Tsarevets fortress is probably one of the most widely visited historical sites in Bulgaria. The hill on which it was built is close to the centre of the modern town of Veliko Tarnovo.
There are several city buses that can take you to the Ivan Asen II square in front of the castle.The fortress is open for visits throughout the year:
- 8 am – 7 pm from April till October
- 9 am – 5 pm from November till March.
Entrance fee to Tsarevets is 6 leva but there is a free admission each last Thursday of the month.
The spectacular Sound and Light show recreates the tragic history of Tsarevets, Veliki Tarnov and the Second Bulgarian Kingdom through colourful light and laser effects, church bells and dramatic music.
Since this is an open site you should bear in mind the usual rules and precautions, such as: move only along the lanes, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, be prepared to encounter insects and reptiles, abide the signs, etc.
Archaeological Museum Veliko Tarnovo
You can reach the museum by public transport if you take any of these bus lines: 20,40,50,110 and get off at Tsarevets.
Little to no information about the beautiful building of the museum can be found at this time. The Archaelogical Exposition of Veliko Tarnovo‘s Museum of History is on display in an old historical building close to the Tsarevets hill. It boasts a 130-old tradition and a permanent exhibition dedicated to the fascinating history, culture and lifestyle of the medieval Bulgarian capital.
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 09:00 till 17:00, the Museum offers free entry each last Thursday of the month. Discounts for students, groups, families and senior citizens apply. Guided tours are available at extra charge.
Address: Devetaki Village, near Lovech, Veliko Tarnovo Region
Latitude / Longitude: 43.236158, 24.895392
Tip: Devetashka Cave is closed for visits during the bats’ breeding season between 1 June and 31 July
The Devetashka cave is an enormous picturesque cave with 2 galleries, 11 lakes and 14 springs. You can see beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, rivulets, majestic natural domes and arches.
There is no security and no entrance fees (for now). However, there is no public transport connection and no direct access by car (and there shouldn’t be), so you will have to park just after the bridge of the Devetaki village, which is about 85 km from Veliko Tarnovo and 20 km from Lovech.
Once you have parked your car, follow the signs and walk down the trail for about 1 km. You will then reach the entrance of the Devetashka Cave, one of the biggest caves in Bulgaria and the home of more than 30 000 bats. Make sure you wear the appropriate shoes and clothes.
Fair warning, not all the spots in the Devetashka Cave can be accessed by regular tourists, some require special expertise alongside caving and sailing equipment.
Should you decide to stay overnight before or after your visit, the area offers some good options of small family-run B&Bs along the Osam river. Alternatively, you can check in a hotel in Lovech, which is the closest (20 km) bigger town nearby and provides more sights and attractions and a bigger choice of dining options.
Mindya Rock Fest Poster
15 bands will perform at this year’s Mindya Rock Fest. Established Bulgarian bands, as well as local formations will entertain the rock and blues fans for the fifth consecutive year.
The festival will take place between 22-24 August at the central square of Mindya village, organised by Mindya Rock Fest foundation with the support of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality.
The first edition of the festival was held in 2009, after the initiative of science professor Evgeniy Dainov and his English friends.
This year for the first time the event starts with “zero day”, 22 August, when young bands will compete in front of a jury. The band which gets most of the jury’s votes wins free of charge recording session.
The remaining two days will feature regular participants in the festival. Among the supporting events of the festival are book sales, unique ethnographic items and local folk ensemble performances.
Uspenie Bogorodichno (Assumption of the Virgin Mary) Monastery is located in the north-eastern part of Arbanasi, 6km from Veliko Tarnovo, and was supposedly built in the Middle Ages.
The monastery church is a low, single isle, single apse building with two narthexes and a relatively large Holy Trinity Chapel. New residential and supporting buidings were built in 1716 by abbot Danail from Troyan. In 1798 the so called “Kardzhalii” brigands destroyed the monastery, and it was restored later.
Murals in the nave are painted by unknown master painters around 1600 and those in the women section of the church date back to 1603. An inscription on the chapel entrance tells us the names of the icons painter Daskal (teacher) Kosta, Tsonyu and Goergi and the year 1704 when the murals were painted. Many 17th-18th century icons can be seen in the church, most valuable among them being the miraculous Holy Mother of God – Troeruchitsa (three-handed). It is place at the entrance (narthex) of the church.
The holy icon is lined with silver relief,donated at a later stage by a local merchant, whose child was curedafter prayers in front of the icon. It is believed that through the years a great number people, coming to pray to the icon were healed. That’s why thousands of worshippers gather at the monastery on August 15 on Great St. Mary’s Day.
St Peter and St Paul Church is located on the northern foot hills of Tsarevets Hill. It is one of the few medieval churches preserved and working since the beginning of the 18th century to the earthquake in 1913.
The church was built during the reign of Tsar Kaloyan. In 1204 he signed a treaty with the Roman Pope Innocent III, which is why the church was named after most respected saints of the Roman Catholic Church – Peter and Paul.
Later a monastery complex was developed around the church, built with donations from Ana-Maria, wife of Tsar Ivan Asen II. The last Bulgarian patriarch served there for two years.
The murals on church wall were painted by an artist, who had a vast knowledge of the Paleologue style and the traditions of the Artistic School of Veliko Tarnovo.
A lot of the images are unique and unparalleled compared to other wall-paintings in Bulgarian medieval churches. These murals are some of the fine displays of mastery of the Artistic School of Veliko Tarnovo.
The St Ivan Rilski (Ivan of Rila) Church is part of the St. Paul and St. Peter Church complex. It was unearthed and explored by local archaeologists and exhibited thanks to an EU-funded project in the beginning of 2013.
The forth edition of the Arbanasi Summer Music will be held from 7 to 11 August 2013. Traditionally, all concerts are set in the “St. Archangels Michael and Gabriel” Church. Visitors will be able to enjoy fine pieces of classical chamber music performed by international musicians in the unique acoustics of the church.
The festival is organised after an initiative of the Regional Historical Museum in Veliko Tarnovo and supports the candidacy of Veliko Tarnovo for European Cultural Capital 2019.
Musicians who will perform at the summer concerts are: David Kuigal (viola), Julita Fasseva (bass), Eric Speller (oboe), Yf Bourry (oboe), Dimitri Mestdag (cor anglais) and the American cellist Raphael Bell, who led the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra of Belgium.
Classical pieces by Beethoven, Gordon Jacob, Jacques Ibert, Mozart, Dvorak, Jan Kustir and Benjamin Britten will be perfomed during the evening concerts.