Danube River – connecting nations in the Balkans

The geographical importance of the Danube has always been tremendous throughout history, at the same time it has always played an important role concerning cultural-historic aspects. From the ancient Greek times onwards, the river has constituted a natural link between the West and the East inside Europe.

Join us to discover the nations who shared a common history around the river and to enjoy some stunning landscapes of Balkans!

Visit some marvelous artifacts since the Antiquity and Medieval times, survey important landmarks regarding fierce battles, taste and compare traditional Romanian, Serbian and Bulgarian cuisines, leave with memorable memories!

Day 1: Arrive in Bucharest, Romania

Transfer from the airpot to the hotel. Check-in.

Day 2. Bucharest

Bucharest. The primary entry point into Romania, we notice a booming city with many large infrastructure projects changing the old face of the city. Known in the past as "The Little Paris" Bucharest has changed a lot lately, and today it has become a very interesting mix of old and new: finding a 300 year old church, a steel-and-glass office building and Communist-era apartment blocks next to one another is a common sight. Visits:

Panoramic tour including: the Free Press Square, the Arch of Triumph, Victory Square (head of Govern building), Victory avenue, Revolution Square (Romanian Atheneum, Revolution's Memorial), the Palace of Parliament (the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon – visit included), Union Square, the Village Museum (an open-air ethnographic museum, one of the biggest and oldest outdoors museums in Europe).

Afternoon walk on the cobbled stone streets of the Old Centre of Bucharest, admiring former trader’s houses designed on the bazaar scheme, with living quarters upstairs and shops on the ground level. The Renaissance style, relief medallions and forged iron commercial, as well as the black iron doors will definitely get your attention. The place is buzzing with people having good time from noon till midnight, restaurants and bars, tables fill most streets, souvenir shops offer things to remind you about Romania.

Dinner at Caru cu Bere (1879) – the Neo-Gothic style restaurant shows an impressive interior decorated in German beer house style with stained glass windows and an austere, traditional cellar.

Day 3. Bucharest - Horezu

The plains and hills of Wallachia, the Southern historical region of Romania.

The vineyards from the region combine the food recipes with a variety of wine assortments, Stop at Avincis vineyards for wine tasting and lunch. The experience is enhanced by the traditional architecture, heritage from 1700’s, with exquisite finishing at the interiors. 

As we drive through the region one would admire the local architecture, aka “cule” – from Turkish “kule’ – tower, squared shape with thick walls buildings, with one to three upper floors, serving as a defensive role during the Middle Ages. Visit cula Duca.

The journey ends to Horezu town, where we find “the ceramics of Horezu”, a trademark of region. Visit Horezu Monastery, UNESCO listed.

Day 4. Horezu – Drobeta Turnu Severin

Targu Jiu city, at the foothills of Parang Mountains preserves the monumental work of the most famous world sculptor, father of the modern sculpture, Constantin Brancusi. The Sculptural Ensemble Jiu is an homage to the Romanian heroes of the First World War, being included on UNESCO Tentative List in 1991. A walk downtown will reveal the Table of Silence, the Gate of Kiss, the Alley of Seats, and the Endless Column, great works of art that offers messages about Romanian traditions and important life moments (birth and dead) in a symbolic way.

We reach Danube River in the afternoon. Visit the museum that preserve ancient remains from the Roman times – Drobeta camp, the first stone defense fortress erected in Dacia (former Romanian ancestors’ country). Accommodation in Drobeta Turnu Severin city.

Day 5. Drobeta Turnu Severin – Timisoara

The road follows the river upstream, in the mountains. We leave behind the huge dam build in 70’s near Drobeta Turnu Severin city and drive along the river, stretching between the mountains. The Iron Gates, part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania, consists in narrow gorges and wide basins, maybe the most spectacular sector of the river, from its beginning to its end.

Boat cruise in the gorge – the route includes: Tabula Traiana – marble marker laid along the ancient road built by the Roman emperor Trajan over 2000 years ago, the huge face of the Dacian king Decebalus carved into the rock cliff, the Mraconia Monastery, steep cliffs overlooking the narrow gorge sectors, a couple of caves lined in the rock walls – Ponicova and Veterani (surveillance and defensive fort used by the Ottomans).

Afternoon in Timisoara city, accommodation downtown of the old center.

