The Old Aqueduct, the Medieval Aqueduct, is work of the Byzantine period, which held extensive repairs during the Ottoman rule, particularly during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent and Legislator (1530 AD approx.) This double arch structure was designed to bridge the peninsula of Panagia with the foot of the mountain of Lekani.
Imaret is an impressive building erected by Mehmet Ali (1769-1849) as a donation to its native town. Ali was born in Kavala and later became Ruler of Egypt. It is situated on the western side of the Old City, in Panayia, occupying an area of 3500 m2.
In the early 12th century the city of Kavala is small. The cultivation of tobacco in the 19th century results in many tobacco companies settling in Kavala. People from the outskirts of Kavala are starting to move to the city which has began to spread outside the walls of the peninsula.
Because of the unique biodiversity and spectacular natural formations of Pirin, the Government of Bulgaria has established over 40,000 ha of mountain protected area – Pirin National Park. It is a piece of nature that is a priceless Bulgarian and world heritage and is included in UNESCO’s “Man and the Biosphere” program.
The landscape of the Pirin Mountains is diverse and includes a notable alpine area, dotted with many lakes, forested mountain landscapes that define the unique fauna richness in the mountain.
The composition of forests in the territory of Pirin National Park includes 16 tree species, some of them are endemic species, others are of particular conservation significance, or represent some of the largest inventories of tree species in Europe and in Bulgaria. The total area of the Pirin National Park is 40,356 ha and the forested area is 23,110 ha. Within the large area there is dwarf pine, white fir, white pine, spruce, fir, beech, and black pine. The average age of forests in Pirin National Park is 85 years, the largest proportion of forests are older than 140 years.
Velyan’s House in Bansko is located near the Holy Trinity Church and the central square of the town. The house is an example of the architectural style – fortified house of the Bulgarian Revival Period. Velyan’s House was built in the 18th century and was opened to visitors in 1977.
This was a modern two-story building made of stone and wood owned by a wealthy trade family with many children. After a sudden tragedy the family left the house. When the master-painter Velyan Ognev was invited come to Bansko to work on the decoration of the Holy Trinity Temple, the house was given to him by the local people as a symbol of gratitude. The master decorated its interior and exterior and transformed it into a genuine piece of art. With its hiding places, secret exits and fortified walls the Velanova kashta is a piece of legacy from the old times when Bulgaria was under Otoman rule and when people were supposed to hide and protect themselves by the numerous attacks by bandits at that time.
The Holy Trinity Church and especially its tall belfry have become a symbol of Bansko as one of the most attractive mountain resorts, successfully combining the charm of its rich historical past and its picturesque location at the foot of the mighty Pirin Mountain with the most modern facilities for recreation – a wide choice of reputable hotels for all tastes and budgets, one of the best ski zone in South-East Europe.
The Church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was built in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival. Its inauguration was made in 1835. The architectural plan of the church is a three-nave basilica or more exactly a pseudo-basilica with 44 m length, 22 m width and 12 m height. The walls are 1.1 m thick and entirely constructed of local ashlar, welded together by mortar. Large wooden beams of centuries old white fir (typical for the region) are used in the foundation and for leveling the walls. Part of the church is sunken under the ground level in order to look smaller from the outside and Turks can not get an idea about its real size. The altar piece is set within a skillfully constructed and decorated apse in the form of the half of a 18-angle prism with a remarkable stone cornice on the exterior. The roof is hold in the interior of the church by 12 massive wooden columns of white fir, symbolizing the 12 apostles.
The Panaghia (Virgin) Chalkeon (1028), Hosios David (12th century), St Panteleemon (late 13th or the early 14th century), is of four-columned cross-in-square type, Ayioi Apostoloi (1310-1314),Taxiarches (14th century), Panagouda a three-aisled basilica with significant icons, Agios Ioannis Prodromos (Nymphaion),Vlatadon monastery a 14th century foundation of which only the katholikon and two cisterns within the precinct survive, Ayios Demetrios a splendid basilica dedicated to the patron saint and protector of the city, etc.
Tsar Simeon's Garden in Plovdiv is created in 1892 by the Swiss landscape architect Lucien Chevalas (1840-1921). In 1879 Bulgarian knyaz Aleksandar Bogoridi invited Chevalas to become the official gardener of Plovdiv. For all his contribution to the city, in 1901 he was declared an honorary citizen of Plovdiv. Often he is referred to as “the Minister of flowers”.
