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Veliko Turnovo

Veliko Tarnovo, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

"Once you've been to Veliko Turnovo, your heart is forever captured by its magical beauty and splendour. It is a magic called love. A love, that teems everywhere. Finally, you become an inseparable part of its magnificence and eternity.
This is a place on Earth where the future meets the past to build the present. This town has been through many centuries of tragedy as well as of glory. The air is filled with the breath of many national heroes and many legendary men. When you walk around you can feel the holy atmosphere and the energy of a place like this.
...And after dark the Yantra River embraces the town and every night tells you a new story of the past times 'until the end of the time'."

Petko Petkov

Veliko Turnovo - one of the most ancient Bulgarian towns

Veliko Turnovo, one of the most ancient Bulgarian towns, is situated amphitheatrically on 4 hills - Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, Momina Krepost and Sveta Gora, the ridges of which were the steeply inclined banks of the meanders of the Yantra river. Tsarevets was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom in the 12th century AD. Ancient travellers wrote about the town of Veliko Tarnovo as "the second after Constantinople" in its beauty and might. The fateful events from the 13 centuries old Bulgarian State are related to this town, such as the Second Bulgarian Kingdom's apogee in the 12th and 13th centuries AD and the adoption of the First Bulgarian Constitution in 1874.

During the 15th-19th centuries Turnovo was a symbol of the former Bulgarian state system and a stronghold of the Bulgarian national spirit, a leading centre of the struggle for cultural independence. During the Bulgarian National Revival period in the second half of the 18th and the 19th centuries the town was an important administrative, trade and industrial centre. The rapid economic boom was set as a favourable premise for a dynamic cultural and educational process. Unique monuments of the material and spiritual culture were created.
After the Liberation from Ottoman domination in 1877 until the wars in 1912 - 1913 and in 1915 - 1918 as a historical capital Turnovo played a significant role in the political, administrative and cultural formation of independent Bulgaria. In 1879 Bulgaria was restored for a second time. Then the Constituent Assembly drafted the supreme fundamental laws of the nation - the Turnovska Constitution in the hall of the former Turkish konak (town hall). The 1st, the 3th, the 4th and the 5th Grand National Assemblies (in 1879, 1887, 1893 and 1911) were held in Veliko Turnovo.
In 1990 The 7th Grand National Assembly was established in same town hall where the Constituent Assembly was in session in 1879.

Seven centuries ago as capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom the town of Tzarevets had a major role in the political and spiritual life in Bulgaria. Although there is very little evidence preserved up to now they give clear information of the might of the Bulgarian Tzar dynasties and the Bulgarian Patriarch's influence together with the spiritual activities in the former throne town. Archaeological research shows significant civil, residential and cult buildings.
The most monumental ones were the King's and Patriarch's Palaces. The exquisite architecture, the original and realistic murals in the cherishes, the colorful mosaics and handicraft masterpieces show the high disposition and artistic genius of Bulgarian masters, such as Zachary Zograf and Kolyo Ficheto.

A walk around Turnovo

Now the old town quarters are preserved with their Bulgarian Renaissance houses and their dislocated terraces, with their fine interior, handicraft workshops and cafes. Today's travellers describe it as the most beautiful Bulgarian town. Now the town of Veliko Turnovo is an administrative, economic and cultural centre. The audiovisual performance "Sound and Light" is the best attraction for visitors to the town.

If you should happen to visit this unusual city, whose stone houses seem perched one above the other on the steep bank of the Yantra river, you will first be taken to see Tzarevets - the place of the patriarchal church and royal palaces, the hill where Bauldouin's Tower still rises, linked with the legend of the Latin Emperor Bauldouin of Flanders, who was captured by Tzar Kaloyan.

Then you will be shown another hill: Trapezitsa - where the foundations of 17 mediaeval churches were discovered. Veliko Turnovo gave the world the Manassiev Chronicle and the Tetraevangelia of Tzar Ivan Alexander. It was the native place of Theodosius of Turnovo and Patriarch Euthymius. It has preserved colorful murals and architectural silhouettes from different ages for generations, and left us to ponder the eternal wisdom, chiselled into the column of Khan Omourtag: "Man, no matter how well he lives, dies and another is born...". Nowadays only the restored St. Demetrius of Thessalonika and St. Peter and St. Paul churches are open to visit. A stroll along old Gurko Street in the Samodivene Market, a craft and trade centre, will give you a feel of the atmosphere of the Bulgarian National Revival period.

You will marvel and enthuse over the Bulgarian National Revival period architectural ensembles on Gurko Street, the old Nikola Inn and the St. Constantine and St. Helena Church. A visit to the exhibitions of the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum reveals the museum town's rich history. If you have time to spare, we recommend as follows:
• Sightseeing tour of Veliko Turnovo;
• Tour of historic landmarks of the former citadel on Tzarevets and Trapezitsa Hills;
• Superb view of the city from Sveta Gora Hill;
• Sound and Light audiovisual spectacle - a thrilling spectacle with hypnotizing sounds and lights, with historic Tzarevets Hill forming the natural decor;
• Arbanassi Museum Town - this is your chance to immerse yourself in an atmosphere preserving the Bulgarian National Revival spirit and traditions.


