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Bulgaria

Our tour will introduce the complicated history and cultures of the mosaic of peoples who have occupied the fertile plains bordering the Danube River. Explore a complex history from the wooded Carpathians to the shores of the Black Sea, where an astonishing wealth of ancient ruins, architecture and art await you.

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Tour Description

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Discover an astonishing wealth of ancient ruins, architecture and art, left behind by a mosaic of cultures
  • Travel through the rugged landscape of the Rila Mountains to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site of Rila Monastery

  • Hunt for the perfect souvenir in the traditional craft bazaars of Veliko Tarnovo’s picturesque Old Town
  • Visit the huge proto-Bulgarian bas-relief carved into an almost-vertical cliff, the exceptional Horseman of Madara

Meals: All breakfasts, all lunches & 8 dinners

ITINERARY

September 21 & 22:
Arrive in Sofia on Friday afternoon.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Sofia.

September 23: SOFIA
Our walking tour begins via the Eastern Gate of Serdica to the National Archaeological Museum, housed in a 15th-century former mosque. We stop at St. George Rotunda and then walk via the Western Gate of Serdica to the Sofia Synagogue. Lastly, we visit Banya Bashi Mosque and the Turkish baths.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Sofia.

September 24: SOFIA
We begin at the National Museum of History, which houses one of Europe’s richest collections of ancient gold and medieval ecclesiastical art. We also visit the Boyana Church, renowned for its 13th-century frescoes. Finally, we stop at the city’s eponymous St. Sofia Basilica.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Sofia.

September 25: RILA
We travel through wild landscapes of forests and granite cliffs to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, Rila Monastery, founded near the site where St. John of Rila lived and worshiped. We visit the monastery and its museum.
Hotel: Dedeman Trimontium Hotel.

September 26: PLOVDIV

We explore the Archaeological Museum and the Late Antique Basilica. We visit the Forum of Philippopolis, the Roman Odeon and see the Late Roman mosaics in Trakart Center. We later visit the National Revival quarter, impressive Roman Theater and partly excavated Roman Stadium.
Hotel: Dedeman Trimontium Hotel.

September 27: PERPERIKON
We travel into the countryside and spend the day in Perperikon, a Roman settlement and Byzantine fortress. Excavation has revealed evidence of a huge palace, temples and living quarters from the Roman era. This site requires considerable climbing. We also visit Alexandrovo Thracian Tomb.
Hotel: Dedeman Trimontium Hotel.

September 28: STAROSEL
Touring begins at the Thracian beehive tomb at Starosel and continues to Diocletianopolis, a Late Roman spa town. The day ends in the Valley of the Thracian Kings, with visits to 3 of the 15,000 burials.
Hotel: Palace Hotel, Kazanlak.

September 29: KAZANLAK
We begin at the Archaeological Museum which houses the Thracian finds from the area’s tumuli. At Stara Zagora we see a group of Neolithic dwellings, and the new Archaeological Museum. We stop in Karanovo to see the Thracian chariot tomb and the Karanovo Tell.
Hotel: Palace Hotel, Kazanlak.

September 30: NESEBAR
Today we drive to the Black Sea coast, where our visit will be to Nesebar. Here we examine the well-preserved ancient and medieval fortifications, the Archaeological Museum and several medieval basilicas.
Hotel: Capital Hotel, Varna.

October 1: VARNA
We visit the Archaeological Museum, home to an extraordinary collection including Greek Odessos and Roman funerary sculpture. We move on to the excellent Ethnographical Museum and the well-preserved Roman Thermae.
Hotel: Capital Hotel, Varna.

October 2: PLISKA
We stop at Pliska, the magnificent capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. We tour the site and visit the small Archaeological Museum. Next we visit the Horseman of Madara, a huge proto-Bulgarian basrelief carved into a cliff. We continue to the Preslav Museum, home to First Bulgarian Kingdom-period artifacts.
Hotel: Danube Plaza Hotel, Ruse.

October 3: SVESHTARI
Our day begins in Sveshtari where we visit several outstanding Thracian tombs. We also travel to Ivanovo and visit its UNESCO World Heritage rock-hewn Churches, reached by a climb of about 200 steps.
Hotel: Danube Plaza Hotel, Ruse.

October 4: RUSE
We visit Ruse’s Archaeological Museum and tour the site of Roman Sexaginta Prista overlooking the Danube. We travel to the fortress at Cherven, also reached by over 200 steps, and stop at the Roman city of Nicopolis ad Istrumand. Hotel: Hotel Yantra, Veliko Tarnavo.

October 5: ARBANASI
We tour the little church of Nativity in Arbanasi and continues at the interesting 17th century Konstantsalieva House. We return to Veliko Tarnovo in time to explore the craft bazaars in the Old town and the Archaeological Museum.
Hotel: Hotel Yantra, Veliko Tarnavo.

October 6: VRATSA
We depart for Vratsa to view the famous Rogazen Treasure hoard, an outstanding collection of Thracian artifact. We meet for our farewell dinner tonight.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Sofia.

October 7: SOFIA
We travel to the airport for flights home.

MAP

Bulgaria 

LED BY

Prof Nikola Theodossiev is senior assistant professor of Archaeology at Sofia University. He has directed excavations at various Thracian sites since 1990. Among his numerous accolades are Getty and Mellon fellowships.

Additional Information

Scholar

Prof Nikola Theodossiev is senior assistant professor of Archaeology at Sofia University. He has directed excavations at various Thracian sites since 1990. Among his numerous accolades are Getty and Mellon fellowships.

Calendar Year

2017

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