Surroundings - Guest house "House of Saint George" - The houses from olden times - Luxury guest houses for rent in Bulgaria
Guest house

"House of Saint George"

Surroundings

Gabrovo
Gabrovo
Gabrovo
The town is 46 km. away from Veliko Tarnovo and 220 km. from the capital.

The most widespread legend says that Gabrovo was founded by a blacksmith named Racho who settled his workshop under a hornbeam tree (in Bulgarian”gabar” and from there-the name of the town-Gabrovo).
According to the archaeological researches there had existed a settlement on the territory of today’s Gabrovo since the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
In 12th 14th century - the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire when Veliko Tarnovo was the capital - Gabrovo became a developing crafts and trade center due to the proximity of the town both to the capital and the Balkan passes.
After the Ottoman invasion in 14th century Gabrovo changed significantly - many Bulgarians fleeing from the conquered capital settled in Gabrovo and from a village it turned into a small town; during the Ottoman rule Gabrovo developed as an important economic center - crafts and trade flourished, many churches, bridges, beautiful houses with the typical architecture of the Revival period were built; rich tradesmen supported the town’s development; in 1835 with the financial help of Vasil Aprilov (a prominent public figure from the Revival period) in Gabrovo was founded the first Bulgarian secular school;
Today Gabrovo is a nice and peaceful place to live in; it is interesting with its Bulgarian National Revival architecture and due to the unique sense of humour of its citizens it is known as the capital of humour and satire.

Places of interest in Gabrovo:
The House of Humour and Satire - combines features of a museum and an art gallery; it is a cultural association for humour and satirical art and represents the traditions of the local humour art in cartoons, photographs, paintings, sculptures, verbal humour; with its expositions, plenty of attractions and the rich collections of satirical art from around the world, The House of Humour and Satire is interesting both for adults and children;

Aprilov High school - the first secular school in Bulgaria named after its benefactor Vasil Aprilov; the school is still considered one of the most prestigious high schools in the country; the building of the school is declared a cultural monument; the National Museum of Education is located in the school; the museum represents the development of Bulgarian education since 19th century;

The Museum of History

The clock tower - built in 1835

The monument of Racho Kovacha - located on an island in Yantra river; according to the legend Gabrovo was founded by a young blacksmith named Racho;

Dechkovata kashta - a house-museum very interesting with the exposition”Urban culture and lifestyle from the end of 19th century”. The house is 160 old with the typical architecture of the Bulgarian Revival period; visitors can take retro pictures dressed in old-fashioned clothes;

Places to visit around Gabrovo:

Architectural-ethnographic complex Etara - situated 8 km. away from Gabrovo; it is an open-air museum, representing the architecture, the way of life and the economy of Gabrovo and the region during the Bulgarian National Revival; constructed as a typical mountain settlement, Etara features cobbled streets with workshops, bridges, a clock tower, a water mill and the typical two-storey houses with plenty of small windows; all the workshops are functioning and the visitors can see the works of skillful craftsmen using original instruments and following old traditions; about 20 different crafts are represented; tourists can also enjoy the taste of freshly baked bread made by old recipes.

Bojentsi - a small village situated just 15 km. east of Gabrovo; a favourite tourist destination in the area, Bojentsi is famous with its well-preserved Bulgarian National Revival architecture; in 1964 Bojentsi was proclaimed an architectural and historical reserve and is a part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage. For this reason, there is a ban on the construction of any buildings that do not match with the architectural style of the village;

Sokolski monastery - situated 15 km. south of Gabrovo; the monastery was founded in 1833 and initially a small wooden church was built; the monastery played a significant historic role in the years of the National Revival; in 1836 a school was opened in the monastery and a literary center developed. In 1876, during the April uprising, a group of revolutionaries gathered in the monastery and were later defeated by the Turks; a valuable architectural heritage is the stone fountain with eight taps built in the monastery’s yard; the fountain was built by the prominent builder of the Bulgarian National Revival - master Kolyo Ficheto;

