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Bulgaria

Buzludzha, House of the Bulgarian Communist Party

 Posted by Christophe Le Corre
Christophe Le Corre
, September 06, 2013 at 12:30:14 :: Bulgaria

Buzludzha monumentThe House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party, located on Mount Buzludzha, a 1441 metres high peak in the Central Stara Planina in Bulgaria, is the biggest ideological building in Bulgaria. In 1868, the peak was the site of battle between the Bulgarians, led by the rebels Stefan Karadzha and Hadji Dimitar, and the Turks.

Buzludzha was built by the Bulgarian communist regime to commemorate the events in 1891 - when the socialists, led by Dimitar Blagoev, assembled secretly in the area to form an organized socialist movement - and opened in 1981 on the 1300th anniversary of the founding of the state of Bulgaria. The building was then abruptly abandoned, vandalized, and devastated less than twenty years later after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

The tower of the UFO-shaped monument rises to a height of 107m and was designed by the architect Georgi Stoilov. The funds for the project, which cost in excess of 16 million Bulgarian Levs (around 10 million US dollars), came in the form of voluntary donations from the Bulgarian people, and thousands of volunteer laborers were involved in the construction process, which took almost seven years to complete.

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Rila and the Rila monastery

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 11, 2008 at 11:56:49 :: Bulgaria

Rila (Bulgarian: Рила ['ri.lə]) is a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria and the highest mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkans, with its highest peak being Musala at 2,925 m. The massif is also the sixth highest mountain in Europe (when each mountain is represented by its highest peak only), coming after the Caucasus, the Alps, Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees and Mount Etna. The larger part of the mountain is occupied by the Rila National Park.

The name Rila is allegedly of Thracian origin and is thought to mean "well-watered mountain", owing to Rila's abundance of glacial lakes (about 200) and hot springs in the faulty areas. Some of the Balkans' longest and deepest rivers originate from Rila, including the Maritsa, the Iskar and the Mesta.

Rila (Bulgarian: Рила) mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria and the highest mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkans, with its highest peak being Musala at 2,925 m


Culturally, Rila is famous for the Rila Monastery, Bulgaria's largest and most important monastery founded in the 10th century by Saint John of Rila.

The Rila monastery

The Rila monastery lies in the very Rila mountain, at 1,147 meters above sea level. It is situated 117km away from Sofia to the south, and is no doubt the most popular tourist site among all monasteries in Bulgaria equally for its size, natural surroundings, architecture, wall paintings and ancient history. The monastery is flanked by the small mountain rivers of Rilska and Drushlyavitsa and is only 4 hours walking distance from the Malyovitsa peak, rising at 2,729 meters above sea level. The highest peak of the Rila mountain, Mousala (2925 meters), which is also the Balkan peninsula’s highest point, is further away at about 8 hours’ walk. The monastery offers a great view to the surrounding peaks of the mountain and represents a developed tourist sight with all the accompanying facilities such as souvenir shops, restaurants and inns.

The eye of Rila, Seven Rila Lakes (Седемте рилски езера): Lake Salzata (The Tear), Lake Okoto (The Eye), Lake Babreka (The Kidney), Lake Bliznaka (The Twin), Lake Trilistnika (The Trefoil), Lake Ribnoto Ezero (The Fish Lake) and Lake Dolnoto Ezero (The Lower Lake), Rila Mountains in Bulgaria



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Plovdiv, Bulgaria

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 10, 2008 at 07:42:15 :: Bulgaria

Bulgaria, situated in the south-eastern part of Europe, and in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, had been a land of many ancient civilizations and great peoples, all anxious to leave marks of their turbulent history: bronze and iron spears and arrows, stone buildings remains, messages to future generations carved on rocks and stone columns or written on parchment or leather.

Plovdiv (Bulgarian: Пловдив) is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia, with a population of 378,107. It is the administrative centre of Plovdiv Province in southern Bulgaria, as well as the largest and most important city of the historical region of Upper (or Northern) Thrace, famous for its ancient and diverse culture and millennial history.

Plovdiv roman amphitheatre in the heart of Plovdiv, built in the 2nd century AD under the orders of Trajan the Roman Emperor at this time, between the south-western slope of the Dzhambaz Tepe and the Taxim tepe hill within the old town


Plovdiv is located on the banks of the Maritsa river. The surrounding countryside resembles the great plains in the US, yet the city itself is particularly striking, since it, like Rome, is nestled in between seven hills.

The ancient part of the town is an architectural reserve. The Ancient Plovdiv has preserved until nowadays the atmosphere of the Renaissance.

Houses in Old Plovdiv, Bulgaria


The modern town is a trade and culture centre. It is a bunch of museums, churches, banks, hotels, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, shops, bars, bazaars, music clubs, casinos etc. Here rest the ruins of a Roman stadium and remnants of the Roman forum, here could be also seen several mosques and original Turkish baths. The modern centre provides entertainment and rich cultural life.

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UNESCO World Heritage

Bulgaria, Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 10, 2013 at 05:24:13

Location Razgrad Province, Bulgaria
Coordinates N43 40 0.012 E26 40 0.012
Property 648 ha
Date of Inscription 1985

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/359 )

Discovered in 1982 near the village of Sveshtari, this 3rd-century BC Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb has a unique architectural decor, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The 10 female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decoration of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands. It is a remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getes, a Thracian people who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers.

