Bulgaria Tours: Fly and Drive - UNESCO Sites in Bulgaria - Theme Tours at Pictures of Bulgaria

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Bulgaria Tours: Fly and Drive - UNESCO Sites in Bulgaria

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Programme Name: Fly and Drive - UNESCO SITES in BULGARIA
Programme Code: SIP 03
Tour Duration: 10 days / 9 overnights

Sofia Arrival in Sofia. Pick up the rent-a-car from the airport and check in the hotel. Walking through the city centre of Sofia. Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Sofia - Roads from all parts of the world have been meeting here nearly 7 000 years. Peoples have come and gone, civilizations have advanced and declined, but the city has remained. More than 250 historic, archaeological and architectural landmarks in the city which the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great once called "My Rome".

Our tour includes: National Archaeological Museum, National Theatre, Russian Church St. Nikola, Parliament Square, Alexander Nevski Memorial Cathedral with the most valuable collection of Bulgarian Icons (13-19th c), St. Sofia Church (6th c), St. George Rotunda (4th c), National Palace of Culture.

Ivanovo Rock Monasteries


Rusenski Lom Gorge
Breakfast. Sofia - Pleven - Panorama Monument - Ivanovo Rock Monasteries (UNESCO) - Ruse. Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Ivanovo Rock Monasteries - In the valley of the Roussenski Lom river, in north-east Bulgaria, a complex of rock-hewn churches, chapels, monasteries and cells developed in the vicinity of the village of Ivanovo. This is where the first hermits had dug out their cells and churches during the 12th century. The 14th-century murals testify to the exceptional skill of the artists belonging to the Tarnovo school of painting. In the Late Medieval Period (12 - 14 century) lots of monks came to live there in the hollows of the rocks. In the whole valley of Lomovete the number of medieval monks' cells and churches is over 250. On the territory of the park the rock monastery complexes are over 40.

Rousse - The greatest and the most important Bulgarian town on the Danube river, known also as "Little Vienna" because of its ancient architecture. The town has a long history - from the 5000-year-old prehistoric settlement, the Roman town of Sexaginta Prista, or the Port of the Sixty Ships, and the important Ottoman harbour and fortress, to the present economic and cultural centre where Art Nouveau-inspired ornamentation drips from delicate turn-of the-century houses. About 200 buildings in Russe are listed in the architectural and historical heritage of Bulgaria, the most outstanding of which are: the 1908 Liberation Monument, the Drama Theatre and High School of Music, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Dohodnoto Zdanie, the Kaliopa house and many others. The ancient places of interest include Leventabia Fortress, the Kyuntukapu Gate, the 1632 Holy Trinity Church, the Mahmoud Column. Rousse makes a good base for exploring the nearby Rusenski Lom National Park, home to the dramatic Rock Monastery of Ivanovo and the ruined town of Cherven.


Madara Rider

Breakfast. Ruse - Shumen - Madara Horseman ( UNESCO ) - Pliska - Varna. Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Shumen is an old town of fortresses. Its foundation and development were connected with the fortresses at the eastern end of the Shoumen Plateau. The famous fortress of Shumen was built in 4 basic periods - early and late Antiquity, and early and late Midle ages. Here in 1882 the first Bulgarian brewery was established with Czrch capital - "Shoumensko pivo beer" is still among those much sought after.

Madara Rider - The Madara National Preserve is situated 17 km from the town of Shoumen. A range of cliffs show signs of human presence dating back to the III century B.C. The most famous sight here is a mysterious bas-relief known as the "Madara Horseman". Interesting about the relief is the fact that it is carved into the rockface at a height of 25m above the ground. The details are apparent by sunlight because the monument is so eroded. The carving is said to represent a horseman who is trampling a lion. He holds a pike in one hand and a wine cup in the other. There is a god behind the rider. There are inscriptions around the image of the Rider, which are written in old Greek language and telling about some Bulgarian rulers. The oldest inscription mentions the name of the Bulgarian Khan Tervel - probably the relief was carved in VIII c. There are different oppinions what the relief represents. The Rider of Madara is a unique example of the Bulgarian mediaeval art. It is included in the UNESCO list of cultural monuments with world significance.

Pliska. The town was the first capital of Danubian Bulgaria. Two km away from the present day town are the remains of the imposing construction of Pliska. The town consisted of 3 concentric fortifications - Exterior city, Interior Fortress, Interior city. It is in Pliska that one can trace back the development of Bulgarian Arquitecture from the ancient Bulgaria epoch to the period of adoption of European features.



Breakfast. Varna - along the Black Sea coast - Nessebur ( UNESCO ). Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Varna - Varna is Bulgaria's third largest city. It was an inhabited place even before the Greeks established the colony of Odessos there about 580 B.C. Later, under the Romans and their successors, the Slavs, Varna became a major port trading with Constantinople, Venice and Dubrovnik. In 1393 it was captured by the Turks, who made it an important military centre. Nowadays it is the main port for both naval and commercial shipping and, adjacent as it is to the coastal resorts of Golden Sands, St. Constantine (Drouzhba) and Albena, it has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Of particular interest are the National Revival Museum, the Ethnographic and City Historical Museum, the Art Gallery, the Navy Museum and the Aquarium, the Natural History Museum, the Zoo and the Dolphinarium, the Sea Gardens,17th century Cathedral of the Holy Mother, the 2 century Roman thermae, the natural reserve at Kamchiya, etc.

