Offering a Balkan adventure like no other, Bulgaria is one of the most fascinating places to explore and is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. Rightly so, as the country is full of pristine coastlines, towering mountains, endless waterfalls, and generally lush nature that is extremely welcoming. Here are the 5 things Bulgaria is famous for.
Said to be the only fully preserved medieval castle in the country, Baba Vida’s construction dates back to the 10th century. At one time, the fortress was the main and most important defensive aspect of Vidin during the Middle Ages. It was destroyed during a siege by Byzantine forces and rebuilt during Ivan Stratsimir’s rule. Visitors no longer have to worry about conquering Baba Vida as it now houses a museum dedicated to its legendary history. The museum-fortress experience is full of fun the whole family will enjoy as it takes visitors back in time.
Popularly known as “Kaleto”, the Belogradchik Fortress is located on the slopes of the Balkans. The historical and cultural attraction attracts tourists from all over the world, as it is one of the best preserved fortresses in Bulgaria. The fortress, which is built into the surrounding rocks, was initially built at a time when the land was part of the Roman Empire. Visitors can explore the nationally renowned structure and better understand the architectural wonders found within its construction. Other visitors will appreciate the history of the fortress more as the fortress was captured by the Ottomans in the 1300s and played a role during the Serbo-Bulgarian war in 1885.
A delightful natural phenomenon, the Belogradchik Rocks are a group of rock formations created by sandstone and conglomerate rock. The formations are a declared Natural Monument and range in color from red to yellow. The rock shapes are extremely unique and were carved naturally from the winds and dripping rainwater over 200 years. Many visitors feel that the rocks are shaped like human silhouettes, birds, animals and other mythical creatures. Visitors can even talk to guides or locals to learn about the interesting legends the rocks are associated with, such as a beautiful nun who was exiled or a schoolgirl who was turned to stone.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral that serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria. It is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world and the second largest cathedral in the Balkan Peninsula. The cathedral is a popular landmark in Bulgaria and the Neo-Byzantine style architecture is world famous. There is a 148-foot-high gold-plated dome, a bell tower and 12 bells in the cathedral. Inside, visitors will find one of the largest collections of Orthodox icons in Europe; There is even a dedicated museum inside the cathedral crypt that is part of the National Gallery of Art.
Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was completed in the early 11th century as a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church. What makes the church unique and a must-see for those in Bulgaria are the frescoes: 240 human images in 89 scenes depicted on the walls of the church. The frescoes that visitors see today form a second layer painted over the original in 1259. The paintings attract visitors from all over the world, and rightly so, as they are one of the best-preserved monuments of medieval art in the Balkans. Some aspects of the frescoes not to be missed include the paintings of Christ Among the Scribes, Pantocrator, Konstantin Tih of Bulgaria, and Eirene of Nicaea and Saint Nicholas.