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Saint 40 Martyrs in Veliko Tarnovo

St 40 Martyrs Church

St 40 Martyrs Church

This is one of the most iconic churches in Veliko Tarnovo. Being situated at the foothills of the Tsarevets Castle, it has played its part in the history of Bulgaria.

It was built and frescoed during the rule of Tsar Ivan Asen II over the remains of a smaller church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is widely believed that the ruler had it built in honour of his victory against the Theodore Comnius in the Battle of Klokotnitsa on March 9, 1230 (which the Orthodox Church recognizes as the day of the Holy 40 Martyrs of Sevastia).

This church consists of two parts – the oblong basilica with six columns and one outhouse built later to the west side. It is assumed  that at the end of the 12th century, the Assens (Bulgarian royal dynasty  between 1187 – 1280) built a monastery around the church. According to sources dating back to 12-14 centuries, the monastery was known as the Great Lavra or the Royal Monastery and was one of the most significant monasteries around Veliko Tarnovo.

The conquest of Sofia by the Ottomans led to the decline of the monastery and it was turned into a mosque in the 17th century. After the Liberation in 1878, the temple became was restored to being a Church.

Here on September 22, 1908, Prince Ferdinand declared Bulgaria’s Independence.

The church now serves as a museum as well, where you can see some of the most significant Bulgaria epigraphic monuments, like Khan Omurtag’s Column, the border column from the Fortress of Rhodes from the reign of Khan Krum, and the famous Tsar Ivan Asen II column, which tells of the great deeds of Bulgarian kings. Here lie the tombs of Tsar Kaloyan, Tsaritsas Anna Maria and Irina, Saint Sava the Serbian and other royalty.


Sveta Troitsa Monastery, Veliko Tarnovo

Sveta Troitsa

Sveta Troitsa

Patriarchal Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Sveta Troitsa) is located on the right bank of the Yantra River, within its Dervent Gorge, just below the cliffs of Arbanasi Plateau. It is just outside Veliko Tarnovo on the way to the village of Arbanasi and the town of Gorna Oryahovitsa.

According to an inscription discovered during the construction of the present monastery church, Sveta Troitsa was established in 27 January 1070. Another theory states that the monastery was founded later in the mid 14th century, under the rule of Tsar Ivan Alexander, Theodosius Tarnovski and Patriarch Evtimiy of Tarnovo.

When Tarnovo fell under the Ottoman rule in 1393, the monastery was plundered and burned down, but continued to exist, supported by donations from Wallachian and Moldovian rulers. Several of these donation charters have been preserved and could be seen on the site.

The monastery was plundered once more during the Kardzhali (Turkish brigands) raids at the end of the 18th century and was gradually abandoned.

The Patriarch Monastery was re-established in1847 with donations from the local population and located 1km from the original monastery. The monastery church was built by the famous Bulgarian architect Kolyo Ficheto and hand-painted by the famous painter, Zahari Zograf.

The church, along with the entire monastery, suffered extensive damage during and earthquake in 1913. The monastery and the church were reconstructed in 1927. The altar of the current church was brought from the ancient Roman town of Nicopolis ad Istrum.

In 1948 the monastery was converted into a female convent.


French Film Festival “Beyond Borders” in Veliko Tarnovo


The French Film Festival “BEYOND BORDERS” will be held from Monday 25th to Sunday 31st of March 2013 at Art Club TAM – Veliko Tarnovo.


The festival celebrates the 20th anniversary of Bulgaria’s membership in the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie), as well as the 50th anniversary of the French Department in the St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo.


The French Film Festival is organised by VT EVENTS in association with the French Institute in Bulgaria, TV5 Monde Channel, the Alliance Française and the St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo.


All screenings will be held in TAM. The film selection explores themes ranging from geography through religion and psychology to sexuality. Beliefs and values are revisited from the perspective of different cultures and realities. Film genres include fictions, documentary, animation, short-movies and video dances.




This festival is made possible with the support of the participating partners and artists, Donoma team, Marion Faure from Compagnie Ortema (Paris) dance company, and Tony Gatlif’s team and EGAM (European Grassroots Antiracist Movement).


The Rabbi’s Cat, One Night, Tomboy, 5 Broken Cameras and the selection of short films are screened thanks to the support of Institut Français de Bulgarie.


Mardi Gras in Veliko Tarnovo

Photos by Blaga Dimitrova

Photos by Blaga Dimitrova

Veliko Tarnovo will become part of the most popular American festival Mardi Gras on 23rd March. This famous carnival is held in New Orleans since 1857 and will be presented in a great project named “Without Borders – true stories of Mardi Gras” with support from the American Embassy in Bulgaria.

The musical culture of New Orleans will be represented by the famous Paulin Brothers’ Brass Band – traditional brass band dressed in traditional uniform black pants, white shirts, black shoes, tie. Bulgarian musicians Dimitar Dimitrov – drums, Mike Yosifov – trumpet, Vili Stoyanov – trombone and Peter Momchev – saxophone will also play alongside the band.

The band will parade along the main street of Veliko Tarnovo accompanied by masked performers.
The real carnival starts at 19.30 in the Raphael Mihaylov Exhibition Rooms.

There is also going to be an exhibition of photographs and a film depicting this year’s carnival in the capital of Louisiana will be screened. The event will continue with a concert of the Bulgarian-American brass band and a competition for the best costume.


The 4th annual Trabant Fest in Veliko Tarnovo

The Trabant has sentimental value for some Bulgarians

The Trabant has sentimental value for some Bulgarians

The 4th annual Trabant Fest will be held today at 12:00 pm with a route starting from Vasil Levski Str, through N. Gabrovski Str, Krakov Str, Bulgaria Blvd, Marmarliyska Str, and Magistralna Str.


Proud owners of The Trabant from across the country are gathering once again in Veliko Tarnovo for the fourth edition of the unique Trabant fest.
This famous car was produced in the German Democratic Republic between the years 1957-1991 at a factory in Zwickau, during which more than 3 million vehicles have been constructed.


Car owners from Sofia, Rousse, Dimitrovgrad, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas are expected to arrive for this year’s Trabant festival in Veliko Tarnovo.
Fans of this cute car explain that maintenance of the car is not too expensive. Even though the production of these cars stopped more than 20 years, parts can still be found.