The Ancient Site of Novae
The archaeological site of the Roman city Novae or Nove is located 4 km east of Svishtov and approximately 88 km from Veliko Tarnovo. The place was initially a camp site founded by legio VIII Augusta in 45 AD, which later on was replaced by the legio I Italica.
It is thought that the fort was sized 485 by 365 meters and was erected next to the high right bank of the Danube. The civil settlements were located west and south-west and were populated by military veterans, merchants, artisans and their families.
A smaller settlement was discovered during excavations 2 km east of the town of Novae. At the end of 3rd and early 4th century, the military camp gradually grew and became a fortified town with a mixed military and civilian population.
The legions in Novae were involved in many battles, including the war of the Emperor Trajan against Dacians and the campaigns of the rulers of the dynasty from the north east. At the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 7th century, the city was the centre of defence against of the Byzantine army against the constant attacks of the Slavs and Avars.
During its long history Novae is visited by some of the most famous Roman emperors – Trajan (98-117 AD), Hadrian (117-138 BC g.sl.), Caracalla (198 – 217 AD). There are suggestions that Emperor Maximinus Thrax (g.sl. 235-238 BC) was born in Novae.
In the second half of the 5th century AD Novae is the main residence of the Gothic King Theoderic the Great, who conquered Rome and subsequently created the Gothic kingdom with its capital Ravenna in the territory of present-day Italy, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.
Yantra Homes is next to the House with the Monkey
The House with the Monkey in Veliko Tarnovo is built in 1849 and is one of the works of the Bulgarian Revival master Kolyu Ficheto. This landmark building is located between the old Market Halls (now hosting small shops, a restaurant and a bar) and the Samovodska Charshia.
This three-storey Bulgarian house is built under the commission of a merchant named Nikola Koyuv, on a narrow plot between the two streets. Despite the limited space, the building had all the necessary rooms and facilities like storage rooms, a shop on the ground floor (now antique shop) and accommodations. Similar to other Veliko Tarnovo houses it is located on two streets. Housing premises are accessed from the backstreet. Links to the other floor is via an internal staircase. The ground floor has an arched design.
An antiques collector named Stoyancho P. Akhtar also live there for some time. He is claimed to be the first collector of antiquities and owner of Bulgaria’s first private collection of valuable medieval manuscripts and coins.
You find the monkey on the smooth plastered façade, sitting below an inscribed stone slate. There are two round holes with metal grid on each side of the figure. The first residential floor is protruded by approximately 26 cm transition and forms a low profiled cornice. The second floor also comes forward like the first, but with a much richer concave curve and small rectangular profiles and retreat. Each residential floor has 5 windows and there is a skylight on the second floor. The façade is a brick veneer with curved shapes. Such decoration is rare for homes in Bulgaria and is thought to be brought by the master builder Kolyu Ficheto.
Such decoration of the façades is found in other houses in Tarnovo, Gorna Oryahovitsa and Plakovski Transfiguration Monastery, where the famous builder has worked. The House with the Monkey was restored under the project of architect. T. Teofilov. It now hosts the Tarnovo branch of the Union of Scientist and Scholars in Bulgaria.
Asenevtsi Monument is one of the iconic landmarks of Veliko Tarnovo. This imposing monument stands tall next to the Boris Denev State Gallery, the Yantra River, at the feet of the Sveta Gora Hill and overlooking the beautiful traditional Bulgarian houses of the Old Town.
The Asenevtsi were three brothers named Asen, Petar and Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II was the son of Asen. Asen and Peter liberated Bulgaria from Byzantine rule. Kaloyan turned Bulgaria into one of the main forces in Eastern Europe and was the first and only Bulgarian ruler that defeated army of crusaders. Ivan Asen further expanded Bulgarian territory (extending it to three seas – the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Adriatic Sea) and power by diplomatic means and marriages .
During the rule of these four tsars, Bulgaria reached its zenith and Veliko Tarnovo became the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.
The Asenevtsi Monument was built in 1985 to commemorate 800 years since the rebellion of the brothers Asen and Peter. The tall sword pointing to the skies and situated in the middle of the ensemble symbolizes the power of Medieval Bulgaria. Starting from the tsars facing the gallery, from left to right you see Asen, Petar, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen, each bearing features that characterised them and their rule.
