Sightseeing in Bulgaria

Sightseeing in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria you will encounter centuries-old monasteries, picturesque villages in the mountains, in the footsteps of the Thracians and on Sunny Beach on the Black Sea. In Kazanlak you will find the Thracian princely tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and on the coast of the Black Sea lies the city of Nessebar, with its 5000 year old history. In the capital Sofia you will encounter a metropolis full of contrasts. In the center you will find ancient churches, modern buildings and numerous parks. Not to be missed are Nevsky Cathedral and the Bulgarian National Museum of History. The cities of Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Russe on the Danube and Stara Sagora are also cultural centers of the country. Take a study trip through Bulgaria!

Rila Monastery

Monastery of Saint Ivan Rilski

According to, the Rila Monastery is about 120 kilometers away from Sofia. Even from the beach baths of the Black Sea, you can visit the capital of the country with a tour bus and take a short excursion to this wonderful and romantic monastery in the mountains. Most excursions are offered as a combination. The highlight of the monastery is of course the monastery church Sweta Bogorodiza with its bizarre domed turrets. The monastery church is not only a highlight from the outside, there are also numerous frescoes inside. The extensive wall paintings are mainly from the 19th century. They show the Bulgarian rebirth and are a symbol of Bulgarian art in a very special blaze of colors.

Traces of important Bulgarian artists

The church of the monastery consists of five domes that are semicircular. There are also two chapels on the side of the building and give it a special touch. The frescoes and drawings represent religious events. One of the most famous paintings was drawn by Sachari Sograf. Other important painters from Bulgaria also left their artistic traces here and gave the icons their very special touch. Another church is located in the monastery grounds, but only a tower from 1334 remains today. The Chreljo Church was also an architectural masterpiece of its time in the Bulgarian Empire. A small bell tower has stood next to the original tower since 1844.

The entire buildings on the site house around 300 rooms with colorful pictures and paintings on the walls. In general there is a lot of folk art and dancing in Bulgaria. A well-known is the fire dance with all its local charm. The popular rooms are completely furnished according to a well-known scheme. In addition to the ceiling paintings and wall paintings, there are also numerous pen pictures and everyday scenes from the Gospel. If you want to know the history of the monastery in detail, you should visit the museum in the east wing. Old weapons, items from the church and numerous documents can be found here. On a large wooden cross there are various scenes from religion and countless small figures, including a small carved monk.

Nessebar old town

The old town of Nessebar with its historic wooden houses and impressive churches is an integral part of every study trip to Bulgaria. The museum city is located on a peninsula, only 27 kilometers as the crow flies from Burgas, on the coast of the Black Sea. The seaside resort of Sunny Beach is also not far away. Due to its well-preserved, historical buildings, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The story of Nessebar

Nessebar has its origins in a Thracian settlement from the Bronze Age. The city was founded about 600 years BC. By the Greeks and then rose to become a major trading power.

Its heyday ended when the place in the year 72 BC. Was conquered by the Romans. It was not until 400-700 years AD that it regained fame and reputation under Byzantine rule.

Most of the churches built in Nessebar during the entire history of its origins date from the 13th and 14th centuries. Of the total of 40 churches, however, 30 were partially destroyed during the rule of the Turks (1396 – 1878).

At the beginning of the 1930s, the city shifted its main source of income, besides fishing and viticulture, to tourism.

The old town of Nessebar, a journey into the past

The historic city gate with its two pentagonal towers is located directly on the dam, which connects the old town with the new town on the mainland. The portal and the remains of the city walls are now Bulgaria’s national architectural monuments.

The streets of the old town are particularly captivating with their 80 antique wooden houses, which date from the time when Nessebar freed itself from Turkish rule at the end of the 19th century. The “Black Sea” type buildings have a brick ground floor and a wood-clad first floor. In one of these buildings is the Ethnographic Museum, in which traditional clothing and utensils are exhibited.

The numerous churches in the old town or their ruins deserve just as much attention. Bulgaria’s medieval architecture is particularly beautiful at the Pantokrator Church, which forms the characteristic striped pattern with its red bricks.

Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is located in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia and is a church that is still used for religious services. The most important landmark of the Bulgarian capital at the same time was developed by the well-known Russian architect Alexander Pomeranzew, who also designed the GUM department store in Moscow. The very beautiful cathedral, which stands in the heart of Sofia, is adorned in the interiors with marble, gold, mosaics and wood carvings. For Sofia vacationers, the impressive church is an absolute must in Sofia and the main attraction of the city.

Worth seeing from the outside and inside

The foundation for the construction of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was laid in 1882; the construction of the Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church took place mostly between 1904 and 1912. The impressive and imposing church has five naves and is richly decorated with forest paintings, wood carvings, gold and marble. The church windows are decorated with fascinating paintings, domes and walls with frescoes. Under the church is the crypt, in which there is a very beautiful collection of icons with Bulgarian saints from the time between the 9th and 18th centuries.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a really worth seeing church and definitely worth a visit. However, if you want to photograph the exterior of the impressive building without the crowds of tourists, you should come early in the morning. Visitors should also make sure that taking photos inside is only permitted and controlled after purchasing a permit.

Sightseeing in Bulgaria