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Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari

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Bulgaria, Srebarna Nature Reserve

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 10, 2013 at 05:15:26

Location Village of Srebarna, Province of Silistra; 16 km west of the town of Silistra and 1 km south of the Danube, Bulgaria
Coordinates N44 6 51.984 E27 4 41.016
Property 638 ha
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/219 )

The Srebarna Nature Reserve is a freshwater lake adjacent to the Danube and extending over 600 ha. It is the breeding ground of almost 100 species of birds, many of which are rare or endangered. Some 80 other bird species migrate and seek refuge there every winter. Among the most interesting bird species are the Dalmatian pelican, great egret, night heron, purple heron, glossy ibis and white spoonbill.

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Lake Srebarna, Srebarna Nature Reserve

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Bulgaria, Pirin National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 10, 2013 at 05:05:24

Location Bulgaria
Coordinates N41 44 33.8 E23 25 49.7
Property 38,350 ha
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/225 )

Spread over an area of over 27,000 ha, at an altitude between 1008 and 2914 m in the Pirin Mountains, southwest Bulgaria, the site comprises diverse limestone mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and predominantly coniferous forests. It was added to the World Heritage List in 1983. The extension now covers an area of around 40,000 ha in the Pirin Mountains, and overlaps with the Pirin National Park, except for two areas developed for tourism (skiing). The dominant part of the extension is high mountain territory over 2000m in altitude, and covered mostly by alpine meadows, rocky screes and summits.

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Lake, Pirin National Park Peak Vihren, Pirin National Park

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Bulgaria, Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 10, 2013 at 04:56:05

Location Kazanlak, Province of Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
Coordinates N42 37 0 E25 23 60
Property 0.02 ha
Date of Inscription 1979

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/44 )

Discovered in 1944, this tomb dates from the Hellenistic period, around the end of the 4th century BC. It is located near Seutopolis, the capital city of the Thracian king Seutes III, and is part of a large Thracian necropolis. The tholos has a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals representing Thracian burial rituals and culture. These paintings are Bulgaria’s best-preserved artistic masterpieces from the Hellenistic period.

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Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

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Bulgaria, Madara Rider

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 10, 2013 at 04:47:51

Location Village of Madara, Province of Shumen, Bulgaria
Coordinates N43 17 60 E27 8 60
Property 1.20 ha
Date of Inscription 1979

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/43 )

The Madara Rider, representing the figure of a knight triumphing over a lion, is carved into a 100-m-high cliff near the village of Madara in north-east Bulgaria. Madara was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Bulgaria’s conversion to Christianity in the 9th century. The inscriptions beside the sculpture tell of events that occurred between AD 705 and 801.

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Madara Rider

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Bulgaria, Boyana Church

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 10, 2013 at 04:36:00

Location Boyana district, Sofia, Bulgaria
Coordinates N42 38 60 E23 16 0
Property 0.68 ha
Date of Inscription 1979

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/42 )

Located on the outskirts of Sofia, Boyana Church consists of three buildings. The eastern church was built in the 10th century, then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th century by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two storey building to be erected next to it. The frescoes in this second church, painted in 1259, make it one of the most important collections of medieval paintings. The ensemble is completed by a third church, built at the beginning of the 19th century. This site is one of the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of east European medieval art.

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Boyana Church

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Bulgaria, Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 12, 2011 at 12:05:14

Location Village of Ivanovo, 16 km from the town of Ruse, Province of Ruse, Bulgaria
Coordinates N43 43 0 E25 58 0
Property 172 ha
Date of Inscription 1979

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/45 )

In the valley of the Roussenski Lom River, in north east Bulgaria, a complex of rock-hewn churches, chapels, monasteries and cells developed in the vicinity of the village of Ivanovo. This is where the first hermits had dug out their cells and churches during the 12th century. The 14th-century murals testify to the exceptional skill of the artists belonging to the Tarnovo School of painting.

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Monastery, Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo Madera Horseman, Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo

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Bulgaria, Ancient City of Nessebar

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 18, 2009 at 16:40:16

Location Nesebar municipality, Burgas Province, Bulgaria
Coordinates N42 39 21.996 E27 43 48
Type Cultural
Property 27 ha
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/217 )

Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the more than 3,000-year-old site of Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement (Menebria). At the beginning of the 6th century BC, the city became a Greek colony. The city’s remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the Thracian fortifications. Among other monuments, the Stara Mitropolia Basilica and the fortress date from the Middle Ages, when this was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea. Wooden houses built in the 19th century are typical of the Black Sea architecture of the period.

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Church of Christ Pantocrator Church of John the Baptist Church of St Sophia

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Bulgaria, Rila Monastery

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 16, 2009 at 19:12:59

Location On the slopes of Rila, the highest Balkan Peninsula Mountain, in the valley of the Rilska River, 29 km east of the Sofia-Thessaloniki Highway. Rila, Kyustendil Province, Bulgaria
Coordinates N42 7 0 E23 23 60
Type Cultural
Property 11 ha
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/216 )

Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. Destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, the complex was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862. A characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries), the monument symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation.

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Rila Monastery Tower of Hrelyu, Rila Monastery

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