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21 Day Tour Of Bulgaria, 2021

 

 

Tour cost:

Minimum number of guests: 2 guests
 Per person in double/twin room sharing € 3 990

Tour cost for two persons: € 7 980

The price includes:
1. Accommodation 20 nights at 3 stars and family hotels, centrally located (taxes included).
2. Meals: all breakfasts at hotels.
3. Transportation by private A/C car.
4. Bilingual local English speaking tour guide-driver throughout. The guide will drive.
5. Entrance fees to museums and sites as per itinerary

Itinerary: Sofia (3 nights) –Belogradchik ( 1 night ) – Rila Monastery ( 1 night ) – Sondanski (2  nights)- Bansko ( 2 nights) –Koprivshtitza ( 1 night ) - Veliko Tarnovo ( 3 nights ) -Varna ( 3 nights )- Plovdiv (3 nights)  - Sofia (1night)

Bulgaria has 7 UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites and 2 UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites

                  You will visit 8 of them:

·        Boyana Church

·        Rila Monastery

·        Pirin National Park, UNESCO Site, natural

·        Ivanovo Rock Churches

·        Sveshtary Thracian Tomb

·        Madara Horse Ride Relief

·        The Ancient City of Nessebar

·        The Thracian Tomb at Kazanlak

 

Summary:

Bulgaria is an unspoiled pearl in the Balkan mountains of Eastern Europe.

Blessed with a lush countryside and nature, with world’s most exquisite roses Bulgaria has 8 000 years of history. Rich cultural and artistic layers are dating back to prehistoric times.Bulgaria is Europe’s most ancient civilization. Due to its geographic position at the borders between Europe and Asia, Bulgaria has always served as a main bridge between east and west, north and south. It has been a crossroads for many cultures throughout history, it is a melting pot of people and cultures. Numerous tribes and peoples have inhabited these lands as early as the prehistoric and the antiquity ages, and through the middle and late middle ages of world’s history: Thracians, Hellenic Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Ottomans, to mention just a few. Thus, one cultural level has built over the previous one, both merging and influencing one another.

In archaeological terms Bulgaria is one of the most rich countries in Europe.

You will see the oldest gold in the world-Varna Gold- and will learn about mysterious highly developed civilization that have been living 7 000 years ago. You will see fabulous golden Thracian treasures connected with the life, myths and legends about Dionysus and Orpheus that have been living in Bulgarian lands. Bulgaria is the homerland  of another hero- Spartacus.

Join us on this exciting journey to visit one hugely rewarding destination and discover a fascinating country with warm and hospitable people.

Day 1: Arrive at Sofia airport. Meet your guide and transfer to you hotel Sofia.

Overnight at Sofia.

 Day 2: All day in Sofia 

Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning:  Walking sightseeing tour through the downtown area: Roman Serdica Fortifications (3rd-5th centuries); St. George's Rotunda (4th century), famous for its original structure and unique frescoes; St. Sophia Basilica (6th century), one of the most valuable pieces of early Christian architecture in the Balkans; The magnificent splendidly decoratedAlexander Nevski Memorial Church built in the period 1904–1912 to the designs of the Russian architect Pomerantsev.

Drive to the outskirts of Sofia at the footsteps of Vitosha mountain to visit National History Museum, that treasures fabulous Thracian gold treasures.

Also, we will visit the 13th century Boyana Church, a remarkable UNESCO WorldHeritageSite. The murals of this famous church reflect both Byzantine and local traditions of the preceding two centuries. One of the portraits in the church is unanimously considered a genuine masterpiece of 13th century painting, created 200 years before the European renaissance.

Overnight at Sofia.

Day 3 : All day in Sofia:

Breakfast.

In the morning we’ll take a sightseeing walk through downtown area to view some more emblematic architectural and historical buildings that illustrate Bulgaria’s long-lasting traditional ethnic and religious acceptance.

