded by the regions
of Sliven, Yambol, Haskovo, Plovdiv, Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo. It covers the Stara Zagora
plain, Kazanlak kettle, some of the middle parts of the Balkan Mountains and the Sredna Gora
Mountains. The Trakia and Maritza highways as well as the Sofia-Karlovo-Burgas, SofiaPlovdiv-Burgas and Ruse-Podkova railroads cross the region.
The region is rich in water resources. Besides the upper stream of the Tundzha River and its
numerous tributaries, the area is abundant in karst springs. There are a lot of mineral springs in
Pavel Banya, Stara Zagora spas, the village of Yagoda. Koprinka dam is one of the biggest in the
country. The fertile Kazanlak kettle is famous for its special sorts of fragrant roses from which
the precious rose oil is extracted. In the vicinity of Radnevo is the mining and power plant
complex Maritza-Iztok. Sokolna and Kamenitza Reserves, Tazha gorge, the protected areas of
Enina Gorge and Maglizh Gorge, whimsical cliff formations, beautiful waterfalls (Kademliisko
Praskalo, Babsko Praskalo, Tarnichensko Praskalo, Golemiyat Skok, etc.) and the caves in the
region offer very good conditions for tourism and relaxation. Parts of the Great Bulgarian Forest,
which had once covered the territory of the whole country, have been preserved – Vetrenska
Gora and Tulovska Gora. In the village of Granit one can find the oldest tree in Bulgaria – a
pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) of 1640 years of age.
The fertile lands of the region have been inhabited since ancient times. Numerous vestiges of
prehistoric life were found but of unquestionable interest are the remains of Thracian culture.
The lands of the regions had been inhabited by the Thracian tribe Odrysae. Their capital city
Seutopolis today lies at the bottom of the Koprinka dam lake, while the numerous Thracian
mounds and tombs uncovered along the Tundzha River in the Kazanlak kettle gave right to name
the region ―The Valley of Thracian Kings‖. Most valuable of all is the Thracian tomb of
Kazanlak, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Roman town Augusta Trajana
was one of the most powerful towns in those parts of the Empire. There are a number of historic
monuments in the region that are related to the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Rule.
Most of them were united in the Shipka-Buzludzha memorial complex. The epic fights between
Bulgarian soldiers and Suleiman Pasha‘s army took place in the historic Shipka Pass in 1978.
185
6.1.1 Silver Lake Complex
Silver Lake is one of the comfortable hotels in Stara Zagora, where you will find comfort and
quality service at low prices. Located just 10 km northeast of Stara Zagora next to the Kolena
dam, the hotel offers excellent recreational opportunities. 14 rooms and 2 suites with modern
equipment and memorable views are available to guests, as well as a lobby bar and free parking.
In addition, Silver Lake Hotel has a restaurant with an indoor lounge and a terrace for warmer
days.
186
6.1.2 Shipka Pass
Shipka is a town in central Bulgaria, part of Kazanlak municipality, Stara Zagora Province. It lies
in the Central Balkan Mountains, at 650 metres above sea level.
The town is known for being located near the historic Shipka Pass, the location of several key
battles in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. Local sights include the Shipka Memorial (1934)
on Stoletov Peak, the Buzludzha Monument, the Russian-style Shipka Memorial Church (1885–
1902) and the recently discovered Thracian tomb Golyamata Kosmatka.
The Shipka Memorial, a memorial to those who died for the Liberation of Bulgaria during the
Battles of Shipka Pass, stands near the pass.
187
6.1.3 Shipka Memorial Church
Shipka Memorial Church is part of a complex known as the Shipka Monastery. It includes a
church, monastery and seminary. Located at the foot of Mount St. Nicholas, where in 1877-78,
the Russian and Bulgarian troops defend Shipka Pass. The temple was built between 1882 and
1902. The temple was designed by a Russian architect and is in the style of the Russian churches
of the XVII century.
188
6.1.4 Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is a vaulted brickwork "beehive" (tholos) tomb near the town of
Kazanlak in central Bulgaria.
The tomb is part of a large Thracian necropolis. It comprises a narrow corridor and a round
burial chamber, both decorated with murals representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral
feast. The monument dates back to the 4th century BC and has been on the UNESCO protected
World Heritage Site list since 1979. The murals are memorable for the splendid horses and
especially for the gesture of farewell, in which the seated couple grasp each other's wrists in a
moment of tenderness and equality. The paintings are Bulgaria's best-preserved artistic
masterpieces from the Hellenistic period.
The tomb is situated near the ancient Thracian capital of Seuthopolis.
189
Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak Frescos
190
6.1.5 Golqma Kosmatka Mound
Golqma Kosmatka is a Thracian mound near the town of Shipka. On September 21, 2004 famous
Bulgarian archaeologist Dr. Georgi Kitov discovered one of the most magnificent and richest
Thracian tombs with a fully preserved tomb of a Thracian king, buried with his horse. It was
built in the 3rd century BC and consists of 3 chambers and a corridor with a total length of 26 m
The first room is rectangular and there was found the skeleton of a horse. The second room is
circular having a domed roof which is 450 cm tall. The entrance door is made of marble, on
which human images were inscribed. The third room is a monolithic granite block in which the
sarcophagus of the Thracian king was found. Inside the sarcophagus, archaeologists found 20
gold artefacts.
191
192
Golqma Kosmatka Artefacts
Seuthes III was a king of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from 331 BC to 300 BC
193
6.1.6 City of Stara Zagora
The city of Stara Zagora – with an estimated population of 162,416 as of 2009
194
6.2
District of Haskovo
Haskovo region is situated in eastarn part of the South-Central Bulgaria. It is bounded by the
regions of Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Yambol and Kardzhali. The southeastern boundery of the
region coincides with the national border with Greece and Turkey.The railroad and the SofiaIstanbul international highway together with Trakia (Thrace) highway pass through the region.
The territory of Haskovo region includes the southwestern ridges of the Sakar Mountains and the
northernmost spurs of the eastern Rhodopes. The rivers that flow through the area are the
Maritza, the Arda and the Sazliika. There are hot mineral water springs in the balneological
resorts of Mineralni Bani and Merichlery, in Simeonovgrad and the village of Dolno Botevo.
There are favorable conditions for the development of cultural, rural and ecotourism.
The most common occupation of the population is tobacco growing and the chemistry, textile
and knitwear industries are also well developed.
The region has been inhabited since ancient times. Along the Maritza River valley traces of
human activities were found dating back to the Neolithic, Chalcolythic and Bronze Ages. The
oldest facilities built on the basis of the architectonic laws – the dolmens – can be seen the Sakar
Mountains and the eastern Rhodopes, together with cult niches cut in the rocks and tombs from
the Iron Age. As many as 100 Thracian mounds were excavated in the region – near the villages
of Mezek (the 4th century BC), Alexandrovo, near Simeonovgrad, on the land of the villages of
Madzharovo, Tatarevo, Valche Pole, Voivodovo, Gorski Izvor. In Roman times the road
connecting Europe and Asian Minor passed through the region. In the 7th century the area was
inhabited by the Slavs and at the beginning of the 9th century the region was adjoined to the
territory of the Bulgarian state. The medieval culture was reflected in cliff churches, towers and
temples. In the 18–19th centuries in the vicinity of the village of Uzundzhovo the biggest fair on
the Balkans took place – the Uzundzhovo Fair. It was an important linkage for the import of
industrial goods from Western and Central Europe to Asia Minor, which was the main place for
wholesale trade in agricultural products, rose oil, fur and products made by local craftsmen.
After the Liberation of Bulgaria, under the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin of 1878 the land of
the present-day Haskovo area remained in Turkish possession; part of it was given back to
Bulgaria in 1885, while another part of it was returned in 1913.
195
6.2.1 Aleksandrovo tomb
The Aleksandrovo tomb is a Thracian burial mound and tomb excavated near Aleksandrovo,
Haskovo Province, South-Eastern Bulgaria, dated 4th century BC.
On December 17, 2000 the tomb was accidentally uncovered by an earth-moving machine.
Looters subsequently entered the tomb, damaging some of its frescoes. In 2001 Bulgarian
archaeologist Georgi Kitov led a rescue excavation of the tomb, discovering a round chamber of
about 3 meters (10 ft) in diameter, accessible through a small antechamber and a tunnel,
approximately 6 meters (20 ft) long. Both the antechamber and main chamber are decorated with
well-preserved frescoes that reflect the artist's knowledge of Late Classical and Early Hellenistic
art.The fresco in the main chamber depicts a hunting scene where a boar is attacked by a
mounted hunter and a naked man wielding a double-axe. The double-axe is interpreted as
representing royal power, the naked man as representing Zalmoxis, the Thracian solar god
corresponding to Zeus.
196
6.2.2 Bukelon Fortress
Bukelon Fortress is located 40km northeast of the town of Svilengrad. The fortress was built
during the Roman era. Near Bukelon in 387 there was a great battle between the army of
Emperor Valens and the Gothics. It ends with a complete defeat of the Roman army and the
emperor was killed in battle. Near this fortress on 04/14/1205 the Bulgarian army, led by Tsar
Kaloyan defeated the Latins knight army and captured their emperor Baldwin Flanders. He was
taken as a prisoner in Tarnovo, where he died in 1206.
197
6.2.3 Mezek Fortress
Mezek is a village in southeastern Bulgaria, part of Svilengrad municipality, Haskovo Province.
It lies at the foot of the eastern Rhodope Mountains, just north of the Bulgaria–Greece border
and not far west of the Bulgaria–Turkey border. Mezek is famous for the well-preserved
medieval Mezek Fortress (Neoutzikon) and its two ancient Thracian beehive tombs, the Mezek
and Sheynovets tombs. The village is also well-known for its own winery and the Mezzek brand
of Bulgarian wine.
The Mezek Fortress, 6.5 decares (6,500 m2) in area, is claimed to be among the best preserved
Bulgarian medieval castles. It dates to the 11th century.
The Mezek Thracian tomb dates to the 4th century BC. It is a large, elongated tomb that includes
a covered passage of 20.65 metres (67.7 ft), two rectangular antechambers of different size and a
round burial chamber with a stone sarcophagus. The number of burials of noble Thracians in the
tomb was no less than four. Gold, silver, bronze, iron and glass items and pottery discovered in
the tomb are today displayed in the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia.
198
6.2.4 Villa Armira
Villa Armira is a 1st-century suburban Roman villa in southeastern Bulgaria, located in the
proximity of Ivaylovgrad, Haskovo Province. Discovered in 1964 during reservoir construction,
it is a primary historical attraction to the Ivaylovgrad area. It is classified as a monument of
culture of national importance. Villa Armira, a sumptuous palace villa, is one of the largest and
most richly decorated Ancient Roman villas excavated in Bulgaria. It features rich marble
decoration and complex floor mosaics, some geometric and some depicting animals and plants.
The villa dates to the second half of the 1st century AD and originally belonged to a noble of
Roman Thrace who is thought to have been the governor of the surrounding area. The two-storey
U-shaped villa spreads over 3,600 square metres (39,000 sq ft) amidst a garden, with an
impluvium in the middle. Villa Armira had 22 separate rooms on the ground floor alone in
addition to a panorama terrace. The entire ground floor was covered in elaborately decorated
white marble. The villa's floor mosaics display features typical of Ancient Roman art. The
mosaics in the master's chamber depict the 2nd century AD owner with his two children: these
are the only Roman-era mosaic portraits to be discovered in Bulgaria.
199
6.2.5 City of Haskovo
The city of Haskovo – with an estimated population of 80,939 as of 2009
200
6.3
District of Kardzhali
Kardzhali Region is situated in the eastern Rhodope Mountains between the Upper Thracian
Plain and the Aegean Thrace. It is bounded by the regions of Smolyan, Plovdiv and Haskovo;
Kardzhali Region also borders Greece to the south.