The impressive Shipka monument rises on Shipka peak in Stara Planina some 30 km. away from Gabrovo. The monument is a memorial to the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the Liberation of Bulgaria in the Russo-Turkish war in 1878. The monument is a 31,5 m.high stone tower whose entrance is guarded by a giant bronze lion; a figure of a woman symbolizes the victory over the Turkish army; on the first floor of the monument is kept a sarcophagus that holds the remains of some of the heroes who lost their lives in the war; on the other four floors can be seen replicas of Bulgarian military flags and other relics; the top of the tower reveals a magnificent view over the mountains;

Close to the town of Shipka(50 km.from Gabrovo) is the church Birth of Christ; the church(1885-1902) was built in the style of the Russian churches from the 17th century and is dedicated to the Russian and Bulgarian soldiers who died for the Liberation of Bulgaria;

Dryanovo - the town is situated at the foot of Stara Planina, on the two banks of Dryanovska river; Dryanovo is just 20 km. away from Gabrovo and 24 km.from Veliko Tarnovo;
The oldest traces of human presence dating back to the paleolithic age were found in the region of Dryanovo; ruins of ancient Roman and Thracian settlements, fortresses, pillars with inscriptions can be seen today in the surroundings of the town;
Like most mountain settlements Dryanovo rapidly developed in the years of the National Revival;
The town is the birth place of the eminent master builder from the National Revival-Kolyo Ficheto;

Historical sights in Dryanaovo:
The house(now a museum)of Kolyo Ficheto
The church St.Nicola - impressive with its architecture; built by Kolyo Ficheto
The church Holy Trinity(1897)
Ikonomovata kashta - interesting with the exposition”Icons from the region of Dryanovo-17th-19th century”

Lafchievata kashta - another interesting with its architecture house built in 1840;
Dryanovskata charshia - the trade street in Dryanovo with houses and workshops from the National Revival;

Close to Dryanovo:
Dryanovski monastery - located only 5km. from Dryanovo; it was founded in the beginning of the 12th century, during the Second Bulgarian Empire; in the years of the Ottoman oppression, the monastery had been burnt down and plundered a couple of times; the monastery played an important role in the struggle for national freedom and independence; during the April uprising in 1876 after severe battles against the Turks the monastery had been burnt down and destroyed.
The cave Bacho Kiro - the cave is some 300m. from the Dryanovski monastery; it was formed by the waters of Dryanovska river; the cave’s total length is 3500m.; archaeological finds in the cave date back to the Paleolithic age;
Diskoduratera - 15 km. northwest from Dryanovo, near the village of Gostilica are preserved the ruins of the ancient Roman emporium “Diskoduratera” (meaning”a solid fortress"); in the late Antiquity and the Middle Ages the fortress was an important trade and transport center; it was located on the road leading to the ancient Roman town Nicopolis ad Istrum;

Tryavna - a small mountain town,situated in the valley of Trevnenska river at the foot of the Balkan; Tryavna is just 22 km. from Gabrovo and 42km. from Veliko Tarnovo;

Tryavna was founded in the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire by the Bulgarian tsars Asen and Petar after their victory over the Byzantine army in 1192; initially the church St. Archangel Michael was built (still preserved today, it is one of the oldest churches in central Bulgaria) and around it a settlement was formed;
In the years of the National Revival Tryavna was a flourishing economic and cultural center; crafts flowered, especially woodcarving, icon-painting and masonry; the famous Tryavna artschool was formed and the works inherited from it are real masterpieces in woodcarving and icon-painting; one of the first secular schools were established in Tryavna in 1839; there worked as a teacher the noted Bulgarian poet and public figure Petko Slaveikov; Tryavna is the birth place of his son-the prominent Bulgarian poet Pencho Slaveikov; Tryavna was among the towns that actively participated in the April uprising in 1876;
Today Tryavna is one of the few Bulgarian towns with preserved architecture from the period of the National Revival;

Historical sights in Tryavna:

Tryavana square - one of the most impressive achievements of the Bulgarian town planning and architecture from the Revival Period; the square is surrounded by various buildings,different in their size, height and architecture; here is the clock tower (1814), the stone (humpback) bridge(1844), the church St.Archangel Michael, and many workshops.

