Town of Shipka Blugaria

I came back to the town of Shipka from Shipka Pass. The rural town is quiet and peacefull. The guide took me to the Thracian tomb in the mound of Shushmanets first.

Scenery of Shipka

The Thracian tomb at Shushmanets Mound is a masterpiece of Thracian architecture. It was built as a temple in the 4th century BC and later used as a tomb.

Thracian tomb Shushmanets comes intto view.

Temple in mound Shushmanets is dated 4th century BC. It was robbed in the antiquity.

Arrived in front of the Thracian tomb at Shushmanets. Let’s get into the tomb.

The temple has a long and wide entry corridor and an antechamber, a semi-cylindrical room supported by an elegant column. The top of this column has the form of a knucklebone.

Inside of the museum, from here walking into the tomb.

The Antechamber

The central room is circular in shape, supported by a beautiful polished Doric column ending with a large disc symbolizing the sun. The tomb’s columns represent Thracian beliefs about the universe and the creation myth.

The Central Room

Archaeologist Georgi Kitov discovered the tomb in 1996. Thracian ruins, “Thracian tomb Griffins” and “Temple in the Helvetia Mound” are near here.

Thracian tomb in Shipka, from a guidebook.

After the Thracian ruins I am going to the next destination, Shipka Memorial Church.

Leaving the Thracian Ruins.

Going to the Shipka memorial church.

Arrived at the parkinglot of Shipka memorial church.

It started rainning.

Shipka Memorial Church

Shipka Memorial Church or Shipka Monastery (Memorial Temple of the Birth of Christ) is a Bulgarian Orthodox church built in the town of Shipka between 1885 and 1902

The western facade and the entrance

The church is, together with the other parts of the Shipka Monument complex, dedicated to the Russian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian soldiers that died for the liberation of Bulgaria in the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78.

Interior of the church

The church altar and the dome

The opening and consecration of the Shipka Memorial Church coincided with the 25-year anniversary of the Battles of Shipka Pass. In 1970, the temple was proclaimed a national monument of culture.

The onion-shaped gold-plated domes

The church’s bell tower reaches a height of 53 m and its bells, the heaviest of which weighs 12 tons, were casted from the cartridges that were collected after the battles.

The church yard

The statue of a girl mourning the war dead

Leaving the Shipka Memorial Church

Leaving the town of Shipka

Sayonara (Goodbye) the town of Shipka! It was a lot of fun. Arigato! (Thank you!).

Shipka Pass Bulgaria

.Shipka is a town in central Bulgaria, part of Kazanlak Municipality. It lies in the Central Balkan Mountains, at 650 metres above sea level. As of 2005, Shipka has a population of 1 333.

From the city of Kazanlak, I’m going to the little and famous town of Shipka, Bulgaria.

Arrived in a small town of Shipka.

Let’s go to the Shipka National Park-Museum  first.

Shipka National Park-Museum is the open-air museum founded on the same area where the decisive and bloody battles of the Russian-Turkish Liberation War took place during the 1870’s which ended Turkish rule in the Balkans. Serbia, Montenegro and Romania, the Bulgarian Opalchentsi and the Finnish Guard Regiment also took part in the war on the side of Russia.

Shipka Pass (altitude 1,306m) is located 13 km noth from the town of Shipka on the winding road.

Parking lot at the Shipka Pass.

Arrived in the parking lot of the Shipka Pass I’m going to climb the monument hill.

From the Parking lot climbing the long stone stepsin the forest.

After a while the Monument of Librty comes into view.

Climed the stairs of about 900 steps you can reach the top of Mt. Stoletov (1,326 m). It was really hard to walk up the steps. You shouid come here when you are young.

Arrived in a small square.

There are some reliefs of the battle here.

Battle fighting relief here.

Arrived at the Shipka Monument of the Liberty I’m going into the monument.

Monument of the Heroes or Shipka Memorial (Monument of The Liberty).

Monument of the Heroes Shipka

The monument is part of a national park-museum Shipka. “Monument of The Liberty” is a monumental construction, located at Shipka summit in Stara Planina Mountain, north of town of Shipka. The memorial complex was erected in memory of the fallen Bulgarian volunteers and Russian soldiers during the Shipka battles in the summer of 1877.

Second floor of the Shipka Momument.

On the ground floor of the memorial there is a large marble sarcophagus, where bones of Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers are kept. On the next floors there are various objects , military flags and relics related to the epic battle.

