Category Archives: Bulgaria

Bulgaria Off the Beaten Track – Karanovo Thracian Tomb

Karanovo Thracian Tomb

Several years ago I went to this site when it was relatively new and even less known.  So this year, on our recent trip to Bulgaria, I decided to bring the family, especially given that my daughter had developed a relatively high interest in ancient Greece, and the ancient world overall…

Guess what !?!? – Bulgaria is full of antique places, ancient ruins are all over the country, and there are plenty of places to visit and experience archeological finds which are rare and to a large extent inaccessible in most parts of the world.   Here you can see excavated artifacts which are usually accessible in such form only to archeologists with a lot of experience and while on specific digs.

See the pictures below and you will know what I mean

Bulgaria Karanovo Thracian Tomb
Four-wheeled chariot of Thracian Aristocrat – 1st century AD

Two horses and a dog accompanied the disassembled chariot placed in the ancient tomb.  It was really interesting to get so close to the dig and the findings…

Here is one more photo from the tomb and the vista at the entrance of the tomb – very impressive sight overall….

Bulgaria Stara Zagora Karanovo Thracian Tomb
Thracian Tomb at Karanovo

The tomb is located about 29 kilometers from Stara Zagora in Southern Bulgaria.  Finding the place is NOT easy.  Finding Karanovo is relatively speaking OK – just use Google maps and you will find the road to the village.  Getting to the tomb is a feat on its own.  No signs point to it.  Enter the village with your car and start heading towards the Northeast part of the settlement and plan to exit the village.  Most likely you will have to ask somehow – ask for “Mogilata” phonetic pronunciation…

Unfortunately Google Maps failed us on finding the exact path to the tomb.  We asked some local guys and one of them guided us on his motorcycle with us following in a car…

I will plan to publish more photos soon. 

Bulgaria Karanovo Stara Zagora Thracian Tomb
View from the Karanovo Eastern Tomb

 

Here is a link to a brief guide and photo book I setup on Amazon.com – hopefully you will find it useful.   Thanks!

 

Bulgaria: Pirin Mountain Lakes – Continued

Earlier last week I posted a quick snippet of information about a beautiful corner of Bulgaria – the Pirin mountains and Pirin National Park.  As mentioned, you have good access to the mountains and park from the town of Bansko.

Today – let’s take a look specifically at the way to get to a couple of the glacier fed high mountain lakes — they are amazing in their severe beauty and well worth the good work out you will get getting there from the starting point we used.

From Bansko we drove in the direction on Banderishka poliana, (you can also get to it via the Gondola Lift from Bansko), and drove from there in the direction of Banderitsa Challet, where you could park and hike further up the mountain, or continue a while longer and park on the road and continue with a hike to the Vihren Challet – which is really the starting point for the hike to many of the lakes in the region.   The photo below is a composite MAP and photos I pulled together to give you both a map idea of the Vihren Challet and trail to a few of the lakes as well as a few photos of the lakes and scenery – i.e. to show you the hike is WELL WORTH it.

Bulgaria-Pirin-Bansko-Lakes

Some additional advice for your hike:

  1. Make sure you find a place to park close to the Vihren Challet – unless you drive up early in the morning – it is not likely that you will find parking space at the Challet, so plan to park on a safe space along the side of the road
  2. Bring water with you.  The hike is long and even though the air temperature is very comfortable – on our hike the weather was great: sunny, around 85F…but it is very dry and you can get quickly dehydrated.
  3. Comfortable, preferably hiking shoes – enough said!
  4. Map – pick up one from your hotel or Bansko, information center
  5. Some snacks / food — you will spend around 3 hours on the trail
  6. CAMERA!!! Of course – you will take tons of photos – the mountain, peaks, lakes, plants are incredibly beautiful

Enjoy your trip!

Bulgaria: More About the Pirin Mountain Lakes

If you were intrigued about the picturesque mountain lake in the previous posting, let me provide you with some more visual clues to the origin of these lakes.   The Pirin mountain in Bulgaria is one of the big mountains on the Balkans.  Its peaks are high and nature stunning — you will find out more about that in the upcoming postings I will provide.

Here is a map with the general location of the area I will continue providing more information on:

;

In the meantime, here are some more photos to feed your imagination…

Vihren-Pirin-Bulgaria

Pirin-Bulgaria-Summer-Snow      Porin-Mountain-Summer-Snow-hiking

 

These images of course are in low resolution to ensure the Web site loads up relatively fast…If you would like access to the full resolution including uncompressed (~30MB size) source images, please drop me a note via the feedback form below…

Stay tuned for more images and iBook I am planing to generate over the next 1-2 weeks as we complete the trip.

Arbanasi Bulgaria – Picturesque Village Near Veliko Tqrnovo in Bulgaria – Part-II

Continuing the photo blog view of Arbanasi – here is the next installment and next set of photos.