We will see the impressive Sephardic Synagogue, which is the third largest in Europe (next to the synagogues in Budapest and Amsterdam). The building was completed in 1912 and was designed by the Austrian architect Friedrich Gruenanger in a Spanish-Moresque and Byzantine style, preserving precisely the rules of Jewish monotheistic religion, while the temple resembles the Vienna synagogue, destroyed by the Nazis. Adjacent to the Synagogue is the unique Jewish Museum telling about the truly amazing story about the saving of the entire Jewish population in Bulgaria, amounting to 50 000 people, during the World War II. The Bulgarian people, led by their Orthodox Church Metropolitans Kiril and Stefan, stood in the way of the Nazi machine and ultimately not a single Bulgarian Jew was deported to Nazi death camps. Anti-Semitism never had roots in Bulgaria and Jews have always been an integral part of the Bulgarian society.

Close to the Synagogue is situated the beautiful Banya Bashi mosque which is one of the oldest in Europe. It was designed by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan and was completed in 1576. The name ‘banya bashi’ comes from the neighboring natural thermal spas, as in the Turkish language it means “a lot of baths”.

In the afternoon a ‘socialist tour’ of Sofia. We’ll see the monument of the Soviet Army in Borisova Garden to learn about the influence and relations with the Soviet Union and the spreading of Soviet Propaganda into every aspect of Bulgarian life. Then visit the newly opened museum of Socialist Art. Walking sightseeing tour of downtown area along Vitosha Blvd: we’ll see NDK (National Palace of Culture) a genuine ‘product of communist architecture’ - the largest congress hall on the Balkans, which today still holds the annual congress events of the Socialist Party; continue on foot to St. Nedelya Church (normal walk about 20 minutes) to learn about its bombing by the communist party in 1925 that caused over 100 casualties; in the area we’ll see also the huge building of the former Communist Party, where all important decisions for the society had been taken.

Instead of Socialist tour of Sofia  we can have optional  an excursion in the Mt Vitosha to see the ‘stone rivers’ natural phenomenon and enjoy scenic beauties.

Overnight Sofia.

Day 4: Transfer day: Sofia-Vratza- Belogradchik

Breakfast.

Depart Sofia for Belogradchik.

En route visit Vratza. Visit the history museum in Vratsa to see the fabulous Rogozen treasure.

 It consists of 165 silver vessels, decorated by gilding. Multiple mythological scenes are presented on the vessels. It is believed that the treasure dates back to the 4th century BC and was collected by generations of Thracian kings. A golden crown and golden earrings, found in the Mogilan mound, dating back to the 4th century BC are also presented in the Vratsa museum. The Mogilan treasure also consists of a silver knee-pad, a jug and applications.

Continue drive to Belogradchik.

Arrive Belogradchik.

Overnight: Belogradchik.

Day 5: Transfer Day: Belogradchik- Sofia- Rila Monastery

Breakfast.

 Visit The Belogradchik Cliffs, a unique natural phenomenon, were sculpted by natural forces over a period of more than 200 million years.  Their iron ore content gives them their reddish coloration.

They vary in form, and are more than 100 meters high. In 2007, the Belogradchik Cliffs were nominated in a competition to select the New Seven Wonders of the World and they were among the foremost contenders, although they didn’t reach the finals.

Visit Magura cave. According to geological studies, The Magura Cave began to take shape about 15 million years ago. In one of the caverns prehistoric paintings have been discovered, carved into the walls and decorated with bat guano (droppings). The paintings depict the silhouettes of women, men dancing and hunting, people wearing masks, animals, stars, tools, and plants. The paintings date from different eras – the early Paleolithic, the Neolithic, the later Neolithic, and the beginning of the Bronze Age. A solar calendar from the late Neolithic found there is the earliest solar calendar discovered in Europe.It is painted on the walls of the sanctuary hall and depicts 5 festivals and 366 days.

The temperature in the cave is a constant 12 degrees Centigrade, year-round.The cave is used to make sparkling wine, since the conditions in the cave are similar to those required to produce French champagne.

Drive to Rila Monastery via Sofia.

Arrive  Rila Monastery.

Overnight in the vicinity of Rila Monastery.

Day 6: Transfer day: Rila Monastery- Sandanski

Breakfast.

