Bucharest – Veliko Tarnovo
We start the tour at 8 am, at your hotel from Bucharest. After one hour, we’ll cross the Danube river, on Friendship Bridge (the border between Romania and Bulgaria). For this journey, you need a passport (or ID for EU citizens).
The first stop will be Basarabavo Rock Monastery, the only one that is still used by monks. Its name was mentioned for the first time in a Turkish tax register in 1431. The most famous monk was St. Dimitrii Basarbovski, his remains were taken to Bucharest during the Russo-Turkish war where they are now.
15 km away is IVANOVO, a rock monastery that is in UNESCO Heritage. Situated in the canyon of the Roussenski Lom River, it’s open to visitors to admire the frescoes from the 13th century and the landscapes of Roussenski National Park.
Another 100 km and we visit Arbanasi village: The Konstantsalieva House and The Nativity Church.
The museum Konstantsalieva House is an example of the unique style of architecture in Arbanasi village – a house-fortress surrounded by high stone walls.
The Church of the Nativity is the oldest church in Arbanassi. It consists of a naos, a narthex, a gallery and a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The ‘Wheel of Life’ on the east wall of the north gallery is the earliest depiction of this type in Bulgarian churches.
In Veliko Tarnovo, the most important objective is Tsarevets fortress. The main fortress of the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 – 1393) was the former seat of the medieval tsars. Situated on the highest point, the Residence of the Bulgarian patriarchs was reconstructed in the ’80s but now is not a church anymore. But it’s open for visitors since 1985.
After a visit to the souvenir shop street, we come back in Bucharest, crossing again the border, on the same road.