Kardzhali is a poor, agricultural (primarily tobacco-growing) region, rich in ores and
minerals. The landscape is dominated by steep slopes and hilly areas. The region has more than
50 caves, natural phenomena and picturesque, deep and beautiful valleys (of the Arda, the
Varbitsa, the Krumovitsa and the Byala Reka rivers). The nature reserves have preserved ancient
forests of European black pine (Pinus nigra) and species of the unique evergreen Thracian oak
(Quercus thracica). The region provides excellent conditions for the development of cultural
tourism and ecotourism. The artificial lakes of Kardzhali and Studen Kladenets on the Arda
River provide good conditions for aquatic sports and recreation activities.
Landmarks: Carved by the sun and the wind, the "Petrified Wedding" rock formations near the
village of Zimzelen resemble people, horses, birds and pillars; the rocks are approximately 40
million years old, and were formed when the eastern Rhodope Mountains were the floor of a
warm sea, quaked by nonstop volcanic activity. The impressive "Stone Mushrooms"
phenomenon with pink stems and greenish hats located in the vicinity of the village of Beli Plast,
soar at 2.5 m of height. They were shaped as a result of intensive underwater volcanic activity
during the Paleogene. The limestone "Rock Window" phenomenon in the Large Ravine locality
near the village of Kostino dates from the same period. Many fascinating Thracian architectural
sites: sanctuaries, necropolises and rock dwellings are located in the region. The sacred Thracian
city of Perpericon is also located here.
During the Middle Ages the eastern Rhodope Mountains became a stronghold of Orthodox
Christianity; and the remains of the fortresses near Kardzhali, Perperek, Efrem, Vishegrad, Ustra
and Tatul still remind of that period. After the fall of Bulgaria under the Ottoman rule in the 1416th centuries AD the population in the region was subjected to coercive assimilation; part of the
population was converted to Islam, the other part was slaughtered. After the liberation of
Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule, the Berlin Treaty of 1878 awarded the entire region to the
Ottoman Empire; however, it was returned to Bulgaria in 1913.
201
6.3.1 Dqvloski Most (Devil Bridge)
The Dyavolski most is an arch bridge over the Arda River situated in a narrow gorge. It is
located 10 km (6.2 mi) from the Bulgarian town of Ardino in the Rhodope Mountains and is part
of the ancient road connecting the lowlands of Thrace with the north Aegean Sea coast.
It is not certain when the Dyavolski most was built, with various sources stating from the 14th to
the early 17th century. The bridge, the largest and best known of its kind in the Rhodopes, is 56
m (183.7 ft) long and has three arches, but also features holes with small semicircular arches to
read water level. The Dyavolski most has a width of 3.5 m (11.5 ft) and its main arch is 11.50 m
(37.7 ft) high. A stone parapet, 12 cm (4.7 in) in height, is preserved on the sides, and
breakwaters are placed opposite the stream. The bridge was proclaimed a monument of culture
on 24 February 1984.
202
6.3.2 Stone Wedding
The formation of this natural composition has commenced 40 million years ago when the Eastern
Rhodopes were the bottom of a warm, shallow sea, hit by continuous volcanic activity. The
precipitated volcanic ash and rock pieces formed these beautiful rocks - rhyolite tuffs. After the
sea receded, the rocks were exposed to Mother Nature, forming their present look.
203
6.3.3 Stone Mushrooms
The rock formations in the shape of mushrooms are carved in rhyolite volcanic tuffs. The pink
color is due to mineral kloinoptilolit and blue and black spots are from manganese nodules.
Greenish color comes from minerals seladonit. The rocks as high as 2.5 to 3 meters.
The 3 hectares area is declared as natural reserve on May 13, 1974. Interesting kinds of birds can
be observed in the area: Short-Toed Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Red-rumped Swallow, Black-eared
Wheatear etc.
204
6.3.4 Perperikon
The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of
the present-day town of Kardzhali, Bulgaria, on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to
have been a sacred place. The village of Gorna Krepost ("Upper Fortress") is located at the foot
of the hill and the gold-bearing Perpereshka River flows near it. Perperikon is the largest
megalith ensemble in the Balkans. Human activity in the area dates back to 5000 B.C. The first
traces of civilization on the hill date from the Bronze Age, while the ceramics found on the place
date from the Early Iron Age, as well as the impressive round altar, almost 2 m in diameter,
hewn out of the rocks
It is thought that the famous sanctuary and oracular shrine dedicated to Sabazios (similar to
Greek Dionysus) of the Bessi was situated there.
A visitor centre is being constructed at a cost of 2.4 million Euros
205
6.3.5 City of Kardzhali
The city of Kardzhali – with an estimated population of 49 751 as of 2009
206
6.4
District of Smolyan
Smolyan Region is situated in Southern Bulgaria. It is bounded by the regions of Plovdiv,
Pazardzhik, Kardzhali and Blagoevgrad, and to the south it borders on Greece. The relief in the
region is mountainous. It covers the eastern part of the Rhodope Mountains with venerable
coniferous forests and pastures. The main road passing through the area is the Plovdiv–Smolyan
road.
In the region is developed the livestock. Near Madan there are deposits of lead and zinc ores.
The nature of the Rhodope Mountains is the perfect place for winter and summer tourism, rural
tourism, hunting and ecotourism. Most of the populated areas are tourist centers. In the pretty
villages of Momchilovtsi, Smilian, Gela, etc. one can taste traditional cuisine of the Rhodopes,
hear and see the famous dances and songs of the Rhodopes.
Some of the natural landmarks are the biosphere reserves of Kazanite, Soskovche, Momchil Dol
and Amzovo, the rocky vaults of the Wonderful Bridges (Chudnite mostove), the Buinov and
Trigrad gorges, the Devil‘s Throat (Diavolskoto Garlo), Uhlovitsa and Yagodina caves. There
are a lot of rivers that cross the area, the bigger of which being the Arda, the Vacha, the
Chepelare, the Varbitza, the Cherna (Black) Reka and the Devin. Mineral water springs abound
in the vicinity of Devin, the villages Bani, Beden, Mihalkovo, Lyaskovo. The Dospat and Vacha
dams offer excellent conditions for fishing. The beautiful Smolyan lakes are located in the
Smolyan kettle.
The Rhodope Mountains have been praised in folk songs as the holy mountain of the Thracians,
the birthplace of the mythological Rhodope singer Orpheus, whose music charmed beasts and
people alike. The lands were occupied by the Thracian tribes Bessi, Coylaleti, Satrai. Vestiges of
ancient fortresses that once guarded the frontiers can be found near the villages of Shiroka Laka,
Smilian and Gela (Gradishteto), on Mount Turlata.
During the Ottoman rule the population of the Rodopes was forced to convert to Islam. All the
churches and monasteries were destroyed, while the priests and monks were slain. Lots guerilla
detachments (haidouks) lead by chieftains of Momchil, Delio, Doichin, Captain Petko, etc.
Despite the hard time they had, the people of the Rhodopes managed to preserve their customs
and culture. Even today there are a lot of monuments and traditions preserved from the National
Revival period.
207
An idiosyncratic area in the Rhodopes is Rozhen where the haidouks used to roam during the
years of the Ottoman rule and where the spacious meadows were a host family gatherings and
song contests. It is here where the distinctive band of bagpipers One Hundred Low-Tuned
Bagpipes (Sto kaba gaidi) started its career and turned into the symbol of the gatherings. It is
from where the Bulgarian song about haidouk Delyo performed by Valia Balkanska was sent out
into the space shuttle as a message to extraterrestrial civilizations. Not far from Rozhen one can
find the Rozhen astronomic observatory – the biggest one on the Balkans.
208
6.4.1 Devil’s Throat Cave
One of the phenomenon in Rhodope Mountains is the Trigradsko jdrelo where a cave called
Dyavolsko Gurlo (The Devil's Throat) is located. The cave is 1.5 km away from the village of
Trigrad and has formed as a result of massive tectonic activities.
The name of the cave has derived from the shaped of the entrance resembling a Devil‘s Head. .
There is a river crossing underneath the cave, with 60m high waterfall, forming a huge hall
called the Thunder hall. It is 110 m long, 40m wide and 35m high. There is an artificial gallery
through which one can access the base of the water current and from there climb up 301 stairs
that go outside the cave.
The cave is electrified, and the stairs are railed for safety. Also there are illuminators, projectors,
hanging bridges, and iron stairs making the experience even more exciting. The biggest colony
of cave bats on the Balkans, spend their winter period in this cave.
209
6.4.2 Uhlovitsa Cave
Uhlovitsa is the name of a cave in the Blue Pools Area in the Smolyan Province of the Rhodope
Mountains, southern Bulgaria. The cave is close to the Mogilitsa village and 37 and 47 km away
from Pamporovo and Chepelare respectively. About 3000 tourists visit the cave every year.
Uhlovitsa is about 460 m long, 330 km out of which are well-explored and developed. It is
situated 1040 metres above the sea level. The average temperature is about 10-11°C.
A lot of corallites can be found in the cave, as well as an impressive Icefall at its end.
The cave was discovered in 1967 by Dimitar and Georgi Raichev.
210
6.4.3 Marvellous Bridges
The Marvelous Bridges is a rock formation in the Rhodope Mountains in southern Bulgaria. It is
located in the Karst valley of the Erkyupryia River in the Western Rhodopes at 1,450 metres
above sea level, at the foot of Persenk Peak.
The "bridges" were formed by the erosive activity of the once high-water river. It transformed
the marble clefts into a deep water cave, the ceiling of which whittled up through time and
collapsed, allegedly during an earthquake. Geologists suppose that the water carried the debris
away.
As a result, the two remaining bridge-shaped boulders remained. The large one (situated
upstream) is 15 metres at its widest and 96 metres long, and shaped by three vault arches, the
largest of which is 45 metres high and 40 metres wide. The Erkyupriya River flows under the
middle-sized arch. The large Wonderful Bridge is passable under the vaults where birds nest in
the marble clefts. The smaller bridge is located 200 metres downstream. It is unpassable, 60
metres in length, with a total height of 50 metres, 30 metres at the highest place of the arch. A
third, very little and hardly reachable bridge-like formation follows, constituting the entrance of
a pothole cave where the river waters disappear underground, and show back up after 3 km.
211
6.4.4 Jagodinska Cave
Jagodina Cave is a cave located in the Rhodopes, Bulgaria. It is 10 km long and is situated on
three floors, of which only the third one (lowest) is cultivated and electrified. There is a 1100meter trail built for tourists. The entrance and exit to this floor are artificially dug tunnels
respectively 150 and 80 m long.
212
6.4.5 Shiroka Laka Reserve
Shiroka Laka is a village in the very south of Bulgaria, located in Smolyan municipality,
Smolyan Province. It is a proclaimed architectural and folklore reserve and lies in the central
Rhodope Mountains, 23 northwest of Smolyan, 16 km from Pamporovo and 22 southeast of
Devin.
The village has existed at this place since the 17th century and was founded by Bulgarians
fleeing from the forcible Islamization conducted by the Ottoman authorities of the time in the
Rhodopes.
Shiroka Laka is famous for its authentic Rhodopean houses set in tiers on both banks of the local
river. The old houses were designed in the characteristic architectural style of the Rhodopes by
the noted local building masters, and feature two storeys, oriels, built-in cupboards and a small
cellar with a hiding place. The thick white walls hide the yard from the outsiders' eyes. The yard
is small and slab-covered and has a typical stone drinking fountain in the middle.
213
6.4.6 Pamporovo Ski Resort
Pamporovo is a popular ski resort in Smolyan Province, southern Bulgaria, one of the bestknown in Southeastern Europe. It is set amongst magnificent pine forests and is primarily visited
during the winter for skiing and snowboarding. It is also a popular tourist place in summer. The
hub of Pamporovo comprises a number of excellent hotels and bars. It is also one of the
southernmost skiing resorts in Europe. It is a family-friendly resort and suited for complete
beginners and intermediates.
The resort is set in the southern Rhodope Mountains at an altitude of 1620 meters above sea
level. The highest peak in the area, Snezhanka (Bulgarian: Снежанка) at 1928 m, is several
hundred meters above the resort. Pamporovo is around 260 km away from Sofia, 85 km south of
Plovdiv, 15 km north of Smolyan, and 10 km south of Chepelare.
