Keep away from the Ruins...they can be dangerous!
Strolling within the Fortress complex is worthwhile and historically enriching to explore but safety measures are highly recommendable especially when someone is too curious and adventurous to climb on the walls or maybe some of the ruins of the towers. They are maybe repaired but it can happen that some parts are not well reconstructed or not very well fixed so that danger of falling down to the deep ground until to the Yantra River can be extremely high.
So it is advisable to walk just along the exposed alleys. Underage children should not left alone unattended running or walking everywhere as much as possible the parents have to accompany them. Even groups of students should be watched under the leadership of a responsible teacher. One friend of us advised not to go directly in the bushes because it can happen that you might encounter wild reptiles specially in summer. Wear comfortable good walking shoes. If there is danger or maybe accident there are security staff of the Regional Museum of History patrolling around within the Fortress and they will help you.
Tel. 062-62-07-00 or 062/638841; 0885 105201
"See News of Death of Six Year Old Boy at Tsarevets Fortress"
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Hilly with steep streets.
Veliko Turnovo is a very hilly place and is in fact not an easy place for a person with impaired mobility. The street from the churches below the Tsaravets fortress is extremely steep and very tirening since it's quite long.
Getting Off The Train At Trapezitsa!
When I had my little day trip from Veliko Turnovo to Tryavna I caught the train from the city's cute little railway station which is located about 3 kilometres out of the centre - a short and cheap (3 leva) taxi ride. For my return journey I decided to stay on until Trapezitsa, the next station after V Turnovo, which, according to my map, looked within easy walking distance of my hotel.
When the train pulled up I was the only person to get off, no-one got on. The conductress gave me an odd look as she checked that I'd detrained safely and that anyone who might have wished to board had done so.
At every other railway station that I'd passed through in Bulgaria, no matter how small (and even if the train hadn't stopped), the station master would have been out to greet the train and signal its safe departure. Not so here at Trapezitsa. This was a ghost of a railway station; a magnificently-imposing building which brought immediately to mind the house of the "Addams Family", except not so welcoming.
Taking my bearings I could see the Cathedral Church on top of the hill, hardly more than a stone throw away, and next door to which would be my hotel. However I hadn't anticipated that there might be a river and a sheer cliff-face in the way - it had looked so simple on the map.
There seemed to be two direct routes into the city - the first to follow the railway line and cross its bridge and then go through the train tunnel; the second to scramble down the embankment to the main road and follow that, over the road bridge and through that tunnel.
I could now work out why Veliko Turnovo had been the fortress stronghold of the Second Empire's Tsars - without the modern bridges and tunnels the city would have been almost impregnable except to the most determined (and well-equipped) invader.
Well I was determined (determined to find somehwere for a beer anyway) and even if under-equipped (unless you call having a camera round your neck and an emergency one in your pocket "well-equipped") I had to make my own invasion. Fortunately there were footprints in the snow leading from the deserted railway station towards the city and so obviously someone must know the way.
These I followed which took me over the river on a very scarey wood-slatted footpath alongside the railway bridge, the semi-frozen river about 100 feet below and the ice-covered, half-rotted, wooden slats giving me glimpses of my potential fate. This was "look-forward" not "look-down" time - although the forward look presented only the yawning black mouth of the railway tunnel which ran under the city.
At least there were still footprints and so someone else must have attempted the crossing. The footprints all led in the direction I was heading, none returning, and so provided they didn't suddenly stop (it did occur to me that this might be suicide-alley) then there must be a beer somewhere soonish.
Gripping the rusted handrail and taking each step one at a time, making sure that each slat would bear my weight before I continued to the next, I eventually got across the bridge. I could no longer see the Cathedral, instead just a cliff and the uninviting railway tunnel. The footprints didn't continue towards the tunnel though, veering right down the embankment to the main road and its tunnel. Ach, might as well follow the trail.
The unlit road tunnel was no more inviting than the the rail one and despite being busy with traffic it did have a pavement and the footsteps led to that. Inside the tunnel it was dark and the oncoming vehicle's headlights blinded me as they passed. Although generally dry there was the odd icy patch where water had leaked, or condensed, from the tunnel walls which made footing a little tricky but after a couple of minutes the fading daylight revealed the tunnel's end.
I was never so grateful to see a bit of daylight and despite having to now cross the river again, twice, (this is the section where it loops around the Art Gallery and Assens Monument), I at least knew where I was. All I had to do now was retrace my steps, but this time by the main city road and get back almost to where I started - this time a stone-throw from my hotel to the Trapezitsa Railway Station.
Moral of the story = "Don't get off at Trapezitsa!"
Fortunately there was a decent pub to stop off at before continuing!
- Budget Travel
"Opasnost" is Bulgarian for "Danger"
So no Highland dancing or sitting on the walls, no matter which way you're facing.
This is the sign you'll see dotted around at Tsaravets and once you've had a vertigo-inducing peek over the side down to the river you'll understand why.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Whilst city centre parking here in V Turnovo seems to be well-controlled the side streets seem to be a free-for-all. This one is parked on ul Chitalishtna heading back from Tsarevets into the city. About 10 yards further on there's another car parked on the other pavement.
- Hiking and Walking
Do you Need breakfast?
It is difficult to find a place to eat breakfast.
Either you have to go to the very expensive hotel coffee shops (and they don't always have anything more than coffee), or stay in a place that serves breakfast as part of the room.
Otherwise, do like the locals: buy yourself a couple of rolls or bread and cheese the day before and keep it in your room for breakfast.
Coffee is readily available, although expensive. I carry my own electric immersion heater, coffee and sweetener for my morning coffee.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are always available and delicious in local shops.
- Budget Travel
Not really a danger, just be aware.
As I was leaving Tsaravets Fortress and waiting at the bus stop a real con man tried to make up to me - and I am 64!!
So just imagine if I were a young woman travelling solo.
Anyway, easy to get rid of him. Told him: "Go Away". He didn't, so I repeated it in a very loud voice. He quickly looked around to see all of the people at the bus stop watching him and left quite quickly.
Nothing to worry about, this sort of thing happens everywhere. Just to note how easy it was to discourage him :)
- Women's Travel
As Veliko Târnovo is a tourist attraction and a university town, it is a relatively pleasant city, with no dangers. only watch out for pick pockets (Stefan Stambolov street). At night it is also safe in the center. lots of party people still awake, so the street (main street) is not queiet.
POST OFFICE SCAM???
When posting your cards home don't get caught out like I did. I went into the VT post office with 14 postcards to send. I showed them to the post woman and indicated the number of stamps I required. After paying I waited to receive the stamps but the lady very kindly indicated that she would stick them on and I assumed would post them for me. I watched her stick 2 of the stamps on, thanked her and left. Out of the 14 cards, only 2 cards arrived at their destinations in the UK. I wonder what happened to the remaining 12 cards and the stamps. Hmmmmm.
In hind sight, it seems obvioius now, but I suggest that you write down the number of stamps you need on a bit of paper, pay for them, then stick them on yourself.
Oh well live and learn.
- Road Trip
Even if they are usually well kept and in good condition, this charming old houses can be sometimes left in total neglect, so take care they don't crumble when you're around!