About Bulgaria - Culture

The Bulgarian lands have rich and most diverse cultural heritage. Inhabited since prehistoric times, they keep lasting traces from different ages with rich traditions. Their location on a crossroads explains the intertwining, mixing, the mutual influences of the culture, mores, and religions of tribes and peoples, having lived and crisscrossed the region.

The magnificence of the Thracian treasures is stunning. The unique gold and silver treasures discovered in Bulgaria provide evidence of the richness of the Thracian rulers who lived at the time of the Trojan war , and even three thousand years earlier.Their workmanship is among the highly valued samples of the art of jewellery.
Varna Neolithic Necropolis
The oldest wrought gold in the world was discovered in Bulgaria.The artifacts made of precious metal are considered to be 6000 years old.

The Golden Treasure of Panagyuriste
The Golden Treasure of Panagyuriste dates from the end of 4Th century.B.C. and weighs 6.165kg.This one-of-a-kind of ritual set comprises of a vial(a mug for drinking), an amphora,four rhytons,three jugs.


The Golden Treasure of Valchitran
It is the biggest treasure from the late Bronze age,13th-12Th centuries B.C.The ritual set consist of nine different pots and collecting-plates made of 12.5 kg of pure gold.


The Golden Mask of Tsar Teres.
It was found in a tomb near the village of Shipka.A golden mask was dug out of the mound.It is like the mask of Agamemnon, found by Shliman in Mycenae.The difference is that this one is made of of 23-carat gold and weighs 690g.


Listed among the favourite sites of cultural tourism in Bulgaria are the Kazanluk tomb and the Sveshtari tomb, included in the list of the UNESCO-protected world cultural heritage. Of interest is the Alexandrovo tomb (near the village of Alexandrovo,

The region of the Kazanluk valley (known as the Valley of Roses) became particularly popular in the 1990s, as new tombs were unearthed there, presenting the evolution of the Thracian culture in the 5th-4th century BC. Bulgaria and the world started to speak about the Valley of the Thracian kings.
During the last few years the findings of the Bulgarian archaeologists have been bordering on sensations. Enormous interest has been shown in the Starosel Thracian cult centre (near Hissarya, Plovdiv region), in Perperikon (by the side of Kurdzhali, in the eastern parts of the Rhodope Mountains), where a rock-built sacred city of the Thracians has been unearthed, in Tatoul, in the treasures of Zlatinitsa and Sinemorets.
Traces of structures from Roman times can be identified to this day: fortress walls and forums, temples and thermae, amphitheatres, stadiums and buildings of various assignment in the ancient cities of Philipopolis/Trimontium (present-day Plovdiv), Serdica (present-day Sofia), Odessos (present-day Varna), Pautalia (present-day Kyustendil), Diocletianopolis (present-day Hissarya), Abritus (present-day Razgrad), Nicopolis ad Istrum (north of Veliko Turnovo), Nicopolis ad Nestrum (east of present-day Gotse Delchev), Novae (next to Svishtov), Sexaginta Prista (present-day Rouse).  Among the best known are the ancient theatre in Plovdiv, the Roman thermae in Varna, the museum display in the open of Sexaginta Prista in the central part of Rouse, the impressive remains of ancient thermae (the Asclepion of Pautalia) in Kyustendil and many more.

Of the hundreds churches and monasteries still exiting in Bulgaria ,two sites are of particular interest with their fascinating history and frescos

The Rila Monastery
The Rila Monastery is a complex of comprising cult buildings,dormitories and farm premises,covering area of 8.800 sqare meters.It was established in the 10Th century be the hermit Saint Johnof Rila (876-946). The building have unique architectural features.In the middle of the inner yard is the oldest building of the complex- an impressive stone tower erected by the local feudal Sebastokrator Hreliu in  1334-1335.One of the most valueable pieces inside is the iconostasis decorated with filigree woodcarving.

The Madara Horseman
A symbol of the Indo-European beginning and culture of the highly civilized Bulgarian people
This monument that is one of a kind in the European cultural history is in the region of Shoumen, near the village of Madara. The monumental stone relief was cut on a sheer cliff on the north-west slope of the plateau of Madara in the beginning of 8th century. The horseman cut out spearing with his pike a lion perpetuates the image of Khan Tervel in a solemn pose of a victor. The relief has a symbolic character.The triumphal character of the scene symbolizes the greatness of the Bulgarian ruler who stopped the invasion of the Arabians towards the Old continent forever, raised the authority of Medieval Bulgaria in the European world. Two artistic devices – the flat and the decorative depiction of animal figures that is typical for the East, and the ancient artistic tradition of the Mediterranean countries are mixed in the figure of the horseman. Three inscriptions in Greek language are engraved around the relief. The name “Bulgarians” was mentioned there for the first time, as this was a true recognition for the might of the Bulgarian country.
In 1979 the Madara Horseman was proclaimed a monument of UNESCO.

