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Cultural sightseeing in Bulgaria. What to visit - museums, temples, castles and palaces

Bulgaria is an ancient country on the territory of which in different epochs, reigned different empires. In Antiquity Bulgaria was part of the Roman Empire, then for a long time this Orthodox country was under the yoke of the Ottomans, who planted Islam as a religion. However, the Bulgarians in spite of everything, managed to preserve their culture and their sites. Today, they are distributed to different cities and are of special value for tourists as in one trip, you can visit unique ruins and buildings from the times of ancient Rome, visit temples of different faiths, look into museums devoted to socialism and the history of the state. Most of them are concentrated in the largest city - Sofia, but a lot of fascinating excursions are waiting for tourists in Varna, Plovdiv and Burgas.
1. The national currency of Bulgaria is lev (lion) and a small change coin is a stotinka. Changing money in Bulgaria is best in banks. Before the …
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One of the main museums of Sofia and the whole country is the National Historical Museum opened in 1973. In its collection are more than 650 thousand of all kinds of exhibits, belonging to a variety of epochs: from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. Visitors to the museum will be able to get acquainted with archaeological findings, coins, objects of everyday life and interiors, antique furniture, maps and heraldry. For convenience, the museum is divided into several sections devoted to different aspects of history. The National Museum of Natural History is the largest in the Balkans. Its exposition includes over 400 stuffed animals and over 1200 stuffed birds inhabiting the region. Separate exhibitions are devoted to fish, amphibians, modern and fossilized animals and birds, and minerals.
Another interesting museum in Sofia is the Museum of Socialist Art, which is a branch of the National Art Gallery of the country. The museum presents various exhibits related to the era of socialism. In the park adjacent to the museum, there are various memorials and monuments of the socialist leaders and figures. There are pictures in the gallery and documentaries about the Soviet past are broadcasted in the video hall. The national gallery itself was founded in 1948. Today it has more than 50 thousand exhibits, among them pictures, paintings, graphics and sculptures. In the museum you can get acquainted with the work of both foreign authors and equally famous Bulgarian ones. Copyright
Bulgaria is a quiet and cozy place where you can spend an unforgettable family vacation. For recreation with children, you can choose any direction, …
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Sofia also has many historical sites. In the heart of the city are the ruins of the former ancient city of Serdika, founded as early as the time of the Thracian kingdom. The first mention of the settlements in this place indicates the 8th century BC. On the territory of ancient Serdika is the oldest church of Sofia - the Rotunda of St. George, built in the 4th century in the center of the residence of the Byzantine emperor Constantine the Great. During the Turkish invasion, the church was converted to a mosque, but the restorers managed to restore its former appearance. The Cathedral of St. Sophia is the Cathedral of the Holy Week, built in the 18th century. A patriarchal cathedral of the country is the Alexander Nevsky Temple- Monument, a majestic building towering over the city and dominating the rest of the buildings.
There are more than 200 buildings in Plovdiv, the protection of which is one of the priorities of the state. Since antiquity, the ruins of the city forum, the ancient theater for 3000 seats (completely restored), basilicas, temples and fortifications have been preserved in the city. In the center of the city, traces of the Thracian fortress are clearly seen and since the days of Turkish rule, mosques and bathhouses have been preserved. In Varna is one of the largest archaeological museums in the country, which was created in the 18th century. The exposition includes exhibits from the Paleolithic to the First Bulgarian State. In the Varna necropolis, the oldest gold in the world was found.
Shopping in Bulgaria has certain specificity. All goods in the country can be divided into two categories: imported and local. Prices of imported …
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The largest church in Varna is the Assumption Cathedral, built in the 19th century on the square of Cyril and Methodius. The temple is decorated with numerous frescoes and stained-glass windows, which makes it very beautiful. In Burgas there is the Ethnographic Museum, located in an old house that once belonged to the lawyer Brakolovoi. Among the exhibits are national dresses, clothes and household items. Interestingly, the exhibition subjects are devoted to a wide variety of epochs. The center of Burgas is also a real open-air museum. On its territory, there are a large number of monuments of history and architecture. Among them are Art Nouveau style apartment houses, as well as the Marine Park, where you can see monuments of famous people.
Bulgaria guide chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Fantastic City Tours and Excursions in Bulgaria

