Day 1: Sofia. Arrival and meeting at Sofia Airport. Transfer to hotel 4 stars. Accommodation in 4 stars hotel. Half day long city in the main center. Sofia - capital of contemporary Bulgaria, fifth capital of the country in the course of its 1300 years history, comfortable huddled in the foot of the proud Vitosha Mountain. The town was established in the Vth Century BC as a Thracian settlement with the name Serdika. The Slavonic people called the town Sredez. And later it received its present name from the ancient Roman church "St. Sofia" which could still be seen nowadays. During the tour you’ll visit the cathedral and memorial church of “St. Alexander Nevsky” with the crypt – icons gallery, The remains of the Roman city with Rotunda, transformed into church and another impressive buildings - The National Theatre “Ivan Vazov”, Russian church, The Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”, etc. Overnight.
Day 2: Sofia – Dolna bania - Rila Monastery – Melnik 300 km. Breakfast. Visit Dolna Bania – wine cellar. Lection for wine produce and wine quality. Wine tasting. Leaving for Rilla Monastery. Lunch near Monastery - fish menu. Visit the Rila Monastery /UNESCO monument/. It was founded in the l0th century by the Bulgarian monk St. Ivan of Rila and was rebuilt in the l3th -l4th century. From that time are the fortress tower (1334), the bishop's throne, richly carved doors and some manuscripts, icon-paintings and church plates. In the l5th century, when Bulgaria fell to the Ottoman Turks, the monastery was abandoned for a short time but in the second half of the same century it was restored to a new life. Leaving for Melnik – the smaller town in Bulgaria, famous with the wonderful wines and beautiful houses. Visit the Kordopulova wine house museum – wine tasting. Accommodation in 3 stars good hotel in the Melnik. Includes: (D).
Day 3: Melnik – Bansko – Ognianovo - Plovdiv. Breakfast. We continue to the Pirin mountain and visit the Bansko – famous ski resort. Walking tour in the center of Bansko and lunch with wine tasting. After a delicious lunch in a small typical restaurant we will pass through the Rodopi Mountain and stop near village of Ognianovo where we visit the Shatto Bessa Valey. Wine process visiting, wine tasting. Countinue to Plovdiv. Arrival in Plovidv. Lodging in hotel Imperial *** in the city center. Includes: (D).
Day 4: Plovidv - Bachkovo Monastery - Brestovitsa. Breakfast. Plovdiv city tour. It is declared an architectural museum reserve with over 150 monuments of culture - houses from the National Revival period. Its magnificent houses are turned into museums, galleries, workshops, restaurants. There are also parlors and studios of painters and wood-carvers. Families from Plovdiv own many of those houses. The most distinguished examples of the Baroque of Plovdiv are the house of Koiumjioglu (now an ethnographical museum), the house of Georgiadi (now the Rennaissance museum of the national struggle), the house of Nedkovich (the municipality), the gallery of the renowned Bulgarian painter Zlatyo Boyajiev, the house of Balabanov (now a gallery of modern painting, as well as a concert hall).
UNESCO awarded Plovdiv a gold medal for architecture in 1979. After a delicious lunch in a small restaurant we continue to Bachkovski Monastery – the second large and important Monstery in Bulgaria. The murals, old icons, the manuscripts and incunabular turned Bachkovo Monastery into one of the richest galleries of old Bulgarian art. Near the town of Plovdiv there is a village, called Brestovitza, famous for its wine production. We will have a wine tasting with lunch in the Boutique Wine Cellar “Todoroff”. Afternoon we go to “the Red church” near little town of Peroushtitsa. In the evening we turn back to the restaurant, where the dinner will be served. Includes: (D).
Day 5: Plovdiv – Kazanlak 100km. After Breakfast our tour continue to Starosel. Starosel is a cult complex related to the royal institution. Tomb beside the Plovdiv village Starosel is unveiled in 2000. The tomb has been dated as from the fourth or fifth century BC. The grave and its surroundings are thought by archaeologists to have been an important religious site for Thracians dating from the stone age. Continuation for Kazanlak. By the end of the 19th century Kazanlak, located in the world famous Rose Valley, become well-known for its production of rose oil and was named “The Rose City”. Of course, you will make a typical “rose tasting”. We will visit the worlds famous Thracian tomb (UNESCO). The next place who we will visit is the historical museum of Kazanlak with the latest world archaeological discoveries. Accommodation 3* Deluxe hotel. Includes: (D).