Kazanlak Tomb
The best-shaped Thracian art monument in Bulgaria and one of the small number of masterpieces of the antique art of painting in good shape up to the present
The tomb was found in 1944 in the region of Plovdiv on the Tyulbeto hill near the town of Kazanlak. It is one of the most valuable models of the Thracian architecture from the end of 4th and the beginning of the 3th century B.C. viewing its construction and functionalism.  The religious building consists of richly painted rectangular antechamber, a narrow corridor and a brick  beehive tomb chamber. A multifigure battle scene is depected on the frieze of the corridor. It represents the heroic deceased man and his wife sitting at a funeral treat together with their servants, musicians, guards and coachmen. The tomb chamber is covered with magnificent mural paintings – a symbolic farewell with the Thracian ruler heading for Hades. These unique artistic stories give us an idea of how the ancient Thracians lived, what were their manners and their way of life, clothing, traditions and beliefs.
In 1979 Kazanlak Tomb was proclaimed a monument of UNESCO.


Boyana Church
The Medieval temple dated back from the 11th – 13th c. impresses with its unique mural paintings, masterpieces of the European medieval art of painting
"St. Nikola and St. Panteleymon" Boyana Church is a medieval temple situated in the region of Sofia. It is located in Boyana Residential District, at the foot of Vitosha Mountain. The oldest temple was built in the 11th c. It was widened and painted several times in the following years during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Since the year of 1259 the mural paintings have been of the highest artistic merit and historic value. Made in the family church-vault, they have more than 89 scenes and 240 figures which completely subjected to humanistic aesthetics new for the Middle Ages. The portraits of the temple founders – Sebastokrator Kaloyan and his wife - Desislava, as well as the portraits of the Bulgarian Tsar Konstantin Asen and Tsaritsa Irina are depicted on the north wall of the church and re-created with an unusual realism and expressivity. They are painted under the following names: Kaloyan — sebastocrator and church-founder, Desislava — sebastocrator and church-founder, Konstantin — Tsar, Irina — Tsaritsa.It is considered that the unknown Bulgarian artist who painted the temple was probably a student at the School of Arts in Tarnovo evident from the style and the mixed fresco-temper technique used by him. And the frescoes, where the Renaissance devices and themes are brightly portrayed, are considered to be one of the most valuable works of the European Medieval art of painting.Today, Boyana Church is one of the cultural symbols of Bulgaria, as in 1979 it was included as a monument of culture into the UNESCO List of Cultural and Natural Heritage.


“Pirin” National park
This is the biggest national park in Bulgaria. In 1983 it was proclaimed an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is situated in the most beautiful part of Pirin Mountain, on an area of 26 480 ha. Animated nature is most preserved from Vihren peak until an altitude of approximately 1 000 m. Here is the location of the oldest tree in Bulgaria called Baykushevata Mura (Baykusheva’s White Fir), which is more than 1 200 years old. There is a great number of rare herbs and protected plants, unique birds and wild animals that may be seen on a comparatively small area of the Park. There are more than 50 peaks with a height of over 2 600 m, about 70 glacial lakes, a number of beautiful waterfalls, mysterious caves and grand precipices that are a part of the enchantment and magic of “Pirin” Park.
The ecological balance, the variegated flora and fauna, the good tourist base, the distinctive villages of Pirin, which preserve the unique folklore and the delicious Bulgarian cuisine, are a real challenge for all nature- and tourism-lovers.


