The best places I visited were small towns in Bulgaria. It was raining cats and dogs and quite foggy, I was sick and sulky, but the trip to these towns was not to be missed. I debated staying back and resting to ward off my sickness, but something in me said don’t miss this bus ride. I figured if I was too ill to get off the bus, I would just sit there waiting until others returned. I had to pay $95 for this optional tour, so I figured it had to have something really great to see and that it did. So what is it like in Bulgaria? Very medieval…in this part of the country.
I only wish the images were better (due to my broodyness) but seriously, these towns were such a treasure. Artisans were everywhere, scenery was spectacular and a medieval fortress was like out of the movies. The town of Arbanasi existed from 1185, with the first written confirmation of the village’s existence found in a decree by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538. Traders from Arbanasi were renowned and traded throughout the Turkish Empire.
Characteristic of the houses in Arbanasi is in the way they were built. It was possible to remain inside for long periods without going outside, except to the well in the courtyard for water. At this time in history, going outside meant possible attack. Ottoman design is common there and was built for security. Have a look around, this area is very diverse with culture and influence from many parts of the world due to their mastery and prowess for trade.
Veliko Tarnovo became the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185 AD, after an uprising of 2 Bulgarian brothers. Tsarevets, the main fortress, was considered the most impregnable and important one in Bulgaria. It was compared with Rome and Constantinople in magnificence. In 1393, Tsarevets was conquered by Ottoman forces and burned down. Later restored, it can be visited today.
I will show more of the town center of Arbanasi and artisans in an upcoming post, along with images from a wealthy Ottoman landholder’s home and the fanciful church.
Just have a look at the scenery and how Arbanasi is laid out going up steep hills. Houses are tightly grouped together. Beautiful town,no?