About Veliko Turnovo

Veliko Turnovo is built on the steeply sloping banks of the twisting river Yantra, which flows north to join the Danube on its way to the Black Sea. Houses are piled one upon another up the hillsides, frequently 4 and 5 stories facing the river, and 2 on the other! The medieval city is the capital of an extraordinarily culturally diverse area, boasting evidence of a 7000 year history with Neolithic settlements, the Roman town Nicopolis ad Istrum, a rich medieval legacy, and many buildings from the Bulgarian National Revival period from the late 19th century. There is also a wealth of religious history in the area represented by the many monasteries and churches, often filled with priceless frescoes and icons, perhaps crowned by the astonishing little Church of the Nativity at Arbanassi (which is one of 30 things not to miss in the Rough Guide to Bulgaria), 3 miles from Veliko Turnovo (itself another of the 30 things).

Situated 150 miles northeast of Sofia, Veliko Turnovo is known for its distinct and picturesque architecture which gives it a pleasant and coherent feel. The traditional architecture is enhanced by the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The works of the self-taught master architect Kolyo Ficheto are genuine masterpieces: The Hadji Nikoli Inn, the Town Hall and the St.Constantine and Helena Church. The city?s museums and art galleries house many interesting exhibits. Look for Gurko Street as perhaps the most representative of the city's architectural ensembles. Churches of interest include St. Demetrius (12th century), Church of the Holy Forty Martyrs, built in 1230 by Tsar Ivan Assen II, and St. Peter and Paul (14th century). The area around the Samovodska Charshya (one of the old Market Squares) is a bustling centre packed with old workshops where artists, smiths, potters, carvers, weavers and pastry cooks are busy with their crafts. Please note that Veliko Turnovo, and a lot of the surrounding attractions are rather hilly, and to explore them, you should expect to have to put your best foot forward!

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