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The Stambolov Bridge

The Stambolov Bridge after its completion

The Stambolov Bridge after its completion

The Stambolov Bridge is yet another emblematic place in Veliko Tarnovo, connecting the town centre with the Boris Denev State Art Gallery, the Asenevtsi Monument, University of Veliko Tarnovo and the rest of Sveta Gora Hill.


The Bridge was built in 1892 under the initiative and patronage of the famous Bulgarian politician and statesman Stefan Stambolov, who wished to leave something memorable in his hometown. 9_dar-pod-mosta


The history of the bridge is quite interesting. It is entirely made of steel and concrete, designed by an Italian architect named Giovanni Mossuti.


With the construction of the Stambolov Bridge modern bridge building techniques are not only introduced in the newly liberated Bulgarian state, but also on the Balkan Peninsula. Steel structures for bridges are novelty back then and are imported from abroad and put together at the construction site.


Each of the arches of this famous bridge was raised with a special lifting equipment. In order to join individual arches with large iron rivets, builders had to hang above the river, tied to solid ground only by hemp ropes – a serious test for the master-builders.


According to legends, after the bridge was completed, master-builders and workers had to stay under it until the first passing of loaded ox and horse cars. True to Bulgarian tradition, this way they ensured (with their own lives) that they have done their job properly.


60_bandji 2011Today, the bridge is closed to traffic. In the 70s and 80s of the last century, the traffic leading to the University was passing through it.


Elderly Tarnovians still recall a small plane passing under the bridge. More than half a century ago, a native pilot flew under it in order to impress his beloved.


Now the Stambolov Bridge is a favourite place of young people, a race track skaters and a romantic spot for couples. It reveals enchanting views to the traditional Bulgarian houses of the Old Town and is visited by a number of local and international tourists. Bungee jumps are organised here annually around the Veliko Tarnovo Day!

News, Property News

Another iconic Veliko Tarnovo building to be restored!

a postcard of hotel Tsar Boris

a postcard of hotel Tsar Boris

Recent article in the Bulgarian newspaper Trud reports that another iconic Veliko Tarnovo building is going to be restored to former glory. According to Trud, the US millionaire, Edmund Beck, the owner of Hadji Nikoli Inn, purchased the decaying building of Hotel Tsar Boris III.


Hotel Tsar Boris was the one of the most preferred places for Turnovo Bohemia in the early 20th century. Built by the famous master Stoyan Gerganov, father of a prominent Tarnovian Tsanyo Gerganov, the hotel was owned by the brothers Panayot and Yanko Shopovi.


Shortly after the construction of the building, one of the brothers (Panayot) passes away. Yanko Shopov was known for its bohemian and prodigal character, which is why the hotel is later sold to Stanyu Subev – The Butcher.  He in turn sold it in 1919 for 140,000 Levs to Stefan Merdzhanov.


Under the ownership of Stefan Merdzhanov, the hotel goes through its golden ages. Hotel Tsar Boris III is a three-storey building, of which only two are facing the street. Its stone features and balconies, make it interesting in terms of architecture and building today.


Historic data from 1903 shows that the premises (the hotel and the restaurant) had good income. The hotel used to accommodate Italians and Belgians who were involved in the construction of the railway line between Ruse and Veliko Tarnovo. The good financial situation of the hotel led to expansion of the building; a new mansard floor was built and the roof was lined with then unknown galvanized steel.


The entrepreneurial spirit of Stefan Merdzhanov incites yet another improvement on the building – the famous spacious balcony, overlooking the hills of Tsarevets and Trapezitsa.


Hotel Tsar Boris III was a 40-bed hotel with staff of 27-28 people – cooks, waiters, housekeepers. Always fully booked, it accommodated famous people such as Marshal Tolbukhin (a Soviet military commander). The restaurant of Boris III had great menu, appealing to all tastes. According to historic records, it was the place to be on a night out.


Hotel Tsar Boris III now

Hotel Tsar Boris III now

This Veliko Tarnovo property has been uninhabitable for years. It has become a refuge for tramps and was set on fire a few times.


Architect Nikolay Georgiev, who drafted the reconstruction of Hadji Nikoli Inn will take over the reconstruction project of this building, reports Trud.


In 2006, the millionaire paid over half a million lev to the heirs of Hadji Nikoli Inn and invested another 2 million lev for its restoration.


