MOST OF THE SIGHTSEEING IN BULGARIA:
1. St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. This is one of Sofia’s symbols and primary tourist attraction, and it also serves as the cathedral church of the Patriach of Bulgaria, being one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world. The cathedral is built in Neo-Byzantine style.
2. In 1979, the Boyana Church was added to the cultural heritage preserved by UNESCO. The unique temple is situated in the skirts of Vitosha Mountain, in close proximity to the center of the capital city. It was built in the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century, and its few frescoes are its greatest value.
3. The Tsarevets Fortress is the symbol of Veliko Tarnovo, and one of the most beloved Bulgarian monuments. It is a medieval stronghold, located on the hill Tsarevets. The fortress served as as the Second Bulgarian Empire's primary fortress and strongest bulwark from 1185 to 1393, making it one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bulgaria.
4. The Belogradchik Fortress is situated at a distance of 1.5 km from the town of Belgradchik among the renowned Belogradchik rocks. The fortress has existed since Roman times. In 1st – 3rd century AD the Romans built roads in the new provinces of the empire on the Balkan peninsula, as well as fortresses to guard them.
5. The Belogradchik Rocks are a group of odd shaped sandstone and conglomerate rock formations located on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains near the town of Belogradchik in northwest Bulgaria. The rocks vary in color from primarily red to yellow; some of the rocks reach up to 200 m in height. Many rocks have imaginative shapes and are associated with fascinating fables. They are often named for people or objects they are thought to resemble. The Belogradchik Rocks have been declared a Natural Landmark by the Bulgarian government and are a big tourist attraction in the region.
6. The Antique Theater in Plovdiv’s Old Town is one of the city’s iconic structures. It was built during the reign of Trajan in the 2nd century. The Antique Theater has fourteen rows of marble that descend toward the stage, where a small structure was erected to allow the actors to change costumes. In the past, the theater seated some 7,000 spectators. These days the amphitheater has been considerably renovated, and during the warmer months it hosts many dramatic performances, concerts, competitions, festivals, and other culture events.
7. The Assumption of Holy Mary Orthodox Temple in Malko Tarnovo is built in 1830. It was built in the place of an old church which dated back from 1754. Evidence of this is the well preserved marble trough holy water with a lid with an engraved inscription in Greek, stored under the holy throne. Nowadays, it holds more than 150 icons.
8. The Russian Church, officially known as the Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Maker, is a Russian Orthodox church in central Sofia, Bulgaria, situated on Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard.
9. The Saint Sofia Church is the second oldest church in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, dating to the 6th century. This church is distinguished mostly by its Byzantine style.
10. The Rotunda of St. George, also known as The Church of St. George, is an Early Christian red brick rotunda that is considered the oldest building in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It is established behind the Sheraton Hotel, amid remains of the archaic town of Serdika.
11. The National Institute of Archaeology with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences covers the complete study of the culture of tribes and peoples who have occupied present day Bulgaria from the remote past until the 18th century.
12. The Bachkovo Monastery is one of the oldest monas-teries in the Balkan Peninsula, founded in the 11th century. It was connected with three cultures: Byzantine, old Georgean and Bulgarian. It’s included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
13. Aladzha Monastery is a medieval Orthodox Christian cave monastery complex in northeastern Bulgaria, located near Varna and Golden Sands beach resort, in a protected forest area adjacent to the Golden Sands Nature Park.
14. The National Theatre (Ivan Vazov) is Bulgaria’s national theatre, situated in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It is one of the most important landmarks not only of Sofia, but also of Bulgaria. It is the oldest and most authoritative theatre in the country. It is located in the centre of the city.
15. Holy Sunday Church (or Sveta Nedelya) is an Eastern Orthodox church in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, a cathedral of the Sofia bishopric of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. Sveta Nedelya is a medieval church that is considered to be one of the landmarks of Sofia.
16. The Stone Forest (Pobiti kamani) is a unique phenomenon, it is consisted of cylindrical rock pillars that reach height of 5-6 m, with thickness that varies from 0.5 to 2.5 m. Columns are constructed of limestone formations containing many fossils - nummulites, mussels, snails and others. Sands and scanty vegetation give the area a desert-like nature.