Day 6: Kazanlak - Etara - Arbanassi - Veliko Tarnovo 120 km. Breakfast. Visiting the Shipka church. Departure for Etara. Sightseeing of the Architectural-ethnographic complex “Etara” – the only one museum in open-air in Southeastern Europe, which spreads on an area of 60 decares and represents the authentic life of the typical Bulgarian craft settlement since the epoch of the Revival. Sokolski Monastery – one of the Bulgarians story spots. Lunch in Etara. Continue to Arbanassi village. This village was a trade and craftsman’s center during 16th - 18th centuries when monumental houses and churches with a rich decoration, woodcarving and mural paintings were built. Accommodation in hotel Yantra **** in Veliko Tarnovo. Dinner in the hotel restaurant. Optional: Light and sound show over the Tsarevets castle. Overnight. Includes: (D).
Day 7: Veliko Tarnovo – Osmar - Shoumen 240km. Breakfast. City tour in Veliko Tarnovo - The Archaeological reserve Tsarevets Hill and its restored fortified wall; Baldwin’s tower, in which the Latin Emperor Baldwin has been locked up after his capture by Tsar Kaloyan in the defeat of the crusaders in 1205 near by Odrin; The Palace of the Bulgarian kings, which is a separate fortress that spreads on an area of 4872 square meters, the Throne hall and the palace church St. Petka; The second big architectural complex of Tsarevets – the Bulgarian patriarchate; The Forty Holly Martyrs church. Continue to village of Osmar. Wine tasting in pub in village of Osmar. Includes: (L).
Today we continue to the south for visit the next Bulgarian town – Shoumen. Shumen is an old town of fortress, which remains can be seen today. Here in 1745 was erected the famous Tombul Mosque, which is the second in size mosque on the Balkan Peninsula. In XVIII-XIX centuries Shoumen is important craft and cultural center, where the first theater performance took place. Here was founded the first monastery school for young girls. We will find the historical museum where we will watch interesting exhibits from First Bulgarian Kingdom. Includes: (D).
Day 8: Madara – Ivanovski monastery – Rousse 125km. Breakfast. We visit of another monument, protected by UNESCO- Madara horseman - “the Bulgarian Troy”. At the height of 23 m, a figure of a horseman has been hewn into the sheer rock, piercing a lion with his spear, and flanked on both sides by inscriptions reflecting the military and political power of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. This symbol of Bulgarian statesmanship is the biggest bas-relief and the only one of its kind in European lunch. We go to the village of Ivanovo.
During the late Middle Age (XIII- XIV centuries), in the valley settled down many monks- hermits who created big monastery complex in the natural caves of carst rocks cut through by the Russensky Lom River - Ivanov’s, Maluk Rai ( Little Paradise), Golyam Rai( Great Paradise), Koshouta ( Doe). The walls are covered by exquisite mural paintings of biblical themes and compositions of many figures. The most emblematic are the mural paintings preserved in The Ivanovo Rock Churches, which are one of the summits of the Medieval Bulgarian Art. In 1983 they were entered into the cultural list of UNESCO protected cities. After the deserved lunch we are ready for short tour in Rousse. Includes: (D).
Day 9: Rousse – Pleven – Sofia 320km. Breakfast. Return to Sofia via Pleven. Pleven is important economical and historic center in Nord Bulgaria. We visit the Pleven Panorama. Pleven Epopee 1877, more commonly known as Pleven Panorama, that depicts the events of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877–78, specifically the five-month Siege of Pleven (Pleven Epopee) which made the city internationally famous and which contributed to the Liberation of Bulgaria after five centuries of Ottoman rule. The panorama was created by 11 Russian and two Bulgarian artists and combines painting, plastics and architecture. It was constructed in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Pleven Epopee is one of the largest panoramas in the world. Lunch and continue to Sofia. Arrival in Sofia. Accommodation in hotel 4 stars. Dinner with national Folklore program. Includes: (D).
Day 10: Sofia. Breakfast. Transfer to the airport. Optional depending on flight time: Half day long city tour with Historical Museum. Includes: (B).
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