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                  Old town of Plovdiv                        

Plovdiv   is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is a contemporary of Troy and Mycenae. It is older than Rome, Athens, Carthage or Constantinople. Archaeologists have discovered fine pottery[2] and other objects of everyday life from as early as the Neolithic Age, showing that in the end of the 7th millennium B.C there already was an established settlement there. According to Ammianus Marcellinus, Plovdiv's written post-Bronze Age history lists it as a Thracian fortified settlement named Eumolpias. In 342 BC, it was conquered by Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, who renamed it "Φιλιππόπολις", Philippopolis or "the city of Philip" in his own honour. Later, it again became independent under the Thracians, until its incorporation into the Roman Empire, where it was called Trimontium (City of Three Hills) and served as metropolis (capital) of the province of Thrace. Thrimontium was an important crossroad for the Roman Empire and was called "The largest and most beautiful of all cities" by Lucian. In those times, the Via Militaris (or Via Diagonalis), the most important military road in the Balkans, passed through the city.[1] The Roman times were a glorious period of growth and cultural excellence. The ancient ruins tell a story of a vibrant, growing city with numerous public buildings, shrines, baths, and theatres. Many of those are still preserved and can be seen by the curious tourist wishing to experience the charm of ancient Rome up close ...
Full article here... Source:   Wikipedia
More pictures here:   Nikola Gruev's Photo Album - Old Town of Plovdiv

View of Arbanasi
View of Arbanasi

Arbanasi  (Bulgarian: Арбанаси, also transliterated as Arbanassi) is a village in Veliko Tarnovo Province of Northern Bulgaria, set on a high plateau between the larger towns of Veliko Tarnovo (4 km away) and Gorna Oryahovitsa. It is known for the rich history and large number of historical monuments, such as medieval churches and examples Bulgarian National Revival architecture, which have turned it into a popular tourist destination.
The village's name comes from the Greek word Αλβανικος or Αλβανος, which, like Turkish arnavut, was used to denote Albanians and other people that came from parts of Macedonia and Albania that had a large Albanian population, regardless of nationality.

The earliest written document that marks the beginning of Arbanasi's history is a royal decree by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent from 1538, according to which the sultan offered the lands of the modern settlements of Arbanasi, Lyaskovets, Gorna Oryahovitsa and Dolna Oryahovitsa to his son-in-law Grand Vizier Rustem Pasha as a gift. The four villages are united under the name arnabud karielari in the document ...  
Full article here... Source:   Wikipedia 
More pictures here:   Nikola Gruev's Photo Album - Arbanasi

               View of Bozhentsi                  

Bozhentsi  (Bulgarian: Боженци; also variously transliterated as Bozhenci, Bojenci, Bojenzi, Boženci, Bojentsi, Bojentzi, Bozhentzi, etc.), officially but not commonly Bozhentsite (Боженците), is a village and architectural reserve in Gabrovo municipality, Gabrovo Province, in central northern Bulgaria. The village lies in the middle part of the Balkan Mountains, 15 km east of Gabrovo and just north of the Shipka Pass. It is noted for its well-preserved Bulgarian National Revival architecture and history, and is thus a well-known tourist destination in the area.
Bozhensti was established after the incursion of Ottoman Turks in Veliko Tarnovo, the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, in the 16th century. Many residents of the capital then flew to settle in remote and secure parts of the mountains. According to the legend, among them was the young female noble (bolyarka) Bozhana, who chose to hide in the area where the village today is, and gave it its name. The noble's sons engaged in trade and the village gradually grew to become an important trade junction during the National Revival towards the middle of the 18th century. The main production consisted of leather, wool, beeswax and honey.
The village of Bozhentsi was proclaimed an architectural and historical reserve in 1964 and is part of UNESCO's cultural monuments ...
Full article here...  Source:   Wikipedia. 
More pictures here:   Nikola Gruev's Photo Album - Bozhentsi

       Old town of Sozopol                   

Sozopol  (Bulgarian: Созопол; Greek: Σωζόπολη, Sozópoli, Turkish: Süzebolu) is a small ancient town located 30 km south of Burgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today the town is mostly a seaside resort known for the Apollonia art and film festival named after one of Sozopol's ancient names.

Sozopol is one of the oldest towns on Bulgarian Thrace's Black Sea coast. The first settlement on the site dates back to the Bronze Age. Undersea explorations in the region of the port reveal relics of dwellings, ceramic pottery, stone and bone tools from that era. Many anchors from the second and first millennium BC have been discovered in the town's bay, a proof of active shipping since ancient times.
The town, at first called Antheia, was colonized in Thrace on the shore of the Pontus Euxinus, principally on a little island, by Anaximander (born 610-609 BC) at the head of Milesian colonists. The name was soon changed to Apollonia, on account of a temple dedicated to Apollo in the town, containing a famous colossal statue of the god Apollo by Calamis, 30 cubits high, transported later to Rome by Lucullus and placed in the Capitol. At various times, Apollonia was known as Apollonia Pontica (that is, Apollonia on the Black Sea, the ancient Pontus Euxinus) and Apollonia Magna (Great Apollonia) ...
Full article here... Source:   Wikipedia
More pictures here:   Nikola Gruev's Photo Album - Old town of Sozopol

         Old Town of Nesebar                        

Nesebar  (Bulgarian: Несебър, Nesebăr, though other transliterations are also used), previously known as Mesembria (Greek: Μεσημβρια, Mesimvria) and before that as Menebria, is an ancient city on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, located in Nesebar municipality, Burgas Province.