17. The Varna Archeological Museum is Varna’s archeology and history museum. It was founded in 1887 and is considered to be one of the most interesting places to visit in Varna.
18. The Ledenika Cave is a cave in the Balkan Mountains (Stara Planina), Vratsa region.
19. The Devetashka Cave is 18 km from Lovech and 178 km from Sofia. The cave is lit by sunlight that enters through seven huge openings in the ceiling. This cave was used as a setting in the Hollywood film “The Invincibles 2”.
20. The Saeva Dupka Cave (Saeva Hole) is 103 km from Sofia and 30 km north of Teteven. All five of the cave’s chambers have names – “The Haystack”, “The Concert Hall”, “Cosmos”, “The White Palace” and “Landslip”. The cave is filled with interesting rock formations.
21. The Hisarya Fortress is one of the most important Medieval fortresses in Bulgaria. Visitors may view the remains of the churches and other structures that once stood there. A giant cross was erected within the fortress that can be seen from anywhere in the area. There is an excellent view of the city from the fortress. The path that leads to the fortress passes, Varosha, ad there are a number of interesting museums along the way. At the beginning of the old town above the Osam River stands the covered bridge that is the symbol of the city.
22. Architectural ethnographic complex "Etar" is the first and the only one of its kind, open-air museum in Bulgaria. It was established in 1964 by the inhabitant of the town Gabrovo Lazar Donkov. The museum is situated 8 km South from Gabrovo. In the museum exposition, arranged along the Sivak river valley on an area of 7 hectares, are shown 50 objects – technical works employing water energy, houses with craftmen’s workshops, objects with public significance.
23. Pirin National Park is situated in southwest of Rila and the Rhodopes and is surrounded by the valleys of Struma and Mesta rivers. The north part of the mountain is the highest and most picturesque. The glacial lakes and cirques, such as Kazana or the carbonate rock – Koncheto are characteristic of Pirin Mountain and unique for world’s nature.
24. The Rozhen Monastery is the largest monastery in the Pirin Mountains. It is 5 km from Melnik and even closer to the village of Rozhen, which took its name from the monastery. Among the extremely valuable items at the monastery is an old icon said to work miracles.
25. The Shipka Memorial is on Stoletov Peak near the pass, reached by a flight of steps or a short road. It is a memorial to those who died for the Liberation of Bulgaria during the Battles of Shipka Pass in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.
26. The Balchik Palace is a palace in the Bulgarian Black Sea town and resort of Balchik in Southern Dobruja. The official name of the palace was the Quiet Nest Palace. It was constructed between 1926 and 1937, during the Romanian control of the region, for the needs of Queen Marie of Romania.
27. The Troyan Monastery is in the valley of the Osam River, 10 km from the city of Troyan. It is thought that the monastery was founded in 1600, and today it is the largest in the Balkan Mountains.
28. The Dyavolsko Garlo (Devil’s Throat) Cave is in the western Rhodopes, 17 km from Devin and very close to the village of Trigrad. According to the legend, the mythical singer Orpheus entered the kingdom of Hades here to seek his beloved Eurydice. The reason for such fearful associations is obvious when the visitors enter the cave and hear the thunder of its subterranean river.
29. The Yagodinska Cave is in the Rhodope Mountains, eighteen kilometers from Devin. It is one of the longest caves in Bulgaria. The cave’s natural entrance is about a kilometer from where present-day tourists enter. Prehistoric clay vessels and a stone oven were discovered at the natural entrance, roughly 1100 meters from one of the galleries that visitors tour while in the cave.
30. The Aleksandrovo Tomb is one of the most important Bulgarian archeological discoveries. It is located 20 km east of Haskovo near the village of Aleksandrovo. The Thracian tomb is an impressive architectural monument, and its wall-paintings are particularly valuable. It is thought to have been built during the second half of the 4th century B.C. by a rich Thracian ruler.
31. The ancient cliff complex Perperikon is located on a promontory in the eastern Rhodope Mountans, 20 km from Kardzhali. Perperikon is one of the oldest archaeological sites discovered in Bulgaria. According to researchers, that was the site of a temple dedicated to Dionysus, and it is thought that both Alexander the Great and the great Roman emperor, Gaius Julius Caesar prayed at that altar. The stone complex, which exhibits fascinating architectural features from various civilizations, is still an object of archaeological exploration, and interesting artifacts are often discovered there.
