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    10 Locations in Bulgaria That Will Make You Go Crazy About It

    Bulgaria, largest South Slavic land in Balkans has a great history where it changed it’s shape from …

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    Good list, though I would have put other stuff instead of the Black sea resorts (which nowadays are the top alcohol & sex destination in Europe). Instead of them it would have been better to put the capital Sofia, or let’s say something in the Rhodopi mountains. Anyway good list and keep it slavic :)



    Perhaps add some short descriptions as well (though I would indeed recommend adding Sofia instead of some of the current entries, some of which could be emerged; as well as getting better pics for others)? Here’s some from me:

    1. One of the most notable cultural monuments of Bulgaria and originally founded in the 10th century by Bulgaria’s patron St. Ivan of Rila, the monastery has suffered several destructions, with the current buildings having been erected in the middle of the 19th century, after a fire broke out in 1833. The oldest building is the defensive tower, built in 1335 by the Serbian vassal Hrelja, also known in the Bulgarian heroic epos as Hrelyu Shestokrili (Six-winged Hrelyu). The monastery is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1983 and its museum also houses Rafail’s Cross – a magnificent, yet relatively small wooden cross, which depicts 104 religious scenes and 650 miniature figures.

    2. With its cultural and historical past, its preserved architecture from the 18th-19th century, its beaches and the annual Apollonia art festivals, as well as recent archaeological discoveries, Sozopol is a prime spot for the summer cultural tourism in Bulgaria. Best known during the Antiquity as Apollonia Pontica, the town is one of the oldest Greek colonies on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and one of the main cities in the Pontic Pentarchy. It was famous with the colossal statue of Apollo, the patron deity of the town, later moved to the Capitol in Rome. More recent discoveries which made world headlines were the supposed relics of St. John the Baptist (in a monastery on the nearby island of Sveti Ivan) in 2010 and the medieval “vampire” Krivich in 2012.
    [Potential replacement pics – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

    3. The second-biggest Bulgarian city, Plovdiv is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe and the 6th oldest in the world, having been founded more than 6000 years ago. Throughout the ages it has borne various names – Eumolpias, Philippoupolis, Pulpudeva, Trimontium, Paldin, Filibe, Plovdiv. Respectively, like the whole of Bulgaria, it has been ruled by various people, like the Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Bulgarians and Ottomans, but it has also seen Persians, Celts, Goths, Huns, Crusaders and Russians passing through or even settling down. It is also the centre of the millennium-old Armenian diaspora in Bulgaria, making it possibly the most cosmopolitan city in the country. The Old Town of Plovdiv is most famous for its ancient Roman ruins (including one of the best preserved Roman theatres in the world) and for its Bulgarian National Revival architecture. It is also host of the Plovdiv International Fair and was selected to be the European Capital of Culture in 2019.
    [The most iconic image of Plovdiv is its Roman theatre, though the Revival houses are ok too. Or maybe this video?]

    To be continued…



    4. Belogradchik, meaning “little white town”, is home both to the Belogradchik Rocks and the beautiful Belogradchik Fortress. The Rocks are a natural phenomena – rock formations made largely of limestone and shaped by time and the elements into peculiar figures, each of which has a specific name and legend associated to it. The rocks also hold hundreds of caves, including the Magura Cave, most famous for its ancient cave paintings from 10 000 years ago.
    [Most iconic image – the fortress and the rocks, though the current one is ok as well.]

    5. Koprivshtitsa, its name originating from the Slavic word for “nettle” (kopriva), is a historic town in Bulgaria, well known for its large number of well preserved National Revival architectural monuments from the 19th century – 383 in total. It was also the site of the first shot, which started the April Uprising in 1876, whose savage suppression by the Ottoman Turks led to the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878 and the consequent liberation of Bulgaria from nearly five centuries of Ottoman rule.