The old part of the town where all the houses and workshops illustrate the typical Bulgarian architecture from the Revival period;

The old Travna school - today turned into a museum of Tryavna’s woodcarving traditions;

Kalinchevata kashta - situated in the old part of the town presenting an exposition of pictures of famous Bulgarian artists;

Raikovata kashta - interesting with its ethnographic exposition;
Daskalovata kashta - 1804-one of the most visited museums in Tryavna where can be seen the greatest achievements of the old Tryavna school of woodcarving;
The museum of Travna’s icon-painting - presenting a collection of over 160 original icons painted by prominent masters from 17th-19th century; the house (now a museum) of Petko Slaveikov and his son Pencho Slaveikov; the museum features an exposition of the poetic works of the two authos;
Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
Yantra river meanders past the steep hills through the town and as if perched on its banks are the houses of the ancient town.

Today Veliko Tarnovo is a holy place for every Bulgarian and an exciting new discovery for those who for a first time fell the magic of this ancient town. Veliko Tarnovo enchants with its cobbled streets and old houses with traditional architecture. Each and every part of the town is a history;every tour around Veliko Tarnovo takes you back in ancient times and reveals the glory of the Second Bulgarian Empire,the grim centuries of the Ottoman oppression and the awakening of liberated Bulgaria.
Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest settlements on the territory of Bulgaria. The town has more than 5 millennium history – the first traces of human presence are found on Trapezitsa Hill and date back to the 3rd millennium BC.
In 1185 after the uprising of the noble brothers Asen and Ptetar against the Byzantine oppression, Veliko Tarnovo became the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and in the course of two centuries it was a symbol of the Bulgarian power,glory and grandeur.This was a period of political, economical and cultural growth; the famous Tarnovo school of architecture and fine arts was flourishing and promoted the building of many churches, monasteries, palaces, bridges; the prominent Tarnovo school of literature was perhaps the most remarkable Bulgarian literary phenomenon of the time that had left behind a precious literary heritage and was an evident mark for the growing Bulgarian self confidence.
During the five centuries of the Ottoman rule the rapid cultural and economic development of the ancient capital ceased for centuries; yet the Bulgarian spirit was not subdued and survived through the centuries.
In the years of the Bulgarian National evival (18th-19th century) Veliko Tarnovo developed as a significant economic and cultural center; trade and crafts flowered, many churches, houses, bridges and public buildings were built; and what is most important the former capital had a leading role in the struggle for national freedom and independence.
After the Liberation in 1878 it was in Veliko Tarnovo that the foundations of revived Bulgaria were laid; on April 1879 the first Constituent Assembly convened in Veliko Tarnovo to ratify the country’s first constitution known as the Tarnovo constitution (one of the most democratic constitutions of the time).
One of Bulgaria’s primary tourist destinations, Veliko Tarnovo boasts many historical sights and monuments:

The church St.St.Constantin and Helena - built in 1872-1874 by the eminent builder of the Revival period master Kolyo Ficheto; the building is remarkable with the unique way in which the church and the belfry are united;

The house with the monkey - built in 1849 by Kolyo Ficheto for a wealthy tradesman from Veliko Tarnovo;

Hadji Nikoli’s inn – one of the most interesting with its architecture buildings from the Revival period; it was built in 1858 by master Kolyo Ficheto for the well - known tradesman Hadji Nikoli;

Konaka – the old Ottoman Town Hall-today museum of Bulgarian Revival and Constituent Assembly; the building has an interesting historic fate and is related to important historical events before and after the Liberation; in 1873 in this building was questioned the most prominent revolutionary and national hero-Vasil Levski; in 1876 after the unsuccessful April uprising in this building were sued eminent revolutionaries; after the Liberation the first Constituent Assembly convened in this building and ratified Bulgaria’s first constitution known as the Tarnovo Constitution;

