Veliko Tarnovo Region
Veliko Tarnovo region is rich in history so there are a lot of interesting places to visit.
The dramatic mountain pass between Gabrovo and Kazanlak provides some fantastic scenery and great views of the Stara Planina mountains. Hiking trails criss-cross the landscape providing great opportunites for exploring on foot. At the top of the pass is the Shipka Monument of Freedom where your reward for climbing the 894 steps will be amazing views of the mountains and valleys of the Stara Planina range. At the monument there is a museum containing weapons and paintings in honour of the 7000 Russian and Bulgarian soldiers who died defending the pass against Turkish soldiers who outnumbered them 4 to 1.
Nikopolis ad Istrum – Roman Town
A UNESCO site of historical interest, its name means The City of Victory and this site was once the largest Roman settlement in this part of the world. It was founded by the Roman Emperor Trajan after his victories over the Dacians in 101 and 106. It was built over an area of 30 hectares and is surrounded by fortress walls.The villas, the craftsmen’s workshops and necropolises are to be found outside the walls. A network of streets, the forum surrounded by a colonnade and many buildings, a two-nave room later turned into a basilica and other public buildings have been uncovered in this town. Nikopolis ad Istrum even minted its own coins.This site is still being excavated and a team from the Veliko Tarnovo University can often be seen here.
Huddled in the foothills of the Stara Planina mountains the village of Bojentsi is one of very few settlements that has preserved the authentic Revival atmosphere and architecture. The village has been declared an Architectural and Historical Reserve due to the rich collections in the ethnographic museum, monuments, traditional houses and public buildings. There are several nice restaurants to sample authentic Bulgarian cuisine and the village is well worth a visit if your journey takes you to the south.
Etar Ethnographic Museum
This working life museum is great fun and educational too! Here you can find out about traditional Bulgarian arts and crafts and investigate the water driven equipment powered by the river which winds its way through the beautiful grounds of the museum. There is a full programme of events throughout the year, including opportunities to learn a craft such as pottery, weaving, metalwork, wood-carving and baking. There are also some lovely restaurants, so you can enjoy traditional Bulgarian cuisine in an authentic and shady setting.
Tryavna Wood Carving Village
The town became famous during the Bulgarian National Revival period when it was heavily involved in the development of crafts. Houses from this period feature their own architectural design. The ground floors had irregular forms and housed craftsmen and traders. The upper floors featured wooden bow-windows, the roofs were covered with well arranged rocks. The town square has a beautiful clock tower dating from 1814. Another tourist attraction is the “kivgireniyat” bridge, built above the river behind the clock tower. The wood-carved iconostasis and the bishop’s throne in the St Archangel Michael church are real masterpieces of the woodcarving in Tryavna. The Daskalov house is a museum of woodcarving and icon painting and boasts amazing ceilings.
The cave is a complicated, four storey labyrinth of galleries and branches. In the course of time the rivers formed the cave galleries and halls, this happened within the Early Tertiary and Quaternary. This was the initial period of the cave formation. The effect of water on the limestone rocks has, over hundreds of thousands of years, gradually sculpted the beautiful cave forms; stalagmites and stalactites giving them various bizarre shapes. The impressive lights offer to visitors the chance to see these strange forms of nature with names given by human imagination: The Rain Hall with the Stone flower, the Willows, the Lake of Happiness and the Concert Hall which is situated 18m above the entrance and has excellent acoustics for any singers who visit.
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