    6. Often referred to as “The Pearl of the Black Sea”, Nesebar is a rich city-museum, defined by more than three millennia of ever-changing history. Originally a Thracian settlement, the town became a Greek colony, with the name Mesembria, in the 6th c. BC, becoming one of the main five competing colonies on the Black Sea coast. The city preserved its importance during the Middle Ages as well, for a time even becoming the seat of the Byzantine navy operating in the Black Sea and Danube region. It first became part of Bulgaria in 812, when Krum the Fearsome conquered the city and captured the Greek fire stored in it. It was also the last part of Bulgaria to be conquered by the Turks, finally falling in 1453, together with Constantinople. Due to its abundance of historic buildings, it has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1983.
    [Current image isn’t bad, but more iconic are the windmill, the Old Bishopric or some of the other churches, or an aerial shot]

    7. The City of the Tsars, Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire from Petar and Asen’s uprising against the Byzantines in 1186 until it fell to the Turks in 1393. The name of Tarnovgrad comes from the Old Bulgarian word for “thorny” (“tranov”) and is a testament to the city’s great defensive position, its walls perched atop the steep cliffs, rising from the meanders of the Yantra River. During the second Golden Age of medieval Bulgaria, in the reign of Tsar Ioan Alexander (1331-1371), the city was described as “Tsarevgrad Tarnov”, “God’s preserved city”, “The Great Tarnov”, “The queen of cities” and the Byzantine patriarch Kallistos even called it “second in both words and deeds after Constantinople”. And the idea of the Bulgarian capital as a Third Rome did indeed spread in those times, put out only by the eventual Turkish conquest of the city, though the idea itself lived on with the Bulgarian monks fleeing to Russia, where it was eventually realized. Today “the city of the bolyars” is still one of leading Bulgarian towns in terms of culture and education and was one of the top 4 candidates for the 2019 European capital of culture.
    [Veliko Tarnovo definitely needs a better pic. The most classic one is the Tsarevets Hill, with the lion, or the Sound and Light show]

    To be continued…



    8. The smallest town in Bulgaria is huddled on the southern slopes of the Pirin Mountain, amidst sand pyramids of various forms (it is presumed that the town’s name comes from the old Slavic word “mel”, meaning “white clay”). First mentioned in the early 11th century, when it was conquered by Byzantine emperor Basil II, the town today is also famous for its medieval ruins and National Revival monuments, but most of all – for its wine-making traditions, particularly wine made from the local sort Shiroka Melnishka loza, reportedly a favourite of Winston Churchill. The town’s many wine-cellars thus offer a perfect opportunity for gourmet and wine tourism.

    9. The Seven Rila Lakes are a group of glacial lakes, situated in the north-western part of the Rila Mountain. The lakes, named after their most characteristic features (the Lower lake, the Fish lake, the Trefoil, the Twin, the Kidney, the Eye and the Tear) are located one above the other and are connected by small streams, which form tiny waterfalls and cascades. The inspiring natural beauty of the place attracts many mountain hikers, as well as the members of the White Brotherhood, who practice their paneurythmic dance every year on the 19th of August near the Kidney lake. July and August are also the most appropriate time to visit the Rila lakes, due to the usually friendly weather in those months.
    [Current image is good, but potential replacements could be this or this]

    10. While Bulgaria also has a well-developed ski tourism for the winter, in places like Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo, it is the summer Black Sea resorts, which are still the most popular. Perhaps most famous of them all is Slanchev Bryag (Sunny Beach), although in the recent years it has gained fame (or infamy) mostly for its wild alcoholic tourism industry. Other, more family-friendly resorts include Albena, Zlatni Pyasatsi (Golden Sands) and Ahtopol, while the still wild beaches of Irakli are a favourite place for the modern hippies, especially on the 30th of June, when people gather to welcome the July Morning under the sounds of the eponymous Uriah Heep song (with John Lawton himself usually performing it live on Kamen bryag – the country’s easternmost point and first place to welcome the new Sun). In that same regard, if you’re a fan or metal or rock music, Kavarna is surely the place for you – it’s not only the rock capital of Bulgaria with its annual Kavarna Rock Fest (and with statues and murals of famous rock and metal musicians spread all over the city), but it also offers you medieval history and the expected sea as well.



    Bulgaria is full of locations which can be taxing to one’s sanity. No wonder it’s also full of crazies.

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