Veliko Tarnovo

Veliko Tarnovo

  • Old Town, Veliko Tarnovo
  • Tsaravets medieval fortress
  • Museum
  • Churches, Arbanasi

Veliko Tarnovo was the medieval capital of Bulgaria in the fifteenth century when Turkish forces defeated the Tsar’s armies.  This saw the beginning of four hundred years of Ottoman rule. 

It is an historic town par excellence with winding cobbled streets flanked by beautifully restored traditional Bulgarian houses in dark wood and white plaster.  Many have now been turned into art galleries, cafes and hotels.

Here you can walk down the street named after the Russian general Gurko who led the victorious Russian armies in 1877.  It probably hasn’t changed that much.

There are also fine monasteries and churches both here and in the nearby village of Arbanasi.

The city museum has a good collection of Roman statues and the old medieval fortress of Tsaravets dominates one end of the old town. 

From more recent times, Hotel Veliko Tarnovo is a good example of modernist architecture constructed under Communism.  You can still sit on its open-air terrace enjoying views of the houses of the old town across the gorge.