We visit  Rila Monastery; UNESCO World Heritage Site located  in the Rila Mountains, which is an original national museum with a century-old history. The monastery dates back to the 10th century, but has been plundered and burned down several times. The present building was built in mid-19th century. Located in the gorgeous mountain scenery of the mountains, it is considered the highest achievement of Bulgarian monumental architecture of the National Revival period.  Of particular interest are the Museum, and also the 1335 Hrelyo's Tower in the courtyard, which is actually the oldest preserved building, standing alongside the big five-dome church Assumption of the Holy Virgin, which has splendid frescos by some of Bulgaria’s finest artists of the time.

Drive to Sandanski - the birthplace of the Thracian leader Spartacus, who led the largest slave uprising against the Roman  Empire. When the Roman Empire conquered the Balkans gladiator's fight became

part of the acnient everydays life. Man started to join gladiators schools and then to take participate in these attractions. Spartacus is a gladiator, and leader of the famous slave revolt.

Sandansky is also  a popular balneological and spa center. There are 80 springs in the area, the temperature of which ranges from 42 to 81 degrees (Celsius). The salinity of the water is low; it has a rich chemical composition. It is successfully used for treatment and prevention of many diseases of the respiratory tract, artro-rheumatism, diseases of the loco-motor system, the nervous system etc.

The healing mineral water is the main reason for the region to be inhabited since ancient times. The settlement occurred in the 2nd millennium BC.

Arrive Sandanski.

Overnight Sandanski.

Day 7:. One day excursion: Sandanski- Melnik- Sandanski

Breakfast.

Drive to Melnik. The smallest town in Bulgaria (208 residents), Melnik, is nested in the south slopes of Pirin, among sand pyramids with queer forms. It is situated in the Sandanski Municipality and it is only 30 km from the borderline with Greece. The finds from the antiquity discovered upon the archaeological diggings testify for its centuries-old history.

During the 18th century, in the age of the Bulgarian Revival, the town was raised for new life. Melnik turned into a blooming, significant in size and population town, with a large market. The local tradespeople were selling their goods in Budapest, Wien, Genoa, Venice. Melnik also became famous in entire Europe for its good wine, with which it is famous even nowadays.

The most vivid architectural monuments which testify for the economic upsurge of the town at that time are also from the age of Revival.We visit The Kordopulova House (declared an architecture and construction, art and history monument in Issue 25 of the State Gazette of 1998) is the largest building from the Bulgarian National Revival in our country. It was built in 1754 and it was owned by the rich Melnik family Kordopulovi, which were involved in wine producing. The cellars, excavated under and behind the house, with their constant temperature and ventilation, were used for preparing and growing the renowned Melnik wine. Visit wine cellar in Melnik.

Drive to Rupite to visit a spiritual place and learn the astonishing story about  Baba Vanga, a Bulgarian clairvoyant.

Drive back to Sandanski.

Overnight Sandanski.

Day 8: Transfer Day: Sandanski- Bansko

Breakfast.

Morning at leiseure.

Depart Sandanski for Bansko.

Arrive Bansko.

OvernightBansko.

Day 9: All day in Bansko

Breakfast.

Gentle walk in Pirin National Park

Spread over an area of over 27,000 ha, at an altitude between 1008 and 2914 m in the Pirin Mountains, southwest Bulgaria, the site comprises diverse limestone mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and predominantly coniferous forests. It was added to the UNESCO  World Heritage List in 1983. The extension now covers an area of around 40,000 ha in the Pirin Mountains, and overlaps with the Pirin National Park, except for two areas developed for tourism (skiing). The dominant part of the extension is high mountain territory over 2000m in altitude, and covered mostly by alpine meadows, rocky screes and summits.

Sightseeing walk in Basko.

The architecture of the typical houses in Bansko from the period of Revival (18th – 19th century) can be seen in the rest of the museum complex on the territory of the town. The Velyanova house is one of the best models of the Revival architecture. It was built in the 18th century, and nowadays it is declared a monument of culture with national significance and a model of the architectural type of reinforced house. The unique wall paintings and fretworks on the ceilings are made by the artist Velyan Ognev.

The Benina House, in which the Museum House of Neofit Rilski is housed, is also impressive with its architecture.

An exhibition of icons of the Bansko icon-painting school was exposed in 1986 in the old convent, situated opposite to the monument of Paisiy Hilendarski.