View from the top of Monument of Heroes

After the museum of Monument of the Heroes I will go back to the town of Shipka. 

Cannon at the time of Bulgarian War of Independence

There is such a monument on the way back.

It is the monument of the “September 1927 Armed Uprising” Bulgaria.

Wandering about Kazanlak

From the Rose Valley I arrived in the Park of Rose Garden of Kazanlak, that’s located in the city centre.

Park Rose Garden

The Rose Museum is in the Park of Rose Garden. Let’s get in the museum.

Exhibition room of the Rose Museum, Kazanlak.

Rose-picking/producing has been an important industry in Bulgaria since at least 1650. The first export of rose oil was recorded in 1740, sold to a French perfume company as a raw material for the much-desired essential oils.

Description of Kazanlak’s Roses

Farming Tools for Roses, Distillation Still, Containers of Rose oil and Rose Fragrance Research Desk.

Flower Bed of the Rose Museum

Ethnographic Complex “Kulata” is a Folk Museum in the Кулата (Kulata) district of Kazanlak. 

Ethnographic Complex “Kulata”

Kurata Folk Museum

Kulata Museum of Ethnographic Complex (Folk Museum) is originally a mansion of the wealthy Hazenov who produced rose oil.

Let’s get in the fork museum.

The visitors can expect to taste rose jam, rose juice and rakia first.

The second floor of the house : veranda, guest room, bedroom and its chest of drawers.

I’m going out to the garden from the exit of the graund floor.

Old Barn and Corrupted Wagon

The garden of the Kulata Ethnographic Complex (Museum) is very beautiful.

The Church of St. Prophet Elijah is right next of the Hulata Fork Museum.

Church of St. Prophet Elijah

Interior of St. Prophet Elijah Church, Kazanlak

The church was built around 1812 as the first Orthodox Church in Kazanlak. In order not to annoy the religious sensitivities of the Ottomans, only the roof of the church was above the ground, and to enter one had to climb down the 12 stair steps.

Beautiful Altar, Church of St. Prophet Elijah, Kazanlak.

If you would like to know about Prophet Elijah, you should read Paulo Coelho’s work “Fifth Mountain.” I really love it.

Church Yard of St. Prophet Elijah, Kazanlak

Thracian Tomb is also located in the Kulata district of Kazanlak. 

Walking up this stone starway to the Thracian tomb.

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is a vaulted brickwork “beehive” tomb near the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria.

Protective House of the Thracian tomb Kazanlak, it’s not open to the public.

Discovered in 1944, this tomb dates from the Hellenistic period, around the end of the 4th century BC. It is located near Seutopolis, the capital city of the Thracian king Seutes III, and is part of a large Thracian necropolis.

Walking to the artificial ruins of Thracian tomb, Kazanlak

Replica of the Thracian tomb.

Photos at the time of excavation and structure of the tomb.

Thrugh the narrow entrance ( a hole in rock), walking in to the tomb.

The tholos tomb (Beehive tomb) has a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals representing Thracian burial rituals and culture.

Narrow corridor to the burial chamber and its ceiling with mural paintings.

Mural paintings on the walls of the corridor, Thracian Tomb

Thracian Tomb, round burial chamber. Mural painting on the dome-shaped ceiling.

These paintings are Bulgarian’s best-preserved artistic masterpieces from the Hellenistic period.

Chariot Race

Thracian King and Queen

Exhibition Room of Thracian Tomb, Kazanlak

The oldest settlement of Kazanlak dates back to the Neolithic era (6th-5th millennium BC). During the 4th-3rd centuries BC, the land of Kazanlak was within the dominion of the Thracian ruler Seuthes III and took an important place in the historical development of Thrace during the Hellenistic era. 

Unearthed articles from the Thracian tomb, Kazanlak

I did not know anything about the Thracian history and culture, but this Thracian tomb was very interesting. It was really fun.

Left the the Thracian tomb, I stopped by a nearby souvenir shop and  bought some items, because the seller was very beautiful.

The souvenir shop near by Thracian tomb

Is Bulgaria a production center of the beautiful woman?

Rose Valley Kazanlak

Landscape, going to Kazanlak from Veliko Tarnovo.

The city center of Kazanlak, Seuthopolis Square.

Kazanlak is a Bulgarian town in Stara Zagora Province, located in the middle of Kazanlak Plain, at the foot of the Balkan mountain range, at the eastern end of the Rose Valley. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Kazanlak Municipality. The town is the tenth biggest industrial city in Bulgaria, with a population of 47,325, in 2011 census.