A Viennese pavilion is built in the centre of the park. The pavilion is with a metal openwork construction and is a replica of the 1936-Central Pavilion. All this was possible with the help of archival photographs and historical evidences from the Book of the fair. In addition there is new lighting in the park, and also new benches and modern children's playgrounds are installed. The trees and the flowers turn the park in a paradise garden.
The pearl on the crown of the park is the renovated Lake with the Singing Fountains. You can enjoy the light show of the lake intertwined with water effects.
The building was erected as an officers club in 1895. In the period 1905-1923 it was Peoples Home, which housed workers theatre, brass band and evening classes.
In 1951 the building was turned into a Museum of the History of Capitalism, Working Class Movement and Socialist Construction. Nowadays it accommodates the Museum Centre of Modern History with a large, fully equipped hall, which allows the arrangement of art and photographic exhibitions, presentations, seminars and other public events.
The Ancient theatre of Philipoppol is one of the best-preserved ancient theatres in the World. It is located on the Southern slope of the Three Hills, in the saddle between Taksim and Dzhambaz tepe. Discovered by archaeologists from Plovdiv and reconstructed in the beginning of the 80s of XX century, the Ancient theatre of Philipoppol is among the most significant findings from the Roman period. Recently found and deciphered inscription on a monumental pedestal reveals that the theatre has been constructed in the 90s of I century A.D., when Philippolol was under the rulership of Titus Flavius Cotis – an heir of a Thracian Royal Dynasty, the high priest of the Tracian province, representative of the Metropolitan Court of Justice and a person in charge of the construction sites.
Nowadays, the Ancient theatre is symbolical for Plovdiv and adjusted to the city’s modern cultural life. It is operating as a stage of opera, music and drama. Some of the best annual events are the International Folklore Festival, the Opera Festival "Opera Open", the Rock Festival "Sounds of Ages" and many others.
The Stadium of Philippopolis was built in the beginning of 2nd century AD during the reign Emperor Hadrian. It is situated in the Northern part of the fortified city surrounded by defence walls, in the natural terrain between Taksim Tepe and Sahat Tepe.
The facility, approximately 240 meters long and 50 meters wide, could seat up to 30 000 spectators. According to the epigraphic and numismatic monuments games similar to the Pythian Games in Greece were held in the town. To honour the visit of the Roman emperor Caracalla in 214 the games were called Alexandrian while the games for the visit of emperor Elagabalus in 218 were called Kedrisian Games.
There you can dive underground at the original level of the Ancient town. The space open for visitors includes a part of the track, the semi-circular part of the spectator seats (sfendona) and a panoramic wall with hypothetical reconstruction of the missing space of the facility. Some of the discovered elements of the Stadium are identified along the main street of Plovdiv.
On the territory to the East and Northeast of the Forum (Agora) of Philippopolis in the years of Early Christianity were formed neighborhoods where several Christian churches were built. In the same area were found also the ruins of a synagogue - a unique building from that period.
The ruins of the Small Early Christian basilica were found during the construction works of "Maria Louisa" Blvd. The Small basilica is situated in the eastern outskirts of the Ancient city, next to the fortification wall with a tower from 2nd - 4th century AD.
The basilica has a central nave, flanked by two aisles. It is with one apse and with a narthex. A small chapel was built to the South and a baptistery is erected just next to the Northern aisle. The overall length of the basilica, including the apse, is 20 meters, and the width is 13 meters.
The basilica was built in the second half of 5th century AD with rich architectural decorations – marble colonnades separating the aisles, marble altar wall, pulpit and synthronos. The floors were covered with rich multicolour mosaic with geometrical motifs. The mosaic includes a panel with donor inscription. Remnants of an altar table were found.
Ancient Plovdiv Architectural and Historical Reserve (The Old Town) is located in the Central part of the city of Plovdiv on the Three Hills (Nebet Tepe, Taksim Tepe and Dzhambaz Tepe) and covers an area of about 35 ha. It was formed due to the continuous life over the centuries – from Prehistoric, Thracian, Hellenic, Roman, Late-ancient, Medieval, National Revival, and Post-Liberation periods to present days. The combination of the prevailing Antiquity, Middle Ages and Revival in an independent core within the modern city is one of a kind for our country.
