Day 1: Welcome at the Sofia Airport. Drive to Plovdiv. Arrival. Accommodation at the Trimontium Princess Hotel (4-star). Dinner at a traditional Bulgarian restaurant in the Old Town of Plovdiv. Stay overnight.
Day 2: After breakfast (about 09:30) – a tour of the city of Plovdiv, which is one of the ancient capital cities of the Thracian state under the Odrysians (VI to IV century b. c.), as well as of the Greek-Macedonian province within the empire under Philip and Alexander the Great, as well of the Roman empire under Constantine I the Great. In Thracian times the city was known as Pulpudeva. Philip of Macedonia gave it the name Philipopolis. Tour of the Old Town, including a visit to the ancient Roman amphitheatre (II – III century b. c.) 12:00 – Lunch in Plovdiv.
13:00 – Departure for the Thracian cult centre close to the village of Starossel. Ancient Greek documents tell about the tragic demise of the glorious Thracian King Sitalk in 425 b. c. Sitalk – a semi-human and a semi-god, spouse of the Goddess-Mother Bendida – was worshiped in Starossel by prayers and sacrifices. The temple is located some 60 km from Sitalk’s capital city, Sevtopolis, known as the capital of one of the most ancient European civilizations, which used to spread to the north-east of the contemporary city of Kazanlik. About 18:00 – Return to Plovdiv. 19:30–20:00 – Dinner at Trimontium Princess Hotel.
Day 3: After breakfast (08:30) departure for Kazanlik. The city of Kazanlik is located in a picturesque valley between the Balkan and the Sredna Gora mountains. The region is also known as the “Valley of the Thracian Kings”. The ruins of the legendary capital city of the Odrysian Thracians, Sevtopolis, (VI – III century b. c.) now lie under the waters of the Koprinka Dam, some 5 km from Kazanlik. Here you will be able to learn about and see by your own eyes, on-site, a small fraction of Europe’s history, while admiring the dome-covered Thracian tomb, which has for a long time been assigned to the UNESCO cultural heritage. An hour away you could visit the Golyama Kosmatka hill, where – after excavations in 2004 – archaeologists uncovered the grave of one of the last Odrysian kings – TERES, and his gold mask made of pure gold.
The tour continues in the late afternoon to Veliko Tirnovo. Veliko Tirnovo was the capital city of the Second Bulgarian kingdom (XII – XIV century a. c.). The capital was built by a nation, which followed the traditions of the capitals of the First Bulgarian kingdom – Preslav and Pliska. This nation managed to bring through time and space the state and civilizing system of the Pamir nations and further developed the universal values of the early Christians. Visit to the Etera ethnographic museum. Accommodation in the village of Arbanassi – 3 km away from Veliko Tirnovo. Lunch in the “Izvora” (“The Spring”) restaurant in Arbanassi.
Day 4: After breakfast (08:30) - a sightseeing tour of Veliko Tirnovo: the legendary medieval fortress “Tsarevets”, the Patriarch Church and the millenniumold pictures Preobrazhenie Monastery. This is also a place, included in the world’s cultural heritage, which remind us of the intransigence of human spirit. After that – departure for Sofia. Sofia – the earliest data about the emergence if the city date back unambiguously to times when even the Eternal City of Rome was still to be built. Some ancient civilizations artefacts have been dated to a period some 6000 years ago. The city’s history is a drama by itself.
The numerous tribes of the Alans, the Avars, the Celts, the Illyrians, the Goths and Atila’s Huns wandered from the ancient civilized East to the West, which was at that time still not Romanized. All these tribes destroyed and plundered, and still you can admire on-site to numerous remnants of ancient buildings and treasures, and cult and household artefacts, which are a material witness of the indescribable wealth of ancient cultures. The mysterious nation of the Cerds reigned and created during these times of glory and degradation – right up to the invasion of the Eastern Roman empire Emperor Constantine the Great, who – as history claims – whispered “This is my Rome” after he first laid his eyes in the city.
The names of the city: Tibiscum, Abarium, Baria, Sardicon, Ulpia Serdica, Sredets, and Sofia – tell the story of its extraordinary fate: many times destroyed, and always resurrected – bigger, more powerful and younger. The history of the city has been closely bound to the History of Bulgaria for as long as 14 centuries. Sofia, which means “virtue” in Greek, became in 1880 the fifth capital city of Bulgaria after Pliska, Preslav, Veliko Tirnovo and Ochrid. The ambitions of the youngest generation of Sofia citizens is to pull their city out of the degradation of the period of transition and to convert it into one of the most modern European Union capitals. Stay overnight in Sofia.
Day 5: After breakfast (09:30) – a sightseeing tour in Sofia: the St. George Rotunda, the St. Petka Samardjiiska Church, the Jewish Synagogue ( the largest edifice of its type on the Balkan peninsula), the Archaeological Museum, The National Gallery of Arts, the Alexander Nevski Cathedral and its crypt.
A panoramic tour from Sofia to the Vitosha Mountain, with a visit to the Boyana Church (XI – XIII century a. c., included in the UNESCO list of world cultural treasures), the National Museum of History, where some of the most ancient gold treasures of the world of priceless artistic value are exhibited. Dinner at a traditional folklore restaurant, where the hosts offer a lot of dances and
music, fine wines and tasty dishes you have not experience before.
Day 6: After breakfast – free time until departure to the airport (departure from the hotel – 2 hours before the scheduled flight departure).
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Europe Bulgaria Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History
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