• Guardian cloisters

      Guardian cloisters

      In the spiritual tradition of Bulgaria it was common for two monasteries to be built near or even within the same settlement - one a friary the other a nunnery. This is the case with the village of Prisovo near the town of Veliko Tarnovo. At the outskirts of the village there are two monasteries - one is a St Panteleimon nunnery and near it is the friary of St Michael the Archangel.

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    • Western Rhodope's ethnographic oasis

      Western Rhodope's ethnographic oasis

      The village of Leshten is among Bulgaria's most attractive destinations for rural and ecotourism. It lies on a southwestern slope of the Rhodope Mountains, offering an unforgettable vista to Mount Pirin. The village attracts tourists with its authentic look and the old houses from the National Revival period (18th-19th century), which are perched like birds on the steep mountain slopes.

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    • Crossroads of civilisations

      Crossroads of civilisations

      Less than 100 kilometres northwest of Sofia, perched on a steep rocky hill overhanging the left bank of the River Iskar in the outskirts of the city of Mezdra, lies a remarkable archaeological complex called simply Kaleto (which translates as “The Fortress”). The hill has the natural protection of its surroundings and is located at the intersection of major thoroughfares used from ancient times to this day.

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    • Treasures for the afterlife

      Treasures for the afterlife

      The afterlife beliefs of the ancient Thracians have always fired up the imagination of those who are fascinated with ancient history while the specialists are trying to elucidate them on the basis of the available material. One of the most abundant sources of data shedding light on these beliefs was discovered in the necropolis near the village of Duvanlii, where according to experts the mortal remains of members of the Odrysae dynastic family have been buried.

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    • Safeguarded by St Ivan of Rila

      Safeguarded by St Ivan of Rila

      Amidst a picturesque beech forest at the end of a meandering road high up in the Ruen Mountain, over the small village of Skrino and near the town of Kyustendil, stands the Ruen Monastery of St Ivan of Rila. The saint after whom the monastery is named was born in that village circa 876. An older monastery, dedicated to Great Martyr St Demetrius of Thessaloniki, existed at the same place before. Experts presume that St Ivan of Rila took the monastic vows there and then started his secluded life in a cave which is preserved until today, not far away from the present monastery.

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    • Scent of figs and old wine

      Scent of figs and old wine

      The smallest Bulgarian town, Melnik - with a population of less than 200 people - was first mentioned in written sources in the early 11th century as a border point between the Byzantine Empire and Bulgaria. The first to live in the region were the Thracian tribe of Medi, to which the legendary gladiator Spartacus belonged. Centuries later, the Slavs settled in the area naming the town Melnik, from the word 'mel' for white clay. It is namely clay that the fantastic red golden sand hills surrounding the town are made of.

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    • Mystical stones

      Mystical stones

      One of the most interesting rock sanctuaries in Bulgaria is located near the village of Dolna Koznitsa, in the region of Kyustendil, amidst a scenic hollow at the southern foothills of the Konyavska Mountain. Experts believe that the region was inhabited since ancient times as there are numerous excavated remains to prove it, even if no comprehensive in-depth archaeological research has been carried out there.

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    • City hidden under a city

      City hidden under a city

      Underneath the city centre of Vidin, in the north west of Bulgaria, lie the barely explored remains of the ancient Roman city of Bononia. It was not until this year that archaeologists started to excavate at least a small part of that valuable piece of ancient history. More specifically, the excavations have been focused on studying the so-called Tower No 8, located on the western fortress wall of Bononia.

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    • A mystery almost as old as Egypt's pyramids

      A mystery almost as old as Egypt's pyramids

      An underground well temple (also known as sacred pit), which is the only one of its kind found on the Balkans, is located at only 60 kilometres to the west of Sofia, hidden in the folds of the Greben Mountain. Archaeologists rank it among the most ancient cult masonry works in the Bulgarian lands and are unanimous that it is older than the Thracian megaliths of the mountains of Rhodope, Strandja and Sakar.

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    • Under the wing of God's Mother

      Under the wing of God's Mother

      Huddled in the folds of the Rhodope Mountains, in the valley of the Chepelare river, and yet located only 30 kilometres away from the town of Plovdiv, there stands Bulgaria's second largest monastery - Bachkovo. Built in the 11th century, the cloister is steeped in history and ranks among the most frequently visited sights in Bulgaria. It is believed that since its foundation in 1083, to the present day, it has never stopped functioning - not even for a single day.

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