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Located on the Yantra River, Veliko Tarnovo is often known as the City of the Tsars.  Being the old capital of Second Bulgarian Empire, Veliko Tarnovo has attracted many visitors to the city because of the appealing architecture.  The old part is spread across the hills Sveta Gora, Trapezitsa and Tsarevets amidst the Yantra.  Tsarevets is the home of the Patriarchal Cathedral, palaces of the Patriarchate and Bulgarian emperor, and residential areas protected by thick walls.

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VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – AUGUST 18, 2012: People visit the Old Town in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. According to Tripadvisor it is the 11th most popular attraction in Bulgaria.  (Tupungato / Shutterstock)

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Traditional houses in medieval town of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Copyright: Dundanim)

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VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – MARCH 19, 2016: An unidentified Caucasian man and a girl next to the golden sitting statue of a gentleman  (vicspacewalker / Shutterstock)

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VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – AUGUST 18: People visit the Old Town on August 18, 2012 in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. According to Tripadvisor it is the 11th most popular attraction in Bulgaria.  (Tupungato / Shutterstock)

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VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – JULY 16, 2014: Traditional Bulgarian houses in General Gurko Street in the Old Town  (vicspacewalker / Shutterstock)

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Ox Cart with Flowers in Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria  (Copyright: Gencho Petkov)

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VETRINTSI VILLAGE, VELIKO TARNOVO PROVINCE, BULGARIA – MARCH 15, 2016: Three stray cats sit on the garbage container  (vicspacewalker / Shutterstock)

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Traditional Bulgarian houses in General Gurko Street in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria  (Copyright: vicspacewalker)

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VELIKO TARNOVO,BULGARIA – AUGUST 15: Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, seen on August 15, 2011, is a popular tourist destination in Bulgaria and is also a Unesco heritage site. The city receives thousands of tourists each year.  (kaetana / Shutterstock)

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Boris Denev Art Gallery, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Copyright: Gencho Petkov)

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria – March, 23, 2015: People near the Monument of Mother Bulgaria in the center of the city. Monument of the Perished in the Wars  (Nataliya Nazarova / Shutterstock)

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VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – JULY 17: Bulgarian folk dancers prepare to play at the annual International Folk Festival on July 17, 2010 in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Boykov / Shutterstock)

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VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – JULY 17: Mexican folk dancers at the annual International Folk Festival on July 17, 2010 in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Boykov / Shutterstock)

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria – April 28.2016: Preparation for Easter. Painting Easter eggs.  (Deyana Stefanova Robova / Shutterstock)

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria – April 28.2016: Preparation for Easter. Painting Easter eggs.  (Deyana Stefanova Robova / Shutterstock)

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Spring view of a beautiful waterfall in The Emen Canyon near Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Copyright: Jasmine_K)

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The Transfiguration Monastery near Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Copyright: Victor Lauer)

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Cathedral Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno – BULGARIA Veliko Tarnovo  (Copyright: nrqemi)

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monument – hotel Kaloyanova fortress, Bulgaria, exterior  (Copyright: Gencho Petkov)

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Veliko Tarnovo, Tsarevets fortress in Bulgaria  (Copyright: Boerescu)

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Tsarevets Fortress and Patriarch Church on the Tsarevets hill in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Copyright: Pen_85)

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Restored but unconsecrated Patriarchal Cathedral of Holy Ascension of God. Tsarevets Fortress, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
(Copyright: OmaPhoto)

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VELIKO TURNOVO, BULGARIA – AUGUST 23: Tourists visit the Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Turnovo, the medieval capital of Bulgaria, on August 23, 2009.  (Nickolay Stanev / Shutterstock)

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VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – 28 JUNE 2015 – Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo. Famous town located on three hills and crossed by Yantra River  (photosmatic / Shutterstock)

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High view from ancient castle in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Copyright: Dundanim)

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Veliko Tarnovo – February 13: View from above the central part of a large and modern commercial building – Mall on February 13, 2016, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria  (Stefan Kunchev Kunchev / Shutterstock)