The prison – museum - a grim building specially designed as a prison and built in 1862 by the Ottoman authorities; here were kept in prison and tortured some of the most eminent Bulgarian revolutionaries;

Regional museum of history

Archeological museum

The house(now a museum)of the prominent Bulgarian teacher, poet and public figure - Petko Slaveikov;

Samovodska charshiya - in the old part of the town with plenty of craftsmen workshops and the typical with their architecture houses from the Revival period;

Gurko Street-romantic cobbled street with traditional houses illustrating the architectural style of the Revival Period; here is the Sarafkina house, built in 1861, very interesting with its architecture and the exposition “Folklore and Culture in the region of Veliko Tarnovo”;

The impressive Asens’ monument - built in 1985 as a memorial to the uprising of the noble brothers Asen and Petar and the consequent proclamation of Veliko Tarnovo as a capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire;

Stambolov’s bridge - built in 1890-1898-leads to the Asens’ monument and the City Art Gallery;

The monument Mother Bulgaria - situated in the central part of Veliko Tarnovo; built in 1935 to the honour of the Bulgarian soldiers killed in the four wars.

The monument in memorial of the revolutionaries who took part in the April uprising in 1876;

Forty Holy Martyrs church - one of the most popular medieval monuments; it was built on the order of Bulgarian tsar Ivan AsenII in honour of his important victory over Byzantine in 1230; a royal church during the rain of tsar Ivan Asen it was one of the richest and most beautifully painted churches. During the years of the Ottoman rule the church was converted to a mosque and the mural paintings and the icons were destroyed; only a limited number of paintings were preserved;

The church of St. Demetrius - the church was the place where the uprising of the noble brothers Asen and Petar against Byzantine was proclaimed in 1185; after the overthrow of the Byzantine rule in this church was held the coronation of the monarchs of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

Architectural museum reserve Tsarevets - the central part of the ancient capital was located on Tsarevets Hill; preserved today are the Royal Palace and the Patriarchal church (restored in 1985), the fortress walls and towers, many churches and residential buildings; on the southeast end of Tsarevets is the Baldwin tower-according to the legend here was imprisoned the Latin Emperor Baldwin of Flanders captured by the Bulgarian tsar Kaloyan in 1205 after the victory at Adrianopol;

Sound and light show - the unique and spectacular sound and light show Tsarevgrad Tarnov is organized on Tsarevets hill; dramatic music, combined with colorful lights, lasers and the sound of church bells tell the glorious story of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, recount the dark days of the centuries long Ottoman oppression, the struggle for national freedom and the Liberation of Bulgaria;

Trapezitsa Hill - rises north west from Tsarevets (on the right bank of Yantra river); during the Second Bulgarian Empire the fortress was called “the glorious city Trapezitsa”; the city was protected with high fortress walls and was densely built; the ruins of 17 churches are found today;

Sveta Gora Hill - in the period 12th-14th centuries it was one of the major and most important cultural centers in Southeast Europe; the work of the eminent Tarnovo school of literature developed and flourished here; today on the hill where once a massive literary work was carried is situated St.Cyril and St.Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo.

Monasteries - today there are fourteen preserved and functioning monasteries in the region of Veliko Tarnovo; the ruins of many more can be found on the hills surrounding the town; most of these monasteries date back to the years of the Second Bulgarian Empire;

Places to visit near Veliko Tarnovo:

The village of Arbanasi - situated on a high plateau only 4 km. away from Veliko Tarnovo; with its typical architecture from the Revival period and the large number of 17th and 18th century churches and monasteries, the village is a favorite tourist destination.

Nicopolis Ad Istrum - the ruins of an ancient Roman town founded by Emperor Trajan around 101-106; archaeologists have studied the town since 1900. Nicopolis ad Istrum is just 18 km. away from Veliko Tarnovo;