Originally a Thracian settlement known as Menebria founded in the 2nd millennium BC, the town became a Greek colony when settled by Dorians from Megara at the beginning of the 6th century BC, and was an important trading centre from then on and a rival of Apollonia (Sozopol). Remains from the Hellenistic period include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, and an agora. A wall which formed part of the Greek fortifications can still be seen on the north side of the peninsula. Bronze and silver coins were minted in the city since the 5th century BC and gold coins since the 3rd century BC.
The town fell under Roman rule in 71 BC, yet continued to enjoy privileges such as the right to mint its own coinage. It was one of the most important strongholds of the Byzantine Empire from the 5th century AD onwards, and was fought over by Byzantines and Bulgarians, being captured in 812 by Khan Krum after a two week siege only to be ceded back to Byzantium by Knyaz Boris I in 864 and reconquered by his son Tsar Simeon the Great. During the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire it was also contested by Bulgarian and Byzantine forces and enjoyed particular prosperity under Bulgarian tsar Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) until it was conquered by Crusaders led by Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy in 1366 and handed back to Byzantium. The Slavic version of the name, Nesebar or Mesebar, has been attested since the 11th century ...

Full article here...  Source:   Wikipedia
More pictures here: Nikola Gruev's Photo Album - Old town of Nesebar

Traditional taverns in a narrow street of Bansko
      Traditional taverns in a narrow street of Bansko    

Bansko  (Bulgarian: Банско) is a town in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of Pirin at an altitude of 1936 m above sea level. Today it is a popular mountain resort. Bansko is the birthplace of 20th century Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov and Bulgarian enlighteners Paisiy Hilendarski (sometimes disputed) and Neofit Rilski.

The archeological traces of the inhabitants of Bansko and the Razlog Valley in general date to the early periods of the Roman Empire.

There are several housing structures at the outskirts of the town, which date to 100 BC. However, there is no consensus nor credible theory on who these people were.

Until 5 October 1912, Bansko was a part of the Ottoman Empire, but enjoyed a quasi self-rule autonomy granted by the sultan. The town was ruled by an assembly of the elders, while justice was administered by the Turkish judge in Razlog. It was incorporated in Bulgaria in 1912 as a result of the First Balkan War.

Full article here...  Source:   Wikipedia
More pictures here:   Nikola Gruev's Photo Album - Bansko

          View of Kalofer                   

Kalofer   (Калофер) is a town in southern Bulgaria, between the Balkan Mountains to the north and the Sredna Gora to the south, part of Plovdiv Province. It is best known as the birthplace of Bulgarian poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev and is located on both banks of the Tundzha.
The modern settlement of Kalofer emerged in the 16th century, managing to preserve its Bulgarian character in the Ottoman Empire and to develop as a centre of craftsmanship, primarily cord production. The Kalofer monastery has been in operation since 1640 and the convent since 1700. During the Bulgarian National Revival the town became a centre of revolutionary activity, being the birthplace of figures such as Hristo Botev, Exarch Joseph, Dimitar Panichkov, Nikola Ivanov. ......

Source:   Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
More pictures here:  Nikola Gruev's photo gallery of Kalofer 


                  View of Karlovo                    


Karlovo   (Bulgarian: Карлово) is a town in central Bulgaria located in a fertile valley along the river Stryama at the southern foot of the Balkan Mountains. It is administratively part of Plovdiv Province and has a population of about 28,321 (as of 2005), the mayor being Emil Kabaivanov of the UDF.GRBulgaria Karlovo lies at 42°38′N 24°48′E, 386 m above sea level.

Karlovo is famous for the worldwide-known rose oil, which is grown there and used in producing perfume. In addition to this, Karlovo is the birthplace of Vasil Levski, the most distinguished Bulgarian to start preparing the national liberation from the Ottoman rule in the late 19th century. There is a museum and large monument dedicated to him. Karlovo is also a popular location for tourism in the region.

The town originated in the 14th century, but grew in importance in the 19th century as a centre of Bulgarian culture and revolutionary activity.

During the 2000s, Bulgarian archaeologists made discoveries in Central Bulgaria which were summarized as "The Valley of the Thracian Kings". On 19 August 2005, some archaeologists announced they had found the first Thracian capital, which was situated near Karlovo in Bulgaria. A lot of polished ceramic artifacts (pieces of roof-tiles and Greek-like vases) were discovered revealing the fortune of the city. The Bulgarian Ministry of Culture declared its support to the excavations.

Source:   Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

              View of Tryavna            

Tryavna   (Трявна) is a town in central Bulgaria, situated in the north slopes of the Balkan range, on the Tryavna river valley, near Gabrovo. It is famous for its textile industry and typical National Revival architecture, featuring 140 cultural monuments, museums and expositions. Tryavna is the birthplace of Bulgarian writer Pencho Slaveykov and revolutionary Angel Kanchev. The village was founded as early as the Thracian Era. However, the first documents of its existence date back to the 12th century. During Ottoman Bulgaria period locals defended the pass and enjoyed privileges for this reason. Only Bulgarians lived in the town; the Turks never gained access in it. During the period of Bulgarian national revival, the town was heavily involved in the development of crafts. Houses from this period feature their own architectural design. The ground floors had irregular forms and housed craftsmen and traders. The upper floors featured wooden bow-windows, the roofs were covered with well arranged rocks.
The town Square, named Capitan Diado Nikola, with the clock tower, dating from 1814, are among the landmarks. Another tourist attraction is the "kivgireniyat" bridge, built above the river behind the clock tower. In the Capitan Diado Nikola Square has been built one of the first secular schools in Bulgaria. Another symbol of Tryavna is the St. Archangel Mihael Church, situated in the town center and built in the late 12th century after bulgarian tzar Asen defeated byzanthine emperor Isaac II.

Full article here...  Source:   Wikipedia

        View of Panagyurishte       

          Full article and more pictures you can find here  ...  Source:   Wikipedia



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