The monument and the surrounding park are a favourite recreation place for Tarnovians and guests of the Old Capital, as well as a summer scene and venue for cultural and musical events, such as the Dixie Jazz Festival and most events from the Art Summer Project.
Art Summer 2013
Jazz, blues, rock, funk concerts, art presentations and performances are part of the numerous events scheduled for this year’s Art Summer Project, which takes place in Asenevtsi Park near the Boris Denev State Gallery.
This is project’s second year and it is financed by the Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo. The project last from June 1 till September 30 and aims at presenting events in all kinds of art – music, theatre, dance, applied and fine arts.
A variety of events are scheduled for the month of June, including rock and blues concerts from local bands, as well as painting competitions for children.
Alexander Stamboliyski Dam
“Alexander Stamboliyski” is one of the largest Bulgarian dams, which is about 3 km west of Sevlievo and the wall is near the village of Gorsko Kalugerovo, Suhindol Municipality. The dam in about 40 km from Veliko Tarnovo.
The dam has a total length of 18 km. In the area of the Mladen village, Sevlievo Municipality, on the right bank of the lake, you can find facilities for recreation and water sports.
“Alexander Stamboliyski” allows for short or long stays and provides excellent opportunities for fishing. Keen fishers can expect to find carp, perch, catfish, pike. And if you’re into water sports, here you can enjoy some rowing and sailing, windsurfing and water skiing.
All facilities and guest homes have water and electricity supplies, but you should bring your own food or dine in the nearest villages or towns.
Stage of the Ages
The Tarnovian Opera Festival will be held in Tsarevets once again. Held in August last year, this year’s festival is set to be enjoyed a bit earlier, from 19 to 28 July 2013.
This will be the 8th edition of the Summer Opera Festival “Stage of the Ages.” This year, viewers will be able to see two operas and a ballet – each with two performances.
The programme is as follows:
19 & 20 July at 21:00 – Tosca by Giacomo Puccini.
22 & 23 July at 21:00 – Sofia National Opera and Ballet will present the “Revelations” ballet.
27 & 28 July at 21:00 – Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) by Giuseppe Verdi and text by Antonio Somma.
The Summer Festival “Stage of the Ages” is a unique music festival for opera and ballet, held outdoors in the famous Tsarevets Castle. The festival is organized by the Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo and the Municipal Tourism Agency “Tsarevgrad Tarnovo”, supported by Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism and the Ministry of Culture. It is one of the iconic cultural events in Veliko Tarnovo.
After 21-year hiatus, this unique cultural event in Bulgaria was restored in 2008 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Independence of Balgaria. Special stage was built in the fortress for the occassion, which is 6 metres high. The stage space is organized in harmony with the authentic historic environment and could host over 1,000 spectator seats, arranged around the stage and the feet of the Patriarchal Church.
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Boris Denev State Art Gallery
Boris Denev State Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest and richest galleries in Bulgaria.
Opened in 1934, the gallery collects and preserves works of Bulgarian artists and shows the development of Bulgarian art over the years.
It has 3 sections (paintings, drawings and sculptures) and provides a total 850 square meters of exhibition area. Here you can see paintings of famous Bulgarian artists like Vladimir Dimitrov, Boris Denev, Nikola Tanev and many others.
Works themed “Veliko Tarnovo through the eyes of the artist” are arranged on the first floor of the gallery and are updated periodically. On its second floor, the gallery displays artworks from its permanent exhibition, as well as works of visiting exhibitions.
Boyan Denev State Art Gallery is located at the heart of the Old Bulgarian capital, in a beautiful building in the park “Asenevtsi” which reveals enchanting views to the traditional Bulgarian houses of Old Town of Veliko Tarnovo. Only a few meters from the gallery is the “Asenevtsi” Monument, which was built in 1985 in honour of great Bulgarian tsars.
Originally the building was designed for an art school, but due to lack of funding, it hosted the North-East Bulgarian Veterinary Institute. Tarnovians weren’t happy with this fact and there was much dispute about the ways the Institute acquired ownership of the place, so in 1951 one of the most iconic and beautiful buildings in town was given to the District Police Department.
The building became a state art gallery after it was reconstructed by the architect Nikola Nikolov. It is named after the famous painter Boris Denev in 2002, whose works have immortalized the beauty of his hometown Veliko Tarnovo.