Overnight Bansko.  Club hotel Martin

Day 10: Transfer Day: Experience the gauge railway:  Bansko- Velingrad. Drive to  Koprivshtitza

Breakfast.

Depart Bansko to Koprivshtitza.

Today we will experience  narrow gauge railway from Bansko to Velingrad. It is linking Plain of Thrace, Western Rhodopes, Rila Mountain and Pirin Mountain. This railroad is considered one of the most-beautiful in the world. The scenery is varied- you will pass through picturesque valleys peppered with farmlands and bordered by dense forests, Muslim villages with soaring minarets. It’s the slowest train in the Balkans, which is perfectly fine. You will be able to absorb your spectacular surroundings while having plenty of time to snap pictures. Arrive in Velingrad, a renowned spa town with over 90 mineral springs. Velingrad is surrounded by beautiful scenery, has fresh woodland air and curative waters. Sightseeing walk in Velingrad.

Continue drive to Koprivshtitza.

Arrive Koprivshtitza.

Overnight Koprivshtitza.

Day 11: Transfer Day: Koprivshtitza-Shipka Pass- Veliko Tarnovo

Breakfast.

The delightful ethnographic village of Koprivshtitsa, located 120 km east of Sofia, is huddled in the mountain folds and is famous for its National Revival architecture (18th – 19th century). There you can leisurely walk along its picturesque streets and feel the plastic treatment of the stone fencing walls, the large gates and the dignity of the houses amidst the yards. The Koprivshtitsa style house is characterised by exquisite painted facades and sunny verandas, with carved ceilings and stylish European furnishings. 

The small town is a unique combination of a legendary heroic history and fascinating present. There is no other Bulgarian town that boasts such a large number of museum houses and monuments, nearly 400 in number, most of which have been restored to their original appearance. A unique collection of ethnographical treasures, old weapons, National Revival works of art, fine fretwork, household weaves and embroidery, national costumes and typical Bulgarian jewellery has also been preserved.

Koprivshtitsa played an important role in Bulgaria’s history, as it was there that the first shot of the April Uprising against the Ottoman Empire was fired in 1876.

Since 1965 the National Festival of authentic Bulgarian Folklore has taken place every five years in Koprivshtitsa, gathering amateur musicians, artists and craftsmen from all over Bulgaria.

Depart  Koprivshtitza for Veliko Tarnovo.

Enjoy   scenic drive  via the Balkan mountain. The Balkan mountain is mainly located  in Bulgaria – it crosses  Bulgaria from its West end to its East end. The Balkan mountain gives the name of the whole Balkan Peninsula.  The Balkan mountain is called in Bulgarian Stara Planina.  (Which means Old mountain).  We enjoy the spectacular scenery of the historical Shipka Pass in the Balkan Mountains.

Arrive Veliko Tarnovo.

Overnight Veliko Tarnovo.

Day 12: All Day in Veliko Tarnovo

Breakfast.

The scenery of Veliko Tarnovo is breathtaking. Perched on steep hills overlooking the Yantra River, Veliko Tarnovo is one of the most picturesque Bulgarian towns.  The glory of Veliko Tarnovo comes from the middle ages. It was a capital city of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 – 1396), where arts, culture and spiritual life flourished. During the time of the Bulgarian National Revival (18th – 19th century) it was an important center of education, crafts and trade, and played the major role in the establishment of modern Bulgaria after the liberation from Ottoman domination in 1878, being the birth-place of the First Bulgarian Constitution. We will enjoy a guided city excursion through the medieval fortress on Tsarevets Hill We explore the nearby village-museum of Arbanassi, famous for its traditional architecture, and beautifully decorated churches and monasteries, dating from the 17th to 18th centuries. We will visit  the most beautifully decorated St Nativity Church. It was painted in 1597 and 1638 .The Church  is famous with its fascinating scene- Circle of Life.We will visit a house museum.

Drive back to Veliko Tarnovo.

Overnight Veliko Tarnovo.

Day 13: One day excursion: Veliko Tarnovo – Ivanovo Rock Churches, UNESCO Site- Russe- Veliko Tarnovo.

Breakfast.

