history of Arbanasi
Arbanasi was already existing in the 13 th century as it was called the land of the Albanians, which was conqured by Assen the second. The land then was then given by sultan Suleiman to his son in law in 1538. Settlers originated form the westlands but also from Greece and Albania. In the middle of the 16 th century there were around sixty households and at the end of that century there were near 300 households. The settlement had a Christian character and got prosperous in the 17 th century. In the 17 th century a bishop Stefanov witnesses the existence of the village as a greek speaking village whereas surrounding villages didn’t speak Greek at all. There were greek schools and the mass was in Greek. Allthough, this didn’t have impact on the national awareness of the Arbanasian population. In the 17-18 th century the village had over 1000 houses with eminent merchant families that traded in Sibiu, Brasov, Russia, Poland. The homes of the rich merchants show the economical prosperity. In the middle of the 18 th century Wallachian nobles settled in Arbanasi. In the ninetheenth century cholera epidemics and a fire damaged the town and Arbanasi never reached it glory after that again. After 1839 the village lost its privileges that the Ottomans had given to the village, and it handcraftmenship ceased. Nowadays, Arbanasi is a quiet village, although still much in interest of scientists such as archeologes, historians, and the village lives from tourism.
There are 7 churches that are in schema basilicas. They are from stone, have small windows and brick floors. All the churches’ interior consist of a separate men’s department and a women’s department. In the front of the church there is a gallery and a chapel. The paintings go back to Renaissance style. The five churches build in the 15 till 17 th century reflect the economic wealth of these days and show the previliged status of the village in these days. Most impressive are the wall paintings of the Holy Archangels and Birth of Christ Church, but The interior of St Dimiter is also beautiful.
At some places renovation works are being done, so they are not open to public. A ticket costs 4 leva wich allows you to visit the paces that are open. They are officially open from 9 am till 12.00 and from 1 pm till 8 pm, also on Sundays. But better check before, because in the early morning many of them are still closed and these openinghours only are for the summer season. You can buy tickets at the kiosk at the busstop. Since the kiosk is also not always open you better check, before going to Arbanasi, the Museaum Department in Veliko Târnovo, or TIC. Inside the churches and houses officially photographing is forbidden, but they don’t make a problem of it if you “per accident” took a few pictures…”a friendly “sazhalyavam” will help. Not much is signposted, and if, then in german. Also streets have no names. In Veliko Târnovo you can ask for several small and cheap guidebooks on the village at the TIC.
Travel with small bags or medium size bags with wheels are best. Sneakers are best for walking since there is alot to see in Arbanassi and I recommend you walk rather than take a taxi unless your distination is very far. Good for mostly any time of year. Digital Camera and/or Digital Video Camera is a must in your travels in Arbanassi or in Bulgaria for that matter. Water is not expensive in Bulgaria, around 1 leva. Bring enough water on your journey.
If you are interested in sportsactivities in Arbanasi, you ll find them all in the expensive sportshotel. There is an outdoor swimmingpool, a ridng complex, tenniscourt, a roman bath, a fitness center, sauna, steambath. From the Arbanasi Palace you should have the best view over Veliko Târnovo.