IN SEARCH OF THE BULGARIAN CHRISTIANITY'S ROOTS AND TRADITION
Route: Sofia, Rila Mountain, Plovdiv, Bachkovo, Kazanlak, Burgas, Varna, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi, Troyan, Sofia
Price from: request
The Christian religion has always been one of the cornerstones in the development of the Bulgarian culture and identity, hence its traditions and distinguishing features stem from the early Middle ages when the Bulgarian nation started to form culturally. The Bulgarian Orthodox monasteries were the places where the Bulgarian written language was born and a few centuries later during the time of the Ottoman dominion, they played essential role in the preservation of the Bulgarian free spirit, national traditions and culture. The sanctuaries acted as educational centres, gave shelter to the revolutionaries helping the resistance against the foreign invaders and helped the people preserve their Christian faith for as long as five centuries. Built by renowned architects and decorated by talented Bulgarian artists the Bulgarian monasteries and churches are true masterpieces of their time. Behind the austere stone walls of the places of worship in Bulgarian you will find warm atmosphere and will be impressed by the magnificent frescoes, the intricate woodcarvings and the authentic icon collections.
DAY 1 / WELCOME TO SOFIA!
Our guide will meet you at the Sofia Airport upon your arrival and escort you to the hotel. The afternoon will be devoted to a guided sightseeing tour of the Bulgarian capital Sofia - a colourful blend of numerous ancient sites and modern city landmarks. During the welcome dinner you will have the chance to get to know your fellow travellers who will share the amazing experience with us.
Overnight in Sofia. (dinner).
DAY 2 / THE RILA MONASTERY & PLOVDID
The highlight of this morning will be the Rila Monastery - a true architectural masterpiece of its time fascinating with its distinguished works of art. Our afternoon we will spend in Plovdiv - a city with rich cultural and artistic heritage.Our guided tour will take us to the Old Quarter of Plovdiv famous for its spectacular Roman Theatre, the multitude of tiny art galleries and the authentic cobbled streets lined with Revival period houses.
Overnight in Plovdiv. (breakfast, lunch, dinner).
DAY 3 / THE BACHKOVO MONASTERY, KAZANLAK & BURGAS
Our day starts with a trip to the Bachkovo Monastery - the second in size and importance monastery in Bulgaria founded during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom and impressive with its picturesque location and extensive icon collections. Then we will head towards the heart of South Bulgaria – the Valley of the Thracian kings and the Bulgarian rose “Damascene”. Here we will explore the most interesting one among the ancient Thracian Tombs and learn more about the Thracian’s art and culture that once flourished in these lands. We will reach the vibrant coastal town of Burgas in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Burgas. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
DAY 4 / THE OLD TOWN OF NESEBAR, ALADZHA MONASTERY & VARNA
We will start the day with a short trip to the little peninsula where the UNESCO classified Ancient Town of Nesebar to learn more about its 9-centures long history and enjoy its authentic charm.Afterwards we will set off to Aladja Rock Monastery. Spectacularly carved in a gigantic limestone rock, 40 meters above the ground, the sanctuary is more than enchanting with its 13th century frescoes painted in bright colours. We will spend the rest of the day in Varna – the biggest city on the Bulgarian Black sea coast, hence known as “the Sea capital” of the country.
Overnight in Varna. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
DAY 5 / THE BASARBOVSKI MONASTERY, THE IVANOVO MONASTERY & VELIKO TARNOVO
Today we will travel to the city of Ruse - the biggest Bulgarian port on the bank of the river Danube. The key transport location of Ruse on one of the major waterways in Europe has determined its rapid cultural development and economical growth at the end of the 19th century and turned it into a city with aristocratic West European feel. Next we head towards the single functioning rock monastery in Bulgaria – the St. Dimitar Besarbovski Monastery built into a sheer cliff in the canyon of the Rusenski Lom river. We will also pay a visit to the intriguing 14th century Ivanovo Rock Monasteries situated nearby and then head to Veliko Tarnovo, where we will spend the night.
Overnight and dinner in Veliko Tarnovo. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
DAY 6 / VELIKO TARNOVO, THE ST.PETER & PAUL MONASTERY, THE VILLAGE OF ARBANASSI, THE PREOBRAJENSKI MONASTERY
Our day will start with a guided sightseeing tour of Veliko Tarnovo - the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 -1396). We will visit all significant landmarks of the city starting from the picturesque Tsarevets Fortress and learn about the bravery and pride in the history of the glorious Medieval capital. St Peter & Paul Monastery is where we will head to next. Picturesquely perched on a massive rock overlooking the valley, the sanctuary played an important role in the national uprising from 1185 which lead to the restoration of the Bulgarian state. The afternoon we will dedicate to the village of Arbanassi that used to be an important merchant and cultural centre during the Bulgarian Revival Period. Last but not least we visit the Preobrajenski Monastery to enjoy the spectacular view towards the fertile plains north from the Balkan mountain chain.
Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
DAY 7 / TROYANSKI MONASTERY & SOFIA
Today we will visit first the Trojan Monastery founded in the16th century and home of one of the holiest icons in Bulgarian Orthodoxy - the Three-Handed Virgin. Being among the biggest monasteries in the country, it boosts intricate woodcarvings, splendid frescoes and exquisite architecture. Our afternoon we will spend at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain at the outskirts of Sofia where we will visit the National History Museum and the UNESCO classified Boyana Church with its stunning 13th - century frescoes.
Overnight in Sofia. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
DAY 8 / TOUR ENDS IN SOFIA
Today after breakfast we say “Goodbye” with the promise to keep the beautiful memories we created together. (breakfast)
If you like the suggested program, ideas, services and this is really your kind of holiday please send us your request for further details! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and give you our professional advice. Thank you!
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
- 8 days / 7 overnights
- 7 breakfasts (B), 6 lunches (L), 7 dinners( D)
- 7 nights 4 - star hotel accommodation on a twin-share or double basis
- Guided sightseeing tours of all visited cities and sights
- Escorted services of an experienced guide in the requested language for the whole tour
- Group Size: T/A
- Transport: Modern air-conditioned coach
- The Bulgarian Capital Sofia – where the young and dynamic vibe of the modern urban culture blends with the old east-meets-west feel in the scattering of onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques, Jewish synagogues and socialist monuments
- The spectacular Rila mountain, home of the Rila Monastery - the biggest monastery on the Blakan Peninsula
- The charming Old Quarter of the city of Plovdiv with its spectacular Roman amphitheatre
- The Bachkovo monastery and its stunning frescoes
- The Valley of the Thracian Kings with its ancient tombs
- The ancient maritime town of Nesebar perched on a tiny peninsula in the Black sea
- The Bulgarian Black Sea Capital – Varna
- The Aladzha Rock monastery
- The city of Ruse dubbed “the small Wien” for its aristocratic 19th century architecture
- The beautiful Medieval Capital of Bulgaria Veliko Tarnovo and the spiritual sanctuaries in the heart of the Balkan Mountain