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Sightseeing

Misionis fortress

Misionis was a large ancient town and fortress. It is located 7 km away of town of Targovishte in region Krumovo Kale, on the northern edge of the steep gorge of the river Vrana in Preslav Mountains. The catsle dating back to V-VI century.

After excavations there were found remains of fortress walls 3-4 meters in height, remains of a large church, guard and residential buildings. The slopes of the hills were occupied of neighborhoods and in one of them was found a second large Christian church – basilica. In the vicinity were found also marble columns, antique stone objects, Roman pottery, medieval cemeteries and others.

Probably the fortress Misionis existed until the end of the XIV century and was destroyed during the Ottoman invasion.

Veliki Preslav – former capital

The town of Veliki Preslav is situated on Golyama Kamchia River, 30 km away from Pliska, the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire, 20 km away from Shumen, the district centre, and 25 km away from Targovishte. Veliki Preslav was established more than 1100 years ago as a town-fortress under the reign of Knyaz Boris I (852 – 889). After the Preslav Council of the Church and the People of 893, it was declared the capital of the Bulgarian state.
Preslav was known as a spiritual and literary centre where the development of the Slavic written language and the Golden Age of Bulgaria during the rule of Tsar Simeon I (who reigned in the period 893 – 927) took place.
In medieval Bulgaria, Preslav became one of the most beautiful and grandeur towns in Southeastern Europe where significant monuments of the culture of Pliska and Preslav were later discovered.
In 970 it was conquered by Knyaz Svetoslav I of Kiev who moved the capital of Kievan Rus’ there. In 971 the Byzantines led by Emperor Ioan I Tzimiskes conquered and plundered the town. In honour of his victory, the Emperor renamed the town after himself calling it with the Byzantine name Ioanopolis. Preslav remained under the Byzantine rule during the 11th and 12th centuries. When the Bulgarian state was reestablished after the uprising of boyars Asen and Peter against the Byzantine rule, Preslav became a Bulgarian fortress again.
Just like Pliska, the fortress of Preslav consisted of inner and outer fortification systems. The inner …… READ MORE AT https://bulgariatravel.org/veliki-preslav-national-historical-archaeological-reserve-veliki-preslav-great-preslav/

Founders of the Bulgarian State Monument

The Founders of the Bulgarian State Monument is located 6 km away from Shumen, at 450 m above mean sea level. It stands on Ilchov bair Hill, on the territory of Shumen Plateau Nature Park.
The idea to build the monument was conceived in 1977 during the preparations for the celebration of the 1300th anniversary since the establishment of the Bulgarian state (681). Construction began in August 1979 and the monument was officially opened on 28 November 1981. The monument was designed and built by sculptors Krum Damyanov and Ivan Slavov, architects Georgi Gechev and Blagoy Atanasov, artists Vladislav Paskalev and Stoyan Velev, and design engineer P. Hadzhov.
The monument consists of two groups of concrete blocks separated from one another by small spaces. The biggest outdoor mosaic-triptych in Europe can be seen here. Together with 21 sculptures, they symbolise the establishment, development and progress of the Bulgarian state in the period 7th – 10th centuries.
Khan Asparuh (who is considered to be the founder of Bulgaria) is depicted first, standing with his sword stuck in the ground, hands raised and pointing in different directions to where the Bulgarian state will be. His sculpture is followed by the 18 m-tall sculptures of Tervel, Krum, and Omurtag (Bulgarian khans who reigned in the 8th and the 9th centuries). They are surrounded by fragments of old Byzantine chronicles. The wise thought… READ MORE AT: https://bulgariatravel.org/founders-of-the-bulgarian-state-monument/

The Madara national historical-archeological reserve

The national historical-archeological reserve “Madara” is located 17 km northeast of Shumen, 2 km from the village of Madara and 75 km from Varna.
Towering cliffs, beautiful natural surroundings, and plentiful water drew people here from the dawn of history.
First settled during the Neolithic Age (the late Stone Age), it has been occupied ever since. Over the centuries, rock sanctuaries were founded here, as were palaces and other habitations, fortresses, temples, hermits’ retreats and monastic complexes, places for solitude and for communal celebrations. Visitors can observe evidence of the material and spiritual cultural development of many ethnic groups – the earliest inhabitants, Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Bulgars, Turks, and others. Today dozens of monuments and artifacts from all epochs can be seen.
There are a number of hypotheses relating to the origin of the name Madara. Some historians think that it is connected to the ancient Greek epithet “madaros” which meant “naked”, “bald-headed”, or “treeless”. Others attribute an Old Bulgarian origin to the name, in which case it could mean Holy Cliff or Holy Place.
The first studies of Madara’s ancient history were completed in the 1930s, when two burial mounds were excavated on the plateau. An inventory of the gravesites yielded information about trade relations between the resident Thracians and Greek colonies situated in Asia Minor and along the neighboring Black Sea coast.
The Thracians had long used the caves… READ MORE AT: https://bulgariatravel.org/the-madara-national-historical-archeological-reserve/