From the Roman and the Late-ancient period in the Old Town have been best preserved the Ancient Theatre, the Ancient Forum, the Roman Stadium, Early Christian basilicas, public and private buildings, pipelines, street network and parts of the fortress walls, constructed in the Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
From the National Revival period the authentic architecture of houses as well as several churches and school buildings have been preserved. The residential buildings are divided into two main groups. The first group of houses corresponds to the mountain asymmetrical type, but it has been expanded and enriched for the needs of the urban life. The second group is the so-called “Plovdiv symmetrical urban house”. This group of buildings is characterized by a unique national interpretation of the European baroque.
Steering just a little from the Main Street in Plovdiv and imperceptibly you find yourself in “Kapana” (literal translation: “The Trap”). Once you get there you would never want to go back.
You will find galleries, workshops, ateliers, studios, cozy restaurants and shops, as well as other art spaces, and there is even a vinyl shop! And to back our words up, here is a list of places you should not miss in “Kapana”: Vinyl’s home place Soul Searchin’ – Point-Blank Gallery – Darvodelie Atelier – What A monster – Kotka and Mishka....
All these places fill “Kapana” with modern cultural content not only with their daily activities but also organizing events with social, economic and cultural effect for the city. What happens in the new/old art district of Plovdiv is so much – concerts, exhibitions, festivals, forums, brainstorming sessions and discussions, theatrical performances, art installations, screenings, workshops and many more.
Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic museum is the second largest specialized museum of this type in Bulgaria. It is an acknowledged scientific-educational institution and an attractive center for cultural tourism. The museum was established in 1917 and since 1938 it has been located in Kuyumdzhieva house, a cultural monument of national significance. Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic museum provides coordinative, qualification and expert-consulting activities for all museums and collections of artifacts with ethnographic character on the territory of Plovdiv and the region. In addition, the museum lends its methodical support to the municipal and private museums.The museum is a co-organizer and a host of popular traditional festivals such as Festival the Annual Festival of Chamber Music, The Festival of Classic Guitar, etc., as well as concerts, biennials, fashion shows, theatrical plays, book presenting and performances. The demonstration of traditional crafts is another type of tourist attraction.
The Numismatic Department of Plovdiv Regional Archaeological Museum boasts a collection of 60,000 coins, dated VI c. B. C. - XX c. A. D. The department is constantly enriching its fund either through acquisition from various archaeological excavations or by buying out coins from private collectors.
A substantial part of the numismatic treasure of the Archaeological Museum is comprised of coins minted in the period of I - V c. A. D. Philippopolis was the first town in the inner part of Thrace that began to mint the so-called "pseudo-autonomous" bronze coins. The Emperors Domicianus (81 - 96), Trajan (98 - 117) and Hadrian (117 - 138) gave permission to the town to issue coins without the mediation of the Roman legates, temporarily governing Thrace. Alongside with the coins, the Museum collection holds a considerable amount of medallions, issued as commemorative signs to eminent representatives of the Emperor in the province or to town notables. In some periods they were also used as legal tender.
The Museum boasts one of the richest collections of 100.000 exhibits of artefacts related to the history of Plovdiv and its region. Plovdiv is the heir to one of the biggest and most famous ancient towns in the Balkan Penninsula - Philippopolis.
It is interesting to know when and where was the ancient town of Plovdiv founded. What is the place where the people settled and remained to live there for 8 millennia? This place is the hill known today as Nebet tepe situated on the hilltop plateau in the northern part of the three hills (Trimontium).
The earliest settlements on the territory of the city are dated back to the 6th millennium BC. There were several prehistoric settlements on this territory, but the oldest and most important one was located on hill known as Nebet tepe.
Initially the village was situated in a naturally sheltered and consolidated place on the front side of the northern hill. It gradually expanded towards the other hills to become the most significant Thracian city on the territory of Bulgaria. At that time the lands of today's Plovdiv were inhabited by the Thracian tribe Bessi. The scientists are still not sure if the name of the city at that time was Eumolpia or Pulpudeva.
The complex of Nebet tepe continued to play an important role as an element of the fortification system of the city until the 14th century, with lots of improvements and supplements during the Antiquity and the Middle Ages. A notable finding of that later period is a reservoir of 350 cubic meters.
Panagia Eikonistria is the most holy site of the island since the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary (Panagia) was found here around 1650. An important intellectual figure of the island and of the Church, Dionysios the Old, was a monk in this monastery.
The “Ivan Vazov” National Theatre is Bulgaria’s biggest theatre, as well as the oldest and most stand out and most imposing theatre in the country. This theatre is one of the major landmarks in Sofia due to its prime location and grandiose architecture.
