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230 kilometres from Sofia stands a city that exceeds the Bulgarian capital in beauty and fame. Search for cheap air tickets to Veliko Tǎrnovo and you will see what we’re talking about! Set on a dramatic, photogenic location, Veliko Tǎrnovo is surrounded by three hilltops and is crossed by River Yantra. Medieval districts, imposing castles, great Orthodox churches and precious archaeological sites, all is there to tell you the long story of this magnificent medieval city. Book your flights and accommodation in Veliko Tǎrnovo and prepare for a long dive into history, art, culture.. nature, harmony and serenity!
Bulgaria’s cultural, spiritual and religious centre, Veliko Tǎrnovo is one of the most important cities in the country. Considering the city’s long history as the capital of the Second Bulgarian Dynasty from the 12th to the 14th century, we couldn’t expect anything less!
Veliko Tǎrnovo, set by the Yantra River, among the hills of Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora, is a much-loved travel destination, popular with the international travelling community.
Veliko Tǎrnovo boasts a wide range of sights and points of attraction; starting from the Gurko district and its iconic local architecture, to the imposing Tsarevets Castle with its hundreds of houses and dozens of churches, stretching to the Old Town of Veliko Tǎrnovo and its excellent museums.
Once you’re done exploring the city, head out to the outskirts, to enjoy Bulgaria’s pristine nature and breathtaking scenery.
Veliko Tǎrnovo is served by the airport of Sofia (Letishte Sofiya). The airport is located 219 kilometres west of Veliko Tǎrnovo and is accessible by bus and train.
Veliko Tǎrnovo’s public transportation consists of an extensive bus network. Fares start from 0.70lv and minimum taxi fare costs 0.80lv.
Veliko Tǎrnovo’s primary landmark is the Tsarevets Castle, perched on the top of the Tsarevets Hill. The supreme symbol of the medieval city recently underwent a major restoration and now ranks among Bulgaria’s most popular and visited national monuments. Once the seat of the tsars, the area of the castle encompasses the remnants of over 400 houses, 18 churches, monasteries, gates and towers, adding up to the medieval charm of the city.
As you’re exploring the castle hill, you will come across the second most important landmark of Veliko Tǎrnovo, the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God.
The Patriarch Cathedral was founded in 1235 and is often referred to as “the mother of all cathedrals”!
The initial cathedral was built upon a 5th-century Christian church and became the seat of the Bulgarian patriarch. Unfortunately, the cathedral was completely destroyed in 1393 and it was rebuilt in the ‘80’s. The reconstruction was based on information gathered through archaeological excavations and historical documents, resulting in a quite accurate representation of the original cathedral, that was inaugurated in 1985.
The church was elaborately decorated with rich frescoes, mosaics and semi-precious gems, but unfortunately none of it survived. The reconstructed church was decorated by Teofan Sokerov, with depictions of scenes from Bulgaria’s medieval history, in a modernist way. Due to the lack of accordance with the strict church rules, the church wasn’t consecrated and today serves solely as a historical monument.
Continue to Asenova, the neighbouring district to Tsarevetz across the Yantra River. This small and peaceful quarter historically formed the place of residence of wealthy merchants, as well as the seat of many important churches in medieval Veliko Tǎrnovo.
1913’s earthquake brought down a good part of the buildings, however some of the churches survived, highlight being the Church of St. Dimitar Solunski (St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki).
The Church of St. Dimitar Solunski is the largest and oldest medieval church of Veliko Tǎrnovo, dedicated to St. Demetrius, Thessaloniki’s patron saint. In 1185, noblemen Asen and Petar started an uprising on the grounds of the church, that resulted in the founding of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
The Old Town of Veliko Tǎrnovo boasts fine Renaissance architecture and many interesting museums:
The official language of Veliko Tǎrnovo is Bulgarian.