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If you ask me for more specifics on what exactly you should do in the area, my response will be simple – Arbanasi is a great place to just go to and wander around – whether on foot or on a bike.  You will enjoy the architecture, interesting surroundings…and nature most of all…

Arbanasi Bulgaria – Picturesque Village Near Veliko Tqrnovo in Bulgaria

Well so for this post I intend to be as short in my text as possible and focus on the pictorial representation of a picturesque village in northern Bulgaria in the Veliko Tqrnovo area.  The village is Arbanasi (in Bulgarian – Арбанаси) – and it dates back to the 15th and 16th century A.D.

I do not think there is much of an old history to cover here – but the natural surroundings of the place are just beautiful and so are the village’s own old buildings.   So here we go with the pictorial:

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Bulgarian Beaches – Sunny Beach

Bulgaria is a country that offers great resorts and activities both in the winter and in the summer.  I will spend some time over the next few days to provide updates on the beaches my family and I have traveled to.   Several of those beaches were covered recently in an article / guide from Lonely Planet, and while that guide does usually a good job to capture the specifics of the place being reviewed I thought to add some more insight from having visited many of the beaches on multiple occasions over the last 15 years or so.

So here we go – starting with what most guide books refer to as the most popular and my family calls the least pleasant beach — SUNNY BEACH

Sunny Beach is probably one of the oldest and most traveled to resorts in Bulgaria, dating all the way back to the 1960s and 1970s.  The place was developed to the effect of 800 hotels today – a mind boggling number given the small space it occupies.  The result is that many of the hotels are really not that nice and location wise not even close to the beach.  So be very careful in your selection and travel plans.

Sunny Beach is located about 35-km north-northeast of Burgas (one of the main cities on the Bulgaria Black sea coast).  There are regular buses traversing the distance and you should be able to get to the resort very quickly upon arriving in Burgas either by plane, train or other means.

In terms of nightlife there are the usual places to go – i.e. discos and restaurants.  Sunny Beach certainly has its overabundant share of those.  Here are a few that have been recommended by various folks over several years

  • Discos:
    • Disco Orange
    • Beach Disco (near hotel Burgas)
    • ClubXL (operated and owned by hotel Kuban)
  • Restaurants
    • Khan’s Tent – located on the way to Varna, to the right of the highway
    • Morris – located opposite of hotel Neptune
    • Lapa Lapa – its address is Kv. Kamelija No36, Sunny Beach 8240

Here is a great map of Sunny Beach complete with a legend – courtesy of carhirebourgasairport.com/

Near Sunny Beach is located probably one of the most interesting towns along the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria – the town’s name is Nessebar / Несебър in Bulgarian.

The town has survived through the centuries and as a result inherited a large number of historic buildings and consequently has been included in the list of World Heritage sites in 1983.

Chiprovtsi Carpets – Now Part of the World Cultural Heritage

The new news from Bulgaria and the village of Chiprovtsi specifically is that the carpets which are woven on vertical hand-looms have been accepted in UNESCO’s world cultural heritage listing.   To be more precise, the carpets originating in Chiprovtsi have been “Inscribed in 2014 (9.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”

This is an important development as the move recognizes the uniqueness of these carpets and their value as historical and cultural element – part of the world’s history and heritage.

My family and I have been going to Chiprotsi for many years – and of course are proud owners of several of the carpets.  For those of you who have not seen them, here is a brief photo gallery

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Here are also some links inside this blog as well as on the UNESCO Web site

Enjoy!

Plovdiv Bulgaria on Lonely Planet’s Best Travel Destinations in 2015

For those of you who have been to Bulgaria – you probably had wondered like I did for many years – why is Bulgaria essentially a destination often considered as the “off the beaten track” place…Well, things have changed drastically – Plovdiv is now on the Lonely Planet’s best places to visit in 2015.  The city made it as number 6 on that list !

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Plovdiv has also been selected as the Culture Capital of Europe for 2019 – this is another proof of the great things the city has to offer to its inhabitants and visitors alike.   The city offers incredible architecture – in the old town, Roman amphitheaters – one of them actually functional, great food and nice weather.

From Plovdiv you can go and explore tons of different place around Southern Bulgaria.  Places like:

Just to name a few…

If you are now ready to head to Bulgaria, you may want to consider a few handy books:

  
For those of you who really want to feel as if you never left Plovdiv – then get a T-Shirt…. There is a good one above…

Other than that, you can just go ahead and plan a trip to see the place for yourself.

Bulgaria in Images

Here are a few interesting photos from our recent trip to Bulgaria.  In my previous article I provided a guide on how you can get from Kazanlak to Istanbul.   So in this update I just wanted to post a bunch of photos from various corners of country so you can enjoy its natural beauty….

Here we go….

in the foothills of the Balkan range Sunset in a small town  Flowers in a Church yard, Bulgaria 

Bulgaria fields          Bulgaria sunflowers

Lavender          Lavender in Bulgaria

And a gallery of sunsets in a small town in the Valley of Thracian Kings

And if you would like to see a lot more photo albums from various places in Bulgaria – Thracian tombs, old fortresses, mountain resorts, monasteries, and more follow the link here