NATURE AND CULTURE

places 10

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summary details in pdf prices

Price:
4-6 people 1,150 Euros
7-10 people 995 Euros

 

Single room supplement: 185 Euros

 

Included services:
* Accommodation in small 3/4 star hotels, in double rooms with private bathroom.
* Full board, including coffee, tea and mineral water.
* Transportation in an air-conditioned minibus with driver or car, depending on the size of the group.
* All entry tickets to the places provided in the itinerary.
* All visits and excursions provided in the itinerary.
* Local English-speaking guide.

 

Services not included:
Flight.
Tips and personal expenses.
Other services not specified in the "included services" section

 

13 days

1 June 2019 - 13 June 2019

DAY 1. Sofia.

Flight towards Sofia. Arrival, reception and transfer to our hotel in the Bulgarian capital. (B & B)

 

DAY 2 Sofia - Rila - Natural Park of Rila Monastery - Melnik.

We will visit the Rila monastery, the largest in Bulgaria and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The hermit Ivan Rilski founded the Rila Monastery in the 10th century. Later, the Orthodox Church proclaimed this hermit holy. In the Monastery there are icons, wall paintings and wooden carvings of great value.
We will visit the Natural Park of the Rila Monastery. The Park is about 25,020 hectares of forests, high mountain meadows, mountains, peaks and beautiful landscapes. This area was declared a natural park in June 2000 and since then it has been included in the Rila National Park.
In the afternoon we will arrive at the city of Melnik, a city-museum in the southwest of the Pirin massif (with Vihren peak -2,914 m-as the highlight). Melnik is the smallest city in Bulgaria with a population of 200 inhabitants. The beautiful natural rock formations, the Melnik pyramids, are worth a visit. The history of the city dates back to the 1st and 2nd centuries when there was a Roman settlement-plot in this place. In the 11th and 12th centuries, on the other hand, Melnik became a Bulgarian fortress of strategic importance. At the end of the 12th and principles of the 13th century the city became the capital of Aleksiy Slav, the governor of Rhodope Mountains. Melnik is also an old wine center. The city is very popular as a wine region since 1346. After the accommodation in the hotel, we will visit a typical winery and we will make a wine tasting of different varieties. Hotel Accommodation (Full Board)

 

DAY 3. Melnik - Rozhen Monastery - Rhodope Mountains.

After the breakfast, we will make a short walk through the Pyramids of Melnik, towards the monastery of Rozhen. The Melnik Pyramids are located on the outskirts of the city of Melnik. It occupies an area of 50 square kilometers and is a unique natural phenomenon. We will also visit the Rozhen Monastery of the Nativity of the Virgin, which is located 6 km east of Melnik. The despot Aleksiy Slav built it in 1220, on an ancient pagan sacred land. From the 14th to 17th century the monastery was a spiritual and literary center and, at the same time, a school of calligraphy.
Late in the afternoon we will cross the Pirin Mountain and arrive at our hotel in a historic village in the Rhdope Mountains. Dinner and accommodation. (Full board)

 

DAY 4. Rhodope Mountains.

In the morning we will visit the village with its narrow streets and its stone houses as well as the church. In the afternoon we will visit the Gorge of Trigrad. The impressive Trigrad Gorge, a canyon of vertical marble rocks, is located south of Devin, 1 km from the village of Trigrad, near the river valley of the same name, in the Rhodope Mountains. It is 1,450 meters high and 7 km long but the most interesting stretch is about 2-3 km long. The walls that make up the gorge rise high on both sides of the river. The walls can reach 250 m in height. The Cave of the Devil Throat is one of the tourist attractions of this gorge. Here the water enters the cave and forms cascades of 42 m in height. Downstream, about 500 meters, the water appears again in the form of upwelling. The cave is open to the public. Late in the afternoon we will arrive at our hotel (full board).

 

DAY 5. Rhodope Mountains - Bachkovo - Assenovgrad
Today, after a short transfer, we will visit the historic town of Shiroka Laka, famous with its school of national music instruments.

