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The Beauty Of Bulgaria From Above

In most countries today it is either forbidden by law or made too complicated to get allowance to fly drones. In Bulgaria you can still have some freedom to use these flying video cameras, and thanks to that little detail a beautiful photo-story was brought to you by RFE/RL and photographer Amos Chapple.

From the beaches of the Black Sea to the mountain monuments of communism: This is Bulgaria as you’ve never seen it before.


Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

An ancient fishing village that made headlines in 2012 when a medieval “vampire grave” was discovered. Archaeologists uncovered the skeleton of a man who’d had his teeth torn out and a metal stake hammered through his chest, apparently to stop him rising from the dead.

The Belogradchik Fortress

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

Nestled into a handy rock formation. The fortified watchtower was built when Romans ruled over the region.

Bulgarian Fishermen

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

A fisherman watches the reef roll by beneath him off Pomorie as his colleague steers out into the Black Sea.

Veliko Tarnovo’s fortress

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

Veliko Tarnovo’s fortress on a misty morning. The town was once dubbed a “third Rome” (after Constantinople) for its cultural influence on Eastern Europe.

The Assens Monument

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

The Assens Monument in Veliko Tarnovo, built to mark 800 years since its crowning as the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

“The Forgotten Communist”

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

“The Forgotten Communist,” a roadside monument being reclaimed by the jungle in a northeastern corner of Bulgaria.

Shipka Memorial Church

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

Shipka Memorial Church, a golden-domed monument to the Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian soldiers who died driving the Ottomans out of Bulgaria.

Thracian burial area

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

The remains of a Thracian burial area near the town of Ardino. Bulgaria is dotted with remnants of the ancient, wine-guzzling Thracian tribes. Famous Thracians include the poet Orpheus and Spartacus, the rebel slave.

Vitosha Mountain TV tower

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

The Vitosha Mountain TV tower with Sofia sparkling in the background.

The Rila Monastery

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

The Rila Monastery nestled in its valley glowing gold in autumn.

Soviet-era monument of Buzludzha

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

The abandoned Soviet-era monument of Buzludzha in the Central Balkan Mountains. The peaks witnessed several furious battles during the war that would eventually free Bulgaria from Ottoman rule.

Momchilovtsi in the Rhodope Mountains

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

A cross above Momchilovtsi in the Rhodope Mountains. The settlements of the region are a jumble of Christian and Muslim villages, after many were forcibly converted to Islam by the Ottoman authorities in the 16th and 17th centuries.


Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

Kaliakra, a headland that juts into the Black Sea. The needle-thin peninsula gave rise to a legend that God stretched a finger of land ahead of a favorite saint who was fleeing the Ottomans.

Varna’s Dormition Of The Mother Of God Cathedral

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

Varna’s Dormition Of The Mother Of God Cathedral in the gloom of an overcast morning.

Goatherd and farmers

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

A goatherd leads his flock down a dirt road near Kazanluk.

Soviet-era monument Blagoevgrad

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

A Soviet-era monument above the highway running past Blagoevgrad.

Aleksandr Nevsky Cathedral

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

The Aleksandr Nevsky Cathedral, the centerpiece of Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia.

Alyosha, Plovdiv’s monument to Soviet soldiers

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

Alyosha, Plovdiv’s monument to Soviet soldiers, under a gunmetal sky. Since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., there have been two attempts to remove the monument, which at one stage had a band of volunteers guarding it by night.

Transfiguration Monastery

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

The Transfiguration Monastery, near Veliko Tarnovo.

Founders Of The Bulgarian State Monument in Shumen

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

A vast concrete lion (top right) clambering from the Founders Of The Bulgarian State Monument on a hill above Shumen. The concrete colossus was opened in 1981 for the 1,300th anniversary of the founding of the Bulgarian state.

Founder of Bulgaria

Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

A detail inside the Shumen monument, recreating the moment the founder of Bulgaria stepped off his horse and, according to legend, plunged his sword into the earth, declaring, “Here will be Bulgaria!”

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