214
Grand Manastira Complex
Grand Manastira Complex – Pamporovo
215
Forest Nook Hotel
Forest Nook Hotel – Pamporovo
216
The Castle
The Castle Hotel Complex – Pamporovo
217
6.4.7 Town of Smolyan
The town of Smolyan – with an estimated population of 32 209 as of 2009
218
6.5
District of Pazardzhik
Pazardzhik Region is located in Southern Bulgaria, in the western part of the Upper Thracian
Plain, bounded by the regions of Blagoevgrad, Plovdiv, Smolyan and Sofia. It includes parts of
the field between Pazardzhik and Plovdiv, sections of the western Rhodopes, Rila and Sredna
Gora Mountains.
Pazardzhik is a well-developed agricultural and industrial region. Its territory is cut across by an
international railroad and the Belgrade–Sofia–Istanbul highway, Sofia–Plovdiv–Burgas railroad
and Thrace (Trakia) motorway. The region is abundant in water resources. On both sides of the
Maritza River and its tributaries the Topolnitza and Luda Yana spread the fertile field of
Pazardzhik. There are large numbers of dams in the region - Batak, Beglika, Shiroka Polyana,
Toshkov Chark, Belmeken, etc. Region is rich of mineral thermal springs - in the towns of
Velingrad, Bratzigovo, Kostandovo and the villages of Varvara and Banya (in the vicinity of
Panagyurishte).
The lovely nature, mineral springs, myriad of rivers and artificial lakes contribute to the
development of mountain, rural and ecotourism. Famous mountain resorts are Yundola, Tzigov
Chark, Saint Constantine, Atoluka, etc. There is a significant diversity of game species and
conditions for the development of hunting tourism on the territory of the region.
Pazardzhik Region also abounds in cultural and historical monuments. Here, the land still keeps
the memory of Thracians, Romans, Slavs, Byzantines, Turks and Bulgarians. There are remnants
of the Thracian settlement of Besapara, Tzepina fortress and some medieval settlements, etc
219
6.5.1 Kemera Bridge
Kemera Bridge is located 12 km from the village of Borino. It is a Roman bridge having one
arch and built from stones and white plaster. Parts of the masonry and the nice curved corners of
the arch are formed with well cut stones. It is paved with small river stones. The length of the
bridge is 32.40 meters, the width is 3.60 meters and the height is 6 meters.
220
6.5.2 Historical Museum Panagyurishte
Panagyurishte is a town in Pazardzhik Province, western Bulgaria. The town is situated in a
small valley in the Sredna Gora mountains. It is 91 km east of Sofia, 43 km north of Pazardzhik,
and 37 km south of Zlatitsa.
Panagyurishte is primarily known for being the center of the April Uprising against the Ottoman
rule in Bulgaria in 1876. It was capital of the Forth Revolutionary District which was the main
centre of the rebellion. The uprising was bloodily suppressed after 10 days of declared freedom,
and the town was burnt down and almost completely destroyed by the Ottoman Turks.
The town has two big Eastern Orthodox churches, St Georgi and St Bogoroditsa, as well as
several chapels. Although the town was severely destroyed by the Turks in 1876, there are
several old houses which survived and have been reconstructed, including the House-Museums
of Rayna Knyaginya and Marin Drinov. The Apriltsi Memorial Complex which commemorates
the April Uprising dominates the sky-line of the town and can be seen from almost every
neighbourhood.
221
Panagyurishte Treasure
The Panagyurishte Treasure is a Thracian treasure excavated on December 8, 1949 by three
brothers, Pavel, Petko and Michail Deikovs who worked together at the region of ―Merul‖ tile
factory near the town of Panagyurishte, Bulgaria. It consists of a phiale, an amphora and seven
rhytons with total weight of 6.164 kg of 23-karat gold. All of the objects are richly and skilfully
decorated with scenes of Thracian myths, customs and life. It is dated from the 4th-3rd centuries
BC, and is thought to have been used as a royal ceremonial set by the Thracian king Seuthes III.
As one of the best known surviving artifacts of Thracian culture, the treasure has been displayed
at various museums around the world. When not on a tour, the treasure is the centerpiece of the
Thracian art collection of the National Museum of History in Sofia.
222
6.5.3 Batak Ossuary
Batak is a town in Southern Bulgaria. It is located in Pazardzhik Province and is close to the
town of Peshtera.
There are numerous archaeological monuments of most ancient times in the region of Batak. A
find of the Old Stone Age was discovered in 1958. Tools, objects, ceramic vessels, ornaments as
well as bones of rhinoceros were found which proves that the climate was warmer in the
Quaternary. Twenty Thracian, Thraco-Roman, Byzantine and Slavic fortresses, churches and
monasteries, as well as Thracian mounds, Roman bridges, mines, mills and other archaeological
sites were registered.
The population of Batak took part in the April Uprising of 1876. At the end five thousand people
were killed and the village was burned down to ashes. News of the atrocities spread around the
world. The public outcry created favourable conditions for Russia to declare war on Turkey. On
20 January 1878 the people of Batak who had survived the uprising enthusiastically met the
advancing Russian army.
223
6.5.4 Snezhanka Cave
Snezhanka is a cave located in the Rhodope Mountains, some 5 km away from the town of
Peshtera, southern Bulgaria. In modern times it was discovered in 1961. Despite its low
negotiability (about half an hour uphill), some of the most beautiful cave formations in Bulgaria
can be seen inside. The cave is relatively small. It is only 145 metres long, with a constant annual
temperature of 6°C, and was formed by the Novomahlenska River 3.5 million years ago.
The cave is rich in stalactites, stalagmites, draperies and little sinter lakes. It consists of several
beautiful halls: Udders Hall, The Large Hall, The Music Hall, linked by the Toppling over which
a metal bridge runs. In the Wonderful Hall, built by snow-white crystal sinter, nature has shaped
a figure, often likened to the fairy tale character Snow White, after which the cave was named.
In the middle of the cave there are circular hearths, where animal bones and artifacts dating back
to early Iron Age were discovered. The Thracians used the cave as a refuge from their enemies.
The cave is electrified and appropriate for tourism.
224
6.5.5 City of Pazardzhik
City of Pazardzhik – with an estimated population of 78 493 as of 2009
225
6.6
District of Plovdiv
Plovdiv Region is situated in Southern Bulgaria, bounded by the regions of Pazardzhik, Sofia,
Lovech, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Kurdzhali and Smolyan. It includes the Upper Thracian Plain,
parts of the Rhodope Mountains, the Sredna Gora Mountains, the sub-Balkan valleys and the
Balkan Mountains. The region is important from a transport point of view – the road from
Western Europe to Istanbul crosses the region, as does the Trakia (Thrace) highway connecting
South-Western Bulgaria with the Black Sea coastline and the route connecting Northern and
Southern Bulgaria.
The Maritza River and its tributaries the Pyasuchnik, the Stryama, the Vucha, the Chepelarska ,
etc. cross the region of Plovdov. There are thermal springs at numerous places: in the vicinity of
Hisarya, Klisura, Asenovgrad, Banya, in the villages of Kuklen, Narechen, Krasnovo, Stoletovo,
Rozino, Bogdan, Kliment and elsewhere. There are many natural landmarks in the region – the
reserves of Dzhendema, Red Wall, Kormisosh, Old River, the beautiful waterfalls of Suchurum
and Raisko Pruskalo, the Topchika Cave and Dry Cave, etc.
Plovdiv Region is an industrial and agrarian region with varied economic sectors. Over 100 types
of agricultural crops are grown here. To the south, at the foot of the Rhodopes, around
Asenovgrad, not only the most aromatic oriental tobaccos are grown but also the heavy, dry red
wines of Trakia and Mavroud; and to the north – the white Muscat wine of Brezovo and Karlovo.
In the past the region was inhabited by Thracians. The region used to be part of the Odrysian
Kingdom – a center of a highly developed ancient civilization. Later on, the lands stretching
between the Balkan Mountains and the Aegean Sea were conquered by the Romans and turned
into the Roman province of Thrace. In the 9th century, these lands were incorporated into the
boundaries of the Bulgarian state by Persian. In the 14-19th century, the present-day region used
to be in the center of the Ottoman Empire. After the Liberation in 1878, the Treaty of Berlin
divided Bulgaria at different parts and city of Plovdiv remains in vassal province of Eastern
Rumelia. People from the region took an active part in the struggle for the union of Eastern
Rumelia with the Principality of Bulgaria.
Plovdiv and its surroundings abound in cultural, archaeological and historical landmarks which
provide conditions for cultural tourism – the Old Plovdiv, an architectural and historical reserve,
Tsar Ivan Asen‘s Fortress, Monastery of Bachkovo, the Roman fortress in Hisarya, the subBalkan towns of Kalofer, Sopot, Karlovo, Klisura, the Thracian cult center in the village of
Starosel, etc. The Rhodope Mountains are suitable for mountain, ecological, hunting and fishing
tourism; Hisarya, Banya and Narechen spa – for balneological tourism, the Cross Forest and the
numerous monasteries in the Rhodopes and the foothills of the Balkan Mountains – for religious
tourism. A major factor for the development of business tourism is the Plovdiv Trade Fair.
226
6.6.1
Palaeontology Museum – Asenovgrad
The Palaeontology Museum is open in 1992 in the city of Asenovgrad, district of Plovdiv. The
scientific collection of Late Miocene mammals includes currently over 25 000 samples from
more than 40 species.
227
6.6.2 Starosel Thracian Complex
Starosel is a village in central Bulgaria, part of Hisarya municipality, Plovdiv Province. It lies at
the foot of the Sredna Gora mountain range and the Pyasachnik River crosses it.
Starosel is mainly known for its abundance of ancient Neolithic and Thracian sites, with finds
dating as far back as the 5-6 millennium BC. The village was in Antiquity an important and
wealthy Thracian city in the 5th century BC, as evidenced by the excavations in the 20th century.
The largest underground temple in the Balkans is found under the Chetinyova Tumulus, along
with a mausoleum. The temple as well as nearby Thracian king's residence under Mount Kozi
Gramadi were likely built during the reign of Amatokos II (359-351 BC).
Other sites include the Horizont tumulus, where the only known Thracian temple featuring a
colonnade (a Doric one) is located, as well as 9 other tumuli in the surrounding area.
228
6.6.3 Old Plovdiv Reserve
The Renaissance town of Old Plovdiv was built during the 19th century. Today it has survived as
a unique architectural ensemble on the three hills.
Its houses reveal the remarkable urban culture of Bulgarian builders, as well as their sense of
harmony and their creative power. The brilliant architecture with its noble, stylish simplicity
could be called rightfully the Baroque of Plovdiv. The Bulgarian people have always been proud
that Old Plovdiv was restored and preserved as a large open museum in order to stay for future
generations.
Today Old Plovdiv is an autonomous area within the modern town with a municipality of its
own. It is declared an architectural museum reserve with over 150 monuments of culture buildings from the National Revival period.
229
Balabanov House
Balabanov House is now a concert hall, as well as a gallery of modern paintings.
230
Lamartin House
Lamartin House built in 1829, is now a museum depicting the Bulgarian culture during the
revival period.
231
Georgiadi House
Georgiadi House is built in 1846. Today the house is an ethnographic museum.
232
Roman Stadium
Under the nowadays Shopping center in Plovdiv, is located the magnificent Roman stadium. Its
rostrums were built over the Sahat tepe and Taxim tepe (hills). The stadium has the form of
horseshoe and is 180 meters long and there are 30 000 seats. Some archeologists think that here
were leaded games from the Septimus Severus time (193 - 211). The flashiest competitions were
the Alexandrian games, which were just like the Greek Olympic games.
The main sport branches were the disk throw and spear throw, run, jumps, fight. The games were
organized at every 4 years and continued a few days.
233
Roman Amphitheatre
The ancient theatre in Plovdiv is the most impressive building of Roman time that has come to
us. It took more than ten years to clear the Amphitheatre and remove the 15-metre thick layer of
earth, which was covering the theatre. Тhe spectators' seats were amphitheatrically shaped and
divided into two rings of 14 rows each. Most probably the theatre had a capacity of 7000
spectators at the most. The names of the respective city quarters were chiselled on the benches in
each sector. Simply everyone had to seat where he belonged.