We depart for our day excursion. We visit  the Ivanovski Rock Churches(11th-14th centuries),UNESCOWorld Heritage Site situatedin Roussenski  Lom park. The Ivanovo Roch Churches which were inhabited by monks during the 11th - 14th centuries, whose walls are covered with valuable murals from various ages. These churches are reached by a climb of more than 200 steps.

Continue drive toRusse on the Danube river.Sightseeing of Rousse called the small Vienna. Rousse is an ancient Roman fort and major Bulgarian port on the Danube River. The river influenced the character of the town, as Ruse owes its appearance to Vienna and Budapest influence. It has a wealth of baroque and neoclassicist buildings; most of them were designed by famous Austrian architects of the 19th century, combining features from diverse epochs.

Drive Back to Veliko Tarnovo.

Overnight Veliko Tarnovo.

Day 14: Travel Veliko Tarnovo  to Varna on The Black Sea Coast

Breakfast.

Depart Veliko Tarnovoto Varna.

En route visit Sveshtary Tomb, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

En route visit Madara Rock Cut Relief, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sveshtary Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (4th - 3rd centuries BC), a UNESCO World Heritage Site,unanimously consideredmiracle of Thracian sepulchral architecture, was discovered below Ginina Mogila mound in 1982 during regular archaeological excavations.

Built of large limestone blocks, it consists of a ‘dromos’ (corridor) and three premises (chambers), each of which is covered by a separate vault. The decoration of the central (burial) chamber is exceptionally rich. Four different Doric and one Corinthian column support a frieze with triglyphs and metopes, between those there are ten female figures (caryatids) with uplifted arms and above them, in the lunette of the vault, is the picturesque scene of deification of the deceased ruler. A massive decorative stone door (naiskos) hid the burial bed from the eyes of the mortals.

A second humbler bed was designed for the beloved wife, who also followed the deceased in his afterlife, while his favorite horses were laid in the lateral chamber and in front of the entrance to the antechamber. Owing to its remarkable architecture and artistic decoration, in 1985 the Sveshtari tomb joined the world cultural and historic heritage under the protection of UNESCO.

A remarkable monument of Thracian art, perfect as architecture, it amazes both with its wealth of sculptural ornaments – the caryatides below the vault, rosettes, styled ox heads, garlands, colonnades, as well ritual of harmonization painted in vibrant colors.

The Madara Horseman rock-cut relief ( 8th century), a UNESCO World Heritage Siteis a relief cut into the rocks, a unique monument both for Bulgaria and for Europe, created in the 8th century. The relief is located in the vicinity of the town of Shumen, hewn out at a height of 23 m above the basis of a rocky formation. It depicts a triumphant ruler in a symbolic hunting scene. The horseman has spread a lion /symbolizes a powerful enemy/ with his lance. He is being followed by a dog /symbolizes his loyal people/, and led by a bird. The figures are almost of life-size and the scene covers some 40 sq meters. The figures are surrounded by inscriptions in Greek, telling about important events that happened in the period 705 - 831.

The sacred rocks of the Madara plateau and the caves inside them were a major spiritual center during the period of the First Bulgarian State (681-1085).

If time allows visit Stone Forest.

Continue drive to Varna. Arrive Varna.

Overnight Varna.

Day 15:All Day in Varna:

Breakfast at the hotel.

Varna, Bulgaria’s third largest city and most important port on the Black sea Coast, is dotted with ancient ruins, fishing villages, resorts and sandy beaches. A busy trading and cultural centre starting with the Greeks in 600 BC, Varna became a major port under the Romans and Slavs, trading with Constantinople, Venice and Dubrovnik.

We will visit:

  • The fabulous  History and Archaeological Museum which treasures the amazing collection of the ‘Oldest Gold’ in the world. These remarkable artefacts (unearthed in 1972 in a local necropolis) date from 4600-4200 BC and have been classified by renowned international archaeologists as the oldest golden objects in the world’ discovered so far. The fabulous Varna archaeology museum houses the internationally renowned ‘Varna Gold', the oldest gold in the world and Europe's most ancient civilization, even older than the Mesopotamian and the Egypt civilization. Some 4,600 years BC, a mysterious civilization emerged on the shores of lakes near the Black Sea—not far from the modern-day city of Varna. For its time, this Varna culture was amazingly advanced, both culturally and technologically. The first evidence of its existence was found in lovely ceramics, bone and stone idols and copper tools. Then an astounding chance discovery came to light, making headlines around the world. Just a few kilometres from Varna was a Copper Age necropolis (cemetery) containing the oldest gold objects ever discovered. Between 4600 and 4200 BC, long before Mesopotamia or the Egypt of the pyramids, goldsmithing first began on the shores of the Black Sea, in the land that is today Bulgaria. Study of the 300 or so graves in the Varna I necropolis showed that there was a highly structured society here in the Copper Age. The richest graves contained gold diadems and sceptres, heavy copper axes and spear points, elegant finery and richly decorated ceramics. A large amount of shell jewellery was evidence of trade with the South, for the molluscs in question were from the Mediterranean. The necropolis contained more than three thousand golden objects together weighting 6 kg (13.2 lb) Two large ceramic plates are also beyond our knowledge of this age- they are decorated with stylized geometrical pattern executed in golden paint. The archaeologists point out that the find of Varna Copper Age necropolis was as important as the discovery of Heinrich Schliemann at ancient Troy and that  Varna necropolis is at least 1500 years older than Troy.
  • We visit the 2nd century thermae (baths)is another renowned archaeological site in downtown Varna, the largest preserved Roman public building in Bulgaria.

Overnight Varna.

Day 16: One day excursion:Varna-Aladzha Monastery- Balchik-Varna

Breakfast.

Drive to Aladzha Moanastery. Aladzha Monastery is situated in a beautiful area 14 km north of Varna, near Zlatni Pyasatsi Resort (Golden Sands Resort), in the centre of Zlatni Pyasatsi Nature Park (Golden Sands Nature Park). There are no reliable historical records as to when the monastery was established, but there is evidence that it already existed in the 10th – 12th centuries.

Aladzha Monastery is one of the few cave monasteries in Bulgaria where the different premises and their functions are clearly distinguishable. The monastery premises are carved and arranged on two levels in a limestone rock that is almost 40 m high. The monastery church, the monastery cells, the refectory, the kitchen, the small cemetery church, the crypt (ossuary), and the farm premises are all situated on the first level. The second level is a natural rock recess in the eastern part of which lies the monastery chapel.

Continue drive to Balchik.Balchik is situated in the north-east part of the Bulgarian Black Sea shore, 40 km from Varna.The town was established 26 centuries ago by Greek settlers named Krunes. In the 6th century BC the town was named after the Greek God of wine and joy – Dionysus – Dionisiopolis.

In the 4th century BC Dionisiopolis was quite an important economical center. That is evident by the found coins, which had been coined in the town. The name of the God Dionysus was carved on them. The cults for the God of Wine and the Great Mother Goddess Kibela were largely spread.The greatest landmark of Balchik – the Palace – has remained from the period of the Romanian occupation. The Palace was the former summer residence of the Romanian Queen Maria Alexandrina Victoria De Edinburgh (1875 – 1938). The residence was constructed in 1924. The Botanical Garden – another great landmark of the town – is also situated within the borders of the residence.

Drive back to Varna.

Overnight Varna.

Day 17: Transfer Day:  Varna- Plovdiv. En route visit Nessebar, UNESCO Site. En route visit Stara Zagora.

Breakfast. Depart Varna to Plovdiv.

En route visit Nessebar

  • Nessebar,ancient Messambria, is charming seaside town-museum (100 km south of Varna), and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nessebar is particularly beautiful both in its location on a headland by the sea, and because of its many brightly painted 18th and 19th century traditional timber houses and cobbled streets. It is also famous for the impressive remains of fortifications and for the well-preserved late Byzantine churches, built in the period 11th - 14th centuries at the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

En route visit  Neolithic dwellings at Stara Zagora.The Neolithic Dwellings Museum is situated in Stara Zagora and contains finds that are extremely important for the history of mankind. It exhibits the two best-preserved Neolithic dwellings in Europe that date back to the 6th millennium BC. The two dwellings were destroyed by sudden fire millennia ago and this is the main reason why they are so well preserved today. The dwellings have one room each and are separated by a common partition wall. They also share a common roof made of straw and leaves and are built on wooden poles intertwined with thin wooden rods covered with a mixture of clay and straw. Scattered pottery vessels, charred grains of wheat, barley, vetch, and lentils, and a huge set of household utensils were also found on the site where the two dwellings were discovered in 1968.
The Neolithic Dwellings Museum is located in situ, i.e. it is built on the archaeological site in order to protect the discovery.