Day 6. Timisoara

A progressive and cosmopolitan place, the charm of this city, settled on the northern bank of the Bega channel, lies in its distinct architectural character and vibrant cultural life. Sometimes referred to as "Little Vienna," Timisoara is home to many cultural performances: musical and theatrical plays, art galleries, museums and a buzzing nightlife. Due to its long history related to the Ottoman, Habsburg and Oriental Christian times, Timisoara abounds with churches of several denominations, including Jewish synagogues, few elegant baroques and art-nouveau squares connected by pedestrians’ downtown paths.

Visits: The 1989 Revolution Museum, the Orthodox (Metropolitan) Romanian and Serbian Cathedrals, the Squares – Union, Victory and Liberty

Hal-day tour to Recas winery: The passionate owners and the winemakers from three different continents, the dedicated people, the sunny hills, the fruitful vine and its own restaurant, they all place Recaş Wineriey at the top of those wineries that are worth visiting internationally. Wine-tasting with lunch.

Day 7. Timisoara – Belgrade (Serbia)

After crossing the border between Romania to Serbia, we drive to Novi Sad city, exploring the charm of the modern city, The second largest city in Serbia It is considered an important cultural core of the country, being the center and guardian of the tradition of Hungarian Serbs, in the 18th century, when the rapid development of art, literature, and architecture began. The tour includes visits to the 18th century Baroque Petrovaradin fortress, then we continue to its suburbs, to Sremski Karlovci – the winemaking craftsmanship town that has been preserved the fabrication process for hundreds of years – winetasting.

Evening at Belgrade, the Serbian capital.

Day 8. Belgrade

The city, through it geographical position has been subject of greed and power of many rulers, mostly during the Middle Ages, witnessing lots of conflicts, depressions and revivals, showing today a mélange of architectural diversity, by combining the old medieval structures with eclectic modernist/Brutalist concrete structures that give the capital od Serbia a unique character.

Explore Belgrade and walk with views over Sava and Danube River. Highlights includes Saint Sava Temple, the main cathedral of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the monument dedicated to the Serbian revolutionary Karadorde Petrovic, and Kalemegdan fortress (who managed to preserve traces of Byzantine, medieval, Austrian and Ottoman influence). Take a stroll to see the National Assembly, hear stories about the old history of Serbia and the Soviet era, 90’s conflict and life in modern times.

Day 9. Belgrade - Sofia (Bulgaria)

Drive to the fortified Manasija Monastery (submitted in UNESCO Tentative List in 1990). The monastery was built in the hard times after the Battle at Kosovo (1389) and its construction lasted from 1406/7 to 1418. Its special features regard to the fortification, capable of defending and protecting the monastery settlement as well to the interior remaining murals, dated back to the 15th century and considered the peak of “Morava school”; they present similarities about the “Renaissance atmosphere” with paintings of Western Europe of that time, something unique in the Byzantine Art.

Afternoon in Nis, the third largest city in Serbia. The former Roman Naissus, who probably succeeded a Celtic settlement evolved during the time around the conflicts between the local population with the invaders, aka Huns, Bulgarians, Byzantines or Ottomans (their domination lasted for 500 years), therefore being destroyed and rebuilt several times. Highlights include: Nazi Concentration Camp “Crveni Krst”, the remains of the ancient city fortress, and the Skull Tower (stone structure embedded with real human skulls, built by Ottomans in 1809 after the end of a Serbian rebellion).

Drive to Bulgaria, late check-in in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.

Day 10. Sofia - Rila Monastery - Sofia

Tour to Boyana Church and Rila Monastery.

Boyana Church (UNESCO, 1979). Placed at the foot of Vitosha mountain, in the suburbs of Sofia, the church was built in three different stages, starting to the 10th century. The murals were painted accordingly, in three layers; the second layer (1259) represents one of the most complete and well-preserved monuments of medieval art in the Balkans, thus the world fame gained by the church. The artists remained unknown, the name of “Boyana Master” standing for the team, making their school (Turnovo named) well appreciated by the international leading experts.

Rila Monastery. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery is the largest and most famous in Bulgaria, symbolizing the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation. Included in UNESCO since 1983, it displays the life of the hermit St. John of Rila, canonized by the Orthodox Church; the monastery played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria, a characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th – 19th cent.)

Day 11. Sofia - Veliko Tarnovo

Drive to the center of Bulgaria, heading to the famous medieval capital, Veliko Tarnovo.

We start the morning driving to a natural wonder, the immense and mysterious Devetashka Cave. The entrance is 60m high and the length exceeds 2km. The 7 holes from the ceiling gives the light the opportunity to create a special atmosphere inside the cave.