In the afternoon we will visit a natural rock formation called "The Wonderful Bridges", a unique rocky phenomenon located in the Central Rhodope Mountains, on the Aidarsko River. It occupies an area of 40'3 hectares and is located 80 km south of the city of Plovdiv and 35 km northwest of the city of Chepelare. Here was a full river that formed a cave, and due to the tectonic activity, the current of the river configured two incredible bridges of natural marble in dismantling the ceiling of the cave. The upper bridge is 15 m wide, 96 m long and 20 m thick. It stands on an abyss 43 meters deep and 45 meters wide.
After the formation of the bridge, the river disappears underground until 1.5 km later, when the water emerges again.
The typical roses of the Rhodope Mountains (Haberlea rhodopensis) grow on the rocks of the bridges. We will also visit the Bachkovo Monastery, founded in 1083 by the Bakouriani brothers of Georgian background. A school was built here at the end of the 11th century. Generously gifted by the Bulgarian Tsars Kaloyan, Ivan Assen II and Ivan Alexander, the complex is represented by a two-story church, the Kostnitsata tomb (built 1083), with mural paintings-portraits of the founding brother and the Tsar Ivan Alexander, which are among the most valuable of the orthodox painting of the 11th and 12th centuries. The rest of the buildings date back to the 17 th-19th centuries. The refectory of the monastery is remarkable. In the center, on a stone table, there is an inscription dating from 1601, while the wall paintings of 1603 ("Day of Judgment", "Deis", etc.) and 1643 are a remarkable success of the art of the 17th century.
Hotel Accommodation (Full Board)

 

DAY 6. Assenovgrad - Plovdiv.

After a short transfer we will visit the second largest city in Bulgaria: Plovdiv. In the year 342 B.C. Philip II of Macedon conquered the settlement of the Thracians and turned it into a prosperous city center called Philippopolis. In A.D 45 the city was conquered by the Romans and was renamed Trimontium. The Romans rebuilt it according to the Roman architectural tradition. From the 4th century the city played the role of capital in the administration of the province of Thrace. It became the seat of the General Assembly of the Thracians and the metropolis of this administrative territory. The remains of the residential districts, the water tanks, a part of the Forum, an old theater and a stadium dating back to antiquity were uncovered. The water circuit has also been preserved (a remarkable system of aqueducts, fortification accessories, terms, etc.).
Even more interesting to visit is the old part of the city. Here the picturesque houses of Bulgarian National Revival are next to the ruins of antiquity. The central part of the city is built towards the end of the 19th and early 20th century. The influence of European styles on architecture is well present.
The Old Plovdiv is an architectural and historical reserve, located on three hills. The first settlements go back to antiquity. At the highest elevation - the complex of the Nebettepe fortification – there are remnants of prehistoric settlements, the wall built by Philip of Macedon, not rebuilt until the invasion of the city by the Turks, ancient citadels, basements, towers, a dam medieval (today covered by a dome of metal structure) and other remains. Tonight we will stay in the center of the city of Plovdiv.

 

DAY 7. Plovdiv - Koprivshtitsa - Starosel – Kazanlak.

Today after a transfer of 1h30 we will visit the city-museum of Koprivshtitsa. It is a picturesque city that contains250 samples of Renaissance architecture. It has great importance in the Bulgarian history, since in this city the uprising of April 1876 began. Later we will visit the town of Starosel that is 20 km from Hisarya. Here we will visit a Thracian cult complex, discovered in the year 2000.
This afternoon is dedicated to the Thracian culture and civilization in the famous valley of the Thracian kings. The area is believed to have a special significance for the inhabitants of the Thracian city of Seuthopolis, capital of King Seuthes III who ruled the Thracian tribe of the Odrisians in the 4th century BC. For this reason the valley preserves numerous tombs of nobles and Thracian kings. We will visit the tomb of Kazanlak, which is located near the ancient Thracian capital of Seutopolis, a part of an important Thracian necropolis. The monument dates from the 4th century BC and is inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage. We will also visit the tomb of Golyama Kosmatka. Late in the afternoon we will arrive at our hotel near the city of Kazanlak. Accommodation in hotel (full board).

 

DAY 8. Kazanlak - Zheravna - Veliki Preslav.

Today we will visit the town of Zheravna located about 16 km southeast of Kotel - a city in the eastern limits of the Balkans. Zheravna was founded in the 12-14th -XIV centuries. In the 18th century became a cultural center and meeting place for the development of arts. Today, Zheravna is a known and recognized architectural reserve. There are more than 200 wooden houses built in the Renaissance. Each of them is a cultural monument in itself and goes back more than 300 years. Authentic Renaissance architecture has been splendidly preserved in the village: we will go through the narrow cobblestone streets, with typical houses with worked wooden facades, stone foundations and other unique elements. In the afternoon we will visit the remains of Preslav, the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire from 893 to 972. At the end of the day we will arrive at our nearby hotel in the city of Veliki Preslav.

