"The hidden rural beauty of Arbanasi" Arbanasi by ger4444
Arbanasi Travel Guide: 41 reviews and 76 photos
Not many tourist think directly of Arbanasi when they plan their trip for Bulgaria. I by coincident happen to hear about it, because it happens to be a good side-kick when you stay in Veliko Târnovo a bit longer. I heard it is the place where some of the rich and famous of the country live and I learned there are dozens of old churches and some monasteries to admire. So I had expectations. – later on I had to conclude the particular attractions were interesting, but not breath-taking. However, what made the place great was the simplicity, the atmosphere and the amazing views over the far away town of Veliko Târnovo. I took a minibus in Veliko Târnovo and it took not long before we were dropped in the center of the little village. I forgot to ask what time the last minibus went back. So, since someone already had told me that it sometimes happens that most of the sights are closed, I was afraid this fate was going to happen to me as well. But I was lucky, a lot of the sight where approachable and if not, you could peek inside of some of them. The churches and monasteries are spread all over the village, but you can do all by a walk, and it will take you half a day. Impressive old architecture – woods, bricks, typical long stone walls, red-tiled roofs – and small churches with wonderfull fresco’s inside. End the little trp with a cold drink in a café on the other side of the street of the nativity Church and have some views over Veliko Târnovo. I stayed a bit without regarding time and found out I had not enough money left, no minibuses back to Veliko and I couldn’t call a taxi. Luckely a cab was so friendly to let me pay at an ATM in Veliko Târnovo, I would not want to get stucked in one of the expensive hotes in the village. Sunset at the village was wonderful, I wouldn’t want to have miss it.
The village's name comes from the Albanian word Arbanas, which means "land worker". From this word, the Ottomans denoted Albanians and people from Macedonia. Arbanasi is considered to be on of the more picturesque small villages of Bulgaria. It is located 5 kilometres nort of Veliko Târnovo, on a plateau 400 hundred meters above sea level. There are about 100 houses preserved that make part of the countries special architecture.
The houses feature the characteristics of fortified medieval homes, keeping the structure of old Boyar houses. The churches look simple from the outside, but the interior of them is rich with decorations and mural paintings. From outside the houses too look like fortresses with their high stone walls, but their outer appearance contrast with the interior where coziness and comfort is created by the ceilings, doors, furniture and windows with an abundant in wood-carving and the walls in plaster ornaments. In 2000 Arbanassi is declared "historical settlement" with national significance. Especially the following sights make the village so valuable: Arbanasi Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God, Monastery of Saint Nicholas, Church of the Nativity of Christ, Church of Saints Archangels Michael and Gabriel
Church of Saint Athanasius, Church of Saint George, Church of Saint Demetrius, Konstantsaliyata's House and Hadzhi Iliya's House. As said, these sights are criss crossed spread over the village. I included a little map in this Arbanasi page, which shows the sights along the paths.
The little village was founded in the 13 th century by rich boyarswho came with their peasants from the west after the victory of Assen II at Klokotnitza in 1230 as he captured the Arbanassi land. It developed into a wealthy settlement where trade went well. At that time there were about thousand houses. The main occupation of the population was stock-breeding The stockbreeders were famous and sold in the whole Empire as well ouside the Empire, such as in India and Persia. Selling meat etc and buying velvet and species. The occupations connected with this were also developed, such as copper and goldsmith trade. Also silkworms were bred, manufactures produced silk that was traded in Italy. Viticulture was also typical for this place. In the Middle Ages Bulgarians called Arbanassi Arbanashka zemia. In the 16 th century the houses got their characteristic outlook. The churches are form a century later, build with high walls and small windows. From documents we know a little about the history of the village. In a document from 1538 the village is mentioned by sultan Suleiman, who grants the settlemet to the grand vizir Rustem Pasha, his son in law. In other documents, by Bishop Bogdan Bakishic and in a note to prince Bathory the village is named. A document from 1810 by Sultan Mahmud, a royal decree, also provides the little village it’s excistence.
Wander along the Hadjilieva House, the St Demetrius Church and at the at the back of a scrappy garden near the Atanas... more travel advice
Since the streets are a bit of mud, path are in grass its good to wear hiking boots. The main streets are of concrete,... more travel advice
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