32. Dryanovski Monastery is 6 km from Dryanovo and 30 km from Veliko Tarnovo. The monastery was founded during the 12th century, but it was later destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1845. At the time of the struggle for independence from Ottoman domination, this monastery served as a refuge for many Bulgarian revolutionaries. Today, there is a museum on the monastery grounds that presents these troubled times. The monastery has a main church, stables, and living quarters where visitors may stay the night. A trail behind the monastery leads to the Bacho Kiro Cave
33. Bacho Kiro Cave is located 6 km from Dryanovo and 30 km southwest of Veliko Tarnovo. There is a path to the cave beginning at Dryanovo Monastery. There are shorter and loger routes through the cave, to suit the amount of visitors have to spend there.
34. The Snezhanka Cave is in the Rhodoppe Mountains, 5 km from the town of Peshtera and 134 km from Sofia. The cave is reached by a well-marked mountain trail. The name of the cave comes from a stalagmite that resembles the fairy-tale princess. There are a number of halls in the cave, and those who want to see the figure of Snow White have to pass through them all.
35. The Magura Cave is 17km from Belogradchik in northwestern Bulgaria. In one of the cave’s chambers there are prehistoric cave paintings depicting people in masks, animals, dancing silhouettes, hunters, plants and other things. A late Neolithic sundial was also found here – the oldest such calendar discovered in Europe. There are many fascinating rock formations in the cave, including cave pearls, small karst hollows, stalactites, and stalactons.
36. The Prohodna Cave is 2km from the village of Karlukovo and 112 km from Sofia. It is famous for the two natural openings in the ceiling that resemble giant eyes. Those “eyes” are symmetrical and seem to be looking directly down at visitors. For that reason, local residents who discovered the cave called it The Eyes of God’s Cave, or sometimes The Devil’s Eyes Cave.
37. The Stone Wedding (The Kamenna Svatba) is another natural phenomenon near Kardzhali, some 4km northeast of the city at the village of Zimzelen. The Stone Wedding is a limestone complex formed by underwater volcanic activity. The formation gets its name from its resemblance to a group of people that, according to a local legend, gathered for a wedding there and turned to stone because the prospective father-in-law entertained lustful thoughts for the bride.
38. The Melnik Pyramids are scattered over some 50 k in the region of the scenic town of Melnik in southwestern Bulgaria. The formations are the result of erosion to the sandstone. As the process continues, the size and shape of the pyramids continues to change.
39. The village of Zheravna in the Balkan Mountains can boast with one of the most beautiful Revival-era houses in the country. It is located high in the mountains some 12 km from Kotel and 50 km from Sliven. The village has more than 170 old houses, and roughly 150 of them still preserve their centuries-old features. Visitors are welcome to tour some of the houses, some of the others are still home to important Bulgarian families. The village is a popular destination for those interested in rural tourism.
40. The Red Fortress (Cherven) is 30 km from Ruse in the Ruse-Lom Natural Park. It was built by the Byzantines during 6th century, but it flourished as a city from the 12th to the 14h centuries, and became a religious administrative center.
41. Nessebar is situated on a rocky peninsula jutting out into the Black sea. Its history starts as far back at the second millennium B.C as a Thracian settlement with the name of Messambria.
Multiple unique examples of Byzantine and Bulgarian architecture can be seen in Nessebar. The city has been acknowledged as a museum town for its restored two-story houses, and its beautiful bow windows looking over the cobbled pavement streets. The city is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
42. Town of Sozopol is located at the Black-sea coast, around 30km south of Burgas. It was founded around 610 B.C. with the name Antheia by Greek settlers from Miletus, who erected a majestic bronze statue of the God of Health, Sun and Beauty Apollo above the town.
The town established itself as a trade and naval centre in the following centuries. Numerous red and black figural vases, coloured glass vessels, jewellery, amphoras and anchors, now exhibited in the town’s Museum of Ancient Art, date from the heyday of this flourishing town and state. The Bulgarian National Revival period left its own vivid marks on the appearance of Sozopol. Today the preserved architecture of the Renaissance houses in the old Sozopol and the restored ancient archaeological sites lend special charm to the town and attract many tourists.