ETAR – the open-air Ethnographic Museum recreates the atmosphere of Bulgarian towns and villages from the 18th and 19th century. The buildings, copies of actual houses from that period are decorated with ornaments and symbols, typical for the architecture practices 200 years ago, giving access to a place that keeps the memory of the Bulgarian customs and traditions alive. Here the water of Iantra river sets in motion the wheel of a centuries-old water-mill, and the cobbles under the traveler’s feet remind them that genuine beauty in life hides in experiencing the emotion of getting in touch with the craftsmanship of Bulgarian ancestors. Workshops of working metal, animal skins, wood, clay, wool, goat’s hair and other natural raw materials are displayed here, as well as local food recipes - simid bread, banitsa cheese pie and sesame rings, relish damson cheese, white candy in water, halva, homemade bonbons and other dainties.

Afternoon in Veliko Tarnovo, the Bulgaria’s medieval capital, a must-see attraction – as it is presented in most tourist guide books. Veliko Tarnovo represents the grandeur of the Second Bulgarian Empire at its peak. Admire some of the most spectacular sceneries from Yantra river canyon, at whose shelter Veliko Tarnovo was built. We take a walking tour in the medieval hill-fortress Tsarevets, the former capital of Bulgaria from the 12th-14th centuries, then we’ll enjoy the cobblestone streets, the views from Tsarevets, the little cafes (including the real Turkish coffee in the hot pot!) and the artisan shops from the old town.

Accommodation at Yantra hotel 4, the place from which we have the chance to admire the magnificent view towards the Tsarevets fortress and the attractive "Sound and Light" night show.

Day 12. Veliko Tarnovo - Plovdiv

We go South, driving across Central Balkan Mountains. The Rose Valley is dressing in pink every spring, the area being famous because of its Rosa Damascena oil, the source of many worlds renewed fragrances. Moreover, the valley is rich in tombs, dating since the Thracian times. Delving into the mystery of the ancient Thracians and their life and rituals is an engulfing and thrilling activity. They are mostly unknown to researchers due to their lack of script, and many of the things we know about them are from foreign historians and the evidence left in their monuments: rock sanctuaries and tombs from the 4rd century BC. We mention here just a couple of examples worth to pay a visit: the tomb of Seuthes III (the king of the Odrysian Kingdom), and the Kazanlak tombUNESCO Heritage List, part of a large Thracian necropolis, depicting unique frescoes, real masterpieces of the Thracian art and ancient cultural heritage.

Afternoon in Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria.

The Old Town of Plovdiv – historical and architectural reserve that is situated on the three-volcanic hill area, the center of cultural, political and enlightenment activities, back in the 18th century during the Bulgarian Revival. In fact, the site is a living museum that displays the architectural brilliance of the Bulgarians, who turned previous houses into museums, art galleries or tourist facilities. We pay visits to remnants of the past from the ancient Phillippopolis, the old name of Plovdiv - ruins of a Thracian temple which was constructed by the Romans, the Ancient Theatre (the best-preserved amphitheater in the whole Bulgaria), the Roman Stadium which is a replica of the stadium in Delphi, Greece, the Statue of Philip II who ruled the Thracian kingdom back in the 4th century BC, or the Roman Forum.

Day 13. Plovdiv - Sofia. End of tour

Sofia is rich in history and culture. Here’re a few highlights of the city:

- The ancient remains cover 9000sqm and talk about the Romans, who arrived here in 29 BC; they founded Serdica, around some hot mineral springs; because of its later fame, the emperor Constatine made it its home, saying “Serdica is my Rome”.

- The oldest structure from Sofia is Rotonda – the Church of St. George (5th Century), preserving also Roman artefacts; here we admire magnificent frescoes (5 layers) inside the central dome, in addition to its excellent architectural preservation;

- From the Ottoman rule one can distinguish the only mosque still in service from the original 70 active in the city, Bania Bashi Mosque – designed by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in 1576;

- Sofia’s Central Synagogue is Europe’s second most biggest Sephardic (Spanish-Jewish) establishment. It was designed by Austrian architect Gruenanger in 1905-1909 as a smaller replica of the Sephardic synagogue in Vienna (which was later destroyed, during WWII);

- Alexander Nevski Cathedral: dedicated to the Russian soldiers who died during during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, built in Neo-byzantine style is considered one of the world’s largest orthodox cathedrals (10,000 pers could be accommodated inside);

- the Basilica of Hagia Sophia was built in the middle of the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian

End of tour.

