Published On: Thu, Jan 2nd, 2020

Bulgaria Budget Trip to Ancient Sites, Black Sea

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Located in the Balkan Peninsula, in south-eastern Europe, Bulgaria is punctuated by the kinds of places that some travelers dream of, with medieval monasteries and wondrous caves with ancient wall frescoes. Tourists can relax in beachfront towns with the remains of Greek temples to Apollo, Roman ruins. Or, visit fortresses and palaces. To see how life used to be lived, visit old towns where folk arts are still practiced, and attend festivals where folkloric legends are celebrated.

Bulgaria, Home to Nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites

For those interested in cultural and natural history, a foolproof way to organize a trip to a foreign country is to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites.

UNESCO’s World Heritage is the “designation for places on earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.” It’s a list of almost 900 magical places, from Ghana to Australia.

There are nine World Heritage sites in Bulgaria. This is, relatively speaking, a lot; Argentina and Holland, for instance, have fewer designated UNESCO sites. In Bulgaria, UNESCO has identified the following as worthy of preservation: two parks, Srebarna Nature Reserve and Madara Rider, the ancient City of Nessebar, Boyana Church, two Thracian tomb areas, a pink-tinged fortress-like monastery deep in the mountains called Rila Monastery, and Ivanovo, a dramatic cave church with wall and ceiling frescoes.

Touring Sofia and Two World Heritage Sites in Sofia’s Environs (Days 1-3)

Day 1: Spend the first day getting adjusted, after arriving in Sofia. (It’s a flight of about ten hours from New York City.) Explore this historic capital city, with its museums and churches. Sofia is known for Bulevard Tsar Osvoboditel, a yellow brick road in the governmental center; the bricks were a wedding present from Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria in 1907 to his cousin, Prince Ferdinand. For food, choose among many restaurants specializing in the nation’s varied culinary traditions: Slavic, Turkish and Greek.

Bulgaria Budget Trip to Ancient Sites, Black Sea

Day 2: Rila Monastery, dating from about a thousand years ago, is one of Europe’s oldest monasteries. It is about 60 miles south of Sofia. Considered a destination for history buffs and Christian tourists alike, the medieval murals are a must-see. Getting there is half the fun; the road twists through rocky caverns, and when you arrive, you discover yourself in a verdant wooded area surrounded by mountains and the Rilska River below. Spend a day here.

Day 3: Visit Boyana Church, a World Heritage site comprised of three churches with frescoes dating as early as the 11th century. Located in a suburb 90 minutes outside of Sofia, Boyana Church is known as a perfectly preserved medieval monument with significant paintings.

See Cave Paintings, World Heritage Site at Ivanovo (Day 4)

It’s worth the four-hour trek east to the see the cave paintings and churches at the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Dating from the 12th century, this was a religious center, an ecclesiastical village of hundreds of churches, each hand-hewn by monks. The medieval religious frescoes, painted in still-visible hues of yellow, blue and reds (ascribed to the Slavic Tarnovo School of Painting), are amazing.

Black Sea Resort and World Heritage Site at Nessebar (Days 5-6)

Finally, wind up at the shore at another World Heritage site, the ancient City of Nessebar. Today it is a popular Black Sea tourist resort, with a population of about 10,000. Like a flip-book of history, Nessebar has the remains of an acropolis and temple of Apollo, 13th century frescoes in St. Ivan the Baptist Church, Byzantine fortresses and monuments, and wood homes that have survived from the 1800s.

On a rocky peninsula you can get a sense of why, in ancient times, Thracian fishermen and, subsequently, 6th-century Greeks settled here. Nessabar was a famous trading center on routes crisscrossing the Aegean and Mediterranean regions.

This brief itinerary just touches the tip of the iceberg of tourist destinations in Bulgaria. Summertime visitors might want to take a side trip to the thousand-year old city of Bourgas, a seaside capital on the Bulgarian Baltic coast, boasting a restored 2nd-century Roman Spa. Or, go to a spa (there are 600 hot springs in Bulgaria) or hit the slopes at such ski resorts as Borovets, Bansko, Chepelare, or Pamporovo.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News andTech Preview.

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