The Pliska National Historical and Architectural Reserve

Roughly 29 km from Shumen and just 2 km from present-day Pliska are the remains of Bulgaria’s first capital. Pliska was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire, from 681-893. The Pliska National Historical and Architectural Reserve was declared an important national cultural and historical landmark in Issue № 46 of the State Decrees for 1970.
The location of the capital was not chosen at random – the valley surrounded by the hillsides of neighboring plateaus appealed to the proto-Bulgarians as a favorable place to pasture their herds. The location was also at an intersection of major thoroughfares.
The first structures at Pliska date from the end of the 7th century. They were made of wood and either circular or rectangular. Some were living quarters, while others served different purposes. The first palaces were surrounded by fortified walls and in the surrounding fields, villages were built to house workers. At the end of the 8th century and the beginning of the 9th century, buildings made of stone replaced those made of wood. It is thought that the first stone structure was the palace of Han Krum. In 811, the capital was razed by the Byzantine Emperor Nikifor.
The imperial compound at Pliska was rebuilt during the reign of Omurtag (814-831). A new throne room was built where the throne room of Krum had been before it was burned down, and a high brick wall was erected around the palace and the adjoining living quarters and fields. When Bulgaria accepted Christianity in 864 under King Boris I (reign 852-889), Pliska also underwent changes – the pagan temples were rebuilt as Christian churches and new churches were built. The most impressive of those was The Great Basilica, remains of which can still be seen today. In 889, King Boris established a monastery, and its first prelate was the king’s oldest son Vladimir (Rasate). However, when Vladimir attempted to re-introduce paganism he was blinded and imprisoned in a dungeon. In 893, Simeon I (reign 893-927) assumed the throne, and the capital was moved from Pliska to Preslav. READ MORE AT: https://bulgariatravel.org/the-pliska-national-historical-and-architectural-reserve/

Pobiti Kamani (Upright Stones) – Stone forest

The natural phenomenon Pobiti Kamani, also known as The Stone Forest and Dikilitash, is situated on an area of 7 square km at a distance of about 18-20 km from the city of Varna, and a few kilometers from the town of Beloslav.
The natural landmark consists of an ensemble of stone columns, up to 10 meters high, hollow or thick cylinders, crossed cones, variously shaped and sized rock blocks and multiple stone pieces spilled around the entire complex.
The Pobiti Kamani had been famous as a sacral place since antiquity, but they were documented for the first time in 1829. They were declared a natural landmark by Order No РД-817 of 23 August 2002.
For thousands of years, the nature has carved stone pieces to turn them into impressive sculptures, which look like people, animals, monsters, mythical creatures, etc. “The Stone Guards”, “The Camel”, “The Throne”, “The Stone Forest” are names of just a part of these natural pieces of art.
The ensemble “Dikilitash Group” is the most famous and attractive for the tourists. It is situated at about 18 km west from Varna and is easily accessible from Route Е70. The complex consists of more than 300 different in size columns, situated in a stripe with sizes 850 meters x 120 meters, and about 50 structures are situated in a smaller area to the south. Some of the columns are broken into two or three parts, some are lying on the ground as if they had been uprooted from their places, and others form interesting sculpture groups.
The Strashimirovska Groups is… READ MORE AT: https://bulgariatravel.org/dikilitash-pobiti-kamani-upright-stones/

