"Expectations exceeded" Veliko Turnovo by josephescu

Veliko Turnovo Travel Guide: 279 reviews and 723 photos

Local flavour

The first Bulgarian capital by the time of the Asanesti tsars (medieval times), hidden in the high hills of the Balkan mountains, covered with forests of elder trees whose perfume in late April was simply irresistible. Veliko Tarnovo is a picturesque and charming small town, who does not impress by large constructions or monuments.
What impressed us was the comfort and intimacy of its narrow streets and old houses, with old people speaking in the doorways, with children playing hide-and-seek on the remote streets, reminding about the good old childhood days, with the lazy cats sleeping in ht middle of the road as if it was their own. In other words, the local flavour which to some extent remains untouched by modernity.

Getting to know the town

One of the most interesting and amusing activities is wandering up and down and around every street and alley between the houses, nearly entering peoples houses, finding a “hidden” church or a “hidden” staircase leading to a nice small garden or to a unique panorama point. One can go like these for hours and hours, and remember – there is virtually no flat street in Veliko Tarnovo, they either go up or down.
One challenging activity would be to try and find a way down to the river, descending from the houses side 

The fortress

Probably at the origins of the city, a local printed brochure called the fortress (Tsaravets) “the second Constantinople”. This was somehow to our amusement, knowing that local people often tend to highly over-appreciate the quality of any local monument by comparison with “world-class famous” in order to attract tourists.
The fortress did not impress by size or thickness of the (few) remaining original walls, but by the unique view on the surroundings. Wandering about should definitely lead to the church in the top – mural paintings inside are a bizarre mixture of old and new, which to some extent I found at least weird if not macabre. However, an original way to restore the paintings, I’m curious what an Italian “restorator” would have to say?!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:local flavour: streets, elder trees, gardens, food, people
  • Cons:industrial plant near the fortress
  • In a nutshell:2 days are a must, should you come close
  • Last visit to Veliko Turnovo: Apr 2006
  • Intro Written Jun 5, 2006
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Reviews (8)

Comments (2)

  • Jun 15, 2007 at 11:53 AM

    Hi Josephescu, What a great surprise :) Thanks for sharing with us these interesting tips. I think Veliko Turnovo would be quite a good location for a relaxing mini teambuilding :)

  • planxty's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2006 at 7:37 PM

    Hi Josephescu, interesting tips on VT (VT on VT, if you get what I mean!). It's a few years since i went there, but the memories came flooding back. fergy.


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