Towns and villages - Veliko Tarnovo
It is among the most frequented Bulgarian cities. A brilliant capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom during the 12th-14th centuries, Tarnovo has been the living symbol of Bulgarian statehood over the ages. The picturesque city is 241 km from Sofia, 85 km from Lovech, 46 km from Gabrovo, 42 km from Tryavna, 105 km from Rouse and 7 km from Gorna Oryahovitsa.

Part of the territory of Veliko Tarnovo has been declared a museum reserve with three zones, also including the territory of the village of Arbanassi.

Tarnovo became the capital of the restored Bulgarian state directly after the uprising of Assen and Peter (1185-1187), which put an end to the Byzantine rule. During the following two centuries (1186-1393), when the Bulgarian state had reached the peak of its development, Tarnovo developed as a major political, economic, cultural and commercial center, known throughout Europe. In its area and population, the Bulgarian capital of that time was among the largest cities in the European Southeast. During that period, magnificent palaces, monasteries, churches, fortifications, bridges and big buildings were put up.

The medieval Turnovgrad [Tarnovo town] extended over the Tsarevts, Trapezitsa, Momina Krepost, and Sveta Gora hills and Assenova Mahala neighbourhood by the Yantra River.

The two main medieval fortresses rose on Tsarevets and Trapezitsa hills. The strong fortifications guaranteed the security of  “the inner town”, spreading on the two hills. Living by the side of the Yantra in the Assenova neighbourhood, where the so-called New Town emerged, were craftsmen and local merchants, while the residential district of the foreign merchants (Frank Hissar) was southeast of the Baldwin Tower. The residential districts, making up the so-called “inner town”, were also protected by fortifications. Outside the fortifications were only the dwellings of the poorest people living right by the side of the river.

No doubt, of highest interest for visitors, is the time when the city had been the capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom.
Tsarevets Architectural and Museum Reserve

Rising on Tsarevets hill was the citadel (the fortified central part) of the medieval town. This main fortress of the medieval capital protected the Palace of the Bulgarian Kings – an architectural compound, strongly fortified by fortress walls and towers, covering an area of 4,772 sq m. The representative and administrative buildings, connected with the functioning of the authorities and the royal premises were to be found in this independent fortress. The palace Church of St Paraskeva (St Petka) was also located here, buried in which were members of the ruling dynasty. The Residence of the Bulgarian Patriachs (Patriarchate) rose on the highest place of the hill. It included an architectural compound of buildings, made up as an independent fortress in an irregular angular shape (with fortress walls, gates and towers) spreading on a total area of about 3,000 sq m. The patriarchy church of the Holy Ascension was in the center of the inner courtyard. This is a cross-domed, three apse church with two narthexes. There is a premise attached to the south facade of the church, which had been a belfry tower – a rare phenomenon in Balkan church architecture. The uncovered numerous fragments of multicoloured marble and glazed ceramic slabs are evidence of the elaborate decoration of the church. The floor mosaic had been particularly beautiful. Kept in the church were the relics of St Mihail Voin [Warrior], a Bulgarian boyar, honoured as a warrior and a healer. They had been brought by Tsar Karloyan in the early 13th century. Two compounds are also situated in the citadel, inhabited by members of the aristocracy. The remaining area was densely built with two-storeyed dwellings, divided in residential districts. The foundations of more than 320 residential and housing buildings have been unearthed. Every residential district had a church of its own. Perilously overhanging the Yantra River in the southeast end of Tsarevets is the Lobnata Skala [Execution Rock], from which condemned traitors were thrown into the river. A tower, protecting the Frankhissar Gate and the water reservoir of the Yantra, rose in the southeast end of Tsarevets. Legend associates this tower with Emperor Baldwin, taken prisoner by Tsar Kaloyan in the battle at Adrianople in 1205. The tower, commonly known as Baldwin’s Tower, was restored after a design by Architect Rashenov in 1930-1932.

The fortress on the Trapezitsa hill was the second in importance to that on Tsarevets. In the 12th-14th century it was called “The Glorious City of Trapezitsa”. Fortified by strong fortress walls, following the curve of rocks overhanging the Yantra, it was also densely built with houses. Some 17 churches were also erected. The Monastery St Ivan Rilski [John of Rila] was also within that fortress. Transferred in it in 1194-1195 were the relics of the wonder-maker of Rila a kept there for nearly three decades. It was precisely from the capital of the Assens that the cult for the Bulgarian national saint spread beyond the frontiers of the kingdom, acquiring significance throughout the Eastern Orthodox world.

Veliko Turnovo

 
Discover Bulgaria
This tour presents the highlights of the Bulgarian culture and historical heritage: the famous golden treasures of the Thracians, the unique frescos and icons of Bulgarian monasteries, picturesque Rivaval towns and wonderful landscapes.
Monastery Tour
Seculed ath the foot of the mountain or perched on the hills, but always amidst vivid scenery have been a genuine treasury of Bulgarian spirit.Fantastic mural paintings and frescoes made by the hand of familiar or unknown icon painters cover the interior of the churches.
Three Mountains
Bulgarian landscape is fascinatingly diverse-low and high mountains,valleys and meadows, beaches and bays.Enjoy the the charming of the Bulgarian towns, still preserving the atmosphere of National Revival period –a unique combination of a legendary history and and fascinating present
Daily tour Koprivshtitsa
One of the most charming small Bulgarian towns-a museum of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture.Every street and house tells about the heroic past of this ancient town.A unique collection of ethnographic treasures,Revival works of art and embroidery has also been preserved.
Daily tour Rila Monastery
The holy ground for all Bulgarians.It is a symbol of their national identity and dignity.Visitors are impressed by the the pure harmonious line of the buildings, the exquisite colonnades and arches.
Daily tour Sofia
Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with thousand of years of history and monuments from different civilizations.Sofia celebrates on September 17 , as this is the day of its patron-saints Viara(Faith), Nadezhda(Hope), Lyubov(Love) and their mother Sofia which in Greek means “wisdom”
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