Veliko Tarnovo – legends and reality

visit bulgaria veliko

Bulgaria Holidays – Veliko Tarnovo – past and present, legends and reality, rich cultural inheritance and active social life The town of Veliko Tarnovo is in north central Bulgaria, in the valley of Yantra River. It has a population of around 72 000 people. It is the 15th biggest town in Bulgaria as well. Veliko Tarnovo is also one of the most beautiful towns in the country. Bulgarian and foreign tourists like to visit it a lot on their trips around Bulgaria when travel bulgaria. It’s one of the preferred Bulgaria destinations for good Bulgaria holidays as well. Veliko Tarnovo is at a distance of 241 km from the capital – Sofia. 228 km from the city of Varna and also 107 km from the town of Ruse. Often referred to as the ‘City of the Tsars’, Veliko Tarnovo is the crossing point of generations of Bulgarians. It has the spirit of past centuries, kept in its every stone.

Where to go in Bulgaria

A town of many sightseeings, Veliko Tarnovo is one of the liveliest Bulgaria tourist centres. Its unique location on the three hills – Tzarevetz, Trapezitza and Sveta Gora (Holy Forest), makes it one of the loveliest towns in Bulgaria. But it also gives Veliko Tarnovo a certain charm and identity of its own. A simple walk around the town leaves you breathless once you step on the narrow cobblestone-covered streets. Like birds on a wire, houses of the Bulgarian national Revival stay over one another. Each one of the houses is a unique monument of architecture. Veliko Tarnovo is a place where nature and everything man made live in an absolute harmony. Certainly, you will never regret having chosen Veliko Tarnovo for a place to visit on your Bulgaria holidays.

Visit one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria

Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest towns in the country, as its history dates back to more than five thousand years ago. Archaeological excavations are the proof.

Veliko Tarnovo grew quickly and therefore became the strongest Bulgarian fortress of the Middle Ages. That happened between the 12th and 14th centuries. It also became the most important political, economic, cultural and religious centre of the Second Bulgarian State. In 1185 the brothers Asen and Petar declared the town a capital of the restored Bulgarian State. That put an end to the Byzantine dominion, which continued for 167 years. After becoming a capital, the town of Veliko Tarnovo developed fast. Due to becoming strong, powerful and big, Veliko Tarnovo stood second after Constantinople (Istanbul private tours) and third after Rome.

Veliko Tarnovo is the medieval fortress Tzarevetz

Where to go on Bulgaria holidays, in Veliko Tarnovo? The most important monument of culture in Veliko Tarnovo is the medieval fortress Tzarevetz. It stays on the peak with the same name, surrounded on three sides by the river Yantra. When, in the times of the Second Bulgarian State, the town of Veliko Tarnovo was the capital, Tzarevetz used to be main fortress in the country. It wasn’t a closed fortress, though but a real medieval town. In the centre of this town, the following buildings were rising: the palace, the church “St. Petka”, multiple residential and economic buildings. Also, there were water reservoirs and battle towers. The Patriarch’s residence was on the highest part of Tsarevetz, and the Patriarch’s church “The Ascension of Christ” was also very close.

The fortress’ centuries-long life witnessed different events. Then it’s not surprising that it took half a century to restore Tzarevetz. Its restoration started in 1930 and finished in 1981 in honour of the 1300 anniversary from the establishment of the Bulgarian state.

Visitors to travel Bulgaria holidays

Today the visitors of Tzarevetz can walk around the fortress but what we highly recommend is to visit Bulgaria, Tzarevetz at night. Then the fortress ‘becomes alive’. Since 1985 there is an audio-visual show called ‘Sound and Light’, which reveals the colourful history of the Second Bulgarian State. There is also another historical hill near Tsarevets – Trapezitza. Its historical richness is great and has not been completely discovered yet. The archaeological excavations on the hill continue and new interesting finds constantly appear on the surface.

A different atmosphere for your Bulgaria holidays

Veliko Tarnovo is not only famous for the historical hills as Bulgaria attractions, but also for its multiple orthodox temples. One of the most emblematic medieval churches is the temple “St. Forty Holy Martyrs”. The orthodox temple stores some of the most valuable old Bulgarian epigraph monuments – the Omurtag column. Also, the Asen column and the Border column of the Rodosto fortress from the time of Khan Krum (755 –814). Architecturally, the appearance of the old part of the town takes the visitors in the past. Walking along Gurko Street or Samovodskata Charshia (the Crafts Streets) the town guests have the possibility to see houses built over 200 years ago. As well as to sense a completely different atmosphere. The Veliko Tarnovo houses are very beautiful. They represent different periods with the typical verandas, balconies. Let’s not forget the windows, doors and wooden gates, as well as the Tarnovo works of Master Kolyo Ficheto. The market street is a kind of an ethnographic complex. There one can enjoy crafts workshops, souvenir shops and galleries.

Museum of Revival and Constituent Assembly

Of course, these are not the only Bulgaria sightseeings. There are also the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Revival and Constituent Assembly. The Museum of Contemporary and Most Contemporary History as well. Also the Sarafkina House, the Museum House of P. R. Slaveykov, the Stambolov Inn, the Inn of Hadzhi Nikoli, etc. Next in beauty and cultural abundance is the architectural reservation Arbanasi. It is situated at a distance of only 6 km from Veliko Tarnovo. The ancient village had preserved magnificent architectural monuments of the Age of the Bulgarian Revival. As well as old churches and beautiful yards filled with flowers. On 17 April 1879, the first National Assembly got together in Veliko Turnovo to ratify the State’s first Constitution. It is known as the Tarnovo Constitution. The key result of which resulted in the transfer of Parliament from Tarnovgrad (Veliko Tarnovo) to Sofia. Sofia today remains the Bulgarian capital. (Bulgaria holidays and Sofia sightseeing)

Grand history

Veliko Tarnovo means past and grand history, created century after century. This is a town which survived the hard times and rushing to the future. A town that resembles a fairytale created by nature and man. Veliko Tarnovo is a harmony of rocks and houses, stones and wood. It is also amazing silhouettes, amphitheatrical views. Veliko Tarnovo is greenery and flowers. It is a real architectural magic. It is not accidental that Veliko Tarnovo was declared a Balkan capital of cultural tourism. Also a few times it was awarded the prize the Most Beautiful Town in Bulgaria. The prize is a result of annual research conducted by the media. What we suggest is that you come for Bulgaria holidays and see yourselves!
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  1. I saw the show Sound and Light. I loved it. It was touchy and the city is nice especially old Veliko Tarnovo. The small cobbled streets… Many places in Bulgaria offer this atmosphere of old times. I think it was Nesebar that I read here for Old Nesebar. Good! Really good!

  2. Thanks, guys for well-written article. I read about Veliko Tarnovo and listened to stories from my friends that were there and I think I am falling in love with this place.

  3. It’s very good writing, very intresting about Veliko Tarnovo. I think now I like to visit that place and watch the audio-visual show Sound and Light.

  4. I been to Bulgaria few times and did a couple of private tours but I know this country has a lot more to be see. I didn’t go to ‘The City of the Tsars’ yet and I like to visit it as soon as possible. The article here definitely added to my interest.

  5. I have frends in Veliko Tarnovo and every time I have cahnce I visit them. A few times already I have been there but every time I discover it again and again. It’s a fantastic pkace

  6. Hello from me. I am a big fan of this place. There is atmosphere there. Especially I love walking on Samovodska Street. Beautiful!

  7. Hi, thank you for the good article! I just managed to visit Veliko Tarnovo as it’s been on my list of interesting places for a long time. Memories, places, faces are still in my mind. I like to come back to Bulgaria.


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