Bulgaria Central and Eastern Europe Europe

Veliko Tarnovo

Stories and Photos from our travels to the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire

Destination 》EuropeCentral and Eastern Europe  》Bulgaria

Year Visited: 2018 – August


After spending few days in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, my son and I took a marshrutka for Veliko Tarnovo to continue our backpacking trip through Central and Eastern European countries.

Veliko Târnovo, one of Bulgaria’s oldest towns, often referred as the “City of the Tsars”, was built around a major bend in the Yantra River that carved steep hillsides. The Old Town is separated into 3 hills: Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, and Sveta Gora. The town has as its centerpiece the magnificent restored Tsarevets Fortress, citadel of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

Pictures below are from our few days stay in the picturesque charming old town paved with cobblestones.

City of Veliko Târnovo is built on three hills; view of Sveta Gora hill.
Veliko Târnovo, was built around a major bend in the Yantra River
Tsarevets fortress, a medieval stronghold located on a hill with the same name, served as the Second Bulgarian Empire’s primary fortress and strongest bulwark between 1185 and 1393, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces.
The main entrance of Tsarevets fortress.
Asen Dynasty Monument, An homage to the medieval rulers of Bulgaria. Ivan and Peter Asen led a bloody rebellion against Bulgaria’s Byzantine overlords in 1186. The Asen family went on to found a powerful dynasty, and ruled Bulgaria for a century. The statues depict the first four Asen rules; Ivan, Peter, Kaloyan and Asen II. Each Tsar flails a sword on a horse reared up on its hind legs. They circle a huge sword pointing up to the sky.
Lunch with a view and cold beers.
Zagorka, a Bulgarian beer brand from the city of Stara Zagora.
Walking around the old town of Veliko Târnovo.
Sunset over Veliko Târnovo.
Trapezitsa fortress; a medieval stronghold located on a hill with the same name. During the Second Bulgarian Empire the first castle of the Asen dynasty was built on the hill. The Monastery of St Ivan Rilski (John of Rila) was located in this fortress, the relics of the Saint were kept there until 1495.
Veliko Târnovo after dark.
Veliko Târnovo after dark.
Light and Sound show at the Tsarevets fortress.
Light and Sound show at the Tsarevets fortress.
Church of Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki, the church was the place where the anti-Byzantine Uprising of Asen and Peter was proclaimed in 1185; it was this uprising that led to the re-establishment of the Bulgarian Empire and the proclamation of Tarnovo for its capital. It is theorized that it was a royal church in the early years of the empire.
An ancient stone bridge with the Tsarevets fortress in backdtop.
View of the outer town, on the way to Arbanasi, a small town known for the rich history and large number of historical monuments, such as 17th- and 18th-century churches.
Lunch at Arbanashki Han (The Hadjihristov House), One of the oldest house in Arbanassi, built in 1646.
Backpacking Buddies!

As these were day trips, we came back to our cool hostel in Sofia every night. After couple of days in the capital city, we went to Veliko Turnovo by a marshrutka (shared taxi).

By Window on The World

In May 2017, 23 days before I was going to complete 50 years, grabbed an opportunity and took an early retirement.. Picked up a backpack and traveling ever since.. Love to travel around the world, experience different culture, local cuisine & drinks .. and take pictures.. so far been to 108 countries and still counting...

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