Reference information
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Bulgaria
♥   Art museum 'National Archaeological Museum' Sofia. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'National Art Gallery' Sofia. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'National Gallery for Foreign Art' Sofia. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Varna Archaeological Museum' Varna. On the map   Photos
Map of all palaces
Palaces in Bulgaria
♥   Palace 'Euxinograd — former royal palace' Varna. On the map   Photos

Extreme Guinness-type places in Bulgaria


From the series “Monochromatic Cities - Stunning Views”
Sozopol is an ancient seaside town in Bulgaria. This place is rather popular among celebrities. They like to come here for vacations. This city became popular among celebrities and ordinary people thanks to its wonderful beaches and nice hotels. The historical area of the city is placed on the peninsula. Today it is an architectural monument of the world meaning. All Sozopol’s buildings are made from huge stone blocks of one color. The variety of buildings in the historical area contain a single ensemble.

In the historical district you will see mostly two-stored buildings in classical Bulgarian style. Within several decades there were developed a great tourism and entertainment infrastructure. Nowadays in the city there are about 600 restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other entertaining … Read all

Devetashka Cave

From the series “Fantastic and Colorful Caves Inside the Earth”
In Bulgaria, an outstanding natural attraction is Devetashka Cave, located on the Osam River. It was discovered by a group of researchers in 1921 and is the largest cave in the country. The length of underground passages is 1500 meters. The main feature of the cave are large openings in the ceiling, thanks to which some of its areas are perfectly illuminated in the daytime. In some parts of the cave rapid streams flow, and natural arches are covered with dense vegetation. While exploring the cave, more than ten beautiful lakes and many unusual formations have been discovered.

It must be mentioned that the colorful cave is considered an important archaeological area. Still in the Palaeolithic period it served as a refuge for people, as evidenced by tools found in the cave, made of silicon, … Read all
All unique sightseeing Bulgaria
Country maps Maps of Bulgaria
Car rental on Car rental in Bulgaria
Map of cities Cities map of Bulgaria
Map of sights Map of sights in Bulgaria

Expo 2020 in Dubai Was Visited by More Than 7 Million Visitors

If you haven’t visited this event yet, there is still time to book a hotel in Dubai because Expo 2020 Dubai runs until 31 March 2022. People who are unable to visit the emirate can make a virtual tour on the Expo 2020 website. By the way, the virtual visitation has already reached 31.6 million by the end of December. Read this


Top cultural sites of Bulgaria: monuments, theaters and churches

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a cathedral dedicated to Russian soldiers who freed Bulgaria of the Turkish yoke. The cathedral was built by patriots of Bessarabia, Dobrudzha, Austria, and Russia.
»  In 1882, the first stone was laid. The construction lasted from 1904 to 1912. It had been named after Saint Cyrill and Methodius until 1920. The cathedral was declared a cultural monument only in 1924.
»  The building was designed by Russian architects I. Bogomolov and A. Pomerantsev. The cathedral was built and decorated with Russian and Bulgarian architects and artists. The iconostasis of the cathedral is decorated with two icons painted by V. M. Vasnetsov.
»  The Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in the pearl frame was donated to the cathedral by Aleksey I, a Russian patriarch.
»  The total area of the building is 2 600 m2, so it can accommodate about 5 000 people at the same time. The bell tower has 12 bells made in Moscow. The biggest bell weighs 12 tons. The sound of bells is heard even beyond the city.
»  Nowadays, the cathedral is the residence of Bulgarian patriarchs. It also appeared in two films: “Hitman” and “Ninja”.