The two-level stage exhibits the architectural and decorative wealth of the building; top –quality
materials and the artistic working unambiguously show the tremendous social importance
attached to the city theatre.
234
6.6.4 Asenova Fortress
Asenova krepost is a medieval fortress in the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains, 2-3 km south of the
town of Asenovgrad, on a high rocky ridge on the left bank of the Asenitsa River.
The earliest archaeological findings date from the time of the Thracians, the area of the fortress
being also inhabited during the Ancient Roman and Early Byzantine period. The fortress gained
importance in the Middle Ages, first mentioned in the statute of the Bachkovo Monastery as
Petrich in the 11th century. The fortress was conquered by the armies of the Third Crusade.
It was considerably renovated in the 13th century (more precisely 1231) during the rule of
Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II to serve as a border fortification against Latin raids, as evidenced by
an eight-line wall inscription. The foundations of fortified walls (the outer ones being 2.9 m thick
and preserved up to a height of 3 m, originally 9 - 12 m high), a feudal castle, 30 rooms and 3
water repositories have been excavated from this period.
235
6.6.5 Bachkovski Monastery
The Bachkovo Monastery archaically the Petritsoni Monastery or Monastery of the Mother of
God Petritzonitissa in Bulgaria is an important monument of Christian architecture and one of
the largest and oldest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Europe. It is located on the right bank of
the Chepelare River, 189 km from Sofia and 10 km south of Asenovgrad, and is directly
subordinate to the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The monastery is known and
appreciated for the unique combination of Byzantine, Caucasian and Bulgarian culture, united by
the common faith.
The monastery was founded in 1083 by Prince Gregory Pakourianos, a prominent statesman and
military commander in the Byzantine service. He set up a seminary for the youth at the
monastery. Although the monastery survived the first waves of Turkish invasion in Bulgarian
lands, it was later looted and destroyed, but restored near the end of the 15th century. The
refectory, whose mural paintings by an anonymous painter bear a significant artistic value, was
reconstructed in 1601 and the Church of Virgin Mary, still preserved today, was finished in
1604.
236
6.6.6 Plovdiv Trade Fair
International Fair Plovdiv held in Plovdiv, is Bulgaria's largest and oldest international trade fair.
It was established in August 1892 as an industrial and agricultural show.
During its first year, the Plovdiv Fair had an exhibition area of 90,000 m², participants from 24
countries and 162,000 visitors during its two and a half months. A National Industrial Exhibition
was organized in 1933 that had 424 exhibitors and 120,000 visitors, being the first sample fair in
Plovdiv. A second followed in 1934, when the Plovdiv Fair was proclaimed permanent and the
only in Bulgaria on 16 May. The fair officially became an international one by joining UFI in
1936, when over 1,000 Bulgarian and 385 foreign companies took part.
The modern International Fair Plovdiv is situated in a large-scale exhibition complex of 360,000
m², of which 95,000 m² exhibition area (and 60,000 m² indoor). The fair has 24 multifunctional
pavilions and has the largest size in Southeastern Europe. Some 40 shows are held a year, in
which 7,000 exhibitors from 58 countries participate.
237
6.6.7 City of Plovdiv
The city of Plovdiv – with an estimated population of 372 506 as of 2009
238
7. South Western Region
Southwestern region includes an area of 20306,4 sq.m. and is second by territory from all
regions in Bulgaria. The region has 5 administrative districts: Sofia-city, Sofia region, Pernik,
Kiustendil
and
Blagoevgrad,
which
include
52
municipalities
in
total.
Its north boundaries are the regions Montana and Vraca which are part from Northwest region
and the region Lovec from North central planning region, on east the frontiers are the regions of
Plovdiv, Pazardjik and Smolian from South central region. The south and west border of the
Southwestern region coincide with the national border, and due to this the region has boundaries
with 3 countries - south border is with Greece, and west borders are with Serbia and Republic of
Macedonia. There are seven Border Cheking Cross Points (BCCP) on the territory of the region.
Three of them are located on the border with Serbia, three of them with Republic of Macedonia
and one on the border with Greece. On the territory of the region pass important national roads
and three of the international transport corridors.
239
7.1
District of Blagoevgrad
Blagoevgrad Region is situated in the southwestern part of Bulgaria and covers the region of
Pirin Macedonia. It is bounded by Kyustendil, Sofia, Pazardzhik and Smolyan regions and it
reaches out to the state border with Greece in the south and to the Republic of Macedonia in the
west. Its location favors the development of friendly trans-border relations. An international
highway
and
the
Belgrad-Sofia-Athens
railroad
pass
through
the
region.
The relief is predominantly mountainous, the highest parts being "alpine". The exceptions are the
river valleys of the Struma and Mesta and their tributaries where the majority of the population
resides. The region covers the area of the mountains of Pirin, Ograzhden, Vlahina and
Maleshevska, Belasitza, Slavyanska, parts of the Rhodopes and the Rila Mountains. The
beautiful and wild nature of the region kept untouched in the national parks and reserves is
considered to be one of the greatest treasures of the region. The Pirin National Park is of
worldwide importance and is on the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage.
The numerous mineral springs (40 % of all mineral springs in Bulgaria), the beautiful nature and
the rich cultural heritage determine the successful development of winter sports and resorts as
well as ecotourism, balneological and cultural tourism.
The region has had eventful history, traces of which can be found in the archeological,
architectural and ethnological heritage. There are remains from Thracian mounds and antique
settlements. The mountainous roads had been once guarded by majestic medieval fortresses.
Exquisite examples of architecture from the National Revival period created by gifted masters
can be enjoyed in the reserve villages of Kovachevitza, Pletena, Dolen as well as in the towns of
Bansko and Melnik.
After the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, the Treaty of Berlin Contract bestowed Pirin Macedonia
to Turkey. The unhappy destiny of the population and its fight for freedom found a vent in the
folk songs in the region sad and melancholic or pugnacious and militant. The region was
liberated as late as 1913 following the Balkan Wars. A lot of areas in the region have preserved
authentic customs and traditions.
240
7.1.1 Komitite Complex
Komitite Complex is located in the village of Chuchuligovo - 15 km from the Greek border, and
35 km from the Macedonian border. It includes hotel, restaurant, swimming pool with Olympic
size, audience tribunes, children‘s swimming pool, stadium, and a recovery center.
241
7.1.2 American University
American University in Bulgaria (commonly referred to as AUBG) is a private, selective,
residential liberal arts college located in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. Established in 1991, it has 1,058
students from 37 countries in Eastern Europe and beyond (as of 2009). The language of
instruction at AUBG is English. The university has three sources of funding: its endowment
(which came largely from gifts from the United States Agency for International Development
and the Soros Foundation), gifts, and tuition. The mission of the university is "to educate
students of outstanding potential in a community of academic excellence, diversity, and respect
and to prepare them for democratic and ethical leadership in serving the needs of the region and
the world."
The university employs 73 faculty members, about a quarter of which are expatriate Americans,
with most of the rest coming from Bulgaria. Less than half of the students come from Bulgaria,
with the rest coming from neighboring countries such as Albania, Kosovo, Romania, Serbia, and
the Republic of Macedonia as well as former Soviet republics and Mongolia.
242
7.1.3 Kordopulova House
The Kordopulova (or Kordopulov's) House is a large Bulgarian National Revival house in town
of Melnik. It was built in 1754 specifically for wine production and was bought by the rich and
known merchant Manol Kordopulov (or Manolis Kordopoulos). The house, possibly the largest
of its kind and period, is located in the town's eastern part and consists of a ground floor that
includes a wine cellar, a semi-basement for economic needs and a bay floor intended to be
inhabited.
243
7.1.4 Rupite Region
Rupite is a village which includes a small mountainous protected area in the southeastern part
Blagoevgrad Province, Bulgaria, 10-12 kilometres northeast of Petrich, on the right bank of the
Struma River. It is best known as the place where the Bulgarian medium Baba Vanga lived and
was buried. The area is in fact the crater of an extinct volcano, its appearance being shaped by
the volcanic hill of Kozhuh, the thermal springs and Pchelina Hill.
The Church of St Petka was constructed at a site chosen by Baba Vanga in 1992 and has since
become a place of worship for many people and a renowned tourist attraction. Baba Vanaga
chose this place because for her it was magical, fulfilled with a lot of energy.
244
7.1.5 National Park Pirin
Pirin National Park is a World Heritage national park that encompasses the larger part of the
Pirin Mountains in the southwest of Bulgaria. It has an area of 274 km2 (106 sq mi) and lies at an
altitude from 1,008–2,914 m (3,307–9,560 ft).
Two nature reserves are located within the boundaries of the park, Bayuvi Dupki-Dzhindzhiritsa,
one of the oldest in the country, and Yulen.
A separate park administration was established in 1979 with its seat in Bansko. The park was
included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983, and after a protected areas law was
approved in 1998, the area was proclaimed a national park, embracing a territory of 403.32 km2
(155.72 sq mi).
245
7.1.6 Rozhen Monastery
The Rozhen Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God is the biggest monastery in the Pirin
Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria. It is one of the few medieval Bulgarian monasteries well
preserved until today.
The earliest archaeological evidence of medieval life at the place is a grave with a few coins and
decorations from the time of Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (1259–1282). Some
other items also date to the 13th century while the marble frieze above the central gate of the
church dates to the 13th or 14th century. A couple of new buildings were constructed in the
monastery at the time of Despot Alexius Slav. The earliest written source testifying to the
monastery's existence is a note on a chant book from 1551, today in the Great Lavra library on
Mount Athos.
246
7.1.7 Bansko
Bansko is a town and ski resort in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of Pirin at an
altitude of 925 m above sea level.
Bansko is the birthplace of 20th century Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov and Bulgarian
enlighteners Paisiy Hilendarski and Neofit Rilski.
he archeological traces of the inhabitants of Bansko and the Razlog Valley in general date to the
early periods of the Roman Empire. There are several housing structures at the outskirts of the
town, which date to 100 BC. However, there is no consensus nor credible theory on who these
people were.
The Bulgarian Evangelical Church Community, the first Protestant church in Bulgaria, was
founded in Bansko on 6 August 1868
247
Bansko Ski Lift
Ski lift in Basko ski resort.
248
Bansko Ski Track
Ski track in Basko ski resort.
249
7.1.8 City of Blagoevgrad
The city of Blagoevgrad – with an estimated population of 76 703 as of 2009
250
7.2
District of Kyustendil
Kyustendil district is situated in Southwestern Bulgaria. It is bounded by the districts of Sofia,
Pernik and Blagoevgrad, and its western boundary coincides with the Bulgarian national border
with Macedonia and Serbia. The Skopje-Sofia highway and Nis-Bosilegrad-Kyustendil highways
as well as the Sofia-Blagoevgrad-Kulata and Sofia-Radomir-Gyueshevo railroads cross the
region.
The relief in the region varies from fertile kettles and dales to hilly lands and mountains. The
beautiful Stob earth pyramids, the Skakavitza Waterfall (70 meters high), the Rila National Park,
Rila Monastery Nature Park are among its beauties. It has a number of mineral springs, the most
famous being in Kyustendil, Sapareva Banya (the warmest in continental Europe), in the villages
of Nevestino and Chetirtzi as well as karsts waters. There are conditions for development of
balneological tourism, mountain tourism and cultural tourism.
The fertile Kyustendil land is famous for its fruit-growing and vine-growing traditions (the
Kyustendil plums are prominent) and Bobov Dol coalmine is one of the oldest industrial
enterprises in the country (dating to 1891).
The mineral waters of the region have been attracting people since ancient times - pre-historic
settlements have been discovered at many sites (near Dupnitza, the villages of Nevestino,
Mursalevo, Shishkovtzi, and Slatino). In the Antiquity, the Thracian tribe Dantheletai dwelt the
upper stream of the Struma River. Two large Thracian settlements were established there –
Pautalia (today‘s Kyustendil) and Germania (today‘s Sapareva Banya), which consequently were
included in the Roman province of Dacia.