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VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – DECEMBER 20: Random shoppers stroll along the specially established Christmas bazaar in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria on December 20, 2012.  (pavelgr / Shutterstock)

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Night view from old town Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria  (Copyright: sandro)

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria – March 23, 2015: Night view of restaurant in Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria  (Nataliya Nazarova / Shutterstock)

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria – March, 23, 2015: Night view of cathedral, martenitsa figurines and square in Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria  (Nataliya Nazarova / Shutterstock)

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Tsarevets – Sound and Light performance  (Copyright: Nikifor Todorov)

Useful Reference

Veliko Turnovo – Unique Holiday Experience in Bulgaria
By Stefan Valev

Veliko Turnovo is situated in central Bulgaria, at the foothills of the Balkan Mountains. It is spread over the historical hills of Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora, towering over the wide curves of the Iantra river. The city is more than 7000 years old. Veliko Tarnovo impresses with its original renaissance architecture – antique houses, situated one above another, towers, splendid museums, and monasteries with icon-paintings that attract tourists from all over the world. Capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, Turnovo offers some of the most abundant and important cultural and historic attractions in Bulgaria. It also offers lively modern night life and nature with great opportunities for sports and rest.

Veliko Tarnovo has a rich historical past. The first clues for life date back to the 3rd millennium b.c. The first inhabitants were the Thracians and their settlement existed until the end of the Bronze Age. The next inhabitants were the Byzantines. A big Slav settlement was situated here during the VIII a.c. The Old-Bulgarian settlement appeared during the IX c. and during the X c. the hills Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora were already richly populated. The brothers Asen and Peter organized successfully a revolt against Byzantine rule in 1187 and declared Veliko Tarnovo the capital of Bulgaria. Turnovo became a well-fortified city and a significant political, administrative, economic and cultural center in Europe during the next 200 years. The contemporaries referred to it as the “The Second Constantinople” and “The Third Rome”.

The most important remnant of these times is the archaeological preserve Tsarevets, a restored fortress that surrounds the hill Tsarvets. One of the main attractions of the fortress is the Baldwin towers where the Latin Emperor Baldwin was captured and locked during the crusade in the early 1200’s. The palace of the Bulgarian tsars was a self-contained fortress with the fabulous Throne Hall and the palace church St. Petka. The Bulgarian patriarchate was situated on the highest place within the fortress. In recent years, the fortress has received further acclaim with a “Lights and Sound” show – a program that combines sound and light effects to reproduce the history of the old Bulgarian capital.

Venturing beyond the fortress walls, one enters a historical preserved neighborhood with winding narrow cobblestones lined with craft shops, cafes, restaurants and boutique hotels. One can admire the numerous fully renovated Renaissance houses in a typical Bulgarian style, interspersed with ancient ruins and churches. The Gurko street and the ethnographic complex Samovodska Charshia reveal a great variety of Renaissance houses that seem to have landed on top of each other, with sheer views over the Iantra river. The Sarafkina house, built in 1861, is a particularly beautiful sample.

There is much to do around Veliko Turnovo as well including fourteen monasteries built during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom in XII – XIV c. Many of them were destroyed during the Ottoman rule and were renovated by the self-educated Bulgarian architect and builder Kolio Ficheto and wall-painted by Zohari Zograf during XIX c. One of the largest is the Preobrajenski monastery that was founded at the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom during XIII – XIV c. by queen Sara, wife of Tsar Ivan Alexander. It had an important role for the spiritual life of the capital. It is situated 6km from Veliko Tarnovo in a beautiful area with vertical rocks in the canyon-like gorge of the Iantra River.

Turnovo has much to offer for people interested in history and architecture but it is also a very vibrant, energetic town with long pedestrian areas, restaurants, shops, and cafes. It is a favorite destination for Bulgarians of all ages and interests as well as international tourists.

Curious? You can look through the following listing of hotels and B&B’s: Veliko Turnovo Holidays. You will not be disappointed.

Stefan Valev writes regular columns about holiday destinations in Bulgaria.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Stefan_Valev/247542
http://EzineArticles.com/?Veliko-Turnovo—Unique-Holiday-Experience-in-Bulgaria&id=1924297

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