Description

The geographical importance of the Danube has always been tremendous throughout history, at the same time it has always played an important role concerning cultural-historic aspects. From the ancient Greek times onwards, the river has constituted a natural link between the West and the East inside Europe.

Join us to discover the nations who shared a common history around the river and to enjoy some stunning landscapes of Balkans!

Visit some marvelous artifacts since the Antiquity and Medieval times, survey important landmarks regarding fierce battles, taste and compare traditional Romanian, Serbian and Bulgarian cuisines, leave with memorable memories!

Day 1: Arrive in Bucharest, Romania

Transfer from the airpot to the hotel. Check-in.

Day 2. Bucharest

Bucharest. The primary entry point into Romania, we notice a booming city with many large infrastructure projects changing the old face of the city. Known in the past as "The Little Paris" Bucharest has changed a lot lately, and today it has become a very interesting mix of old and new: finding a 300 year old church, a steel-and-glass office building and Communist-era apartment blocks next to one another is a common sight. Visits:

Panoramic tour including: the Free Press Square, the Arch of Triumph, Victory Square (head of Govern building), Victory avenue, Revolution Square (Romanian Atheneum, Revolution's Memorial), the Palace of Parliament (the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon – visit included), Union Square, the Village Museum (an open-air ethnographic museum, one of the biggest and oldest outdoors museums in Europe).

Afternoon walk on the cobbled stone streets of the Old Centre of Bucharest, admiring former trader’s houses designed on the bazaar scheme, with living quarters upstairs and shops on the ground level. The Renaissance style, relief medallions and forged iron commercial, as well as the black iron doors will definitely get your attention. The place is buzzing with people having good time from noon till midnight, restaurants and bars, tables fill most streets, souvenir shops offer things to remind you about Romania.

Dinner at Caru cu Bere (1879) – the Neo-Gothic style restaurant shows an impressive interior decorated in German beer house style with stained glass windows and an austere, traditional cellar.

Day 3. Bucharest - Horezu

The plains and hills of Wallachia, the Southern historical region of Romania.

The vineyards from the region combine the food recipes with a variety of wine assortments, Stop at Avincis vineyards for wine tasting and lunch. The experience is enhanced by the traditional architecture, heritage from 1700’s, with exquisite finishing at the interiors. 

As we drive through the region one would admire the local architecture, aka “cule” – from Turkish “kule’ – tower, squared shape with thick walls buildings, with one to three upper floors, serving as a defensive role during the Middle Ages. Visit cula Duca.

The journey ends to Horezu town, where we find “the ceramics of Horezu”, a trademark of region. Visit Horezu Monastery, UNESCO listed.

Day 4. Horezu – Drobeta Turnu Severin

Targu Jiu city, at the foothills of Parang Mountains preserves the monumental work of the most famous world sculptor, father of the modern sculpture, Constantin Brancusi. The Sculptural Ensemble Jiu is an homage to the Romanian heroes of the First World War, being included on UNESCO Tentative List in 1991. A walk downtown will reveal the Table of Silence, the Gate of Kiss, the Alley of Seats, and the Endless Column, great works of art that offers messages about Romanian traditions and important life moments (birth and dead) in a symbolic way.

We reach Danube River in the afternoon. Visit the museum that preserve ancient remains from the Roman times – Drobeta camp, the first stone defense fortress erected in Dacia (former Romanian ancestors’ country). Accommodation in Drobeta Turnu Severin city.

Day 5. Drobeta Turnu Severin – Timisoara

The road follows the river upstream, in the mountains. We leave behind the huge dam build in 70’s near Drobeta Turnu Severin city and drive along the river, stretching between the mountains. The Iron Gates, part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania, consists in narrow gorges and wide basins, maybe the most spectacular sector of the river, from its beginning to its end.

Boat cruise in the gorge – the route includes: Tabula Traiana – marble marker laid along the ancient road built by the Roman emperor Trajan over 2000 years ago, the huge face of the Dacian king Decebalus carved into the rock cliff, the Mraconia Monastery, steep cliffs overlooking the narrow gorge sectors, a couple of caves lined in the rock walls – Ponicova and Veterani (surveillance and defensive fort used by the Ottomans).

Afternoon in Timisoara city, accommodation downtown of the old center.