Tsarevets – Architecture and Museum Reserve Tsarevets, Veliko Tarnovo

Architectural and Museum Reserve Tsarevets is one of the most frequently visited tourist sites in Bulgaria. It is located on Tsarevets Hill in the old part of the town of Veliko Tarnovo.
The hill was first settled as early as the 3rd millennium BC. In the 5th and 6th centuries it housed the largest city of the Byzantine Empire in the province of Moesia Inferior – Zikideva.
In the 9th century a Bulgarian settlement was founded there, which grew rapidly. The construction of the defensive wall, which still stands today, started in the 12th century. The wall was 1,100 meters long, up to 3,40 meters thick at certain places, and over 10 meters high.
The fortress had three entrances, the outlines of which can be traced today. The main entrance, which was defended by fortress towers, is located to the west. The second entrance, the so-called Little Gate (Asenova Gate), is situated in the northwest part of the fortifications. The third entrance, Frenkhisarska Gate, in the southeast end of the stronghold, was guarded by a defensive tower known as the Baldwin’s Tower. It is named after the Latin emperor Balwin of Flanders who was captured by Tsar Kaloyan (King Kaloyan) in the Battle of Adrianople from 1205. Legend has it that after the battle Baldwin was interned in this tower where he later died.
The central part of the fortress houses the Royal Palace Complex – several buildings surrounded by an internal stone wall, two battle towers and two entrances. It includes the Throne Room, the Palace Church and the Royal Chambers.
In 1185 when Tarnovo was declared the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Tsarevets became its principal fortification and home of its aristocracy. For more than 200 years the city bustled with political, economic and cultural activity and was one of the largest cities of Southeast Europe, while the fortress was the most important one in Bulgaria.
In the northernmost part of Tsarevets there is an outcropping over the Yantra River, known as the Execution Rock. From the 11th to the 14th century, traitors of the state were thrown from it into the river, and in the 16th century a monastery was built there.
The restoration of Tsarevets began in the 1930s and was completed in 1981 on the occasion of the 1300th anniversary of the foundation of the Bulgarian State.
Today, the road to the main entrance with its great gate, imposing walls and turrets and the Baldwin’s Tower are masterfully restored. On the very top of Tsarevets Hill is the Patriarchate, reconstructed in 1981. Its scale and architecture are impressive, with striking iconography depicting the rise and fall of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
Below it stands the Royal Palace. Excavations have uncovered the foundations of 470 residential buildings, inn, aristocratic homes, 23 temples and 4 city monasteries. The finds include pieces of gold-embroidered clothing and gold jewellery from the… READ MORE AT: https://bulgariatravel.org/architecture-and-museum-reserve-tsarevets-veliko-tarnovo/

Wine testing Ovcharovo

Complex “Chateau de Berger” is located under the slopes of the Preslav mountain, protected area “Urumovo lale” in the village of Ovcharovo, Targovishte. The complex is small, boutique and consists of own winery, hotel, spa and restaurant. It offers the guests spectacular views, impressive cuisine, excellent wines from the cellar of the winery and incomparable peace and quiet. And all around you – nature!

The winery produced its first vintage of 100,000 bottles in 2014, making the hotel suitable for meetings of sommeliers and ordinary lovers of good wine. Used vines are Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. More at: http://www.hotelmap.bg/ovcharovo-hotel-chateau-des-bergers.html


Sherif Halil Pasha Mosque, Shumen

Sherif Halil Pasha Mosque, also known as Tombul Mosque is located in the town of Shumen. It was built in 1744. The design of the temple was influenced by the tulip oriental architectural style which developed at the beginning of the 18th century. It is characterised by the inclusion of elements from the French Baroque.
Together with the complex of buildings surrounding it, the temple is the biggest and most architecturally significant mosque in Bulgaria and is preceded only by Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey on the Balkan Peninsula.
Tombul Mosque was declared a monument of architecture and construction by virtue of publication in State Gazette, issue No 22 of 1975. The mosque is also one of the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.
The architectural complex takes up an area of 1730 sq m. All parts of the complex are included in a common structure and are interconnected by inner courtyards.
An open lobby area with tall Moresque arcades leads to the prayer hall. It is supported by four massive marble columns. There are five domes in the lobby area.
The main edifice of the temple is a square-plan (15 m x 15 m) rectangular prism. The prayer hall is lit by four rows of windows, the upper three rows being made of stained glass. The interior and the exterior are decorated with sculptural ornaments and Baroque elements.
Original paintings on the ceilings and the walls covered by subsequent layers of paintings were discovered during… READ MORE AT: https://bulgariatravel.org/sherif-halil-pasha-mosque-shumen/

Regional history museum Targovishte

The museum in Targovishte was established in 1951. Since 1960 it has acquired the status of a district museum. Currently the Turgovishte museum is a regional one. The structure includes five departments – Archaeology,   History of Bulgaria XV – XIX century, New and Recent history, Ethnography and Funds. It preserves over 25,000 museum values. The museum maintains four  sites – the Archaeology exposition is in the Old school “Hadji Rusi”, the Ethnography exposition is in the Hadjiangelov house,  the house – museum “Nikola Simov – Kuroto” and the Bulgarian Revival school “St. Sedmochislenitsi”. The first three sites have permanent exhibitions, while the Revival school presents the temporary exhibitions. The museum develops research and publishing activities. It organizes educational programs and archaeological research.

Dormition of the Theotokos Church, Targovishte

Dormition of the Theotokos Church (Bulgarian: Църква Св. Успение Богородично / Tsŭrkva Sv. Uspenie Bogorodichno) is an Eastern Orthodox church building in Targovishte. It is one of the finest examples of the middle and late Bulgarian National Revival church architecture.

The building is situated in the Varosha Quarter – the old town in Targovishte. The church was built in the period 1847–1851 by Usta Dimitar from the Tryavna School. Initially the bell tower was a wooden structure next to the building. The three-naved church is built from stone on 510 sq.m. In 1860, the interior decoration, including the chancel-screen, was made, again by artists from the Tryavna School. In the very beginning of the 20th century the present elegant bell tower was added by Gencho Novakov, on a design by the Italian Paul Forlani.