Veliko Tarnovo is a jewel in Bulgaria’s tourist board’s crown, known for its pretty cobbled lanes and fortified walls, and massive monument, more on that later
So finding a buzzing street art scene was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. It may not be as sophisticated as some of the pieces we’ve seen around Europe so far but it had certainly added a different dynamic to this fascinating place.
And well covered on the free VT walking tour, which really out did our expectations, setting out from the main touirst office, by the time we reached the first stopping point it was drizzling and then by the time we left the heavens had opened in a complete soak you to the skin downpour, that didn’t give up during the next two hours ! But Plumi the excellent guide, the true professional she was kept everyone laughing and joking and not wanting to leave.
The tour was a great insight into Veliko Tarnovo which was the medieval capital of Bulgaria and was a rival to Rome and Constantinople in its hey day.
Sadly Bulgaria is one of those countries that have been invaded numerous times over the centuries. It also followed the Germans into battle in both world wars, eventually switching sides near the end of the Second World War (apparently the one war they have ever won)
It finally once again became its own country in the late 19th century.
The tour starts at the mother bulgria statue which celebrates the involvement in many historic conflicts.
And by the way it’s famous for nothing else, no one great lived here, nothing happened here
Just the monkey, which was meant to be the guy who built the place wife ……..
We stopped at the Hadji Nikoli Inn, which is one of the few remaining old inns, as most of them were burnt to the ground as it was the suspected Meeting place of insergents and then we went to a shop with a really weird looking thing outside. It turns out it was a costume for a pagan festival. I posed for a photograph with the headpiece on., trying to scare away the rain ! – it almost worked!!!
We continued down the street past numerous old buildings, most seemed to be built by a guy Kolyu Ficheto. It was a running joke when something wasn’t built by this guy.
While this was a medieval capital, very little of the medieval side exists . We eventually reached the point where the entrance to the Tsvarets Fortress was, and then probably the greatest shock of the day…..
We rounded into the original Gurko street, every town and village in the country seem to have one, but according to the residents of VT, it all happened here !
It 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. you see Asen, Petar, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen, each bearing features that characterised them and their rule.
Then thanks to the slightly damp weather, we called a day and headed back to our temporary home of Camping Veliko Tărnovo, the excellent site owned by Nick and Niki two brits, who back in 2005 took their own leap of faith, buying a patch of farm land in this small Bulgarian village, which now has a stunning home, probably a contender for loo of year (do they have that outside of the uk), massive swimming pool and a beautifully manicured camping area.
And the view…….