Other places of interest in/near Veliko Tarnovo

Monastery, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

Part and parcel of our history is the Shipka Monastery, a symbol of an epoch-making event for Bulgaria - her Liberation from Ottoman rule, the final outcome of the 1877/78 Russo-Turkish War.
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Monastery, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The church of “St. Archangels Michael and Gavrail” is the largest one in the architectural reserve of Arbanassi. It comprises an altar, a men’s department, a women’s department, a chapel called “St. Paraskeva” and a gallery.
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Monastery, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The earliest church in Arbanassi is the Cathedral of Nativity. It is comprised of a naos (the men's section), a narthex (the women's section), a gallery running on the north and on the west, having a chapel at its eastern end dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The architectural and mural details attest that the church was built in ...
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Monastery, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The Sokolovo Monastery is situated at the distance of 4km from Etara and 12km southeast of the centre of Gabrovo, at the foot of Stara planina Mountain, at the bank of Yantra river. It was established in 1833 by archbishop Yosiph, who had built ...
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Monastery, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The Kilifarevo Monastery “Birth of the Blessed Virgin” is situated 4 km south of Kilifarevo and 17 km south of Veliko Turnovo, at the left bank of Belitza River. It was founded about 1350 by the prominent man of letters and Hesychast Teodosii ...
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Etnographic centre, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The village of Arbanassi (population: 310 inhabitants) is one of the most picturesque old settlements in Bulgaria. It is situated in the rocky plateau of the same name, 4 km northeast of the town of Veliko Turnovo. With its monumental National Revival architecture (16 – 17 c.) and marvelous nature Arbanassi attracts thousands of ...
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Monastery, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

Preobrazhenski Monastery (the Monastery of the Transfiguration — Preobrazhenie) is the biggest of the monasteries around Veliko Turnovo and the fourth largest in the country. It lies at a distance of 7 km from Veliko Turnovo in the wooded ...
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Church, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The cathedral temple “The birth of Holy Mother” is located in ‘Bolyarska mahala” (Bolyaska quarter) in Veliko Tarnvo. The master Kolio Ficheto built it in 1842. It was made from carved sandstone and its characteristics are the big main cornice, the Ficheto’s rocker from stone and red bricks. The temple is decorated with four small ...
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Monument, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The monument is settled in the center of the town of Veliko Tarnovo and even some people consist that it is the center of the town. The monument is devoted to the fighters, who lost their lives in four wars – Russian – Turkish, Serbian – Bulgarian, the Balkan and the First World war. The monument was built in glorification to the ...
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Monument, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

During the reign of the Bulgarian Kings Assen the 1st, Peter, Kaloyan and IAssen the 2nd, from 1185 to 1241, the BulgarianMedievalState, with Tarnevgrad as its capital, reached its highest political, economic and cultural peak. The monument of the Assens, is dedicated to these leaders.And was built in honor of the 800th anniversary ...
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Church, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

In the central part of Tsarevets, on the highest point, there once towered the Patriarchal church “Holy Ascending of God”. It was built over the ruins of an early Christian church, dating back from the end of the V and the beginning of the VI century. The Patriarchal church represented a three-nave basilica with one apse. It was ...
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Historical site, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The Samovodska charshia is the old market in the old capital of Bulgaria – Veliko Turnovo. In the early 19 th century, when the town was rapidly developing, there emerged a shopping center with lots of retail outlets and artisan workshops, bakeries and cafes. The nowadays existing workshops recreate the Renaissance atmosphere. There ...
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Historical site, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The Tsarevets Hill was the main fortress of the medieval Bulgarian capital Veliko Tarnovo. During the period (1185 – 1395) of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom Bulgaria was the largest and the most powerful state in Southeastern Europe. The hill itself was inhabited as early as the 2nd millennium B.C. The ancient settlement existed even ...
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Church, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The church of “St. Dimitar” in Veliko Turnovo is situated at the northeastern foot of Trapezitsa elevation on the right bank of Yantra River. It is the oldest Medieval church in Turnovo. It is related to the earliest manifestations of the Bulgarian rulers of the 12 th century. In 1185, when church was built the brothers Assen and ...
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Church, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The church “St. St. Konstantin and Elena” is settled in the picturesque town of Veliko Tarnovo. In 19 th century it was surrounded by the big Revival houses. It was built by Kolio Ficheto, who cleverly has combined the different architectural forms and elements, as half – cylindrical, elliptical and crossed vault arch, half – circled ...
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Museum, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The Archaeological Museum in Veliko Tarnovo keeps the most precious findings of the archaeologists, preserving information about the way of living in the region of Veliko Tarnovo from the Ancient times. One of the most interesting exhibits is that of the oldest pieces of gold in the world: unique golden treasure from the Neolithic ...
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Entertainment site, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The original music and striking illumination of audio-visual show “Tsarevgrad – Tarnov – sound and lights” recreates on the Tsarevets Hill an emotional image to remember of the Bulgarian history. The very first chords carry us to the time when the Thracians, Slavs and proto-Bulgarians inhabited this land. The music inspires thoughts ...
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Historical site, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

One of the most difficult artistic tasks is to synthesize a great idea, a message to contemporary and future generations. Such was the task of the sculptor who created the rock relief known as the Madara Horseman. He performed his work splendidly. The sculptor carved a relief of a majestic horseman 23 m above ground level in an almost ...
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Restaurant, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

Modern restaurant, located in the very centre of the town, with perfect service. The atmosphere of the restaurant is relaxing and from the spacious balcony, there's a splendid view across the old town, the Yantra river and Tsarevets fortress.
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Restaurant, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

Restaurant "International" is located in the very centre of Veliko Turnovo, opposite the Mother Bulgaria Monument. The restaurant has about 350 sq.meter of space, equiped with with a good air condition and is designed in Greek style. It disposes of 170 seats and a conference room with 50 seats is also available. The menu offers traditional ...
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