Arrived at the city centre of Kazanlak, I’m going to the famous rose valley.

Rose Valley Map

The Rose Valley with the cities Sopot, Karlowo, Kalofer, Kazanlak (from west to east) between the Balkan Mountains in the north and the Sredna Gora in the south.

Rose fields

The Rose Valley of Kazanlak stretches for 10-12 kilometers and is 95 kilometers long with an average height of 350 meters and an area of 1895 square kilometers.

When I got there at 9:20, the rose picking was over. But a lovely girl welcomed me.

The Rose Festival starts.

They are enjoing the rose festibal.

Locals and visitors are enjoing local danc with fork song.

Rose Queen Appears

Kids enjoy the festival.

A friendly woman took me to guide the village by the carriage.

It’s time to say goodbye to the children.

Leaving the Rose Valley.

The locals were very kind. Since I am old, I will never visit this place again. But I will not forget about them. It was very fun, happy time. Arigato (Thank you) and Sayonara (Goodbye).

Veliko Tarnovo

After the tour of Arbanassi I left for Veliko Tarnovo, it began to rain. I arrived at Veliko Tarnovo 3:00pm, it continued to rain.

Distant viw of the ruins, Tsarevets Castle in the rain.

Veliko Tarnovo is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province.

Czar AsenⅡPlace and Samovodska Charshia in Veliko Tarnovo

Samovodska Charshia (market) square is where the people of nearby Samovoska village came to sell their home-grown produce in the second half of the 19th century.

Samovodska Charshia was quiet in the rain.

Walking to the booked hotel in the rain.

Yantra Grand Hotel and the reception Veliko Tarnovo

After taking a short rest in the hotel, I went out for a walk in the evening.

Monument of the Asen Dynasty.

Veliko Tarnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famously known as the historical capital of the Asen Dynasty, Second Bulgarian Empire, between 1187 and 1256. With its unique architecture, it is attracting many tourists.

Dense houses on the bank of Yantra River.

Veliko Tarnovo, with a population of 72,938 inhabitance, is an important administrative, economic, educational, and cultural centre of Northern Bulgaria.

Night view from my hotel room.

The next morning I went out to explore the historical town of Veliko Tarnovo.

Monument Mother Bulgaria

The monument of Mother Bulgaria is dedicated to those killed in 4 wars – Russo-Turkish 1877-1878 Serbo-Bulgarian 1885, Balkan wars 1912-1913 and First World War.

The Mother of Bulgaria

In the crypt of the memorial eternal flames are burning, and on top of it the statue of Mother Bulgaria is kneeling with flag in hand. The memorial complex is built in the flower garden with benches.

From the Mother of Bulgaria, walking to the ruins of “Tsarevets”

The ruins of Tsarevets Fortress.

Tsarevets is a medieval stronghold located on a hill with the same name in Veliko Tarnovo. It served as the Second Blugarian Empire’s primary fortress and the strongest bulwark from 1185 to 1393, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces.

Ruins of Tsarevets

View from the ruins

Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God

The Gate of the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Ascension of the Lord

The Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God is a former Eastem Orthodox  cathedral in the city of Veliko Tarnovo. Located on top of the fortified Tsarevets hill in the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, the cathedral was the seat of the Bulgarian patriarch from its construction in the 11th–12th century to its destruction in 1393.

The interior of the cathedral.

The cathedral was mentioned in a number of medieval sources. One of the earliest described the transfer of the relics of Saint Michael the Warrior to the cathedral on the order of Tsar Kaloyan, who ruled 1197-1207. In the late 14th century the last Patriarch of Tarnovo, Saint Evtimiy, referred to it in his writings as the “great patriarch’s Cathedral of the Holy Ascension.”

Mural painting of the Patriarchal Cathedral, Veliko Tarnovo.

The cathedral was destroyed along with everything else in the fortress when the Ottomans captured it in 1393. It was fully reconstructed in 1978-1981, which you will note was during the communist rule of Bulgaria.

These are somehow mysterious cathedral wall paintings.

After the Cathedral I was wandering about Tsarevets Hill.

Leaving Tsarevets Ruins for the old town of Veliko Tarnovo

Main Street of Veliko Tarnovo; Walking to the old town.

I got back to the square of Bulgaria Mother and will be going to roam the old town of Veliko Tarnobo from now on.

Monument of the hanged; Walking in the old town of Veliko Tarnovo.