One of the Bulgarian cultural monuments put in UNESCO‘s List of Cultural and Natural
Heritage is situated in the region – the Rila Monastery – the largest and most beautiful Bulgarian
monastery, as well as a number of medieval churches and monasteries, monuments of culture.
251
7.2.1 Rila Monastery
The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, better known as the Rila Monastery is the largest and most
famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It is situated in the southwestern Rila
Mountains, 117 km (73 mi) south of the capital Sofia in the deep valley of the Rilska River at an
elevation of 1,147 m (3,763 ft) above sea level. The monastery is named after the famous
Bulgaria saint and hermit Ivan of Rila.
Founded in the 10th century, the Rila Monastery is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important
cultural, historical and architectural monuments and it is a key tourist attraction for both Bulgaria
and Southeastern Europe as a whole.
The monastery complex, regarded as one of the foremost masterpieces of Bulgarian National
Revival architecture, was declared a national historical monument in 1976 and became a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Since 1991 it has been entirely subordinate to the Holy
Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
252
On 25 May 2002, Pope John Paul II, the Slavic Pope visited Rila monastery during his
pilgrimage to Bulgaria. He was greeted by the Monastery's igumen, Bishop Ioan, who had been
an observer at the Second Vatican Council.
The Rila Monastery was reerected at its present place by a local feudal lord named Hrelyu
Dragovola during the 14th century. The oldest buildings in the complex date from this period
were—the Tower of Hrelyu (1334–1335) and a small church just next to it (1343). The bishop's
throne and the rich-engraved gates of the monastery also belong to the time. However, the arrival
of the Ottomans in the end of the 14th century was followed by numerous raids and a destruction
of the monastery in the middle of the 15th century.
Thanks to donations by the Russian Orthodox Church and more precisely the Rossikon
monastery of Mount Athos, the Rila Monastery was rebuilt in the end of the 15th century by
three brothers from the region of Kyustendil, who moved Ivan of Rila's relics into the complex.
The complex acted as a depository of Bulgarian language and culture in the ages of foreign rule.
During the time of the Bulgarian National Revival (18th-19th century), it was destroyed by fire
in 1833 and then reconstructed between 1834 and 1862 with the help of wealthy Bulgarians from
the whole country, under the famous architect Alexi Rilets. The erection of the residential
buildings began in 1816, while a belfry was added to the Tower of Hrelyu in 1844. Neofit Rilski
founded a school in the monastery during the period
253
Rila Monastery –From Air
Rila Monastery – from bird‘s view.
254
7.2.2 Rila Natural Reserve
Central Rila Reserve is the largest reserve in the Balkans. It was established in 1992 to preserve
ecosystems, typical of areas with different altitudes in their original state. The reserve covers an
area 12,394 hectares in the high parts of Eastern, Central and North-Western Rila. The reserve is
part of UNESCO World Heritage.
255
7.2.3 The Seven Rila Lakes
The Seven Rila Lakes are a group of lakes of glacial origin (glacial lakes), situated in the
northwestern Rila Mountains in Bulgaria. They are the most visited group of lakes in Bulgaria.
The lakes are situated between 2,100 and 2,500 metres elevation above sea level.
Each lake carries a name associated with its most characteristic feature. The highest one is called
Salzata ("The Tear") due to its clear waters that allow visibility in depth. The next one in height
carries the name Okoto ("The Eye") after its almost perfectly oval form. Okoto is the deepest
cirque lake in Bulgaria, with a depth of 37.5 m. Babreka ("The Kidney") is the lake with the
steepest shores of the entire group. Bliznaka ("The Twin") is the largest one by area. Trilistnika
("The Trefoil") has an irregular shape and low shores. The shallowest lake is Ribnoto Ezero
("The Fish Lake") and the lowest one is Dolnoto Ezero ("The Lower Lake"), where the waters
that flow out of the other lakes are gathered to form the Dzherman River.
The Seven Lakes Chalet offers tourist accommodation in the lakes' vicinity. It lies on the
northeastern shore of The Fish Lake, at an elevation of 2,196 m.
256
7.2.4 Sapareva Banya
Sapareva Banya is a town in southwestern Bulgaria, part of Kyustendil Province. It is located at
the north foot of the Rila mountain 15 km east of Dupnitsa. The town is known for its hot
mineral (103 °C (217 °F) and clear mountain water, as well as the geyser in the town centre that
sprang forth in 1957
The 12th-13th-century St Nicholas Church, the 18th-century St George's Church from the
Bulgarian National Revival and the St Forty Martyrs Church from 1859 are located in Sapareva
Banya.
257
7.2.5
Town of Kyustendil
The town of Kyustendil – with an estimated population of 50 569 as of 2009
258
7.3
District of Pernik
Pernik Region is situated in West Bulgaria. It borders the regions of Sofia, Kyustendil and Sofia
City. Its north-western boundary coincides with the national border with Serbia.
This region lies in the valley of Pernik, Radomir and Breznik and includes parts of the mountains
of Verila, Vitosha, Lyulin, Viskiar, etc. The rivers of Struma and Erma run through the region.
There
are mineral
springs
near the towns
of
Breznik
and
Rudartzi.
The region is abundant in mineral resources. There are rich deposits of coal, ores, clays,
limestone, which determines the development of industry as the main economic sector.
Ostritza Reserve in the mountain of Golo Bardo, the cliffs of Zemen, the gorge of Erma River,
Duhlata Cave (the longest cave in Bulgaria) and other natural landmarks offer conditions for
development
of
ecotourism.
The area of the nowaday Pernik was an impregnable fortress – a residence of the famous
chieftain Krakra who resisted and remained undefeated by the army of the Byzantine Emperor
Basil II, surnamed Bulgaroktonus ("Bulgarian slayer"). The preserved fortresses and ancient
settlements, medieval churches and monasteries are a prerequisite for development also of
cultural tourism in this region.
259
7.3.1 Duhlata Cave
Duhlata is the longest cave in Bulgaria - 17 600 m long and 53 meters deep. It is a complex
multi-storey labyrinths system situated on 6 floors. Its name is associated with the sound that the
wind makes when coming through the cave entrance. Duhlata is one of the most complex cave
systems in Bulgaria and was created by the underground currents of Struma river.
It is a maze of tunnels, galleries, underground lakes, waterfalls and sinter formations. In the cave
are found 22 species of cave animals, including 6 species of bats. The cave has a wide variety of
cave formations. In 1962 it was recognized a natural sighseeng.
260
7.3.2 Town of Tran
Tran is a small town in Pernik Province, western Bulgaria. It is 27 kilometres away from the
town of Breznik and 15 km from the border with Serbia.
The town was first mentioned in 1451 as Tran; its name was also rendered as Turun, Tuin,
Turan, Taran throughout the 15th–16th centuries. One distinctive feature of the town is that a
unique dialect of the Bulgarian language is spoken in Tran, closer to Serbian than ordinary
Bulgarian making it hard for Bulgarians from e.g. Pernik to understand. The Erma River which
flows from the town has formed a magnificent george known as Transko Zhdrelo. Tran holds the
Bulgarian lowest temperature record at −38.3°C (−36.94°F) registered in the winter of 1947.
261
7.3.3 City of Pernik
The city of Pernik – with an estimated population 82 937 as of 2009
262
7.4
District of Sofia
Sofia disitrict is situated in the central part of Western Bulgaria. It is bounded by the regions of
Sofia City, Montana, Vratza, Lovech, Plovdiv, Pazardzhik, Blagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik and
west – by Serbia. The Belgrade–Sofia–Istanbul international railroad as well as the Sofia–Varna
and Sofia–Burgas national railroads and Thrace (Trakia) and Hemus highways cross the territory
of the region. The defile of the Iskar River and the mountain passes of Petrohan and Vitinya link
Northern and Southern Bulgaria.
The region has a varied relief. It encompasses some parts of the western Balkans, the proper and
Ihtiman Sredna Gora Mountains, the Rila Mountains (with the highest peak – Mount Musala,
2925 m), the Verila and Plana Mountains, as well as parts of the kettles of Sofia, Samokov,
Ihtiman, Zlatiza and Pirdop, Botevgrad. Many rivers cross the region, the largest of which are the
Iskar, Maritza, Topolnitza and Nishava Rivers. There are mineral springs near the towns of
Kostenetz, Dolna Banya and in the vicinity of the villages of Belchin and Pchelin.
The favorable natural conditions allow the development of the holiday resort, sports and tourist
sectors. Borovetz Resort is an international skiing center; Iskretz, Kostenetz and Dolna Banya
are climatic resorts; the villages in the Iskar defile are villa areas. A recreation and sports
complex with golf grounds, stables and sports facilities are built near Ihtiman, about 50 km away
from Sofia.
There are more than 300 protected sites and natural landmarks in Sofia Region – such as the
reserves of Marichini Lakes, Skakavetz, Barikadite, the caves and the cliffs near Lakatnik, the
waterfalls Skaklia, Skakavitza, Sini Vir, Kostenetz, etc. The woods in the vicinity of Chepan and
at the foot of Mount Kom are suitable for tourism and hunting and the courses of the Nishava
River and the mountain rivulets and water basins are appropriate for sports fishing.
Vantages of human life dated to the late Paleolithic Age have been found in Sofia Region (in the
caves near Lakatnik). There are remains of Roman roadside stations left in the area of
Dragoman, Ihtiman, Vakarel, etc. and some remnants of medieval settlements – near Ihtiman and
Kostinbrod, Koprivshtitza, Samokov.
The Etropole Monastery was a major literary center during the National Revival period. At the
end
of
the
18th
century
the
Samokov
Art
School
thrived.
The National Uprising of April 1876 started in Koprivshitza. At the Arabakonak Pass a
monument has been erected to commemorate the Russian soldiers who perished in the violent
battles there in 1877 during the Russian-Turkish War aimed to liberate Bulgaria from the
Ottoman rule.
263
The capital of Bulgaria – Sofia, is separated as an autonomous district – district of Sofia-City.
Sofia City Region is situated in the Sofia kettle, surrounded by several mountains –Vitosha
Mount, the Lyulin, the Lozen, the Sredna Gora and the Balkan Mountains. The Iskar River as
well as its tributaries Perlovska, Vladayska, etc. cross the area. Sofia City Region is bounded by
the regions of Sofia and Pernik.
Vitosha Mount is one of the symbols of the capital city. Part of the mountain is proclaimed a
national park, which includes the reserves of Bistrishko Branishte and Torfeno Branishte, as well
as the Boyana and Bistritza Waterfalls. Vitosha offers wonderful conditions for tourism and rest
both in winter and summer alike. This mountain gave rise to the organized tourism in Bulgaria.
There are several skiing sites in Vitosha, the most significant of which is "Aleko". Skiing places,
ski
runs,
skiing
paths,
numerous
holiday
homes,
hotels,
motels are also available in Vitosha. The conditions for tourism and rest along the course of the
Iskar River, at the Lyulin, the Lozen and the Balkan Mountains are wonderful.
Lake Pancharevo, 15 km to the southeast of Sofia, is located in the vicinity of the village of
Pancharevo
and
provides
conditions
for
sunbathing
and
water
sports.
In ancient times, the area was known for its mineral water. There are many natural springs and
drilled hydrothermal sources in Sofia and the vicinity. They vary in their chemical composition
and temperature. A large number of them are potable. Balneological sanatoriums have been built
for resort and treatment purposes near the therapeutic springs of the city districts of Ovcha Kupel
and Gorna Banya, and in the city itself.
The cultural history of the region is closely related to the history of the city of Sofia. Remnants
of the Antiquity and the Middle Ages interweave here with monuments of the modern Bulgarian
culture. During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom the area had been one of the most important
centers of the Bulgarian Christian spirituality and civilization. Lots of churches, monasteries and
chapels, many of which are still preserved, were built at the foot of Vitosha Mount, the Lyulin
and the Balkan Mountains. They had constituted a substantial monastic community, known as
the "Little Mount Athos" (a sacred area in modern Greece containing many Orthodox
monasteries). The city district of Boyana accommodates the medieval Boyana Church, famed for
its unique frescoes, which is on the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage.