43. The Rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo are situated in the valley of the Roussenski Lom River, in north east Bulgaria. They are basically a complex of rock-hewn churches, chapels, monasteries and cells developed in the vicinity of the village of Ivanovo. This is where the first hermits had dug out their cells and churches during the 12th century. The 14th-century murals testify to the exceptional skill of the artists belonging to the Tarnovo School of painting.
44. Pliska was Bulgaria’s first capital from its founding, at the end of the 7th century, until 893. The remains of the old capital are 2 km from the present-day city of Pliska. Part of the fortress wall has been preserved, as have a number of public buildings. The most attractive structure at Pliska is the Great Basilica located a few hundred meters from the center of the city.
45. The Wonderful Bridges (Chudni Mostove) are rock formations in the western Rhodope Mountains, a few kilometers from the village of Zabardo. There are three rock bridges – generally known as the small bridge, the medium-sized bridge, and the large bridge. In earlier times, there was a cave through which the river flowed. Over time, the water eroded the cave walls, leaving the vast marble bridges.
46. The Seven Rila Lakes are a group of lakes of glacial origin (glacial lakes), situated in the northwestern Rila Mountains in Bulgaria. They are the most visited group of lakes in Bulgaria. The Seven Lakes chalet are a main tourist attraction in Bulgaria because of the inspiring natural beauty of the place. The lakes are located one above the other and are connected by small streams, which form tiny waterfalls and cascades. You can find tourist accommodation in the lakes' vicinity.
47. The Srebarna Natural Reserve takes up an area of 902 hectares from the area of the entire lake. It is situated on the Danube River. The symbol of the Srebarna Lake is the Dalmatian Pelican. However, dozens of other rare and protected birds, water animals and plants also live here and make the reserve unique for the world’s natural variety.
48. The Blue Rocks (Sini Kamani) Natural Park occupies a fairly small amount of territory (about 11,000 hectares) in the Balkan Range, above the city of Sliven. The name of the park derives from the cliffs above the city which at certain time take a blue-gray tint. Within the park there is a nature reserve and a number of natural attractions. The region’s biodiversity is particularly rich, despite the park’s small area.
49. The Baba Vida Fortress is located on a bank of the Danube River, near Vidin. It was built during the 10th century, but the majority of the construction work was completed from the 12th to the 14th centuries. According to the legend, Baba Vida was named after the noblewoman Vida, who refused to marry because of her sister’s unhappy marriage, so she built the tower to live out her solitary days. The palace is particularly well preserved and is surrounded by a moat that sometimes fills with water from the Danube, and by nine towers.
50. The Kazanlak Tomb is the oldest antique tomb with wholly preserved frescoes. It was discovered by chance in 1944. It was built at the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth millennium B.C. It is believed that the tomb was meant for some of the closest nobles of the Odrysian king Seuthes III. The tomb is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
51. The Madara rider is a high relief on a vertical 23-meter rock. It is situated near the village of Madara, Shoumen District. The composition portrays a horseman holding the leads of his horse in his left hand, and with his right hand he flings a spear into a wounded dragon, lying at the horse’s feet. The monument dates back to the 8th century. It is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
52. The Rila Monastery is the largest and most beautiful Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It is situated in the bosom of Rila Mountain, 123 km to the south of Sofia. The monastery was built in the 10th century, but there is no historic information about the life in the monastery until the 14th century. It is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
53. The Thracian tomb of Sveshtari was discovered in 1982 by the village of Svishtari. It is part of the Sborianovo archaeological reserve in Northeast Bulgaria. Three years later Sveshtari Tomb was entered in the world heritage list as the most remarkable monument of Hellenistic art in Thrace the 3rd century B.C
54. Rila Monastery is the largest monastery in Bulgaria, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It is located in the age-old Rila Mountains, 120 km from Sofia. Pilgrims and tourists alike flock to the monastery, drawn by the beauty of the natural surroundings and by the thousand-year-old history of the venerable religious complex.
55. The Krushina Waterfall, one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Bulgaria, is located in the region of Maarat, 35 km northeast of the city of Lovech in the village of Krushuna. The falls can be reached by an eco-trail notable for its more than fifteen bridges that provide access to the entire region. At the highest point of the trail is a cave that is the source of the waterfall. From the cave the water drops some fifteen meters, forming a number of steps and pools.