Bucharest – Basarabovo – Ivanovo – Arbanasi – Veliko Tarnovo
We’ll gonna start our tour from Bucharest. The guide will come to pick you up from your hotel, at 8 a.m. After one hour, we’ll cross the Danube river, on Friendship Bridge (the border between Romania and Bulgaria). For this journey, you should have your passport with you (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 as well.
15 km away is Ivanovo, a rock monastery that is UNESCO Heritage. Situated in the canyon of the Roussenski Lom River, it’s open for 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 Nativity Church is the oldest 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. Now is not a church anymore. But it’s open for visitors since 1985.
After a walk on the street with souvenir shops, we’ll be back to Bucharest, crossing again the border, on the same road.