UNESCO in Bulgaria - a jewelry box with nine jewels

Departure Date: from 01-01-2017 to 31-12-2017 Status: Open for booking Price: 590 Duration: 9 days

Are nine sites under UNESCO protection too few or too many for a country?

They are many, if situated on a small area – as small as Bulgaria. But few, if that territory can tell the history of a whole European civilization! In Bulgaria the oldest gold treasure on the continent which dates back to V millennium BC is discovered. Its ancient inhabitants left many other mysterious stone sanctuaries scattered in the hidden recesses of this mountain land. Here, in parallel with Ancient Greece, the culture of the Thracians has developed whose time has bequeathed to us unique burial chambers filled with exquisite works of art. Bulgaria was one of the beautiful Roman provinces. For Serdica (now Sofia) Emperor Constantine, the person who first adopted Christianity, says: "Serdika is my Rome". Here Bulgarians have developed a rich spiritual culture and their own writing that were later spread to other Slavic countries.
But the merits of Bulgaria are not only historical, or only its cultural monuments are worth seeing. Small Bulgaria has extremely diverse and beautiful scenery. Its southern sun shines on its alpine peaks, tender sea and fertile plains

That is why UNESCO has a rich choice. Come and enjoy it!

UNESCO sites in Bulgaria:
♦ Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
♦ Thracian Tomb in Sveshtari
♦ Town of Nessebar
♦ Madara Horseman
♦ Boyana Church
♦ Ivanovo Rock Churches
♦ Rila Monastery
♦ Pirin Mountain
♦ Srebarna Lake


Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival in Sofia.

Day 2. Sofia – Rila Monastery – Melnik
The tour begins with one of the emblems of Bulgaria - the Rila Monastery. Founded in the X century by the monk-hermit St. Ivan Rilski the monastery plays crucial role in Bulgarian history, preserving the Bulgarian spirit and culture during the five centuries of Turkish rule. It is situated in the heart of Rila Mountain among age-old forests and high rocky peaks. Though repeatedly burned, its today’s look dates back to the beginning of XIX century when the church was also painted. In the monastery yard a defense tower from XIV century is preserved. The route continues southward to the small town of Melnik. It is known for its good wine, old houses and picturesque landscape of steep sandstones. We will stay there for the night.

Day 3. Melnik – Pirin – Bansko
Today our way passes through the southern parts of Pirin to Bansko resort where our next stay for the night will be. But before it we will climb high up the road in the most beautiful Bulgarian mountain all the way to Vihren Hut from where we will take a walking tour in Bandaritsa circus among glacial lakes and marble tops. Because of its wealth of plants and animals, Pirin was declared a national park. Its highest peak, Vihren, rises 2,914 meters above sea level. On the way back to Bansko we will see Baykusheva fir - the oldest tree in Bulgaria – 1300 years old.

Day 4. Bansko –Plovdiv
From Bansko will head off to Plovdiv, where we will spend the day. Our road passes between the mountains Rila and Rodopi. In its central part Plovdiv has preserved a unique architectural and historical complex. The Ancient Theatre and the stadium date back to Roman times, and the colorful houses and the multitude of churches – from the Bulgarian National Revival. Wandering along the cobblestone streets winding between them we will enjoy the artistic atmosphere of this cozy oasis in an otherwise large and modern city. Overnight.

Day 5. Plovdiv – Kazanlak tomb – Nessebar
From Plovdiv we will head off to the Valley of the Thracian kings. It was called so because of the many burial mounds of the kings who ruled the Thracians – the tribes that gave the world the cult to Dionysus and Orpheus and created countless cultic objects of exceptional artistic value. In one of these mounds the Kazanlak tomb is situated, whose walls were painted in the IV century BC. The murals well preserved until today, depict scenes of life in Antiquity. But this valley has another name as well - the Valley of the Roses - because of the rose plantations. If we are there in early June, we can also observe the ritual rose- picking during the traditional Rose Festival. Then, we will go to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, in particular, to the town of Nessebar, where we will spend the next day.

Day 6. Nessebar
This town combines its incredible wealth of culture and history with the spirit of the holiday resort. Picaresquely situated on a small peninsula connected to the mainland only by a narrow neck of land, Nessebar (then Mesembria) is one of the most important ancient seaside colonies of the Greeks that inhabited it in the VI century BC. In the later centuries Romans, Byzantines and Bulgarians have left their marks as well. Therefore, the town is now a real open-air museum. The remains of fortress walls and basilicas and 42 churches, some of which are art galleries now, spring up around every corner of the winding narrow streets, and above them the balconies of the wooden houses embraced by the sun cast their shadow.

Day 7. Nessebar – Madara Horseman – Sveshtari – Srebarna
After a day of rest in the seaside Nessebar, a busy but also full of new sights day is waiting for us. We will start to the Madara Horseman. This mysterious medieval monument has not found its unique historical explanation so far. It is believed that the bas-relief cut high in the rock depicts a Bulgarian ruler from the VIII century. The first two Bulgarian capitals - Pliska and Preslav of which unfortunately too little is preserved are situated nearby. After the Madara Horseman we will continue our way to the Thracian tomb near the village of Sveshtari. It dates back to III century BC and is characterized by the voluminous female figures framing the central compartment. The Muslim sanctuary- Demir Baba Teke - which is believed to have healing power is near the tomb. Overnight in the village of Srebarna.

Day 8. Srebarna – Ivanovo Rock Churches –Veliko Tarnovo
In close proximity to the village the lake of Srebarna is located - an important stop on the path of migratory birds in their migration between Europe and Africa, called Via Pontica. Many species nest here, among which the most attractive are probably the Dalmatian pelicans. Then we will continue to the reserve “Ruse Lom”. In addition to its preserved nature, another interesting monument of medieval Bulgaria is located there- the rock churches near Ivanovo village. An important center of Hesychasm in Bulgaria in the XIV century, now the churches are excellent examples of the iconography of that time. Our last stop for the day is Veliko Tarnovo - the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

Day 9. Veliko Tarnovo – Sofia, Boyana church
On the way to the capital we will have the opportunity to visit the cave "Saeva Dupka." The last day of the program is devoted to Sofia. In Sofia, we have free time. You can visits to museums, exhibitions or some have some shopping on the main Vitosha Boulevard.

Day 10. Departure


Included in the price: ► all transport according itinerary ► ► English speaking guide and guide assistance throughout ► overnights in standart hotels - all overnights are based on double (single) rooms with private WC/shower ► breakfast (9 days) ►price of 690 EUR pp at 2 persons at 3*** hotels

Not included: ► meals other than breakfast ► airport transfers outside the tour itinerary ► flight tickets ►tips, insurances ► alcoholic drinks and other personal expenses. ► entrance fees to sites

Other expenses: ► airport transfers outside the tour itinerary: 15 EUR per transfer for vehicle 1-3 pax / 25 EUR for vehicle 4-7 pax ► Single supplement: 160 Euro

Prices, EUR
                       4-5 pax    6-7 pax
3*** hotels     590         520
4****hotels    690          650