 

DAY 9. Veliki Preslav - Madara - Russenski Lom National Park
Today in the morning we will visit the monument of Madara, inscribed on the list of the World Heritage of UNESCO, which represents an early medieval relief depicting a rider carved in the rock. Visit and lunch in the city of Shumen.
Late in the afternoon we will arrive at our hotel in the Russenski Lom Natural Park. The Natural Park is located 20 km south of the city of Russe ( the most significant Bulgarian river port on the Danube – the northern border of the country), in the picturesque valley of the Lomovete River. In the middle of the vertical rocks of the river valley, a beautiful and unique biological world has been preserved. To preserve this natural and historical wealth, the area was declared a National Park in 1970. Accommodation in a hotel nearby (full board).

 

DAY 10. Russenski Lom National Park - Rock Ivanovo - Bojentzi.
Today we will visit the rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo. In an area of natural caves, the hermits excavated a complex of about 20 churches, chapels, monasteries and cells developed in the vicinity of the village of Ivanovo. The caves were inhabited from the 13th century until the 17th century. They used the walls for mural paintings, which are among the most essential and important monuments of medieval painting in Eastern Europe. This is the reason why they were included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In the afternoon we will visit the village of Arbanassi, which is a national architectural reserve formed by stone houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. The site is famous for its houses-museums and two monasteries.
After a short transfer you will visit the city of Veliko Tarnovo (“Great Tarnovo”)– one of the most picturesque Bulgarian cities, standing on the meander of the Yantra River, which snakes through the elevations of Turnovo and the three hills,Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora, known by the name of Tsarevgrad Turnov (i.e. "City of the Tsar") and Turnovgrad. After the foundation of the second Bulgarian kingdom (1186), the city becomes the capital and center of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. During the middle Ages, the city was among the main European centers of culture and gave its name to the architecture and painting of the Tarnovo Artistic School. In 1393 the city was conquered by the Turks and burned. However the valuable architectural ensembles dating from the Bulgarian National Revival help maintaining the atmosphere of past centuries. The buildings, placed one above the other on the city hills, the rocks, the cliffs and the Yantra River just below make up a structure of singular beauty. The old part of the city has been declared an architectural and historical reserve.
We will continue our journey towards the village of Bojentzi, a remarkable national architectural reserve. Beyond the architecture and the Ottoman style of the village, Bojentzi retains the national spirit of the construction of the Bulgarian National Revival period. Hotel Accommodation (Full Board).

 

DAY 11. Bojentzi - Central Balkan National Park - Sofia.
We will explore the Central Balkan National Park. We will visit the Troyan Monastery. The Troyan Monastery is the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of the country in the Balkan Mountains and was founded at the end of the 16th century. Since the 17th century, it is the home of one of the holiest icons in Bulgarian Orthodoxy, the Three-Handed Virgin.
In the afternoon we will visit another unique religious site – the Glojene Monastery –Located on the eastern slope of the Lisets mountain range in Kamen Lisets peak of 1073 m. Founded at the beginning of the 13th century, in 1224, and rebuilt in the 15-16th century. The legend says that the monastery was built by the Prince of Kiev George Glozh who founded and gave his name to the town of Glojene. The architectural plan of the monastery copies the one of the monasteries of Mount Athos. The Central Balkans are some of the largest protected territories in Europe. They are circumscribed in a territory of 716 km2. These are old beech forests, a multitude of waterfalls, deep gorges, large high mountain pastures and endless peaks that include the highest of all the Balkans (Mount Botev, height of 2.376 m). The Park hosts an extraordinary biological diversity of exceptional cultural and scientific importance.
At the end of the day we will arrive at our hotel in Sofia. Hotel accommodation (full board).

 

DAY 12. Sofia - National Museum of History - Boyana Church - Sofia
Today, we will visit the National History Museum. After lunch, we will discover the Boyana church, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The church is famous for its frescoes, made in 1259 on older ones. They represent one of the most complete and best preserved examples of medieval art in Eastern Europe. In total, there are eighty-nine scenes with two hundred and forty human figures. In the afternoon we will go back to Sofia and visit the city center: the Alexander Nevski Cathedral where you will admire its impressive collection of icons, located in its crypt - the largest collections of orthodox icons in the world; the Saint Sophia church , the Saint George church from the 4th century A.D.), etc. After the dinner we will return to our hotel.

 

DAY 12. Sofia - Airport.

Depending on your departure time, you will have some free time to go shopping or for other leisure activities. Transfer to Sofia airport. Departure.

 

languages

English