• Piece of paradise amidst three mountains

      Piece of paradise amidst three mountains

      Located just five kilometres away from the popular winter resort Bansko, the village of Banya (Bulgarian for Bath) is nestled in the valley formed by Mount Pirin, Mount Rila and the Rhodope Mountains. The region boasts 72 hot springs with water temperature of about 55°C (131°F), whose use for balneotherapy and treatment of various conditions has earned the village a reputation as the mineral-water paradise of Bulgaria.

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    • Bulgarian Jerusalem

      Bulgarian Jerusalem

      In the Central Rhodope Mountains near the road from Asenovgrad to Smolyan, at an altitude of 1,545 metres above sea level amidst the scenic locality of Krastova Gora, is situated a monastery dedicated to Holy Trinity. The place is believed to be miracle-working, and on the night before 14 September - Holy Cross Day according to the Bulgarian Orthodox liturgical calendar - thousands of believers from all over Bulgaria and the neighbouring countries come in crowds in the hope for miraculous healing.

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    • Taking care of eternity

      Taking care of eternity

      To the Thracians, life after death was much more important than their earthly existence. A large number of tombs discovered in Bulgaria are a proof to that. They were specially built to guarantee comfortable afterlife to the local nobility. One of the most interesting and remarkable among these structures is located in the mound of Ostrusha, which is situated near the town of Kazanlak, in the Valley of Thracian Kings.

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    • Apollo's city at the Black Sea

      Apollo's city at the Black Sea

      Sozopol, the oldest town on the Bulgarian Black Sea coastline, is located 30 kilometres southeast of Burgas, on a rocky peninsula shooting far out into the sea. The earliest settlement here appeared in the third millennium BC and was inhabited by the local Thracian tribe of the Skirimians. The story goes that Phoenician sailors frequented the bay, as they believed it was the best-sheltered harbour along the western Black Sea coast.

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    • Northern Black Sea coast gem

      Northern Black Sea coast gem

      About 70 kilometres to the northeast of Varna, Bulgaria's 'Black Sea capital', is situated a town which undeservedly remains outside the traditional tourist destinations - its name is Kavarna. Moreover, the town boasts 2,500-year long history and a number of natural, cultural and historical sights.

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    • Masterpiece of medieval mural painting

      Masterpiece of medieval mural painting

      Only 21 kilometres away from the centre of Sofia, at the southern foothills of Western Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) stands the Seslavtsi Monastery of St Nicholas Mirlikiiski, famous for its frescoes from the 17th century which are a true art treasure. The legend has it that the monastery was founded during the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom by a local boyar named Seslav. The remnants of his fortress may still be seen near the monastery.

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    • Where priest king meets Mother Goddess

      Where priest king meets Mother Goddess

      Beglik Tash, one of the largest Thracian sanctuaries in the Balkans, is located in a spacious clearing of a dense forest, mere six kilometres to the north of popular seaside resort Primorsko. The complex remained unknown to scientists until 2003 as it fell within the boundaries of a communist-era hunting residence named Perla. However, its exploration over the recent decade has shed light on the mystical spiritual and religious life of the Thracians.

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    • Bulgarian kings' gold

      Bulgarian kings' gold

      The gold of the Thracian kings is well-known in lands far beyond the Bulgarian state borders. Just as valued but much less familiar is the gold traced back to the Middle Ages, and especially valuable is the Preslav treasure from the period of the First Bulgarian Empire. As most of the treasures found on Bulgarian territory, this too was discovered by accident - while ploughing a field outside of the second Bulgarian capital, Veliki Preslav.

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    • Feast of sun and flowers

      Feast of sun and flowers

      The summer solstice is a time for celebration in all cultures. In Bulgaria the holiday handed down from early pagan times is called Enyovden and is marked on the eve of 24 June. On that day the Bulgarian Orthodox Church reveres St John the Baptist, and so the holiday has intertwined pagan rites and Christian beliefs.

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    • Monastery founded because of an icon

      Monastery founded because of an icon

      The Troyan Monastery of the Assumption of the Holy Mother is the third largest cloister in Bulgaria. It is located in the scenic valley of the river Cherni Osam, 10km to the south of the town of Troyan and 120km to the northeast of Sofia. Almost next to nothing is known about the earliest history of the monastery. It was presumably founded by an Athonite hermit monk, who built a small wooden church by the river in 1600 during his pilgrimage to Wallachia with a wonderworking icon of the Holy Mother of the Three Hands, a replica of the 14th-century wonderworking icon kept at the Monastery of Hilandar on Mount Athos.

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