The old capital of Bulgaria, the town of VELIKO TARNOVO, has unique treasures of the Bulgarian historic memory preserved, waiting for their chance to be revealed to visitors.
A sure occasion for festive celebrations and development of the hereditary wealth of Tarnovgrad is the 22nd of March – the feast of the town. On that day in 1230, the Bulgarians defeated the Epirote Despot Theodore Komnenos at Klokotnitsa. In honour of the successful battle, the St. Forty Martyrs church was built on the order of Ivan Asen II.
Symbols of the rise of Medieval Bulgaria are the Asenevtsi Monument (erected in 1985 on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the Rebellion of Asen and Peter) and the Sound and Light Audiovisual Show. The only one in Europe and one of the few in the world, the audiovisual show on Tsarevets Hill recreates, with beautiful colours and well-selected music, “episodes” from the history of Bulgaria. There is an incredible view from the Tsar Ivan Asen II Square, right in front of the fortress.
Attractive is the walk along the Tsarevets Hill. The visit to the palace and patriarchal complex is a unique experience. The relics of the famous Saint Petka Tarnovska were laid in the palace church. In the olden times, there were 23 temples and 4 monasteries in the fortress.
Among the cultural monuments in the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom are the works of Master Kolyu Ficheto. His most famous work in Veliko Tarnovo is the House with the Monkey: a three-storey building built in 1849 and located on two streets between the Old Hali (market hall) and the Samovodska Charshia Complex.
The spirit of the Revival pursues the visitor at every step along the cobbled Gurko Street and between the countless restored houses. Here is also the Sarafkina House built for Dimo Sarafina in 1861 and declared a cultural monument of national importance in 1965.
A symbol of the craft-trade character of the old town is the Samovodska Charshia complex created in the 60s and 70s of the 19th century.
Fine art lovers can visit one of the oldest galleries in the country – the State Art Gallery- and enjoy works from different periods of the Bulgarian art.
The venerators of the Bulgarian literature should visit the Petko R. Slaveykov and Emilian Stanev Museum Houses.
At 4 km from Veliko Tarnovo, the Arbanasi Architectural and Museum Reserve is located. In the village, there are seven temples, including the St. Virgin Mary Temple, where one can worship the miraculous icon of the Virgin, which, according to the local beliefs, helps wishes come true.
At 6 km from the town, the Patriarchal Monastery is located, famous for the literary work of Evtimiy Tarnovski (St. Euthymius of Tarnovo).
Particular attention deserves the Nicopolis ad Istrum Archaeological Reserve – a Roman and Early Byzantine town situated on the left bank of the Rositsa river, created in the likeness of the Asia Minor cities.
Veliko Tarnovo is a town of past and present, of legends and reality, of rich cultural heritage and boiling public life. It has been the intersection of generations of Bulgarians and has kept the spirit of the past epochs sealed in each of its stones.
The emblem of Medieval Tarnovo, from the time it was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, still rises in the eastern part of the town. The Tsarevets fortress is surrounded from all sides by the waters of the Yantra River and still fascinates with its greatness and invincibility. Its spirit is often awakened and revealed by the magnificent sounds of the unique Tsarevgrad Tarnov – Sound and Light Audiovisual Show.
Immediately next to it, the Trapezitsa Hill lies, having the foundations of 17 churches, among which the picturesque Asenova Mahala nestles, with its exquisite and beautiful St. Dimitar, St. Forty Martyrs, St. Apostles Peter and Paul, St. George, and Dormition of the Mother of God Churches.
A must-visit part of every tour of the town is the Museum of Revival and the Constituent Assembly located in the Old Konak. The building of the Turkish institution was built by the legendary Bulgarian Master Kolyu Ficheto. It was where in 1879 the Tarnovo Constitution was adopted.
Next to the Konak, there is the Archaeological Museum, keeping finds from all eras of the Bulgarian history.
The old-fashioned Gurko Street still preserves, intact for its visitors, the unique architecture of the incredible Sarafkina House and the lovely St. Konstantin and St. Elena Church.
Varusha is another neighborhood that has kept the spirit of the Bulgarian Revival. Here, the cobblestone Samovodska Charshia meanders between craft workshops, souvenir shops, and picture galleries.
Near the town of Veliko Tarnovo, the Arbanasi Architectural Reserve nestles. The small mountain village with winding streets and authentic houses from the Revival period captivates the visitor at first glance.
In the vicinity of Veliko Tarnovo, one can also see the remains of the majestic ancient Roman city of Nicopolis ad Istrum.
The region of Veliko Tarnovo offers many pleasant entertainments and surprises as well as almost countless historical sights from all periods of the Bulgarian history.