The National theatre is located in the centre of Sofia and its edifice faces the City Garden. The Ivan Vazov National Theatre has a well-equipped main stage with 750 seats, a smaller 120-seat stage and an additional 70-seat one on the fourth floor. The theatre employs some of the country’s best actors and stage directors, many of whom are widely popular.
The National Art Gallery is the largest and the most representative museum of the Bulgarian fine arts in the country. It is housed in the building of the former royal palace (declared a cultural monument in 1978), together with the National Ethnographic Museum.
The beginning of the collection was set in 1892 when the art department of the National Archaeological Museum was established. In 1948 by resolution of the Council of Ministers, the National Art Gallery was established as an independent institution.
The exposition of orthodox arts is presented in the crypt of the monumental temple “St. Alexander Nevski” in Sofia. The collection of works of art covers a large period of time – from the adoption of Christianity as an official religion in the Roman Empire in the 4th century to the Age of Bulgarian Revival (18th – 19th century), and it mainly consists of icons.
The collections of contemporary and modern Bulgarian art of the museum – from the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Dominion (1878) to the 1990s, contain more than 30,000 works of art, and they are divided into three basic expositions – high quality paintings, graphics and sculptures.
The oldest and best preserved monument of architecture since Roman times in Sofia is the rotunda church St. George. It was built in the beginning of the 4th century AD and, was considered, during the reign of the roman emperor Constantine the Great (reigned 306 – 337) and the flourishing of the ancient town Serdika (the old name of Sofia). It is believed that the rotunda is the oldest building in Sofia.
The temple is situated in the courtyard of the Government Office, just a couple of meters of the remains of the ancient fortress Serdika. It is a cylindrical domed structure, built on a square base. Its width is about 9.5 meters in diameter and its height is about 14 meters. The altar room has a square form and four symmetrically placed niches. The main entrance is at the western wall.
Originally the building was used for public purposes. After the recognition of Christianity as a religion in the Roman Empire, the rotunda became a baptistery (a building for conversion to Christianity), due to the many conversions, following the authorization of this religion.
Koukounaries beach is the most famous beach of Skiathos, therefore the most crowded. It is well-known for its extremely fine white sand and its fragrant pine trees forest from which the region took its name. It is considered as the most unspoiled natural beach of the Mediterranean and is a protected environment. The beautiful crystal-clear deep blue waters are a real pleasure. Since the beach is well-organized, it offers many water sports, chairs, umbrellas, beach bars.
The region around the beach is full of restaurants, taverns and hotel units. A local bus links this beach to the capital every 30 minutes. A biotope can be found in the pine forest boarding the beach where different species of plants and birds are protected. This place, as well as the beach, is developed for ecotourism, financed by the Municipality and the European Union.
The ancient city of Aiane was the most important of the kingdom of Elimeia. From the finds here, archaeologists have concluded that it was home to quite an advanced civilisation, on a par with the Mycenaeans.
Multimedia visitor centre “Tsarevgrad Tarnov” is located near Tsarevets hill. Notable sculptures and paintings present historical figures and events of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. It recreates lives of different social layer in medieval bulgarian society – monarchs, clergy, boyars and warriors, craftsmen.
Visitors will experience the rich history of Tsarevgrad as a symbol of royalty, glory and spiritual power.
The Archaeological museum which housed the exposition “Veliko Tarnovo – the capital of Bulgaria XII – XIV c.” is situated westward to the square of “Saedinenie”. The thousand year old history and culture of the region of Tarnovo is traced out there. The accent is on the period of the Second Bulgarian kingdom.
The prehistory is presented in the first hall. You can see some archaeological findings from the tumulus of Samovodene (5700-5000 BC), the settlement in the area of “Kachitsa”, V.Tarnovo (5300-3800 BC), Djulyunitsa (4800-4000 BC), tumuli of the village of Hotnitsa, the waterfall near Hotnitsa (3600 BC), the Thracian village on the hill of Tsarevec.
The point is on the golden treasure of Hotnitsa that dates back to about 4100 BC. It is worth to see the golden objects from the cave of the village of Emen and a piece with signs of proto-writing system.
