Enter the history of a people with multicultural background.
The secular Bulgaria which occupies only 2% of the surface of Europe surprises those who visit for the first time its 40,000 historical monuments of which 7 are registered in the list of the UNESCO World Register of Historical Sites:
Thracian tomb of Svechtari
Thracian tomb of Kazanlak
Ancient city of Nessebar
Rock church of Ivanovo
Church of Boyana
Monastery of Rila
Plus 2 UNESCO protected natural reserves
Sreburna Natural Reserve
Pirin National Park
We also count 36 museum villages, 160 monasteries, 330 museums and galleries.
The ancient people that lived in Bulgaria have left their heritage numerous monuments from the different historical ages (Thracian, Roman, Greco-Byzantine, Bulgarian…) which have shaped the look of entire cities.
From the Thracian era, aside from the Thracian tomb of Kazanlak and Sxechtari, 15 new tombs have recently been discovered and archaeologists are searching for a Thracian valley of the kings since 1,500 other hillocks of land (under similar hillocks have been discovered tombs) have not yet been explored and which indicate an immense building site for archaeologists and historians. The recently discovered sanctuary of Starosel and the Saint City of Perperikon can equally be cited without forgetting the fabulous Necropolis of Varna. They present a large interest and are open to the public.
The passing Romans enriched the cultural and architectural heritage of the country. The thermal baths of Varna or the antique Theatre of Plovdiv are two significant examples of the presence of the Empire. The cities, particularly those on the coast, consequently experienced an expansion under the protection of the Byzantine Empire. Nessebar, the city of 40 churches, is the incarnation of its peak.
During its long existence, Bulgaria has known how to not only conserve its multicultural history, but has affirmed its personality through the creation of a state, the following Empire permitted it to forge a strong identity. The symbol of this combative nation is engraved in the rocks near Shoumen where the famous Madara Rider would become the emblem of the country. To protect its territories, a number of fortresses were constructed and still remain. Today among the best conserved are those of Véliko Trnovo, Vidin, Veliki Preslav and Pliska.
The Black Period of its existence began with the Turkish invasion and lasted 5 long centuries during which, in spite of the determination of the Turks to erase the glorious past of the whole nation, the Bulgarian flame never went out, notably thanks to the large network of monasteries – the place of ideological conservation, destroyed and reconstructed by the people. The most beautiful and largest monasteries of the Balkans are found in Bulgaria. Among the most visited toady are the Rila Monetary, the Bachkovo Monetary, the Rojen Monetary, the Troyan Monastery, the Monastery of the Transfiguration and the Drianovo Monastery. We offer you the unique opportunity to lodge in some of these monasteries and to share the everyday life of these religious people in a natural framework. It’s equally the place where the most important revolutionaries who directed the national insurrections were lodged and the place that allowed for the Bulgarian Renaissance. Certain museum villages represent this key period of the history of the country. The best conserved in our eyes are Zheravna, Koprivchtitsa, Arbanassi, Shiroka Luka, Bozhentsi, Triavna, Melnik, Bansko and certain areas of towns like the Old Plovdiv, the ancient city of Nessebar, Balchik and Veliko Turnovo. They permit you to feel the atmosphere of the Bulgarian Renaissance in the ideal framework for rest, winding down and tourism.
The Orthodox churches that will impress you by the number and quality of their iconographic works and their wooden sculptures cannot be forgot either. The most imposing, St. Alexander Nevski, is found at the centre of Sofia. Nearby you will find the magnificent Russian church St. Nicolas dominated by its golden dome which symbolises the historic ties and gratitude toward the Russian “big brother.” After the liberation, Bulgaria showed its tolerance and the Ottoman presence still remains visible notably passing by the mosques especially the largest of the country and the second most important of the Balkans, the Tomboul mosque situated in Shoumen.
As well as the discovery of the culture, the voyager can discover several traditional activities such as the production of wine, rose essence, sculptures on wood and several others. For more information concerning these activities see the RURAL TOURISM section.
Certain ethnographic museums such as that of Etara, Varocha the old quarter of Blagoevgrad, Koulata of Kazanlak, the old Dobritch, Tchiflika (close of Albena) and that of Bruchlian (near Malko Tarnovo) represent a large interest for the demonstrations that they propose.
To embellish and animate your stay don’t hesitate to consult the calendar of folklore events of Koprivchtitsa, Shiroka Luka, Rozhen and Predela are worth the detour. One can equally cite the Festival of Bourgas, which takes place every year during the second half of the month of August, the Festival of the Rose of Kazanlak which occurs annually at the beginning of the month of June, the Folkloric Festival of Koprivchtitsa which is celebrated every 5 years, the International Festival of the Koukeri and the mask games in the town of Pernik, celebrated every even year in January.