Ivanovo Rock Churches
Unique Monument of the Bulgarian Medieval Art
Ivanovo Rock Churches are situated in the region of Rousse. Dated as far back as the 13th century, they are an unique rock complex of churches, chapels and monastic cells excavated in the rocks near Rusenski Lom River, at a height from 6 m up to 10 m. The story tells that the temples were inhabited by monks as late as the 17th c. Unique scripts and mural paintings dating back from the 13th c., preceding those in Boyana Church and bearing the record of the bloom of a large monastic colony in the 13th – 14th century and the high spiritual culture of Medieval Bulgaria, are being kept in them. With good reason the Ivanovo Rock Churches are considered to be the most significant monuments of the Balkan monumental art of painting.Richly endowed by the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Asen II (1218-1241) and Tsar Ivan-Alexander (1331-1371), Ivanovo Rock Cloisters were also an important place as a literary and enlightener`s centre. It was no accident that the Bulgarian ruler Georgi Terter (who rules from 1279 until 1292) was buried here.
Ivanovo Rock Churches are included into the List of Cultural and Natural Heritage under the protection of UNESCO, as they are one of the nine sites of such kind in Bulgaria. They are a popular beauty spot.


Srebarna Preserve
Some of the rarest plant and animal species in Bulgaria are being preserved in Srebarna Lake and its proximities
The Srebarna Preserve is an unique small spot on the Earth, which has been keeping the cleanness and the primary vigour of nature for millenia. It is situated in the region of Silistra, 2 кm away to the south of Danube River. It covers an area of 600 hectares and includes the Srebarna River and the territories near it. It is representative of one of the most interesting humid areas in Europe distinguished for the great variety of plant and animal species. The most characteristic representatives of the water vegetation in Srebarna Preserve are the water-lilies, the torfaceous snowdrop, the torfaceous forget-me-not, the bulrush and the reed. A great number of the animals in the Preserve, such as: pelican, herons, ibises, wild geese and ducks, crayfish, tortoises, otters are rare representatives of the national and world genetic fund. You can learn everything about the history of Srebarna Preserve and its great wealth of plant and animal species in the unique Natural History Museum built on the lake shore.
Srebarna Preserve has had the status of a preserve since 1948. In 1983 it was also proclaimed a natural monument of UNESCO.


Old Nessebar
An unique architectural preserve of the Black Sea combining ancient monuments dating back from the 4th – 5th century with the pictorial churches of Nessebar dating back from the 5th – 17th century and the cosy houses of the Bulgarian national revival.Old Nessebar is situated in the region of Bourgas. It is situated on a small peninsula connected with the shores of the Bulgarian South Black Sea. Established more than 3000 years ago as a fortified Thracian centre by the name Mesambriya, about 510 BC, it was turned into a Greek colony, organized in a polis. In 812 the town was captured by Khan Krum and it was included in the borders of Medieval Bulgaria.Today, Nessebar is one of the oldest towns in Europe, announced to be a town-museum and a monument of UNESCO. The nature and the making of people cohabit together in it in a perfect harmony. Its picturesque and warm beaches create the sensation for scope and uniqueness. The numerous houses of the Bulgarian national revival dating back from the 18th century, the stone windmills, the quiet cobbled alleys and the cosy squares give special beauty and calmness to the town. The magnificent Bulgarian churches dating back from the 10th – 14th century impress with their picturesque architectural style and their rich surface decoration. And remains of the ancient fortified walls of ancient Mesembriya and early Byzantine temples dating back from the 5th and 6th centuries awake a sense of pride and a sensation of eternity.


The Tomb of Sveshtari
A remarkable monument of the ancient cultural traditions of the ancient Thracians
The Tomb of Sveshtari is in the region of Razgrad. The monument was found in 1982 during the archaeological excavations of a Thracian mound near the village of Sveshtari. It is a unique monument of the Thracian Hellenistic art dating back from the first half of 3rd century B.C. and it is a part of the Thracian religious centre Sboryanovo. The tomb consists of a corridor and 3 chambers with almost a square plan covered with a semicircle shaped vault . 2 stone beds are set in the head tomb chamber. The rich relief decoration over them depicts a scene with a religious character which re-create the defeat of the eminent Thracians. The lengthened proportions of the figures, the construction and the style find a parallel with the pictures of the Thracian tomb of Kazanlak. The building technique and the architectural design, the funeral ritual and the specificity of the decoration bear record that the Thracian ruler was buried here. The highly artistic and the historical value of the monument are a real proof for the contribution of the Thacians in the European and the world cultural heritage.Today, it is a part of the Thracian religious centre Sboryanovo and it cohabits in harmony with many other archaeological monuments – settlements, sanctuaries and necropolis and astonishing nature kept rare animal and plant species. In 1986 the Tomb of Sveshtari was proclaimed a monument of UNESCO.



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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