Veliko Tarnovo


The Cave Churches of Ivanovo are located near Ruse, the Bulgarian city on the Danube Rive across from Giurgiu, Romania.  The caves were inhabited by monks from around the 13th century to the 17th century CE.  The frescoes on the cave walls date from the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Rose Valley is where about 70% of the world's rose oil is produced.  It requires about 3,000 kg of rose petals to produce 1kg of rose oil.  The retail price for Bulgarian rose oil in 2012 was $1,050 for 100 mL (about $300/oz).  The Shipka Pass connects Gabrovo to Kazanluk.  The Shipka Memorial on the top of Stoletov Peak honors those who died in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878.  The Shipka Church of the Nativity is a Bulgarian Orthodox church built between 1885 and 1902.  Its 12 ton bell was cast from cartridges that were collected after the Russo-Turkish war.

Plovdiv, also known as "The City of Seven Hills", dates back to 4,000 BCE.  Originally Thracian, the city has been ruled by the Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans.  The city was named Philippopolis after being conquered by Philip II of Macedon.  The present name dates back to the 11th Century CE.  The Ancient Theatre of Plovidiv, still in use, was constructed around the 2nd Century CE during the rule of the Roman Emperor Thrajan.

The Monastery of St. Ivan of Rila is located in the Rila Mountains at an elevation of 1,147 km (3,763 ft).  Originally founded in the 10th Century, the monastery was rebuilt in the 14th Century.  The only remaining structure from this original period is the Tower of Hrelja.  The monastery was once again rebuilt after occupation by the Ottomans.  The central building is dated, just under the dome, at 1870.

The capital and largest city of Bulgaria was once a Thracian settlement called Serdica.  For a time around the 4th Century BCE, the city was ruled by Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great.  The Church of St. George is a Roman rotunda from the 4th Century BCE.  The Ottoman Empire conquered Sofia in 1382 and it remained part of Turkey until 1879 when the Russians liberated the city.  Bulgaria was allied with Germany during World War II.  The Bulgarian government was overthrown after invasion by the Soviets, and in 1946 the Republic of Bulgaria was formed.

Veliko Tarnovo lies along the Yantra River.  Remains of the Royal Fortress still stand on Tsarevets Hill.  The fortress dates to the 12th Century CE and the earliest artifacts of human settlement date to around 3,000 BCE.  Nearby Arbanassi is home to numerous monasteries and churches spanning  from the 15th to 18th Centuries CE.

Select a tab above to view a slideshow of photographs from the area.


IVANOVO, close to Ruse, is a villiage in Bulgaria near a rock-hewn church complex.  Photographs in this section are primarily of the paintings inside a cave that is part of the church complex.


KAZANLUK is a town in the province of Stara Zagora.  Photographs in this section are from the Rose Festival, the Shipka Church, and sites along the road to Veliko Tarnovo.


PLOVDIV is the second largest city in Bulgaria - the first being Sofia - and contains an old town area with cobblestone streets that dates back to the Roman era.  Most of the photographs in this section are from the old town area.


RILA is an area that contains a monastery founded by St. Ivan of Rila in the 10th centruy.  All the images in this section are from the Rila Monatery.


SOFIA is the capital city of Bulgaria containing many interesting architectural elements, religious sites and monuments.  Photgraphs in this section are of some of the various sites around Sofia.


VELIKO TARNOVO is a city in the northern part of Bulgaria built on the high banks surrounding a bend in the Yantra River.  There is an old strategically placed fort in the city.  Photographs in this section also include the surrounding area  of Arbanasi.


All Images and Content Copyright John Baker 2014

Page Last Updated 1/2/2017