"The Great Patriarch´s Cathedral of the Holy Ascension"
In my opinion, this church on top of the Castle Complex has not that extra ordinary architectural design like many old traditional religious artworks. A very simple-designed religious Temple of gray-colored natural stones.
Although, exteriorly presenting a very simple and not artistically designed; interiorly, however, possessed a very unique kind of paintings expressing religious history. The interior decorations are dominantly murals depicting modern paintings using massive figures and compositions showing the glorious and tragic history and progress in political and cultural developments during the Renaissance Bulgarian Empire. See the Patriarchal CHURCH FRESCOES
The church is built in classic Byzantine cross-in-square design with three semi domed apses. Together with the Fortress it was destroyed during Ottomans regime in 1393 and reconstructed in 1981 and in 1985 it was open for the public.
Church Entrance fee: 2 Lev;
Church Picture Taking inside fee: 5 lev
Children below 7 yrs old are free. (Important is that the children are accompanied by Adults.)
Church Lift to the Top Fee: 5 lev (At the Top of the Church Tower can be accessible by elevator but with fee of 5 lev each person and is to be paid right in front of the Lift.)
This is a very extraordinary work of Modern Art inside the Patriarchal Cathedral displayed all over the walls and ceilings depicting a mixture of religious and the tragic historical events during the war. And the frescoes expressing also about the progress in political and cultural development after the war and during the Renaissance Bulgarian State.
I was very lucky to be able to witness such kind of church paintings that I never expected before. I was so fascinated how expressive and emotional the frescoes are. At first I thought I just can shoot some pictures for keepsake. But then, the church Guide warned me that only if I pay 5 Lev then I can take as many pictures as I can. What I did I think is worth enough! Now I can show you what is inside this simple gray church on top of this Hill!
If you walk straight ahead at the left roadside of the fortress until you reached at the hill corner of a fortified walltower remains, there is a platform ruins on top of this cliff or rock. As stated in this Board sign in Bulgarian and German language that: this is the "Execution Site" of the Tsarevets Fortress. During the Medieval period people who found traitors or done super treason were sentenced by pushing them out to death at this cliff and their bodies fell down to the Yantra River. In the year 1300 Patriarch Joachim III was executed by the Tsar Theodore Svetoslav .
Another thing that captivated me during my stay in Veliko Tarnovo was this kind of open-air concert of Lights and Sounds on the Tsarevets Hill. This special effects happens only when there are large numbers of tourists who visit the City like during spring to summer or those groups of tourists who wanted to make advance reservation or arrangements with payment. Also on the Bulgarian Independence day on the 22nd -23rd of March this free audiovisual spectacle is traditionally hold in the evening.
We were very lucky that on this second night of our stay came three busses filled with Chinese and Russians tourists and so the free public view about this spectacle took effect on this evening. The hotel personnel informed that we should watch on this certain time. It was around 8:30 p.m. When we finished our evening meal at the hotel we saw already lots of people sitting and standing along the sides of the streets facing at the Fortress. So we also did the same. We watched right at the Hotel Restaurant window because here we have had much wider range of view. I was not to satisfied with the results of my pictures, so i will promise to come back to have better photos ;-) Although they shorten the length of minutes for this show which was only 15 to 20 minutes but this Lights and Sound show which was expressed through music, colorful lighting effects, lasers, classical sounds of music and church bells symbolizing the glorious victory and also the tragic history of Bulgaria, I tell you this was one of my fabulous experience here in Veliko Tarnovo and this make it a unique attraction of the city! For specific viewing dates is unsure when. So please contact Information Tourist Center or check the website: www.velikoturnovo.info.
See Full View of the Sound and Light Show
See VIDEO of SOUND and LIGHT Show
This is a non-smoking rooms hotel, run by a friendly Bulgarian family. The hotel offer friendly services for disabled guests, Family rooms are available, Safety deposit box , Mosquito nets, Laundry and Iron facilities. The hotel provides a feeling of good atmosphere although away from home because the personnel are friendly and helpful in so many ways. The front desk has 24 hrs. service, Elevator/Lift is available and safety deposit box too. Services like shoe shine, car rental, exchange currency, Fax and Photocopy is also within the hotel possible. There is no Internet café but in emergency situations we were able to use for few minutes the Receptions Computer without any problem.
Our stay in this hotel was half board rate with continental breakfast and dinner. The restaurant with a Panorama of the Old Fortress makes it outstanding quality. The rooms are spacious and with air condition. Provide WI-FI access, private bathroom and cable TV. Free facilities available for hot drinks. There is sauna, hydro massage and fitness room which are free of charge. Many historical and archaeological museums are within the reach in 5 to 10 minutes’ walk from the Minotel Rashev, The Hotel has 12 Guests Rooms. With our Double Room with Castle View we paid Euro 80.00 for two Nights last month of August 2013. The Hotel serves good foods which are fresh. The environment is conducive and provides a comfortable atmosphere. If I have a chance to come back to Veliko Tarnovo, I surely would come back and stay in the same hotel!
***born in Veliko Tarnovo on 31 January 1854 a statesman and poet, was a politician and was Prime Minister of Bulgaria for 7 years. in the year of 1887 – 1894. He was considered as one of the main founders of modern Bulgaria, longtime Chairman of "National Liberal Party" and one of the "Apostle of freedom" of the April uprising of 1876. During his leadership Bulgaria was transformed from an Ottoman province into a modern European state.
His policy was characterized by the goal to preserve Bulgarian independence at all costs. However, his political opponents mislead him and addressed him for being an authoritarian ruler, violent against political oppositions, despotic, ambitious, aggressive and domineering personality.
