You can see this gigantic monument already from far away. It was inaugurated in 1981 to commemorate the foundation of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. It's situated on a hill-top and can be reached via a staircase which starts behind the History Museum.
Honestly, I was too lazy to climb up the 3km.... But well, a reason to come back.
If, like myself, you find yourself in Shumen with the weather effectively preventing you from doing anything else you might as well support the local economy (and that of the Danish too).
The Shumensko brewery was established in 1882 by the Czech brewer Franz-Frantisek Milde, roughly contemperaneously with the founding of the Plovdiv brewery and that of Kamenitza.
During the Communist era all the Bulgarian breweries became state-owned resulting in the beers becoming much of a one-ness. Follwing the collapse of Communism most of the breweries were taken over by the large European companies and Shumensko became owned by Carlsberg. As well as the normal lager beers it now produces a red ale and a bock-style dark beer both of which are well worth trying too.
Website below is quite entertaining and has the history of the brewery in Bulgarian.
I noticed this on top of the hill as I left the railway station. With five inches of fresh snow though it was a bit too far to walk on this visit.
Despite it having the appearance of being just another Communist-Brutalist piece of self-glorification it does look worth the wander - the link below is to a promo video which will give you an idea of what's in store.
Pliska is a National Archaeological Reserve.It as the first capital of Bulgaria between 681 and 893 AD. It was founded by Han Asparuh. It was surrounded by a moat and earthwork ramparts. The walls of the inner fortress were 2.6 meters thick and about 12 meters high.
Pliska was sacked by the Byzantine army in 811, but the invaders were soon driven out by Han Krum . Han Omurtag brought in artisans and craftsmen to improve the city. In 886, Boris I founded the Pliska Literary School (after 893 Preslav Literary School), which was headed by Naum of Preslav.
In 892, the city became the scene of a pagan revolt led by King Vladimir. After the crushing of the revolt, Vladimir was dethroned and the third son of Boris I, Simeon, was installed into power. One of the first steps of the new ruler was to move the capital to Preslav, a fortified town in the vicinity of Pliska, probably because of the steadily strong pagan influence in the old capital.
The Madara Rider is an archeology monument ,a large rock relief carved in a cliff near Madara village.It is a horseman 23 m above ground level . The rider, facing right, is thrusting a spear into a lion lying at his horse's feet. An eagle is flying in front of the horseman and a dog is running after him. The scene symbolically depicts a military triumph in the beginning of VIII century.
The Shumen Fortress,also known as the Old City,was settled more than 3000 years ago.At the end of ХІІ century,starts the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire when Shumen becomes one of the most improving cities in Bulgaria. At the end of XIV century,the Ottomans came and placed here.The end of the fortress came in 1444 ,when King Vladislav III Yagelo captured it.It resulted its arson and was left forever.
Preslav was the second capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom from 893 to 972 . The ruins of the city are situated in modern northeastern Bulgaria,around 20 kilometres southwest of Shumen, and are currently a national archaeological reserve.
Veliki Preslav was the second capital of the 1st Bulgarian Empire. It was founded in the early 9th century by the Bulgar king Khan Omurtag and became the inofficial capital in 921 after the old one, Pliska was destroyed by the Byzantines in 911. In 893 Preslav was also offically declared capital by Tsar Boris. But the glory of Preslav didn't last long, the town was sacked by Byzantines aswell in 972.
But during its short period of existence, Preslav must have been a splendid town. The outer city was spread over 5sq km and protected by a high stonewall and contained churches, monasteries and residences, the inner city was encircled with another wall and housed the royal palace.
Unfortunately you only see ruins of these nowadays, but the Archeological Museum has models of how the most important buildings once looked like.
The ruins of Veliki Preslav are 3 km from the "new" Preslav, which is located about 18km from Shumen.
The little village of Madara is know for it's famous rock carving of a horseman (Madarski Konnik). The bas-relief is 23m above the ground and was created in the early 8th century and it is believed that the horseman is Khan Tervel, one of the emperors of the 1st Bulgarian Empire. It's a Unesco Heritage site.
Not far from the horseman are the ruins of the Madara fortress which was built during the 2nd Bulgarian Empire. You've got splendid views from here.
You can also visit the nearby caves, which were already inhabited by the Thracians in the 4th century AD.
There's also a small museum with exhibits from different time periods.
Admission to the complex is 2 BGN.
The museum commemorates Bulgaria's most renowned composer and pianist. It's housed in Vladigerov's house which was built in the National Revival style. The complex consists of other buildings from the same period which are built around a nice courtyard.
The museum is open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm, admission is 3 BGN (including guide).
The quite large history museum houses some great Thracian and Roman artefacts, aswell as many finds from Madara, Preslav and Pliska. You can also see old icons from the area.
Apparently there weren't many visitors when I went there so I got my own guided tour.
The museum is open from 9am-6pm Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 9am-3pm on Sunday. Admission is 3 BGN
Tombul mosque is the largest mosque which is still in use in Bulgaria. It was bulit in 1744 and is beautifully decorated. There is a fountain in the courtyard which is believed to contain sacred water.
You can visit the mosque from 9am-6pm and the admission is 2 BGN. When entering you are given a leaflet with detailed information about the history of the mosque in different languages.
The Sherif Halil Pasha Mosque, known as the Tombul Mosque is the largest mosque in Bulgaria and among the largest on the Balkans. It was built in 1744.It name comes from the shape of its dome.