Hadji Nikoli Inn in Veliko Tarnovo


Another iconic building in Veliko Tarnovo is the Hadji Nikoli Inn (Хан Хаджи Николи in Bulgarian). This beautiful inn is located the heart of the Old Town, in Samovodska Charshia, and is a cultural monument of national significance.


The inn is an example of late Bulgarian Revival architecture with historic and sentimental value to Tarnovians. It was built in between 1858–1862 by the native master-builder Nikola Fichev (known as Kolyu Ficheto, who also built the House with the Monkey) for the needs of a wealthy merchant named Hadji Nikola Minchev (Hadji Nikoli). Hadji is an honorary title, given to people who have visited the Holy Land, Jerusalem and the Empty Tomb (Tomb of Jesus).


Hadji Nikoli Inn is of great importance due to the fact that it is the sole “survivor” of the total of 70 inns built in Veliko Tarnovo in the past.


The property comprises of self-contained premises located on each floor, which in the past have been used as storage and workshops, a narrow courtyard enclosed from three sides. On the ground level facing the street, shops were built and still used as such today. The building has a solid brick, natural stone and iron construction.


The Inn has undergone a number of modifications due to urban planning and development plans in the street, but now has been restored to its original form. It operated as an ethnographic museum until 1987 and was open to visitors. Later it was given to the National Museum of Architecture and the shops were used by craftsmen of Samovodska Charshia. After restitution in 1992, the premises were handed back to heirs of Hadji Nikoli. The Inn was closed to visitors and left to decay for more than ten years.


It was bought by Eduard Beck in 2005 and it was restored to the building you see now between the years of 2006 – 2010. It now hosts a restaurant, a wine bar, an art gallery, guest rooms and a museum.



Konstantsalieva House, Arbanasi

Konstantsalieva House

Konstantsalieva House

Konstantsalieva House is one of the most outstanding examples of traditional Bulgarian architecture and one of the most beautiful old Bulgarian houses.


Originally built in the 17th century, the it was gradually expanded and renovated in the following centuries.


The house once was a property of the local Tafrili family and was later purchased by the local resident named Atanas Konsantsaliata (hence its name).


The house is close to the famous Kokonska water fountain. It is arranged over 2 floors with an enclosed (by high stone walls) garden, like a small fortress without any balconies that face the street.

Inside, Kitchen Area

Inside, Kitchen Area

This property has two entrances. The south-west gate with double wooden doors was used for caravans & merchandise entering the yard, whereas the single door on the north was used by the residents of the house.


The ground floor used to accommodate the guards of the house and includes residential areas, as well as a secret hiding place connected to the upper floor by its own staircase.


The first floor consists of a reception hall, living and dining rooms and a special room (in the most sheltered part of the estate) for pregnant women and young mothers in the house.


All rooms are decorated with white fretwork, drawings and applied items and hand-carved wooden features.


Currently the house is a museum, exhibiting the daily life and culture of Arbanasi at the beginning of the 19th century.


Veliko Tarnovo – Photo exibition commemorates 100 years since a devastating earthquake

Images from the earthquake

Images from the earthquake (click to enlarge)

The photo exhibition can be seen in Veliko Tarnovo centre, set in front of the Arts Faculty Building. Images are curated by the Modern and New History Department of the Regional History Museum in VT and includes 61 images from the archives of the museum.

The photographs reveal the devastation and destruction from the earthquake on June 1, 1913 that shook the Old Bulgarian Capital. Some of the images are being displayed for the first time, and post cards with such images can also be observed.


Tarnovians and guests of the city can see the damages on some of the most iconic Veliko Tarnovo houses, building, monuments and churches – The state School for Boys St Cyril, 40 Martyrs Church, St Spas Church and the St. St Peter and Pavel.

The Cathedral Church "Nativity of the Holy Mother"

The Cathedral Church “Nativity of the Holy Mother”

The Cathedral Church "Nativity of the Holy Mother" now

The Cathedral Church “Nativity of the Holy Mother” now

The exhibition shows not only the devastation and tragedy of Tarnovians in the summer of 1913, but also the vision of the affected buildings after the disaster and after their reconstruction in the coming decades.


Photographs show that despite the horror and the damages amounting to 12,316,000 Levs, residents of Veliko Tarnovo found the strength and will to recover the City of Tsars, that was destroyed up to 80% in June 1913.


Information about the earthquake and more images can be seen on Regional History Museum website.