GPS coordinates: 43.081664 / 43°4’54” N – 25.646132 / 25°38’46” E
Address: Tsar Asen Square, City Centre, Veliko Tarnovo, Province of Veliko Tarnovo
Taking a stroll in the old part of Veliko Tarnovo, you’ll be amazed by the incredible view spreading in front of your eyes. Tsarevets Fortress, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, rises majestically on the hill of the same name. Did you know that the place was inhabited as early as the 3rd millennium BC? It was also the location of Zikideva, the largest Byzantine city in in Lower Moesia. In 1185, when Tarnovo was proclaimed capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, the construction of a fortified wall began, measuring over 1,000 metres in length and 10 metres in height. During this period Tarnovo became an important administrative, military, cultural, religious and trading centre. The stronghold housed important public buildings, the royal palace, and the patriarchal church. Three entry points led into it – a main gate, a second smaller gate, known as Asen’s Gate, and Frenhisar Gate. The battle tower rising in the southern, lowest part of the hill is known as Baldwin’s Tower, after the Latin Emperor Baldwin, who died here after being captured by the Bulgarians. In the evening don’t miss the Sound and Light audio-visual show, a fusion of music, colourful lights, lasers installations, and church bells telling of the tragic end of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
GPS coordinates: 43.082050 / 43°4’55” N – 25.637887 / 25°38’16” E
Address: Residence District Sveta Gora, Aleksandar Stamboliyski street, City Centre, Veliko Tarnovo, Province of Veliko Tarnovo
Asenevtsi Monument, named after the rulers of the Asen Dynasty – Asen, Peter, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II, was erected in 1985 to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the uprising of the brothers Asen and Peter, founders and first rulers of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Defeating the Latin army and capturing its emperor Baldwin I, their brother and successor Kaloyan made Bulgaria one of the strongest Eastern European states. The upward-facing sword of the monument is a symbol of the power of medieval Bulgaria. The impressive sculpture rises in a picturesque location close to Stambolov Bridge, at the foot of Sveta Gora Hill on the bank of the Yantra River.
Nicopolis ad Istrum
GPS coordinates: 43.220131 / 43°13’12” N – 25.612251 / 25°36’44” E
Address: E85/D5, exit after about 3 kilometres, between the villages of Kutina and Polikraishte, Province of Veliko Tarnovo
When you are in Veliko Tarnovo, don’t forget to visit the medieval town of Nicopolis ad Istrum, believed to have been founded by Emperor Trajan in honour of his victory over the Dacians in the 2nd century. In addition to having a sewer system and even heated buildings, the town is also believed to have used its own currency. Here you will find the ruins of an Agora, the front steps of a basilica, a small odeon, thermae, and other public buildings and shops. After the Hun and the Avar invasions in the 5th and the 6th centuries, the town was destroyed and abandoned. A Bulgarian settlement arose upon its ruins in the 10th-14th century.
Kaya Bunar (Hotnitsa) Waterfall
GPS coordinates: 43.146373 / 43°8’47” N – 25.515248 / 25°30’55” E
Address: access via E85/D5, then D504 to Samovodene, then D3031 to the village of Hotnitsa, then side road for about 5 kilometres, Province of Veliko Tarnovo
If you are a nature lover and happen to be in the region of Veliko Tarnovo, don’t forget to visit a unique natural landmark – the splendid Kaya Bunar waterfall, at the mouth of the Bohot River. It measures 30 metres in height, and has been declared a protected area. Nearby there is a scenic eco trail that will give you the chance to relish the incredible natural beauty of the place.