Day 6. Timisoara

A progressive and cosmopolitan place, the charm of this city, settled on the northern bank of the Bega channel, lies in its distinct architectural character and vibrant cultural life. Sometimes referred to as "Little Vienna," Timisoara is home to many cultural performances: musical and theatrical plays, art galleries, museums and a buzzing nightlife. Due to its long history related to the Ottoman, Habsburg and Oriental Christian times, Timisoara abounds with churches of several denominations, including Jewish synagogues, few elegant baroques and art-nouveau squares connected by pedestrians’ downtown paths.

Visits: The 1989 Revolution Museum, the Orthodox (Metropolitan) Romanian and Serbian Cathedrals, the Squares – Union, Victory and Liberty

Hal-day tour to Recas winery: The passionate owners and the winemakers from three different continents, the dedicated people, the sunny hills, the fruitful vine and its own restaurant, they all place Recaş Wineriey at the top of those wineries that are worth visiting internationally. Wine-tasting with lunch.

Day 7. Timisoara – Belgrade (Serbia)

After crossing the border between Romania to Serbia, we drive to Novi Sad city, exploring the charm of the modern city, The second largest city in Serbia It is considered an important cultural core of the country, being the center and guardian of the tradition of Hungarian Serbs, in the 18th century, when the rapid development of art, literature, and architecture began. The tour includes visits to the 18th century Baroque Petrovaradin fortress, then we continue to its suburbs, to Sremski Karlovci – the winemaking craftsmanship town that has been preserved the fabrication process for hundreds of years – winetasting.

Evening at Belgrade, the Serbian capital.

Day 8. Belgrade

The city, through it geographical position has been subject of greed and power of many rulers, mostly during the Middle Ages, witnessing lots of conflicts, depressions and revivals, showing today a mélange of architectural diversity, by combining the old medieval structures with eclectic modernist/Brutalist concrete structures that give the capital od Serbia a unique character.

Explore Belgrade and walk with views over Sava and Danube River. Highlights includes Saint Sava Temple, the main cathedral of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the monument dedicated to the Serbian revolutionary Karadorde Petrovic, and Kalemegdan fortress (who managed to preserve traces of Byzantine, medieval, Austrian and Ottoman influence). Take a stroll to see the National Assembly, hear stories about the old history of Serbia and the Soviet era, 90’s conflict and life in modern times.

Day 9. Belgrade - Sofia (Bulgaria)

Drive to the fortified Manasija Monastery (submitted in UNESCO Tentative List in 1990). The monastery was built in the hard times after the Battle at Kosovo (1389) and its construction lasted from 1406/7 to 1418. Its special features regard to the fortification, capable of defending and protecting the monastery settlement as well to the interior remaining murals, dated back to the 15th century and considered the peak of “Morava school”; they present similarities about the “Renaissance atmosphere” with paintings of Western Europe of that time, something unique in the Byzantine Art.

Afternoon in Nis, the third largest city in Serbia. The former Roman Naissus, who probably succeeded a Celtic settlement evolved during the time around the conflicts between the local population with the invaders, aka Huns, Bulgarians, Byzantines or Ottomans (their domination lasted for 500 years), therefore being destroyed and rebuilt several times. Highlights include: Nazi Concentration Camp “Crveni Krst”, the remains of the ancient city fortress, and the Skull Tower (stone structure embedded with real human skulls, built by Ottomans in 1809 after the end of a Serbian rebellion).

Drive to Bulgaria, late check-in in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.

Day 10. Sofia - Rila Monastery - Sofia

Tour to Boyana Church and Rila Monastery.

Boyana Church (UNESCO, 1979). Placed at the foot of Vitosha mountain, in the suburbs of Sofia, the church was built in three different stages, starting to the 10th century. The murals were painted accordingly, in three layers; the second layer (1259) represents one of the most complete and well-preserved monuments of medieval art in the Balkans, thus the world fame gained by the church. The artists remained unknown, the name of “Boyana Master” standing for the team, making their school (Turnovo named) well appreciated by the international leading experts.

Rila Monastery. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery is the largest and most famous in Bulgaria, symbolizing the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation. Included in UNESCO since 1983, it displays the life of the hermit St. John of Rila, canonized by the Orthodox Church; the monastery played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria, a characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th – 19th cent.)

Day 11. Sofia - Veliko Tarnovo

Drive to the center of Bulgaria, heading to the famous medieval capital, Veliko Tarnovo.

We start the morning driving to a natural wonder, the immense and mysterious Devetashka Cave. The entrance is 60m high and the length exceeds 2km. The 7 holes from the ceiling gives the light the opportunity to create a special atmosphere inside the cave.

