Towns and Monasteries
They call them museum-towns..

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Famous Bulgarian Towns


Although they are alive and dynamic, those towns keep the charm of past times, and their monuments are subject to careful restoration and conservation. Almost all of them are huddled up amidst beautiful mountainous picturesque spots, buried in verdure. The masons of these old houses, churches and public buildings, are not alive anymore, but their spirits lice in the beautiful  wood-carved ceilings, doors and cupboards, in the original architecture created by their hands. These museum towns still possess the sent of wood, box shrub and geranium.



Nessebur (UNESCO)

Located on a small romantic rocky peninsula in the Black Sea which is linked with the mainland via a narrow isthmus. Beautiful architectural ensembles, preserved valuable monuments: remnants of fortress walls from Roman times and the Middle Ages, old Byzantine and Bulgarian churches, antique 18th and 19th century houses. The greatest treasure of the town are the numerous churches. The wonderful ancient ambiance is the background for an unforgettable holiday opportunity.



Plovdiv - Old Plovdiv

During the 19th century Bulgarian master builders erected the National Revival city of Plovdiv (the Old Town) with steep cobbled lanes, lovely houses with large bay windows and slender columns, latticed eaves and heavy oak gates, quiet green yards and rippling marble fountains. Today it has survived as a unique architectural ensemble on the three hills. Nowadays Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia (339,077). It is situated in south-central Bulgaria on the two banks of the Maritsa River, approximately 152 km southeast of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.


Shiroka Luka

A charming small village.  Architectural and ethnographical reserve. Shiroka Luka is a mountain village located  in the central Rhodope Mountains (1206 m above sea level), 20 km north-west of Smolyan. The village was founded in the 17th century. The village has preserved its architecture, its musical culture - kaba gaida, a local type of bagpipe used in Bulgarian folklore music, from  the Bulgarian Revival Period. Now days Shiroka Luka is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bulgaria - beautiful landscapes, and rich history.



The town with a population of about 5 000, is one of the oldest settlements on the Bulgarian coast. It is located some 30 km south of Bourgas. A one hundred-meter long strip of land connects it to the mainland. Founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists, Old town Sozopol is preserved its romantic atmosphere with the narrow cobbled streets, houses with high fences on stone foundations with sun-dried brick walls and external wooden boarding -  typical for the Black Sea school of architecture. Sozopol on the southern Black Sea Coast is both historically fascinating and one of Bulgaria's most important, enchanting and captivating seaside resorts.




The town of Tryavna (population: 12 000 inhabitants) is located in central Bulgaria, in the north slopes of the Balkan mountain, in the Tryavna river valley, near Gabrovo, 440 meters above the sea level. Mountain air, evergreen forests, crystal waters, and the beauty of the Bulgarian National Revival houses all these attract to Tryavna. The town still preserved the spirit of its ancestors famous masons, craftsmen and icon makers and because of this the old part of Tryavna was proclaimed for an architectural reserve with about 140 monuments of the National Revival architecture. Tryavna is a town preferred by tourists for its clean mountain air and unique architecture.



Veliko Turnovo

The town of Veliko Turnovo (population 74 800 inhabitants) is situated in north central Bulgaria, at the foot of Stara planina, 210 meters above the sea level. It is regally situated along the historical hills of Tsarevets, Trapezitza, and Sveta Gora, on the two banks of the Iantra river. Veliko Tarnovo is a town with rich and glorious historical past. Famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (12-14th-century), Veliko Turnovo attracting many tourists with its unique monuments and architecture: the medieval fortress Tsarevets,  the historical hills and  multiple orthodox temples. In architectural terms, the appearance of the old part of the town takes the visitors in the past. The distinct Turnovo building tradition is influenced by the terrain. Stately buildings with bay windows and garrents are built one above the other into the rocks.




Jeravna is a small village in eastern part of Stara Planina mountain. The village was founded in 12-14th century and in the 18 century it was crafts and cultural center. Nowadays Zheravna is declared an architectural reserve because the many (over 200) perfectly preserved houses, streets and buildings dating from the period of the Bulgarian Revival (18-19th- century). Almost every house is declared a monument of culture.



Arbanassi is a village in Veliko Tarnovo municipality, situated in central northern Bulgaria. It is known for the rich history and large number of historical monuments, such as 17th- and 18th-century churches and examples of Bulgarian National Revival architecture, which have turned it into a popular tourist destination. Village of Arbanassi has its own specific architectural style. In the past the houses were built spacious and comfortable, richly decorated and furnished on the inside,  but resemble minor fortresses on the outside with their high, solid walls and heavy gates, iron, rids and secret hiding-places.




Etura is the Ethnographic museum  and is it the first open air museum of this kind opened in Bulgaria. It was established on September 7th, 1964. The museum is situated 8 km South of the town of Gabrovo.This is this a charming ethnographic centre where you can watch craftsmen fashion beautiful gold, silver, copper, leather and wooden items right in front of your eyes. Around this are lovely old houses, flowers on the window sills, small shops with wooden shutters and gas lanterns on the street corners. Mostly two storey buildings, the exact replicas of the homes of the old local craftsmen. The upper floors house the living area, whilst the ground floor was for workshops.



This is one of the most charming small Bulgarian towns, still preserving the atmosphere of the National Revival period, is huddled in the mountain folds 111 kms east of Sofia. No other Bulgarian museum town boasts such a large number of listed houses and monuments, most of which have been restored to their original appearance. Since 1971 the town has been declared an architectural and historical reserve, with a total of 388 architectural, historical, artistic, and ethnographic monuments. The small town with cobble-paved streets, the many bridges and picturesque colorful houses from the 17-18th century, is situated among spacious meadows and quite forests with bracing air in the heart of Sredna Gora.



An idyllic village nestling in the folds of the Balkan Range, 16 kms from the town of Gabrovo, which time seems to have lulled to sleep centuries ago. The village is proclaimed an architectural and historical reserve in 1964. Typically here there are houses with lavish interiors and wood panelled rooms, beautiful carved ornaments on the ceilings, doors and cup. More than 100 houses in Bozhentsi have been preserved in their original state.It is noted for its well-preserved Bulgarian National Revival architecture and history, and is thus a well-known tourist destination in the area.




Melnik is the smallest Bulgarian town (about 800 inhabitants), picturesquely situated amidst fantastic scenery. Melnik is a very interesting Bulgarian town located in south-west Bulgaria in Blagoevgrad district. Lovely white houses perched on their slopes and a single street running along the river with steep paths leading to the houses perched above. During the 17th - 18th c. it become a flourishing tobacco and wine-producing center, whose fame spread to many European countries. It is a town-museum with 96 buildings pronounced for cultural monuments. Melnik has great traditions in wine making, due to the unique grape varieties cultivated in the region.



Elena is a Bulgarian town in the central Stara Planina mountains, 42 km southeast of Veliko Tarnovo in Veliko Tarnovo Province. The area is a popular mountain resort also known for the typical local cuisine. The population of the town alone is 7200. Elena is an old settlement founded in the 15th century. During the 18th and 19th century it established itself as a centre of crafts, trade and education. There are several architectural ensembles preserved dating back to the Bulgarian National Revival and comprising about 130 old houses. Wall-to-wall construction forms interesting street silhouettes. The houses have stone basements with white-washed or wooden walls of the upper floor with protruding bays above.





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