The monument of the hanged is located at the foot of the historic Varosha neighborhood in Veliko Tarnovo, at the place where the participants in the April uprising in the First Turnovo Revolutionary District are hanged.

Samovodska Charshiya Street in the Old Town.

Step into the alley of the old town of Veliko Tarnovo, there are stone houses on the stone pavement. A market named Samovodskata is welcoming tourists.

Traditional houses in the old town of Veliko Tarnovo.

Souvenir shop in old town of Veliko Tarnovo

Small stores such as goldsmiths, ceramics, woven fabrics, leather goods, wood carvings, paintings, embroidery and lace handicrafts have been erected since ancient times and you will become fun just by looking and walking.

Street art in the old town of Veliko Tarnovo.

Somehow, this is a pleasant picture.

Unique street art, old town of Veliko Tarnovo

Boundary between Old and New town, and New Town of Veliko Tarnovo

I arrived at the boundary between old town and new town, the houses are densely packed on the slope beyond the Yantra River.

Monument of Asen Dynasty is from here.

I’m going to the monument of the Asen Dynassty and will take some photos.

Walking to the monument.

The Asen dynasty founded and ruled a medieval Bulgarian state, called in modern historiography the Second Bulgarian Empire, between 1187 and 1256.

Monument of the Asen Dynasty

The Asen dynasty rose as the leaders of Bulgaria after a rebellion against the Byzantine Empire at the turn of the year 1185, 1186 caused by the increase in the Imperial taxes.

Veliko Tarnovo was Capital of the Asen Dynasty, Bulgaria

It is time to part from Veliko Tarnovo. Farewell! After this I’m going to the next distination Kazanlak, Bulgaria.

A celebrity from Veliko Tarnovo; Sumo wrestler Kotoōshū Katsunori (琴欧洲 勝紀), his legal name is “Karoyan  Andō,” Who was born February 19, 1983 as Kaloyan Stefanov Mahlyanov in veliko tarnovo, Bulgarian.

Kotooshu receives the Emperor’s Cup for winning the May 2008 tournament. His retirement sumo match, with his parents and wife.

In January 2014 Kotoōshū obtained Japanese citizenship, a requirement of becoming an elder in the Japan Sumo Association, and he announced his retirement during the following tournament in March. In April 2017 he opened his own training stable, Naruto.

Arbanasi Bulgaria

Arbanasi is a village in Veliko Tarnovo Municipality, central northern Bulgaria, set on a high plateau between the larger towns of Veliko Tarnovo and Gorna Oryahovitsa.

Hotel Winpalace Arbanasi Bulgaria, I took a late lunch at the hotel’s terrace.

After lunch, I decided to explore the village of Arbanasi. It a tiny village with a population of 331 inhabitants in 2010. However, the village is known for the rich history and large number of historical monuments.

Arbanasi Map

Scenery of the Arbanasi.

Walking to the village center, traditional houses in Arbanasi.

Village Centre of Arbanas

Decided to go to the Hadjiiliev House Museum first. I am walking a peaceful and unpopular country road.

The Hadjiiliev House was built in the second half of the 17th century and is a wonderful example of the Renaissance architecture of the period.

Arrived at the Hadjiiliev House (Architectural) Museum Arbanasi

Unfortunately, the door of the museum was closed and there was no one in the vicinity so I could not go into the museum. Then, I was going to the local museum of Konstanzaliev House.

Walking to Konstanzaliev House Museum.

Arrived at the museum Konstanzaliev House. “Let’s get in the museum.”

The Konstantsaliev house was originally built in the 17th century. It has been beautifully restored in National Revival style. It reflects not only the wealth of the owners but also the attention to detail and the quality craftsmanship of that time.

Courtyard of Konstanzaliev House

Entrance of Konstantsaliev House

Floor plan of Konstantsaliev Konstanzaliev House Museum

Originally it was owned by the Tafrili family, and was later bought by the wealthy merchant Atanas Konstantsaliata. It is an ethnographic museum in nowadays.

Inside of the museum

Livung room, Jewelry box, Room with fireplace and Kichen

Kitchen pots jars and traditional textile fabrics

The diverse museum exhibition of the Konstantsaliev’s house represents the way of life of the wealthy merchants in the period of the zenith of the village in 16-17 century.

Left the museum of Konstanzaliev House, I’m walking to the Church of Nativity.

Arrive at in front of Church of the Nativity in Arbanasi.

