Bulgaria Vacations

Bulgaria is located in the Southwestern part of Europe with a border extending along the Black Sea that touches the western border of Turkey. Along its southern border is Greece and to the north is Romania. Their language is Slavic in origin which has similarities to the Russian alphabet. The Romans, Byzantines and Turks have marched across the landscape over the centuries leaving behind monasteries, mosques and fortresses that reflect the different civilizations that have existed in this country. The town of Nesebar has churches from the 6th to the 19th century and is believed to have the highest number of churches per capita which reflect Eastern Orthodox influence.

Bulgaria Vacation Rentals and Boutique Hotels

Bulgaria Vacations: Things to see while on vacation in Bulgaria

Bulgaria Geography

The Republic of Bulgaria has a territory coverage of 110.993 sq. km. the altitude average is 470 m above the sea level. The relief in this country is varied with gorgeous alpine regions, seen mostly in the south of the country. The ‘Stara Planina’ (Old Mountain) makes a division to Bulgaria in 2 parts that are equal and acts as natural barrier for protection of the south part from the incredibly cold north currents. There is also the Danube Plain spreading to the north and the Valley of Roses, as well as the Thracian lowland stretching to the south. The highest mountain in Bulgaria is Rita and the highest peak in the Balkans is Musala, with 2925 m. after this, there is the Pirin mountain with its Vihren Peak of 2914 m., also the Rodopi mountain and Vitosha mountain together with the alpine relief. The Sredna Gora (Middle Meadow) mountain is central-located in the country. On the Southeast of Bulgara there are the Strandzha and Sakarm and on Southwest there are the Osogovo, but this is rather lower, however picturesque and with perfect nature. The seacoast of Bulgaria is just stunning. Probably 25% of the coast is of sandy, golden, dusty and perfect sand, with amazing sea resorts for the tourists.

Most noticeable topographical features are Danuban Plain, Thracian Plain, Balkan Mountains, and the Rhodope Mountains. The plain is foremost triangular and it starts with southeast of Sofia, it broadens and reaches the Black Sea. The climate in Bulgaria is dynamic due to the near position of the Mediterranean and continental air masses from the mountains. In the north, the temperature is 1 degree Celsius lowest recorded is -38.3 degrees Celsius and highest recorded is 45.2 degrees Celsius.

As far as flora and fauna go, Bulgaria has recorded 12.360 species of vegetation. Of them, 3.700 are just plants. The endemic plants are over 250 species; Rila primrose, Bulgarian blackberry, Balkan violet, Rhodopean tulip and more. The forests are rich with briars, wild fruits; blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and even mushrooms.

Bulgaria History and Culture

The original Bulgarians were known as Trachians. They were a tribe of Indo-European origin and moved around the Balkan Peninsula from 1000BC. They had hilltop villages and a good cultural life. Silver and gold were found here in Bulgaria, even in some tombs today. The neighboring tribes saw Trachians as ferocious, bloodthirsty and warlike. Now, we know their religion was based on fertility, birth, rituals and religion. They were never united, but they had loosely formed tribal associations in close contact to the Greeks which also settled here. There were colonies on the Black Sea coastal area that traded with Trachians.

In 200BC, Romans had the control in Europe. In 50AD, Thracian tribes had no power and Romans made provinces like Thrace on south and the Mose on the north. During the Roman rule, the Slavs were a large tribe from the Ukraine and they migrated south and east and into the area. The Slavs were Christians, and the Romans allowed all peaceful groups to settle in the area and farm the land. Thus, Slavs became the strongest people on the Balkans, until Bulgarians arrived in 6th century.

Bulgarians came from central Asia and were indeed warlike tribes. Their leader was Khan or King Asparuh, so they poured their control over the Slavs easily. These Bulgarian rulers extended their region of influence to the Romans’ cost, but adopted culture and language of the Slavs. These 2 communities conjoined to form the ‘Bulgarians’.

Near the end of 18th century, the Turks started ruling. They were more tolerant, so wealthier Bulgarians got more benefits. The Bulgarian Renaissance started in 1792, with the book on Bulgarian history – National Revival. Now, architecture and art flourished.

The National Revival Period started when Ottoman Turks had ideas of liberation. The Bulgarian Nationalists were a unified group with 1 leader, Vasil Levski, a poet. The Turks executed Vasil and he became a martyr figure for this liberating cause.
Among the atrocities in which Russia participated and attacked the Turkish Empire to free Bulgaria in 1877.

