Bulgaria Holidays – Veliko Tarnovo – past and contemporaneousness, legends and reality, rich cultural inheritance and active social life
Situated in north central Bulgaria, in the valley of Yantra River, the town of Veliko Tarnovo has a population of around 72 000 people and is the 15th biggest town in Bulgaria. It is also one of the most beautiful and visited towns in the country. It’s one of the preferred Bulgaria destinations for good Bulgaria holidays.
Veliko Tarnovo is at a distance of 241 km from the capital – Sofia, 228 km from the city of Varna and 107 km from the town of Ruse.
Often referred to as the ‘City of the Tsars’, Veliko Tarnovo is the crossing point of generations of Bulgarians and it has the spirit of bygone centuries, kept in its every stone.
Where to go in Bulgaria
A town of many sightseeings, Veliko Tarnovo is one of the liveliest Bulgaria tourist centres. Its unique location on the three hills – Tzarevetz, Trapezitza and Sveta Gora (Holy Forest), makes it not only one of the loveliest towns in Bulgaria, but also characterizes Veliko Tarnovo with a peculiar charm and identity of its own. A simple walk around the town leaves you breathless once you step on the narrow cobblestone-covered streets.
Like birds on a wire, houses of the Bulgarian national Revival perched over one another. Each one of the houses is a unique monument of architecture. Veliko Tarnovo is a place where nature and everything man made, complement one another and thus live in an absolute harmony. You can never regret having chosen Veliko Tarnovo for a place to visit on your Bulgaria holidays.
Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest towns in the country, as its history dates back to more than five thousand years ago, which is proven by archaeological excavations.
Veliko Tarnovo grew quickly to become the strongest Bulgarian fortification of the Middle Ages between the 12th and 14th century and the most important political, economic, cultural and religious centre of the Second Bulgarian State. In 1185 the town was declared a capital of the restored Bulgarian State by the brothers Asen and Petar, who declared the end of the Byzantine dominion, which continued for 167 years. After its selection to be a capital, the town of Veliko Tarnovo developed fast. Due to its reinforcing, impregnability and size, Veliko Tarnovo stood second after Constantinople and third after Rome.
Veliko Tarnovo is the medieval fortress Tzarevetz
Where to go in Bulgaria, in Veliko Tarnovo? The most significant monument of culture in Veliko Tarnovo is the medieval fortress Tzarevetz, situated on the homonymous peak, surrounded on three sides by the river Yantra. When, in the times of the Second Bulgarian State, the town of Veliko Tarnovo was the capital, Tzarevetz used to be main fortress in the country. It wasn’t a closed fortress, though but a real medieval town. In the centre of this town, the following buildings were rising: the palace, the church “St. Petka”, multiple residential and economic buildings, water reservoirs and battle towers. The Patriarch’s residence was on the highest part of Tsarevetz, and the Patriarch’s church “The Ascension of Christ” was also in close proximity.
The fortress’ centuries-long life witnessed different events. It’s not surprising that it took half a century to restore Tzarevetz. Its restoration started in 1930 and finished in 1981 in honour of the 1300 anniversary from the establishment of the Bulgarian state.
Today the visitors of Tzarevetz can walk around the fortress but what we highly recommend is to visit Bulgaria, Tzarevetz at night. Then the fortress ‘becomes alive’. Since 1985 there is an audio-visual show called Sound and Light, which reveals the colourful history of the Second Bulgarian State.
There is also another historical hill near Tsarevets – Trapezitza. Its historical richness is great and has not been completely discovered yet. The archaeological excavations on the hill continue and new interesting finds constantly appear on the surface.
A different atmosphere for your Bulgaria holidays
Veliko Tarnovo is not only famous for the historical hills as Bulgaria attractions, but also for its multiple orthodox temples. One of the most emblematic medieval churches is the temple “St. Forty Holy Martyrs”. The orthodox temple stores some of the most valuable old Bulgarian epigraph monuments – the Omurtag column, the Asen column and the Border column of the Rodosto fortress from the time of Khan Krum (755 –814).
In architectural terms, the appearance of the old part of the town takes the visitors, on Bulgaria holidays, in the past. Walking along Gurko Street or Samovodskata Charshia (the Crafts Streets), the town guests have the possibility to see houses built over 200 years ago, as well as to sense a completely different atmosphere. The Veliko Tarnovo houses are very beautiful. They represent different periods – with the typical verandas, balconies, cornices, eaves, windows, doors and wooden gates, as well as the Tarnovo works of Master Kolyo Ficheto. The market street is a kind of an ethnographic complex with crafts workshops, souvenir shops and galleries.
Museum of Revival and Constituent Assembly
Of course, these are not the only Bulgaria sightseeings. There are also the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Revival and Constituent Assembly; Museum of Contemporary and Most Contemporary History, the Sarafkina House, the Museum House of P. R. Slaveykov, the Stambolov Inn, the Inn of Hadzhi Nikoli, etc.
The architectural reservation Arbanasi is situated at a distance of only 6 km from Veliko Tarnovo. The ancient village had preserved magnificent architectural monuments of the Age of the Bulgarian Revival, old churches and beautiful yards filled with flowers and greenery.
On 17 April 1879, the first National Assembly convened in Veliko Turnovo to ratify the State’s first Constitution. It is known as the Tarnovo Constitution. The key result of which resulted in the transfer of Parliament from Tarnovgrad (Veliko Tarnovo) to Sofia; which today remains the Bulgarian capital.
Veliko Tarnovo means past and grand history, created century after century. This is a town which survived the hard times and dashing in the future. A town – a fairytale created by nature and man, a harmony of rocks and houses, stones and wood, amazing silhouettes, amphitheatrical views, greenery and flowers. A real architectural magic. It is not accidental that Veliko Tarnovo was declared a Balkan capital of cultural tourism. And a few times it was awarded the prize The Most Beautiful Town in Bulgaria; as a result of annual research conducted by the media.
What we suggest is that you come for a Bulgaria holidays and see yourselves!