His struggle for Bulgarian´s modernization in economic, political, administrative and cultural aspects and sought to improve health care, local self-government, culture and urban development was his ultimate goal and for this he was praised and glorified by the modern Bulgarian people. He was referred as Bulgarian Bismarck by the Western Europe.
After he overcome many assassination attempts during his terms of office, one day after his resignation as Prime Minister and in the middle of July 1895 he was slain and assassinated in one of the streets in Sofia on his way home. in his honor, Bank notes and coins of 20 levs were issued in 1999 and 2007. Streets were named after him and Statues has been erected here in Veliko Tarnovo also in Sofia where he was killed.***
Cathedral of the Birth of the Theotokos
This is another interesting work of Bulgarian art which is found on top of a hill besides the Hotel Rashev where we stayed. The repeated dome-shaped roofing reminded me of the famous church of Sofia. Historically speaking this cathedral was built by a Bulgarian Kolyu Ficheto, a master of his kind and completed this work of art in 1844. Unfortunately, just right after it was finished an earthquake in the same year 1844 destroyed this beautiful masterpiece. The church was rebuilt again and completed the paintings and decorations within the church in the year 1954.
Foods are inevitable. We don´t only eat to live but live to eat something special. If I visit a certain country or place I wanted to taste foods which are native of the land or something which are unusual too. Traditional Balkan Cuisine In my pictures you will see what we tried. Mostly are fresh vegestables, salad, dairy products, and soups.
The Sound and Light Show is a unique attraction in Europe. Shows of this kind can only be seen in a few other places in the world.
Through music and illumination, this programme recreates the history of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 – 1393), the fall under the Turks and the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878 after the Russia - Turkish war. The music was composed especially for the show. The first performance was in 1985 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the brothers Asen and Petar’s uprising.
There are free shows on September 22 and 23 every year together with the celebration of the declaration of independence. On the 22nd with fireworks while on the 23rd without.
The Archaeological Museum was founded in 1892 and is Bulgaria's oldest museum. It is housed in the Buyuk Mosque, which is the oldest of the former Ottoman mosques in the city (built in the 15th century).
In the museum you can see Thracian, Roman and Greek as well as Bulgarian finds. It is said that there are 1,3 million coins and ancient artefacts amongst other finds!
This is/was the oldest church in Veliko Turnovo, built in 1185. The same year the brothers Assen and Petar announced the rebellion against the Byzantine empire in this church, and proclaimed Turnovo capital in their empire. This led to the famous Second Bulgarian Empire which lasted until 1396.
At the turn of the 18 and 19th centuries the church was sacked by nomad bandits, called Kardjalii.
But that wasn't enough, in an earthquake in 1913 it was nearly completely destroyed. Only the apse with fragments of the original frescoes survived. It was later restored and started functioning as a museum in 1985, 800 years after its original inauguration.
A Thracian sanctuary have been found close to the edifice during excavations.
Sadly the church/museum is not open to visitors without prior arrangement.
The Church of Sv. Petar and Pavel is one of few churches which has been working since the medieval times. It was built in the 13th century. There are three layers of paintings inside the chuch, the oldest being from the time of building, the newest one being a Greek church calendar from the 17th century and all the other from the 16th century.
The entrance fee is a 6 Lv optional BUT compulsory (!) donation to the upkeep of the church, and an extra 5 Lv if you want to take photos.
The Church of the 40 Martyrs (Sveti Chetirdeset Machenici in Bulgarian) was erected to the order of Tsar Ivan Assen II in honour to his victory over the Byzantine troops at Klokotnitsa, on March 9, 1230. It was later considerably damaged during the Ottoman domination, when it was turned into a mosque and the wall paintings washed over with lime. Some of the paintings have however been rescued. The most valuable remains from the original church are three columns with inscriptions: Assen's column with an inscription dedicated to his victory; Omurtag's (814 - 831) column with an inscription describing the building activities; and the column with an inscription of Khan Krum (9th century).
On September 22, 1908, Prince Ferdinand declared Bulgaria's independence in this church which is now celebrated at the Tsaravets Fortress every year with high politicians and religious leaders coming to town to participate in the celebrations.
In 1972 a tomb and a solid gold signet ring with an inscription “Kaloyan’s Ring” was found in the northeastern part of the church. According to experts, this is the tomb of Tsar Kaloyan (tsar of Bulgaria 1197 - 1207).
Tsarevets castle compound is a medieval stronghold located on the hill with the same name. It served as the Second Bulgarian Empire's primary fortress from 1185 to 1393, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces. It is now the most popular tourist attraction in town.
Until this date there has been 22 churches, 2 monasteries and lots of dwellings and craftsmans shops unearthed inside the walls (which once were up to 12 metres high) according to the information plaques.
There were three gates to protect the fortress of which now the outer one has been restored, the other are original.
08.00 - 19.00 April - October
09.00 - 17.00 November - March
Buses 20,40,50 and 110 can be used to get there.
I happened to be there on September 22 and could watch the celebrations of the anniversary of the liberation from the Turks, which was declared on that date 1908 in the 40 Martyr's Church just down the the street from the fortress .
Remnants on Tsarevets Hill date back to the end of the Bronze Era (13th century BC). This oldest settlement was inhabited by Thracians and existed by the end of the Iron Era. It is the third capital of Bulgaria (1185-1193) after Pliska and Preslav. The city has two fortified hillls – Trapezitza and Tsarevets with the tsar’s residence and the residence of the Bulgarian patriarch. Today the wall of the fortress, towers and gates and churches can be seen.