Continue drive to Plovdiv. Arrive Plovdiv.

Overnight Plovdiv.

Day 18:All day in Plovdiv

Breakfast in the hotel.

Plovdiv is majestic! If you love art and Roman archaeology - this is a fantastic place.

Plovdiv is Europe’s oldest city and the sixth oldest city in the world.

Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s second biggest city, which treasures a history that goes back thousands of years, traces of which have survived to the present day. The Thracians founded Plovdiv during the Neolithic period in the 2nd millennium BC. Later, during the period of the Roman Empire, it was a major centre of the province of Thrace; many archaeological finds dating from the 2nd – 3rd century, testify for those glorious times. Plovdiv willbe the European Capitalof Culture in 2019.

Plovdiv and the region around Plovdiv – attracts of lot of investors from all over the world. Plovdiv is the industrial Tiger of Bulgaria. About 140 modern, top class factories are built around Plovdiv.

Walk along the fascinating Old Plovdiv.

The Old Quarter was built in the 18th-19th centuries as the centre of the Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Along steep cobblestone lanes, behind stone walls and iron-studded heavy oak gates, one could glimpse at verdure and flowers, surrounding the typical Plovdiv symmetrical houses with their painted facades, oriels and jetties and grid windows.

We will visit the Roman period archaeological finds and sites, dating from the 2nd – 3rd century: the Forum, the Stadium, the Fortress Walls, and, above all, the fabulous Roman Amphitheatre, which was built during the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117). It has 28 rows with tiers of marble seats, which can accommodate over 3 500 spectators and today is still functioning.

We will immerse in the majestic atmosphere of the Old Town with the spectacular architecture of the National Revival Period (18th – 19th century) and visit a house museum in the old Plovdiv.

Afternoon drive to Bachkovo Monastery ( 45 minutes drive in one direction). Bachkovo Monastery, second in size only to Rila Monastery . Inaugurated in 1083, it was restored many times. Its oldest building is its church, Sveta Bogoroditsa, which has a rich program of murals, including a powerful ‘Last Judgement’. Elsewhere, paintings depict a varied iconography such as a narrative of the monastery’s history and the slaying of a dragon, a Thracian archetype which was transformed by Christians into the personae of St George and St Demetrios. This image can be interpreted as symbolising the Bulgarian struggle against the Turks.

Overnight in Plovdiv.  

Day 19: One day excursion: Plovdiv – Kazanalak, in the Rose Valley, also known as the Valley of the Thracian Kings.

Breakfast at the hotel.

We depart Plovdiv for Kazanlak.

 The town of Kazanluk is situated amidst the Valley of Roses, the home of the exquisite Bulgarian rose oil, also known as “attar of roses”, a world centre for rose oil production. The oil yield rose - Rose Damask - was brought to Bulgaria from India through Persia, Syria and Turkey. We'll visit a rose oil distillery in the area to learn about centuries-long traditions of rose oil production and its modern development.The top perfumes in the world use the Bulgarian Rose oil as it has best qualities. (The Rosa Damascene usually is blossoming around 20 May-15 June, depending of the weather conditions.)

This area has also became famous as the ‘Valley of the Thracian Kings’, due to the numerous archaeological finds of the Thracian period.  Here we'll learn about Thracian history and culture and will visit the replica site of the world-famous 4th century BC  Thracian tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We will visit the beautiful Iskra Museum in Kazanlak.

We will visit the unique Museum of Roses at kazanlak.

Drive back to Plovdiv.

Overnight Plovdiv.

Day 20: Transfer Day: Plovdiv- Sofia

Breakfast.

Depart Plovdiv for Sofia (two hours drive).

Arrive Sofia. At leisure.

Overnight Sofia..

Day 21:

Breakfast.

Transfer hotel Sofia - Sofia airport for departure flight.  Contact us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Tags: 21 days tour of Bulgaria, Bulgaria Tourism, Tour operator Bulgaria.

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