Boyana Church, Sofia

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Boyana Church is located not far from the capital. It is an old construction that consists of three sectors built at different times.
»  The oldest part is a small church built in the 10th century. In the 13th century, the Bulgarian noble Kaloyan built a two-level church and shrine at his expense. The new church was built in 1882.
»  In 1259, medieval artists Basil and Dimitri covered the walls of the church with a new painted layer. The names of artists were known when the church was being restored.
»  The main value of the church is authentic wall painting. It was done in accordance with the unique technique of portrait paintings that have found nowhere else in the world. Every portrait has individuality and expresses emotions. Faces on the portraits are not repeated.
»  On the walls of the temple, scenes from the Holy Scripture are depicted. You can also see pictures of Jesus Christ at different points of his life and at different ages.
»  In 1979, the Boyana Church became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. In honor of the 1300th anniversary of Bulgaria, jubilee coins were issued. The Boyana Church was stamped on the 2 leva coin.

National Art Gallery, Sofia

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The National Art Gallery is located in the former residence of Prince Alexander of Battenberg. It was built in 1873. Pieces of art started to be collected in 1892. The sector in the Archeology Museum was allocated for them.
»  When the collection was big enough, an art gallery was opened. In 1952, the gallery occupied some rooms in the palace.
»  The collection includes paintings and sculptures of Bulgarian National Revival artists (1878).
»  Medieval icons that are real treasures of the gallery are kept and displayed at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
»  The gallery houses 50 000 works made by 3 000 Bulgarian masters.
»  The National Gallery also includes home-museums of artists Vera Nedkova and Nikola Tanev and sculptor Ivan Lazarov.

National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The National Gallery for Foreign Art houses the collection received from the National Art Gallery in 1985. The gallery was founded by the Fund of Lyudmila Zhivkova, the daughter of Todor Zhivkov. Many exhibits were donated from private collections.
»  The gallery occupies four floors of an old mansion. The collection of foreign art includes 10 000 exhibits.
»  In the halls, you can see paintings and sculptures of Western European masters: Rembrandt, M. Chagall, F. Giya, S. Dali, P. Picasso, and Roden.
»  The gallery houses over 200 works of Nikolai Roerich and his son Svetoslav.
»  Here, you can also see the big and interesting collection of different decorative items from Africa, Japan, India, and Asia.

Russian Church, Sofia

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Russian Church in Sofia is also known as the Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker. It was decided to build to church after the Russian-Turkish War. The plot of land near the Russian embassy was allocated for it.
»  The construction began only in 1907 because fundraising had gone on for too long. The church was consecrated in 1914. The festive ceremony was visited by Prince Vladimir, the son of Alexander II.
»  The First World War, during which Bulgaria opposed Russia, forced the church to cease its activity. Only after the Second World War, the Russian Orthodox Church was re-opened.
»  In its chapel, Archbishop Seraphim who had worked here since 1921 until his death in 1950 was buried. He was canonized for performing miracles and helping believers.
»  Russian Emperor Nicholas II donated bells for the bell tower to the Russian Church.

Saint Sofia Church, Sofia

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Saint Sofia Church or the Basilica of Saint Sofia is the oldest church that has survived to this day. The first churches were built here already in the 3rd century. They were destroyed during barbarians’ raids. In 537, the Saint Sofia Church was reconstructed on the initiative of Emperor Justinian I.
»  In the late 16th century, during the Ottoman invasion, Turks turned the Orthodox Church into a mosque, built a minaret, and got rid of paintings. In 1858, the minaret was destroyed by an earthquake, so Turks rebuilt it into a warehouse.
»  The church was repeatedly restored in the 20th century and finally gained its original appearance. In 1998, the basilica was opened for parishioners.
»  During archaeological excavations, catacombs with graves were found under the building. You can also see the fragment of the painting of the first church.
»  In 1955, the Saint Sofia Church was declared a cultural monument.

Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church, Sofia

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church, or Seven Saints Church, was built at the site of the Black Mosque in 1903. The mosque was called like this because its minaret was made of black marble. The Black Mosque was founded in 1528.
»  When Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire, it was abandoned and dilapidated. The Christian Church was rebuilt on the initiative of A. N. Pomerantsev. A bell tower with four bells was constructed. The church was consecrated in honor of St. Cyril and Methodius and their followers: Savva, Clement, Nahum, Angelar, and Gorazd.
»  When the church was rebuilt, the excavations were conducted. Under the foundation, the fragments of an old Christian Church dating back to the 5th century were found. Also, the fragments of Asklepion, the temple of the Roman god of medicine Asklepios where people were treated, were found here.

Culture and monuments in popular cities of Bulgaria

Almost all rooms are open for tours. Here you can see collections of old furniture and works of art, religious paraphernalia, beautiful antique tableware, and other accessories. At the entrance to the palace, you will see is the queen’s favorite old stone throne. The rooms located on the ground floor are occupied by an art gallery, which displays artworks belonging to various periods. The queen's rooms have been preserved on the next floor. An interesting feature of the summer palace is its … Read more
The Assumption Church is a no less important religious attraction. It is an incredibly interesting landmark from an architectural point of view and is considered to be a classic monument in the Bulgarian Revival style. The church was built in the mid-18th century instead of a ruined medieval temple, which failed to survive the Ottoman invasion. A carved wooden iconostasis, which was installed immediately after the opening, remains the main decoration of the church. The city’s belfry a … Read more
Since 1887, the palace was the main residence of the royal family. Nowadays it hosts two outstanding cultural institutions, the Ethnographical Museum and the National Art Gallery. The Banya Bashi Mosque is an interesting landmark. Built in 1576 by ​​one of the most famous Turkish architect, it continues to operate for more than four centuries. The red brick building can be seen even from remote areas of the city. Travelers can appreciate the appearance of the mosque and access its … Read more
Golden Sands
Among the items exhibited in the museum you will find various ritual objects and religious artifacts, crafts by local artisans and vintage clothing, as well as a beautiful collection of pottery. There are several observation platforms next to the monastery, which is located on a high rock. From there guests can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the city. Church of St. John the Baptist is a no less important excursion and religious monument of the city. The church is located in the heart of the … Read more
You will also find several wonderful sights near Independence Square. Here is located the surviving part of the fortress wall that surrounded the city yet during the reign of the Roman Empire. Round Tower and magnificent Opera House are located just nearby. The tower was built in the beginning of Middle Ages and was an important part of the city’s fortifications. A person, who was on duty in the tower, was the first one to warn citizens of the city about the approach of a danger. Round Tower … Read more
Roman Stadium is a no less interesting landmark of the antique times. The gorgeous stadium was built in the 2nd century B.C.E. It is open in the heart of Plovdiv and surrounded by beautiful architectural landmarks of different epochs that look absolutely gorgeous with modern illumination. Despite the fact that there are buildings of different styles in the center of the city, Plovdiv looks incredibly harmonious and attractive. Out of all religious landmarks of Plovdiv, it’s important to … Read more
One of the oldest buildings on the territory of the peninsula is considered to be the Church of St Stephen or the New Bishopric. The church was established in the 11th century and presents an architectural landmark of ultimate beauty. Built of stone church survived in its initial look through many centuries. Its walls keep a priceless collection of religious artifacts. The church of St Aliturgetos is considered to be a religious landmark of a later period. This church was established by Greeks … Read more
The ruins of Phoros Fortress are a no less interesting historic landmark of the region. According to a theory, the fortress was built in the early medieval period. The protective facility was almost completely destroyed by Turkish invaders, so nowadays visitors can see only a small part of the surviving constructions. The history of Phoros Fortress is full of secrets and mysteries. Scientists still cannot say for sure what were the building date and purpose of the fortress. Archaeological … Read more

Bulgaria map of cultural and historical sites

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