The numerous archaeological monuments, architectural sights, museums, art galleries, theatres
and cultural events put Sofia City Region among the largest cultural centers in Bulgaria visited
by a great number of tourists.
264
7.4.1 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Sofia, the capital of
Bulgaria. Built in Neo-Byzantine style, it serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of
Bulgaria and is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, as well as one of
Sofia's symbols and primary tourist attractions. The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia
occupies an area of 3,170 square metres (34,100 sq ft) and can hold 10,000 people inside. It is
the biggest cathedral located on the Balkan Peninsula.
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a cross-domed basilica featuring an emphasized central
dome. The cathedral's gold-plated dome is 45 m high (148 ft), with the bell tower reaching
53 metres (174 ft). The temple has 12 bells with total weight of 23 tons, the heaviest weighing 12
tons and the lightest 10 kilograms (22 lb). The interior is decorated with Italian marble in various
colours, Brazilian onyx, alabaster, and other luxurious materials. The central dome has the Lord's
Prayer inscribed around it, with thin gold letters
265
7.4.2 St. Paraskeva Church
The Church of St Paraskeva is a Bulgarian Orthodox church in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The
church, dedicated to Saint Paraskeva, is located on 58 Georgi Rakovski Street in the centre of the
city. It is the third-largest church in Sofia.
Plans to build a church at the site date to 1910, when Stuttgart-educated Bulgarian architect
Anton Tornyov (1868–1942) won a competition for the church's design. Due to the Balkan Wars
and World War I, however, the construction was postponed. In 1922, the church board of
trustees announced another competition, which was again won by Tornyov. The construction of
the Church of St Paraskeva was complete by 1930, but the finishing works on the porticos did
not cease until 1940.
266
7.4.3 Koprivshtisa
Koprivshtitsa is a historic town in Sofia Province, central Bulgaria, lying on the Topolnitsa River
among the Sredna Gora mountains. It was one of the centres of the April Uprising in 1876 and is
known for its authentic Bulgarian architecture and for its folk music festivals, making it a very
popular tourist destination.
Koprivshtitsa is one of the characteristic Bulgarian towns, still preserving the atmosphere of the
Bulgarian National Revival period of the 19th century. The town is huddled in the mountain
folds 111 km east of Sofia. The town boasts a large number of architectural monuments from the
period, 383 in all, most of which have been restored to their original appearance. Collections of
ethnographical treasures, old weapons, National Revival works of art, fine fretwork, household
weaves and embroidery, national costumes and typical Bulgarian jewelry has also been
preserved. It was here that the first shot of the April Uprising against the Ottoman occupation
was fired in 1876.
267
7.4.4 National Palace of Culture
The National Palace of Culture located in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is the largest
multifunctional congress, conference, convention and exhibition centre in Southeastern Europe.
It was opened in 1981. In July 2005, the National Palace of Culture was proclaimed the best
congress centre in the world for the year by the International Organization of Congress Centres
The congress centre has a wide variety of technical equipment at its disposal in order to host
different types of events, such as concerts, conferences, exhibitions and shows. It has an area of
123,000 m² on eight floors and three underground levels. The National Palace of Culture has 13
halls and 15,000 m² of exhibition area, a trade centre and a car park. Sofia Film Fest, an annual
film festival held in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia takes place in NPC.
Curiously, more than 10,000 tons of steel were used for the construction of the NPC - 3,000
more than the Eiffel Tower.
268
7.4.5 Vitosha Park
Vitosha is a mountain massif, on the outskirts of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Vitosha is one of
the tourists symbols of Sofia and the closest site for hiking, alpinism and skiing. Convenient bus
lines and rope ways render the mountain easily accessible. Vitosha has the outlines of an
enormous dome. The territory of the mountain includes Vitosha national park that encompasses
the best known and most frequently visited parts. The foothills of Vitosha shelter resort quarters
of Sofia; Knyazhevo quarter has mineral springs. Vitosha is the oldest national park in the
Balkans.
The mountain emerged as a result of volcanic activity and has been subsequently shaped by the
slow folding of the granite rock layers and a series of gradual uplifts of the area. It appears dome
shaped at first sight, but the mountain, 19 km long by 17 km wide, actually consists of concentric
denudational plateaus rising in tiers one above the other. Vitosha is separated into four main
parts whose main ridges gather at a crown known as Cherni Vrah. This is the highest point of the
mountain at 2290 m and is one of 10 peaks of Vitosha over 2000 m in height.
269
7.4.6 Boyana Church
The Boyana Church is a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church situated on the outskirts of Sofia,
the capital of Bulgaria, in the Boyana quarter. The east wing of the two-storey church was
originally constructed in the late 10th or early 11th century, then the central wing was added in
the 13th century under the Second Bulgarian Empire, the whole building being finished with a
further expansion to the west in the middle of the 19th century. The church owes its world fame
mainly to its frescoes from 1259. They form a second layer over the paintings from earlier
centuries and represent one of the most complete and well-preserved monuments of Eastern
European mediaeval art. A total of 89 scenes with 240 human images are depicted on the walls
of the church. The name of the painter is recently discovered during restoration. The inscription
reads: "zograph Vassilii from the village Subonosha, Sersko and his apprentice Dimitar".
The monument was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. The frescoes were
restored and cleaned in 1912-1915 by an Austrian and a Bulgarian specialist, as well in 1934 and
1944. The church was closed for the public in 1977 in order to be conservated and restored and
once again opened in 2000
270
Boyana Church Frescoes
The first layer of frescoes, which originally covered the entire Eastern Church, dates from the
11th-12th-century. Fragments of those frescoes have been preserved in the lower parts of the
apse and the north wall, and in the upper part of the west wall and the south vault.
271
7.4.7 St. George Church
St. Geroge Church, is also know as the Rotunda. It is the best preserved antique architectural
monument within the limits of Sofia. It is part of a building the function of which is not fully
clear to experts, erected by the end of the 4th century AD at the time of Emperor Constantine the
Great and since 10th century reconstructed as a Christian Temple. Five layers of wall paintings
dated between 10th and 16th century, of exceptional artistic value, are still preserved.
272
7.4.8 National Theatres Ivan Vazov
Ivan Vazov National Theatre is Bulgaria's national theatre, as well as the oldest and most
authoritative theatre in the country and one of the important landmarks of Sofia, the capital of
Bulgaria. It is located in the centre of the city, with the facade facing the City Garden.
Founded in 1904 by the artists from the Salza i Smyah company, it was initially called simply the
National Theatre, but before being named after the prominent writer Ivan Vazov it also bore the
name of Krastyu Sarafov between 1952 and 1962. The theatre's Neoclassical building, designed
by famous Viennese theatre architects Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner, was finished in
1906 and opened on 3 January 1907. The building was extensively damaged by a fire in 1923
during an anniversary celebration, but was reconstructed in 1929 by German architect Marti
Dülfer.
273
7.4.9 National Parliament
The National Assembly of Bulgaria is the unicameral parliament and body of the legislative of
the Republic of Bulgaria.
The National Assembly of Bulgaria was established in 1879 with the Constitution of Bulgaria.
The National Assembly consists of 240 members elected for a four-year term. 209 of the
representatives are elected by proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies and 31 are
elected in single-seat constituencies according to the last amendment of the Electoral law
governing parliamentary elections, promulgated SG 36th edition on 15th of May 2009. Political
parties must gather a minimum of 4% of the national vote in order to enter the Assembly.
Bulgaria has a multi-party system. Obtaining of all state power by a single party is forbidden
according to the articles of 1991 Constitution of Bulgaria.
274
7.4.10 President Palace
Guards in front of the President Palace – republic of Bulgaria.
275
7.4.11 Sofia Land
Sofia Land was an amusement park in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It was the first true
amusement park in the country, as well as one of the largest in Southeastern Europe, and was
situated on an area of 35,000 m² in a park close to Sofia Zoo. Construction of the main building
began in July 2001 and the park was opened on 21 September 2002.
Sofia Land featured 4 extreme, 8 children's and 11 all-age rides and attractions, a number of bars,
restaurants, coffeehouses, clubs, a bowling ally under the park itself also a gaming station with
ps2 and other games below. There were also many shops and several cinema halls situated in the
park's main building, which resembled a castle
276
7.4.12 Borovets Ski Resort
Borovets is a popular Bulgarian mountain resort situated in Sofia Province, on the northern
slopes of Rila, at an altitude of 1350 m. Borovets is 10 km from Samokov, 73 km from Sofia and
125 km from Plovdiv.
Borovets is the oldest Bulgarian winter resort with a history that dates back to 1896. Borovets
was originally established at the end of the 19th Century as a hunting place for the Bulgarian
Kings, Borovets gradually developed into a modern ski resort of budget and luxury hotels, hautecuisine restaurants and seedy bars and an average network of ski runs and lifts along the slopes
of the Rila Mountains, providing excellent opportunities for a whole range of winter sports. The
resort has twice hosted World Cup Alpine Skiing rounds(1981 and 1984), while the Biathlon
track is one of the best in the world.
277
7.4.13 City of Sofia
The capital of Bulgaria – Sofia, with an estimated population of 1,400,112 as of 2009
278
8. Bulgarian Cuisine
Bulgarian food could easily be called one of the wonders of this world. Its unique character has
developed through the ages out of wealth of the local culinary traditions, combined with foreign
influence in a way which is possible only in Bulgaria, a culture rich in history and traditions. The
result, the unique Bulgarian cuisine, offers an incomparable taste with unique characteristics,
originality and exceptional variety. The variety in Bulgarian cuisine is based on the long history
of the country, as well as on the long-lasting migrations of the tribes that founded Bulgaria more
than 1320 years ago. The close contact with Turkey and Greece have helped us form very
attractive and to some extent exotic national cuisine, including some dishes which cannot be
called national but which are typical of Bulgaria only. That's one of the things Bulgarians miss
the most when they are abroad and also one of the things that make them come back.
Most Bulgarian dishes are oven baked, steamed, or in the form of stew. Deep-frying is not very
typical, but grilling - especially different kinds of meats - is very common. Pork meat is the most
common meat in the Bulgarian cuisine. Oriental dishes do exist in Bulgarian cuisine with most
common being moussaka, gyuvetch, and baklava. A very popular ingredient in Bulgarian cuisine
is the Bulgarian white brine cheese called "sirene". It is the main ingredient in many salads, as
well as in a variety of pastries. Fish and Chicken are widely eaten and while Beef is less common
as most cattle are bred for milk production rather than meat, veal is found in many popular
recipes.
Traditionally Bulgarians have consumed a notable quantity of yogurt per head and is noted
historically for the production of high quality yogurt by using a unique micro-organism called
"Lactobacillus Bulgaricus" in the manufacturing process. It has been claimed that yogurt
originates from Bulgaria. Although this cannot be substantiated, Bulgaria has been part of a
region that has cultivated and consumed yogurt from as far back as 3,000 BC
If you go to Bulgaria, good food will be just a part of what you will be impressed by. Because,
above all, the country is a state of traditions and culture. Indeed, who would not like the
abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits, juicy meat, grilled or served with piquant sauces,
mouth-watering vegetarian dishes, simmered slowly on low heat, the banitsa (filo pastry with
Bulgarian white cheese) which simply melts in your mouth, famous Bulgarian yogurt, and last
but not least Bulgaria's fine wines, produced on a unique terroir?
279
8.1
Banitza - Baked Cheese Pastry
Banitza is one of the most popular
and typical Bulgarian dishes, more
of a breakfast or snack thing than a
main course. There are many
shapes and varieties of banitza with cheese, spinach or butternut
squash, but the cheese one is the
most common and famous one.
Ingredients:
10-12 sheets Filo pastry (it is
difficult to roll the sheets in the
correct thickness, so it is suggested
that you buy the readymade ones
from
your
supermarket)
500 gr white cheese (you can use
Feta although it is not quite the
same as the Bulgarian White
Brined Cheese)
1/2 pack butter (melted)
3-4 eggs
250 ml soda water
pinch of salt
Instructions:
Oil a medium size deep oven dish, cover bottom with a sheet of filo pastry, sprinkle melted
butter, sprinkle crumbled white cheese, and continue layering filo pastry with butter and cheese.