ETAR – the open-air Ethnographic Museum recreates the atmosphere of Bulgarian towns and villages from the 18th and 19th century. The buildings, copies of actual houses from that period are decorated with ornaments and symbols, typical for the architecture practices 200 years ago, giving access to a place that keeps the memory of the Bulgarian customs and traditions alive. Here the water of Iantra river sets in motion the wheel of a centuries-old water-mill, and the cobbles under the traveler’s feet remind them that genuine beauty in life hides in experiencing the emotion of getting in touch with the craftsmanship of Bulgarian ancestors. Workshops of working metal, animal skins, wood, clay, wool, goat’s hair and other natural raw materials are displayed here, as well as local food recipes - simid bread, banitsa cheese pie and sesame rings, relish damson cheese, white candy in water, halva, homemade bonbons and other dainties.

Afternoon in Veliko Tarnovo, the Bulgaria’s medieval capital, a must-see attraction – as it is presented in most tourist guide books. Veliko Tarnovo represents the grandeur of the Second Bulgarian Empire at its peak. Admire some of the most spectacular sceneries from Yantra river canyon, at whose shelter Veliko Tarnovo was built. We take a walking tour in the medieval hill-fortress Tsarevets, the former capital of Bulgaria from the 12th-14th centuries, then we’ll enjoy the cobblestone streets, the views from Tsarevets, the little cafes (including the real Turkish coffee in the hot pot!) and the artisan shops from the old town.

Accommodation at Yantra hotel 4, the place from which we have the chance to admire the magnificent view towards the Tsarevets fortress and the attractive "Sound and Light" night show.

Day 12. Veliko Tarnovo - Plovdiv

We go South, driving across Central Balkan Mountains. The Rose Valley is dressing in pink every spring, the area being famous because of its Rosa Damascena oil, the source of many worlds renewed fragrances. Moreover, the valley is rich in tombs, dating since the Thracian times. Delving into the mystery of the ancient Thracians and their life and rituals is an engulfing and thrilling activity. They are mostly unknown to researchers due to their lack of script, and many of the things we know about them are from foreign historians and the evidence left in their monuments: rock sanctuaries and tombs from the 4rd century BC. We mention here just a couple of examples worth to pay a visit: the tomb of Seuthes III (the king of the Odrysian Kingdom), and the Kazanlak tombUNESCO Heritage List, part of a large Thracian necropolis, depicting unique frescoes, real masterpieces of the Thracian art and ancient cultural heritage.

Afternoon in Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria.

The Old Town of Plovdiv – historical and architectural reserve that is situated on the three-volcanic hill area, the center of cultural, political and enlightenment activities, back in the 18th century during the Bulgarian Revival. In fact, the site is a living museum that displays the architectural brilliance of the Bulgarians, who turned previous houses into museums, art galleries or tourist facilities. We pay visits to remnants of the past from the ancient Phillippopolis, the old name of Plovdiv - ruins of a Thracian temple which was constructed by the Romans, the Ancient Theatre (the best-preserved amphitheater in the whole Bulgaria), the Roman Stadium which is a replica of the stadium in Delphi, Greece, the Statue of Philip II who ruled the Thracian kingdom back in the 4th century BC, or the Roman Forum.

Day 13. Plovdiv - Sofia. End of tour

Sofia is rich in history and culture. Here’re a few highlights of the city:

- The ancient remains cover 9000sqm and talk about the Romans, who arrived here in 29 BC; they founded Serdica, around some hot mineral springs; because of its later fame, the emperor Constatine made it its home, saying “Serdica is my Rome”.

- The oldest structure from Sofia is Rotonda – the Church of St. George (5th Century), preserving also Roman artefacts; here we admire magnificent frescoes (5 layers) inside the central dome, in addition to its excellent architectural preservation;

- From the Ottoman rule one can distinguish the only mosque still in service from the original 70 active in the city, Bania Bashi Mosque – designed by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in 1576;

- Sofia’s Central Synagogue is Europe’s second most biggest Sephardic (Spanish-Jewish) establishment. It was designed by Austrian architect Gruenanger in 1905-1909 as a smaller replica of the Sephardic synagogue in Vienna (which was later destroyed, during WWII);

- Alexander Nevski Cathedral: dedicated to the Russian soldiers who died during during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, built in Neo-byzantine style is considered one of the world’s largest orthodox cathedrals (10,000 pers could be accommodated inside);

- the Basilica of Hagia Sophia was built in the middle of the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian

End of tour.

Map
Tour costs
Ask for price