Morning drive to Arbanassi (Albanian in Bulgarian language), the village across the city, beautifully located on the top of the canyon. There are a few variants about founding the village, apparently built by the Albanian and Greek emigrants in the 13th century, becoming famous more lately, in the 17-18th centuries, due to the commerce with Austria-Hungary, Transylvania, Russia, Poland and India. The inhabitants were specialized in trade with cattle, being the main suppliers with butter and tallow to Istanbul. Among other flourishing guilds, we mention the goldensmith, blacksmith, coppersmith, winemakers or the silmakers.
Today, most of the homesteads are built in the fortress-house style, having mostly stone floors; the doors are large and made of solid wood. Among some 80 houses maintained in good stages, 36 are declared as national monuments. The architecture belongs to the Bulgarian National Revival period (16-17th centuries); the religious settlements are small, without bell-tower, in order to not put in inferiority the mosques, as the Ottomans imposing it during the 500 years of ruling.
Visit Church of the Nativity - beautifully decorated with frescoes (over 3000 images!) made in different stages, starting to 1597; it brilliantly tells the story of how the Bulgarian people maintained their faith and national culture through centuries of Ottoman oppression.
Drive up north, towards the border with Romania. Stop at Nicopolis ad Istrum.
Nicopolis ad Istrum represent a former Roman and Byzantine important city, the birth place of the Gothic alphabet – in the 4th century the founder, a missionary named Wulfila translated here the Bible from Greek into Gothic alphabet. The site is included in UNESCO Tentative List since 1984. Paved streets, remains of a public bath, theater, public buildings, columns, wall fortifications – just few reasons to pay a visit.
Return to Bucharest in the evening.