Finish with a layer of filo pastry and butter. In a separate dish beat the eggs, add salt, and soda
water. Pour slowly over the dish with the banitza and let it soak in. Cook in a preheated oven
(180-200 C) for about 40 minutes or until the banitza has risen slightly and has nicely browned
on top. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes and serve.
280
8.2
Shopska Salad
Preparation
Cooking
4-6 servings
time: 15
time:
min
none
Ingredients:
3-4 tomatoes
1-2 cucumbers
1 onion or 1 bunch green onions
150-200 g feta cheese
1 bunch fresh parsley
optional: 5-6 peppers
1/4 cup oil
1-2 Tbsp vinegar
salt to taste
Instructions:
Cut the tomatoes and the peeled
cucumbers into cubes. Finely
chop the onion and the parsley (and the peppers). Mix the vegetables in a deep bowl and season
with the oil, vinegar and salt to taste. Stir well. Dice the cheese and stir it in the salad.
281
8.3
Tarator Soup
Preparation time: 15 min.
Cooking time: none
4-6 servings
Ingredients:
700g yogurt
1-2 cucumbers
1/4 cup walnuts
4-5 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch fresh dill
1/4 cup oil
2 cups cold water
salt to taste
Instructions:
Place the yogurt in a big bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the water.
Add the cucumbers (peeled and diced), the finely chipped dill, the crushed or pressed garlic, the
oil, the grated walnuts and salt to taste. Stir, chill and serve.
282
8.4
Courgettes in a Yoghurt Sauce – A Great Starter or a Side Dish
Ingredients for 2-3:
2 courgettes (cut in thin slices),
frying oil, 50-80 gr. of plain white
flour,
500 gr. natural live or Greek style
joghurt,
2 garlic cloves (crushed),
chopped fresh dill.
Instructions:
This dish is best prepared at least
few hours in advance. After cutting
the courgettes into slices season
with salt and leave aside for 10
minutes, then dip each slice into the
flour and fry in a pan. You can also
use a deep-fat fryer but the
courgettes may become a bit oily.
Leave to cool. Mix the crushed
garlic and chopped dill with the
joghurt. In a dish arrange a layer joghurt followed by a layer of fried courgettes. Cool in a fridge
for few hours or just serve.
283
8.5
Aubergine/Eggplant Dip – Kyopolou
Ingredients:
2-3 aubergines/eggplants,
4-5 peppers (red and green mixed)
2-3 medium tomatoes.
4 cloves garlic,
fresh bunch parsley,
red wine vinegar,
sunflower oil
salt
Instructions:
Bake/roast the aubergines, tomatoes
and peppers on a hot plate or in the
oven (220C), peel their skin and cut
into small pieces. Add the crushed
garlic. Mix well, add oil and
vinegar, salt to taste, stir again.
Arrange into a serving dish, top
with finely chopped parsley. Serve
with toasted bread or bread sticks.
284
8.6
Refreshing Creamed Zuccini (small summer squash) Soup
Ingredients for 4-5 (1 litre):
2 medium zuccini (400 g), washed, cut
in cubes
2 medium potatos (225 g), washed,
peeled, cut in cubes
1 large onion (200 g), peeled and
chopped
1 tbsp butter or oil
1 tbsp paprika
2 cubes chicken stock
1 litre plus half cup water
4 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
1 tbsp dill (either fresh or dill weed)
Instructions:
In a 1.5 l lidded pan heat the butter or oil, add the onions and stir to cover with butter, sprinkle
the paprika and stir to coat the onions, add the zuccini and potatoes and stir well, add the water
and the stock cubes, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Take off the hob, stir in the minced garlic and the dill, cool for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid (and
keep!!!), puree the vegetables in a food processor or use the puree attachment of your mixer,
combine with the liquid, stir well ... enjoy!
285
8.7
Monastery-Style Bean Soup
Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 min
6-8 servings
Ingredients
1 1/2 cup dried beans
2-3 dried or fresh peppers
7-8 garlic cloves
1-2 onion
50-60g celery
2-3 carrots
1/2 cup oil
2-3 tomatoes
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
8 cups water
salt to taste
optional: 3-4 chili pappers, dried of
fresh
Instructions:
Simmer the beans with 8 cups of water and the finely chopped onion, garlic, carrots, celery and
peppers. When the vegetables become tender, add the oil and simmer until the beans are cooked.
Add the washed and finely chopped tomatoes (and the whole chilies). Simmer for another 20
min. Turn off the heat and season with salt to taste. Serve hot, sprinkled with finely chopped
fresh parsley.
286
8.8
Monastery Gyuvetch (This dish used to be prepared at the Rila Monastery Kitchen)
Ingedients:
1 kg braising beef
4 medium tomatoes
120 g mushrooms
1 cup rice
1 onion
150 g olives
a bunch of parsley
2 tbs vegetable oil
25 g butter
1 tbs sugar
2 1/2 cups beef stock
black pepper, paprika and salt
Instructions:
Cut the beef into cubes or small pieces and fry in a pan with a little oil for about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped onions, beef stock and paprika, 5 minutes later add the mushrooms and rice and
simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, add salt to taste, the butter, 1 tbs sugar
and whole olives, and cook for further 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 190C. Transfer the content of
the pan into a baking dish and cook for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and pepper
before serving.
287
8.9
Pork Chops Sliven Style
Ingredients:
4 pork chops
2 medium carrots finely chopped
salt and black pepper
1 large onion chopped
1/2 a glass white wine
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
4 mushrooms chopped
200 gr tomatoes chopped
2 celery sticks
Instructions:
Season the chops with salt and
pepper and brown in a frying pan.
Remove from pan and leave to one
side. In the same pan, cook the rest of the ingredients for 5-10 minutes. Arrange the chops in an
oven dish, cover with the vegetable mixture and cook in a preheated oven (220C) for about 20
minutes. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes
288
8.10
Beef Kavarma Kebap
Ingredients for 3-4:
400-500 g frying beef steak
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 glass of wine
3-4 tbsp of fat or oil
1 tbsp corn flour
1/2 cup beef stock
paprika, pepper, salt
Instructions:
Cut the meat in strips, season with
salt and pepper and leave for half
an hour. Then heat the fat in a pan
and brown the meat. Take the meat out and put aside, in the same oil fry the finely chopped
onion for 2-3 minutes and add to the meat. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and gently stir to
mix the meat and onions.
Add the stock, wine and the chopped garlic to the hot oil in the pan, bring to the boil, simmer for
few
minutes
to
reduce
the
sauce,
then
thicken
with
corn
flour.
You can serve with mashed or roast potatoes using the sauce as gravy.
289
8.11
Mackerel in Wine & Tomato Sauce
Ingredients:
Serves 2
2 medium size onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves - chopped
3 medium tomatoes peeled and
chopped (or half tin chopped
tomatoes)
chopped parsley
2 cleaned and boned mackerels
1/2 cup White Wine
2-3 tbsp oil
Instructions:
Saute the onion in oil for 5 minutes,
add the tomatoes, wine, chopped
garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer for
15-20 minutes. Spread 1/2 of the sauce evenly in baking dish. Place the mackerels on top. Cover
with the remaining souce. Preheat oven to 190C and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
290
8.12
Barbequed Meatballs (Kyufte) And Sausages (Kebabche)
Preparation time: 30 min + 24 hours for standing
Cooking time: 20 min
4-6 servings
Ingredients:
300g minced lean pork
300 g minced veal
300g boneless mutton
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
cumin, roasted and ground
1/4 cup water or 1 egg
1 onion (cca 300g)
optional: savory or thyme
Instructions:
Preparation:
In a large bow knnead all the meat with a little water (or 1 egg) and put it in the refrigerator for
24 hours. Knead it again after it an add all the spices and finely chopped the onion. Shape patties.
Place on the ioled barbeque. Serve hot.
291
8.13
Pork Kavarma Kebap
Praparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 45 min
4-6 servings
Ingredients:
1 kg boneless pork
1/2 cup oil
4-5 leeks or 8-10 onions
4-5 peppers
1 Tbsp tomato puree
4-6 tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
4-5 small chilies, dried, fresh or
canned
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
salt, savory and ground black
pepper to taste
Instructions:
Cut the meat into small cubes and fry it in the heated oil until browned. Remove from the skillet.
In the same oil sauté the washed and finely chopped leeks, pappers, the peeled and finely
chopped tomatoes, the tomato puree and the whole chilies. Return the meat to the skillet, add the
wine, the savory, black papper and salt to taste. Simmer until the meat is cooked and all the
liquid
evaporates.
Serve
hot,
sprinkled
with
finely
chopped
parsley.
Useful tip:
To remove the tart taste of the wine and to prevent from toughening the meat, put it to boil with
1/4 Tbsp sugar before adding it to the kavarma.
292
8.14
Stuffed Peppers With Minced Meat
Ingredients for 4
8 mixed peppers (red, green,
yellow),
500 gr. minced meat (beef, pork or
chicken),
60 gr. rice,
2 onions, chopped parsley,
1 can of chopped tomatoes,
3 tbs. oil, paprika,
salt and pepper
Instructions:
Take the seeds out of the peppers
by cutting a hole on top, wash and
dry. Chop finely the onions. Heat the oil in a pan, fry the onions for 2-3 minutes, add the minced
meat and cook for about 5 minutes, add the rice and tomatoes (keep the tomato juice for later),
season with salt, pepper and paprika, cook for another 2 minutes and take off the hob. Stuff each
pepper with the mixture (about 3/4 full), arrange in an oven proof deep dish, add the tomato juice
and top up with water to half fill the dish, cover with foil and cook for about 30 minutes in a
preheated oven (190 C), uncover and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the peppers are
cooked. You can serve them on their own or with Greek style joghurt.
293
8.15
Moussaka
Ingredients:
1/2 kg of minced meat (best mix
pork and beef but beef only will do
too)
1 kg of potatoes, peeled and finely
chopped in cubes
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
parsley, 1/3 cupful, finely chopped
one onion, finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup yogurt
2 tbs flour
salt and pepper to taste
oil for cooking
2 tbsp savory
Instructions:
Fry the onion and the minced meat
in a little oil. The more fatty the
meat is, the less oil you need. In about 10 minutes take it off the hob and mix well with the
potatoes, tomatoes, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake for about 45 minutes at 190C,
or until the potatoes are cooked. Stir the eggs, the yogurt and the flour together and pour it over
the dish. Bake for 10 more minutes.
It's delicious with cold yogurt on the side. Enjoy!
294
8.16
Mish-Mash
Ingredients for 3-4:
3 medium tomatoes,
3 red peppers,
1 onion, 2-3 tbs. of vegetable oil,
200 gr. of feta cheese,
3 eggs,
chopped parsley,
salt and pepper to season
Instructions:
Cut the ingredients into small
pieces. Heat the oil in a frying pan,
add the onions, then the peppers
and the tomatoes and cook for
about 3-5 minutes. Add the cheese
and eggs and cook for another 2-3
minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and
serve. Delicious with toast.
295
8.17
Peppers Stuffed With Cheese
Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 45 min
4-6 servings
Ingredients:
12 fresh peppers
40-50 g butter
4 Tbsp oil
2-3 onions
200-300 g feta cheese or 2 cups
cottage cheese (about 200-300g)
1-2 carrots
3-4 eggs
2 cups milk
1-2 tomatoes
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
salt, paprika and ground black pepper
to taste
Instructions:
Choose peppers of the same size. Remove the stems and seeds. Heat the oil over moderate heat
and sauté until tender the finely chopped onions and the grated carrots with a little salt and water.
Add the paprika and take off the heat. Add the mashed cheese, the finely chopped tomatoes, the
finely chopped parsley, an egg, black pepper and salt to taste. Stir well.
Stuff the peppers with the mixture. Dip the open end in flour and arrange the peppers in an oiled
baking pan. Add 1/2 cup water and bake in a moderate oven for 15 min.
In other pot, whisk the remaining eggs and the flour and pour the mixture over the peppers. Put
chopped butter on top and bake until browned. Serve the stuffed peppers hot or cold. You can
garnish each serving with a tablespoonful of yogurt.
