Friday, September 21, 2007

Veliko Tarnovo

Forgot to mention this spectacular city in Bulgaria. On the way back from Varna, we drove pass this city, and made last minute decision to visit the fortress as recommended by my local colleague.

Goshhh… beautiful! The city is based along a ridge above Yantra River, which winds in a horseshoe bend between 4 hills. The old quarter is neat, packed with shops and alfresco café. Felt kind of simmering in medieval atmosphere.

At the end of old quarter, over the corner, a magnificent view of Tsarevets Fortress display in front of us. The size is not big, it was destroyed when fell to the Turks in 1393. Mostly ruins remain nowadays, while the Royal Palace is under renovation.

Patriarch's Church (extensively restored) is standing on top of the complex. The exterior of this small church is nothing attractive, but the interior is truly impressive. The walls are fully decorated with modern arts murals, which outline Bulgarian history in the 14th and 15th centuries (of course I couldn't understand it). Such painting is very uncommon in any church, was deeply obsessed.

We didn't stay long because there was another 5 hr drive back to Kyustendil. Definitely I would like to visit again during winter to see this once capital (3rd in history) of Bulgaria in snow coating.

Veliko Tarnovo is my #1 pick in Bulgaria, till now.