The church yard

Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi: Pay the entrance fee and enter the church.

Church of the Nativity is the earliest and the most richly decorated church in the village of Arbanasi. It was originally built during the 15th century the simple low level building. The oldest layer of wall-paintings is from the end of 16 century.

It consists of a naos, a narthex, a gallery and a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

Inside of the Church of the Nativity

One of the most interesting scenes is the genealogical tree of Jesus Christ with the twelve ancient philosophers. It is in the narthex.

Iconostasis, Church of the Nativity in Arbanas

Amazing mural painting of the Church of the Nativity

The Wheel of Life

“The wheel of life” is the most impressive wall-painting in the gallery of the church. This is the earliest presentation of the scene on the walls of Bulgarian churches.

Leave the Church of the Nativity,

Souvenir stands are there.

After the Church of the Nativity, take a walk around the village.

Flowers from Arbanasi

It’s time to leave for the next place of destination, Veliko Tarnovo.

Distant view of Veliko Tarnovo, from Arbanasi.


Village of Madara Bulgaria

Next morning, I went for a walk around the hotel with the cameras after breakfast.

Balcony of my hotel room, “Primorski” citizen swimming pool, the street to the pool in front of the hotel and the statue of “The Dragons in Love.”

Created in the 2010 the statue of “Lovers dragons” is located in the Sea Garden of Varna, near the swimming complex “Primorski”. Now It’s one of the symbols of city of Varna.

Left the Panorama hotel in Varna, I’m going to the next destination of a little village called Madara in the morning. It is 80km to the village of Madara and will take about an hour.

On the way to the village of Madara, I stopped by a strange place called “Stone Forest.”

Stone Forest (Pobiti Kamani)

The Stone Forest (Stone Desert, Bulgarian Pobiti Kamani) is a widely scattered group of rock formations. It is a natural phenomenon, rocky desert located on the north west of the Varna Province border.

Stone Desert, Bulgaria

They say that it is a natural phenomenon, but some rock pillars are looked like as artificial for me. I think that it is a trace of an ancient temple or palace.

Left the Stone Forest, I am going to the destination, village of Madara.

Scenery on the way to the village of Madara Bulgaria.

Going to the mountain road into the village of Madara.

Madara is a village in Shumen Province, northeastern Bulgaria, part of Shumen municipality. It is a tiny village with a population of 1146 (2015 census) and the main industries are animal husbandry and dairy farming.

As entering the village of Madara, the Orthodox Church of “St. George and St. Triveli” is coming into view first.

The church of St. George the Victorious and St. Triveli and its interior, Madara Bulgaria

The Orthodox Church of St. George the Victorious and St. Triveli in the village of Madara was consecrated and opened on April 27, 2011. The church was new and beautiful.

The village centre of Madara.

Madara is famous for the Madara National Historical and Archaeological Reserve, located 1.5 km east of the village centre. Most importantly, Madara is the location of the famous Madara Rider, an 8th-century large rock relief carved by the Bulgars (Turkic semi-nomadic warrior tribes). So I’m going to there soon.

Arrived at the parking lot of the Historical Archeology Reserve of Madara.

The opposite of the parking lot is the Historical Museum of Madara.

The entrance of the National Historical Archaeological Reserve, Madara.

Roman ruins of there,

Madara Mountains, the relief of Madara Rider is on this steep cliff.

I’m going to walk up the stone stairs from now on to this steep cliff. I think that as I am old, it will be hard.

The stone steps to the Madara Rider, a Kaval seller was perfoming the end-blown flute on the way.

The kaval is a chromatic end-blown flute traditionally played throughout Bulgaria Romania and Armenia. The kaval is primarily associated with mountain shepherds.

Kavals, unique flutes.

The kaval is fully open at both ends, and is played by blowing on the sharpened edge of one end.

Arrived at the terrace in front of Madara horseman.

The Madara Raider (or Madara Horseman) is an early medieval large rock relief carved on the Madara Plateau east of Shumen Province in northeastern Bulgaria, near the village of Madara.

The relief of Madara Rider (or Horseman) Bulgaria.

The Madara Rider, representing the figure of a knight triumphing over a lion, is carved into a 100-m-high of the cliff.

From the terrace of Madara Rider, I returned to the foot through the mountain path.

Cave church and dwelling of monks.

The Historical and Archaeological Reserve has Christian churches and monasteries from the First Bulgarian Empire.

I am walking down the mountain pass to the village Madara.