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Bulgaria – beauty to discover
July 30, 2018, 12:19 pm
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The small Balkan country of Bulgaria, is one of Eastern Europe’s diamonds in the rough. It is home to iconic mountain ranges: The Balkan, Rila, Pirin, and Rhodope mountains which make a perfect backdrop for Bulgaria’s traditional towns. These towns are rich in cultural heritage, and the mountain ranges are a naturalist, and hiker’s paradise. While along the Black Sea Coast pristine sandy beaches flank the country, and cosmopolitan seaside resorts entertain foreign and domestic tourists.

However, history is woven into the fiber of Bulgaria. It has been occupied for millenniums, and the countless ruins, ancient churches, and imposing fortresses that remain throughout the country, are a constant reminder of Bulgaria’s unique narrative. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Bulgaria:

Koprivshtitsa: This peaceful town of colorful houses, traditional Bulgarian architecture, and folk festivals is steeped in rich history and was once the heart of the fierce April uprisings against the Ottoman Empire. The town’s rich history has not been forgotten, as there are over 350 historic, architectural, ethnographic, and artistic monuments dotted throughout it. The most memorable attractions in Koprivshtitsa are Oslekov House, the former home of a wealthy merchant built in 1856, and Topalova House, built and lived in by a prominent tax collector in 1854. Both showcase items unique to the time period of the homes, and demonstrate what life would have looked like in the 1900’s. Otherwise, the picturesque town is tucked between mountains ranges of lush green.

Sozopol: The charming seaside town of Sozopol is Bulgaria’s oldest town. It was established in 610 BC by the Greeks, where it became a center for the arts and a place of salvation. Today, there is still archeological evidence of their time spent in Sozopol. However, over the years other empires and rulers came to occupy the land. As such there are remains of a medieval Christian complex, and ancient walls, and fortresses lining the peninsula. These days most people visit the area for the gorgeous seaside resorts that dominate the coastline, fabulous beaches, and romantic cobblestoned streets. The town regularly hosts cultural events, and has great dining and nightlife options. For those that prefer something more exciting than sunbathing, a variety of sports are available including surfing, jet-skiing, sailing, wakeboarding, and volleyball.

Veliko Tarnovo:  This small city in central Bulgaria is most well-known as the home of Tsarevets Fortress. Since, it was once the home to the Tsars, the city is sometimes dubbed the ‘City of Tsars’. The Fort is enclosed by 1000 meters (3000 feet) of stone walls. Many areas of the wall offer 360-degree views of the surrounding picturesque hills, and the charming city below. Close-by is the famous Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration of God, which features beautiful architecture, and breathtaking works of art from antiquity. Centuries ago the city boasted over 30 monasteries but this one remains the best remaining example. Meanwhile, the new part of the city has become an integral economic and administrative center for Northern Bulgaria.

 

Bansko:  The town of Bansko is renowned as Bulgaria’s number one skiing spot. Located in Southern Bulgaria, it is nestled at the foot of the Pirin Mountains whose peak reaches 2914 meters.  Bansko Ski Resort is also credited with having the longest ski season in Bulgaria. The resort, and town itself has countless après-ski restaurants, and nightlife options, and there are world-class spas to indulge. Each year the town holds the annual Bansko Jazz Festival, which draws international attendees and famous Bulgarian performers. Very typical for Bansko are the traditional taverns, in which dishes from the region of Bansko are served. Among the town specialties are Kapama, Chomlek, Bansko Kebap, Sache and Banski Starets among others.

Varna: Varna is Bulgaria’s third largest city, and its most sophisticated seaside city. Like Bulgaria’s other coastal towns, Varna is also steeped in history. The Varna Archaeological Museum has impressive gold exhibits featuring the world’s oldest gold, which was sourced from the area. There is also the Roman Baths which is an impressive attraction, the largest in Bulgaria. Other striking landmarks dotted around the city give life to Varnas long history. These include the Baroque Opera House and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin. There are three main beaches, which are frequented in the area, and they offer all the joys of beach living, such as seaside restaurants and bars, adventure sports, and loungers. Shopping, accommodation, and spa treatments are world class in the area.

Nesebar: Nesebar is known for its beautiful ruins, and superb beaches. The ancient part of the town is situated on an island connected to the mainland by a narrow man-made causeway, and it bears evidence of occupation by a variety of different civilizations over the course of its existence. The many churches that remain are mostly in ruins, but still a joy to explore. The most famous churches within the city include St.Stefan Church which dates back to the 11th century and The Church of Christ Pantocrator, which was created in the 13th century. The last being a great example of medieval architecture, as it is very well preserved. History aside, visitors frequent the area for its beaches along the Black Sea Coast, which are often called ‘The Pearl of the Black Sea’. 

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