296
8.18
Eggs Panagyurishte-Style
Preparation time: 5 min
Cooking time: 8 min
4-6 servings
Ingredients:
12-18 eggs
1 bar butter or 1/2 cup oil
600-800 g feta cheese
1/4 paprika
1 litre water
salt to taste
optional: 4-6 cups of plain yogurt
Instructions:
In a deep pot put 1 litre of water to
boil. Add a little salt. When the
water is ready, break the eggs one by one into the water and cook until the eggs are white set. Do
not stir! Arrange in serving plates the finely chopped cheese. Remove the boiled eggs from the
water
and
place
them
over
the
cheese
(3-4
eggs
in
a
plate).
In a separate pot melt the butter, remove from the heat and add the paprika. (Pour the stirred
yogurt over the eggs). Pour the prepared butter over the eggs (over the yogurt).
297
8.19
Drob Sarma (Liver Tinsel)
Makes 6 servings of Bulgarian
Drob Sarma
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Ingredients:
1 pound lamb or calf's liver,
washed, trimmed and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 bunches chopped green onions
1/2 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
2 cups hot lamb or beef stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup plain yogurt
Instructions:
1. In a large Dutch oven, saute liver in butter. When nearly done, add onions and saute a few
minutes. Add drained rice and saute, coating with fat.
2. Add hot stock, salt and pepper to taste and mint. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 20
minutes.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer to a greased 9-inch-by-13-inch pan. Combine eggs with
yogurt to make the custard (kalifka) and spread over liver-rice mixture. Bake 10-15 minutes
or until custard is golden brown
298
8.20
Baked Pumpkin
Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 30- 40 min
Ingredients for 3-5 servings:
1 kg pumkins
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp warm milk
2 g cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp castor sugar
Instructions:
Peel the pumpins and chop them on
big pieces. Spread the pieces evenly
in an oiled tin. Mix the eggs, the sugar and the milk, sprinkle with 2 g cinnamon and stir well.
Pour the mixture over the pumkins. Bake in a moderate oven. Serve hot with castor suger on
top.
299
8.21
Patatnik (Potato Dish)
Ingredients:
6 tbsp flour
1/2 cup oil
water
1 tbsp butter. melted
For the filling:
3 lbs potatoes, grated - around 10
big ones
4 onions, grated
3 eggs, beaten
1 spoonful of fresh mint (or dried
oregano)
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
Instructions:
Make a soft paste of the flour, 1/2 cup oil and as much water as necessary. Leave it for 15
minutes at room temperature, then divide it in two parts, one of them a little larger than the other.
Spread the smaller mass to form a sheet 4-5 cm larger than the bottom of your baking dish. Mix
together the grated potatoes and onions, the beaten eggs, the mint and the salt. Place the bigger
part of the paste in a buttered baking dish, spread around to form a sheet in a way that it covers
the baking dish and sticks out at all ends. Add the filling and cover with the smaller sheet you
already prepared. Turn the ends of the first sheet inside and pinch the two sheets together to
prevent the filling from coming out when baked. Bake the meal at 375F for about 25 minutes or
until it turns rosy.
300
9. Bulgarian Wine
Bulgarian wine has a long history. In fact, Bulgaria is the oldest documented wine producing
region in the world. Archeology, folklore, and literature have left lots of evidence of vine
planting and wine production on the Bulgarian territory since 6,500 years ago. Historically
Bulgarian wine can be traced back to ancient Thrace and the Greek god of wine ‗Dionysus‘.
Bulgarian territory was one of the regions where many of the wine traditions were founded
during this period of the Hellenistic world. The cultured vine is said to have first been grown in
Central Asia. The earliest traces of its origin within what is now Bulgaria go back 3,000 years.
Archaeological digs have resulted in the finding of numerous votive plates, decorated vessels and
coins depicting scenes of wine drinking in the lives of the Thracians. Probably the best-known
pieces are of Bulgarian gold and silver, which depict ritual wine drinking situations with the god
Dionysus. Scientists from the National Historical Museum of Bulgaria have found wine residue
on the golden pitchers from the ―Panagiurishte‖ treasure which is assumed to have been buried
twenty centuries ago. It is also worth noting that ‗Plynius the Old‘ stated that the first European
vine grower was a Thracian named Evmolp. According to historic monuments, our ancestors –
the Thracians were considered to be one of the best and prominent wine producers. As well as
the historians the scientists also believe that the Bulgarian wine cultures of today Pamid, Dimyat,
Misket, Gamza, Mavrud and the broad vine of Melnik date back to these Thracian times. Perhaps
not everybody will agree with this statement, but the history of wine production in Bulgaria is
ancient and the Bulgarian wines are available to be rediscovered by the modern world.
Today, vine-growing and wine-producing are significant and important part of the Bulgarian
economy. More than 80% of the produced wine for 2007 has been exported. The main markets
are UK, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Belgium, Russia, USA, Canada, and others.
For 2007, Bulgaria has exported a total of 857 000 hectoliters, which is 21% increase in
comparison to 2006. For 2007-2008 campaign, Bulgaria produced a total of 1.4 million
hectoliters. According to the National Vine and Wine Chamber, there are 274 registered wine
producers. The wine industry is the most competitive sector of the Bulgarian food industry. The
privatization process in the wine plants and production facilities finished successfully in 1999, so
the wine industry is a 100% private one.
There are more than 25 varieties of white and red wines with registered trademarks of origin
from designated geographic regions. The sector offers also natural sparking wines; wine
distillates; grape must (syrup made by expensive grapes); high-alcohol beverages (brandy,
cognac, vodka and sweetened spirits – vermouth, other aperitifs, anise-flavored brandy, mint
alcohol, fruit liqueurs); vinegar; tartaric acids, grape concentrate; whisky. Apart from the well
known European wines, Bulgaria produces typically Bulgarian wines which are of international
quality. Here are some of them.
301
Red Bulgarian Wines




Mavrud
Broad Vine of Melnik
Pamid
Gamza
The European red wines cultivated in Bulgaria are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir.
White Bulgarian Wines



Misket
Vratsa Misket
Dimyat
The European white wines cultivated in Bulgaria are Aligote, Muskat Ottonel, Rkatzitely,
Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, and Viognier.
302
9.1
Mavrud
Mavrud is a red wine grape that is used as both a blending
grape and for varietal wines, indigenous to the region of
Thrace in Bulgaria.
The grape has been described as a characterful, lowyielding, small-berried and late-ripening grape capable of
producing tannic, spicy wine with a potential for ageing.
Legend contends that during the reign of Khan Krum of
Bulgaria, all vineyards were ordered destroyed. Later, a lion
escaped from its cage and terrorized the city. However, a
fearless young man named Mavrud (now the name of a
wine grape) confronted and slew the lion. The king
summoned Mavrud's mother to learn the source of such
courage. She said she had secretly saved a vine, made wine,
and that this was the source of Mavrud's bravery. Khan
Krum ordered the vineyards replanted.
Regarded as one of the most highly esteemed local wines, Mavrud vineyards are mainly be found
around Asenovgrad and Perushtitsa, as well as more rarely near Pazardzhik, Stara Zagora and
Chirpan.
303
9.2
Broad Vine of Melnik
Broad Vine of Melnik, often called Melnik, is a red
Bulgarian wine grape variety. It is planted primarily
near the Greek border. In Bulgarian the grape's name
means "broad leaved vine of Melnik". As a varietal,
Broad Vine of Melnik has an affinity for oak which can
produce pronounced tobacco notes. The wines are often
compared to Châteauneuf-du-Pape with its similar
profile of spice and power
304
9.3
Pamid
Pamid is an old grape variety used for red wine. It has
been cultivated in Bulgaria since the times of the ancient
Thracians. In the past, it was the most widely spread
Bulgarian variety, but today its plantations are highly
limited. Pamid is also cultivated in Yugoslavia, Albania,
Turkey, Greece, Hungary and Romania. The bunch is
medium-sized (10-16 cm), and the grape is small (14-15
mm) and juicy. The skin is thin, red or sometimes dark
red. It has excellent fertility, and its vintage is around the
middle of September. It's yield is about 4-5 kg. It does not
need any particular kind of soil, but the grapes with best
quality are cultivated in hilly areas with light drained
soils.
This grape accumulates sufficient sugar - from 18 to 24%,
but its acidity is low: 4-5 g/dm3. The wines are red, light
table wines for mass consumption. They have low acidity
and low extract and that is why they are not appropriate for maturing and should be consumed
young, right after fermentation and clarification.
305
9.4
Gamza
Gamza is a dark-skinned variety of grape used for red
wine. It has a long history and is popular in Hungary
and Bulgaria, where it is known as Gamza. It used to
be an important constituent of the Hungarian red
cuvée Bull's Blood of Eger or Szekszárd, but has long
been in decline in Hungarian plantations, to be
replaced by Kékfrankos and Portugieser It is also
grown in most other eastern European countries
where it is sometimes known as Cadarka or
Skadarska.
Kadarka is sometimes assumed to originate from
Hungary, but Hungarian legend also claims that it
was introduced with the Turkish occupation. Another
hypothesis is that is related to the variety Skadarsko,
which is supposed to originate from Lake Scutari,
which is situated on the border between Albania and
Montenegro.
The Kadarka wine is characterised by full, easily recognizable taste, deep aroma and dark or
medium dark colour. Kadarka is often used for cuvees including some of the Egri Bikavérs, and
also for production of table wines. Best Kadarka is grown in Szekszárd and Villány wine regions
of Hungary.
In Bulgaria, Gamza is mostly cultivated in the northwestern and central northern regions, in the
Danubian Plain. Until the recent decades, Gamza was the dominant grape varietal in these
Bulgarian regions. The main features of Gamza are a large yet compact cluster of small, almost
spherical grapes, dark blue to black in colour.
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9.5
Misket
Red Misket: Late ripening wine variety it can be
found through whole Bulgaria, but its wider
distribution is in the Soungourlare valley and the
Karlovo region. High quality white dry wines with a
pleasant a pleasant light misket flavor is made the
Red Misket variety.
Vratsa Misket: This is middle early ripening local
white misket variety, known also as hard Tamianka.
Its area of distribution is limited. The larger plots of
it are cultivated in the region of Vratsa. Original
wines with strong and constant misket flavour are
produced from this variety.
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9.6
Dimyat
Dimiat is a white Bulgarian wine grape. It is one of
Bulgaria's most widely planted white grape varieties,
second only to Rkatsiteli. Wines made from this variety are
noted for their perfume aromas. While some
ampelographers believe that the variety is indigenous to
Bulgaria, legends have developed around Dimiat being
named after a town in the Nile Delta and was brought back
to Europe by Crusaders in the Middle Ages.
The exact origins of the Dimiat grape are unknown, with
some ampelographers believing the vine to be native to the
Bulgaria area. Recent DNA typing has shown it to be a
crossing of Gouais Blanc (Weißer Heunisch) with another,
unidentified grape variety. Gouais is a parent of several
older European grape varieties. One alternative hypothesis,
which is highly improbable given the Gouais parentage, is
the legendary tale that the grape was native to the Nile
Delta valley (where today there is an Egyptian town with a
similar name, Damietta) and was brought back to Thrace by
Christian Crusaders.
The Dimiat grape is almost exclusively grown in Bulgaria with vineyards mostly in the south and
eastern parts of the country. It is most widely planted in the Chirpan, Preslav and Shumen
regions around the Black Sea. Other Bulgarian wine regions growing some Dimiat include
Haskovo and Varna. After Rkatsiteli, it is the second most widely planted white grape variety
with over 23,720 acres (9,600 hectares) planted in 2005.
308
References
About 75% of the material in this ebook is sourced from the following websites:
1. ―Google‖ 2010
<http://www.google.bg>
2. ―Wikipedia‖ 2010
< http://en.wikipedia.org>
3. ―Yahoo‖ 2010
<http://www.yahoo.com>
4. ―Guide359‖ 2010
<http://www.guide359.com>
5. ―Radev Trade‖ 2010
<http://www.radevtrade.com>
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