Nessebar. The town is ituated on a small peninsula and on the land jutted out into the sea. Its beach is considered to be the best along the Black Sea Coast. The big sandy strip is covered with extremely fine and abundant clean golden sand. There are marvellous dunes next to the coast. The churches of Nessebur are 41. Not all of them have preserved their full brilliance but even their present condition strongly impresses tourists. One of the oldest sights is the Basilica situated on the sea-shore, built most probably at the beginning of 5th century. The Old Bishop`s Residence located in the centre of the town, is propably the most imposing one of all churches in Nessebur. more than 25 m long and 22 m wide.


Breakfast. Nessebur - Kotel - Zheravna - Elena. Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Kotel, Zheravna and Elena - small towns, which reached there prosperity in 18th - 19th century as a craftsmanship, trade, Revival and revolutionary centre

Veliko Tarnovo

Elena - Veliko Turnovo - Arbanassi Museum Village - Veliko Turnovo. Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Veliko Turnovo - One of the most picturesque Bulgarian towns. Known under the name of Tsarevgrad Turnov (i.e. King's Town) and Turnovgrad. In the town and its outskirts traces have been uncovered of life dating back to the late Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, the Bronze and the Iron Ages. After the foundation of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1186), the town becomes its capital. In 1393 the town is conquered by the Turks and burned down. During the years of Ottoman rule it is a fortress of the Bulgarian national spirit and one of the centres of the struggle for liberation. In 1879 the Constituent National Assembly has its first session here and adopts the Constitution of Turnovo - the first constitution of the Bulgarian state liberated in 1878.

Arbanasi - Austere houses that resemble minor fortresses on the outside with high, solid walls and heavy gates, iron, rids and secret hiding-places, but which are spacious and comfortable, richly decorated and furnished on the inside.

Shipka Church


Old town of Plovdiv
Breakfast. Veliko Turnovo - Shipka Memorial peak - Kazanluk Thracian Tomb ( UNESCO ) - Plovdiv. Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Shipka Church - In the surroundings of the town of Shipka, on the southern slopes of the Balkan, Bulgarians have built the Birth of Christ Memorial Church in honor to the to the heroes of the Russian-Turkish war of Liberation of 1977 - 1878 - Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers. Its gold plated domes and beautifully ornamented facade stand out against the mountain and attract the attention of all heading for the Shipka pass.

Kazanluk - The town is located in the centre of the valley bearing the same name, whose eastern part is known beyond the boundaries of Bulgaria as the Valley of the Roses. In the Eneolith and Bronze Age was found the Thracian state of Odrissi. From those days are more than 12 burial tombs already found, the most inportant of which is, by no doubt, the Kazanluk tomb, offreing a unique insight into the life of the ancient Thracians. It is one of the 9 cultural, historic and natural sites in Bulgaria included in the UNESCO list of monuments of global importnace. By the end of the 19th century Kazanluk had become well-known for its production of rose oil.

Plovdiv - The Ancient Theatre, the most impressive edifice of Roman time, was excavated during reinforcement works at the southern fortress wall. It offered almost 7 000 seats once. Nowadays it is used for staging opera and theatre festivals, concerts, municipal celebrations, etc. The present-day downtown section of Plovdiv lies on the ruins of an enormous Roman Stadium, which had a length of 180 m and was intended for 30 000 spectators. The contests held here were similar to the Greek Olympic Games and dated back to the rule of Emperor Septimus Severus (193 - 211 AD). An Ancient Forum was found next to today's Trimontium Hotel. Clearly visible here is the difference in the building structure of the Thracian agora made of sandstone and the Roman marble ruins.

The beautiful houses in Old Plovdiv are dated back to the period of the Bulgarian National Revival. Many of them have been proclaimed for cultural monuments revealing the genius of the Bulgarian builders.

All sightseeing tours include the architectural and historical reserve Old Plovdiv. The millennial history of Plovdiv is reflected here with all its cultural diversity. The Three Hills, on which Old Plovdiv was built, are named Nebet Tepe, Djambaz Tepe and Taxim Tepe.

Rila Monastery

Breakfast. Plovdiv - Rila Monastery ( UNESCO ) - Sofia. Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Rila monastery - It can briefly described as a combination nonumental architecture an rich history. It was founded in the X century by Ivan Rilski and used to be the primary spiritual and cultural center of Bulgaria and the whole ortodox enclave. The library contains 16000 volumes including 134 manuscripts from l5th to 19th century, numerous incunabula and documents. The monastery's unquestionable authority influenced the Turkish sultants who confirmed the rights granted by the Bulgarian kings by special firmans. Retaining the names of the donors and the exact date of donation, they represent an original chronicle of the national consciousness, of those pure patriotic feelings and hopes which were inspired throughout centuries in every Bulgarian by the Rila Monastery - the country's largest spiritual and cultural temple.

Boyana Church

Breakfast. Sofia - Boyana Church ( UNESCO ) - Sofia. Overnight.

Sightseeing during the day:
Boyana Church is included in UNESCO list of World Heritage and is considered herald of European Renaissance. Most interesting are the frescoes (1259) which art experts today rate them as a peak of realistic art of those times. These genuine masterpieces of 13th century painting, created 200 years before the European Renaissance mark a remarkable peak in Eastern Christian Art. The portraits of the founder of the church - patron Kaloian and his wife Desislava and of prince Konstantin and his wife Irina are the supreme peak of the skill of the artist. The church is built in three stages - 11th, 13th and 19th centuries. This site is one of the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of east European medieval art.

DAY 10

Breakfast. Sofia - departure