At that time, Bulgaria became free and independent, including the country of Macedonia and Eastern Greece. But soon Bulgaria was divided again and some parts had to be given back to the Ottoman Turks.

Bulgaria Landmarks

*Boyana Church
The Boyana Church is a medieval and Orthodox church on Sofia outskirts, the capital. It has 2 floors; the east wing was made in the 10th and 11th century, but the central wing was made in the 13th century under 2nd Bulgarian Empire. The whole building was finished in the 19th century. There are total of 89 scenes, with 240 images of humans on the church walls. There is a semi-cylindrical vault and an upper floor family chapel with ceramic ornaments. This church was closed in the 1954 for restoration. Partially, was reopened in 2006.

*The Madara Rider
The Madara Rider is a large medieval rock relief on the Madara Plateau that is near Madara village. The rock dates to 7th century. This relief shows a massive horseman of 75 feet on a vertical 328 feet high cliff. The horseman faces right, has a spear thrusted into a lion and on the left, there is a dog. There is a halo carving on the horseman too, but this has erosion and damages due to the years that had gone by. This horseman according to local legend, might represent parts of Turk and Alanic (Iranian) mythology.

*Churches of Ivanovo
The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo are a group of churches, monasteries and chapels made of rock. They are near Ivanovo village, 32 m above the river. It has gorgeous medieval frescoes and is located inside the Rusenski Lom Nature Park. The caves here were inhabited by monks since 1220s, all the way to the 17th century. There, they hewed cells, chapels and churches – all of rock. The churches number was 40, and other premises were 300, most not preserved today. Th e fame is due to 13th and 14th century frescoes, 5 preserved in some churches as Bulgarian art. Some rocks used by the monks are St. Archangel Michael, the Baptistery, the Gospodev Dol Chapel, St. Theodore and more murals from 14th century.

*Thracian Tomb
The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is a vault-like brickwork beehive tombs near Kazanlak, in center of Bulgaria. This tomb is a section of a Thracian necropolis; it has a narrow corridor, round0like chamber for burials, many murals of ritual feasts and more. This dates to 4th century BCE. The murals show horses, seated couples, tenderness and equality. This tomb is located on the Thracian capital Seuthopolis, where more than 1000 tombs of kings were located. This is not open for the public, but a replica is made nearby.

*City of Nesebar
The Ancient City of Nesebar is an ancient city and a major seaside resort on the coast of Black Sea in Bulgaria. It is in Burgas Province. It is even named the ‘Pearl of the Black Sea’. It has many museums that show history old for millennia. It is a rather small city and is divided in 2 parts with a narrow ancient man-made path. There is an older traditional part, and the other is fancier, with resorts, accommodations and such. This is the most popular tourist destination on the Black Sea – especially with Sunny Beach north of Nesebar.

*Rila Monastery
The Rila Monastery is the most famous and largest monastery of East-Orthodox origin in Bulgaria. It is on the southwest of the Rila Mountains, 117 km. and south of the capital Sofia, nearby the Rila Monastery Natural Park. It is named by the hermit Ivan of Rila (376-946AD), and now it even houses 60 monks. This monastery was founded in the 10th century and is renowned as most historical, cultural, architectural monument Bulgaria has. In 2008, it even had 900.000 tourist visitors. This monastery is depicted on the 1 Bulgarian ‘lev’ banknote.

*Pirin National Park
The Pirin National Park encompasses most part of the Pirin Mountains on the southwest. The area is 403.56 sq. km. and is one of total 3 parks in Bulgaria. It was established in 1962. The altitude is 950 m. all the way to 2.914 m at Vihren. It has 118 glacial lakes, most prominent is Popovo Lake. There are also glaciers like Snezhnika, smaller but gorgeous. The forests are 57.3% of the natural park area and their average age is 83 years. The oldest tree of Bulgaria is the Baikushev’s Pine, in this park.

*Srebarna National Reserve
The Srebarna Natural Reserve is a nature reserve on the northeast in Bulgaria and it is 2 km of Danube River. It has 6 sq. km. protected area and the depth of the lake is up to 3 m. there is even a museum made here for stuffed species and collections. This was proclaimed natural reserve in 1948. There is even a legend of the name and origin. First one says a man named Srebrist who died in a battle here. The second legend says of a silver-filled boat along the shores. The third legend says the name comes from the silver glossy reflection under the full moon.