The Holy Forty Martyrs church was built and decorated with murals by the will of the Bulgarian tzar Ivan Asen II, to commemorate his victory over the king of the Epirus kingdom Theodor Comnenus in 1230. In the middle of the XIII century, around the church was erected the royal monastery of the Great Laurel. The church became a centre of a series of important events and its nave comprises the most significant tokens of the Bulgarian history – the columns of khan Omurtag (815 – 831), of khan Krum (803-814) and of Ivan Asen II with inscriptions on them. During archeological researches were unearthed the tombs of significant medieval persons. The biggest interest drew the grave the Bulgarian king Kaloyan, who was assassinated during the siege of Thessaloniki in 1207. After his death his body was solemnly carried to capital, where he was buried with honours. In the church were also the graves of one of the greatest Bulgaria’s rulers – Ivan Asen II and his wife Anna – Maria. The church was the place where the relics of St. Sava of Serbia and St. Ilarion of Muglen were kept. Consequently the body of St. Sava was transferred to Serbia but his grave is still an attractive point for pilgrims. One of the most important events held in the church was the pronouncing of the Bulgarian independence on the 22nd of September, 1908.
The best way to explore the city is taking a little tour around the lake starting from the southernmost side up to the northernmost. Take a stroll on the narrow pathway along the lake’s coast; you will be overwhelmed by its idyllic beauty and tranquility.
The Byzantine Art Museum (in Dexameni square), where artifacts from the Byzantine period are showcased; over 700 well preserved byzantine sculptures, murals, paintings and icons from temples from around the city.
The Monastery of Zermbitsa is located in a prominent location atop a hill of Mt Taygetos. This setting gives visitors to the monastery a rare treat because from here you can behold the splendor of the magnificent Evrotas River valley. Looking westward, we see the highest peak of our proud and majestic Mt. Taygetos.
The Old Bazaar (Macedonian: Стара Чаршија, Stara Čaršija from the Turkish: Çarşı meaning marketplace, Albanian: Çarshia e Vjetër) in Skopje is the largest bazaar in the Balkans outside Istanbul. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Vardar River, stretching from the Stone Bridge to the Bit-Pazar and from the Skopje Fortress to the Serava river.
The Old Bazaar falls within the borders of Centar and Čair municipalities and is a protected national landmark. The earliest known documented sources that point out to the existence of a merchant quarter on the bazaar's territory date back to the 12th century. During the Ottoman rule with the city, the place underwent a rapid development to become city's main economic and merchant centre, evidenced by about 30 mosques, numerous caravanserais and hans, as well as other Ottoman buildings and monuments. The bazaar was heavily damaged by the earthquakes that occurred in 1555 and 1963, and the destructions caused during the First and the Second World War. Subsequently, it was reconstructed on several occasions and nowadays represents the only remaining cultural monument in the Republic of Macedonia, which has kept its multicultural heritage of different civilizations.
The desire to pay respect to one the most famous person and Nobel Prize winner from Macedonia was accomplished on the 30-th of January 2009 with the opening of the Memorial house dedicated to Mother Teresa. The Memorial house of Mother Teresa is a non-profit organization financed by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. The Location of the museum is not randomly chosen. That is to say, on this exact place the old Catholic Church “Sacred heart of Jesus” used to stand. It is where Mother Teresa, then Gonxha Bojaxhiu was baptized just one day after her birth, on the 27th of August 1910, place where she received her first communion and where she finds her inner peace after her father’s death.
This place had great importance and influence on developing the character of young Gonxha and to her desire to help the poor people. Since she was a child she sang in the Catholic Church choir and participated in charity organizations. Somehow the location itself represents a symbolic bridge that connects little Gonxha to one of the greatest humanitarian of the world, Mother Teresa.
The Skopje Fortress commonly referred to as Kale Fortress, or simply Kale (from kale, the Turkish word for 'fortress'), is a historic fortress located in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. It is situated on the highest point in the city overlooking the Vardar River. The fortress is depicted on the coat of arms of Skopje, which in turn is incorporated in the city's flag.
The first fortress, according to research and available data, is believed to have been built amidst the 6th century A.D., on land that had been inhabited during the Neolithic and Bronze ages or roughly 4000 B.C. It was constructed with yellow limestone and travertine and along with fragments of Latin inscriptions, asserts the idea that the fortress originated from the Roman city of Skupi, which was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 518.
The fortress is thought to have been reconstructed during the rule of emperor Justinian I and constructed further during the 10th and 11th centuries over the remains of emperor Justinian's Byzantine fortress which may have been destroyed due to a number of wars and battles in the region, such as that of the uprising of the Bulgarian Empire against the Byzantine Empire under the rule of Peter Delyan. Not much is known about the Medieval fortress apart from a few documents which outline minor characteristics in the fortress' appearance.