Bustling City Life and Majestic Mountains
Since 1879 the capital of Bulgaria has been Sofia. In touring this city one would discover that it is not only the largest city and the hub of political affairs but a cornucopia of culture and history. One would witness stark contrasts between the many eras and cultures represented throughout the city as well as visual and tangible reminders at every turn of this city’s ancient origins.
This window into it’s deep rooted past is seen in the Roman, medieval and Ottoman-era buildings that dot the landscape of Sofia. As well as the monumental buildings from the Communist period that still seem to loom heavy although hold their own beauty and add grandeur to the downtown squares.
There are a number of magnificent historical attractions which include churches, art and science museums. City nightlife is bustling with lively cafés, theatre, cinemas and nightclubs.
Looking out over the horizon of Sofia one may become captivated by the richly forested slopes of Mount Vistosha. An ideal location for hiking, fresh air and skiing in the winter months.
The second largest city is Provdiv which is located in Southern Bulgaria. Provdiv holds its own unique wonder and reflects a even deeper rooted history dating back to the Thracians in 5th millennium BC. Known for its delightful cobbled alleyways that lead one on a tight maze through Roman, Ottoman and restored 19th century monuments.
Just south of Provdiv are the Rhodope Mountains where Muslim and Christian villages are nestled in pine covered valleys. To the south west are the Pirin Mountains where skiing and hiking resorts are located. The Rila Mountians, home to the “must see” attraction, Rila Monastery, a enduring symbol of the struggle to keep Bulgarian culture alive during the long period of Ottoman rule.
Quaint Villages and White Sandy Beaches
Central Bulgaria is where the first Bulgarian capital in the Middle Ages was located, Veliko Tarnovo. The surrounding hills are dotted with small towns and villages where traditional architecture and folk art are beautifully preserved. The southern edge of this area is marked by the Valley of the Roses. Historical towns line this valley and are known for their rose oil production and the annual Festival of Roses.
Northern Bulgaria is made up of rolling plateaus and plains and features extraordinary geological features, historical towns, medieval monasteries and fortresses. While the Black Sea Coast region has long been a summer destination with beach front resorts, quiet villages and rocky coves to explore. This region also has a rich historic heritage with Roman ruins, medieval churches and historical homes.
It seems that no matter where you may travel within Bulgaria you are bound to discover a priceless gem. With such a deeply rooted, beautiful history and culture and breathtaking landscape, Bulgaria is a treasure to behold, a sweetness to savor. My heart yearns to be there and to learn all I can so that I may share this sweetness, this treasure with our family and most of all with our sweet, beautiful girl. In His time he is making all things new, restoring all to His glory. I wait with great anticipation.
Love will bring her home.
To God be the Glory.
[This post is part of the Heart for Bulgaria series. An overview of our research on the country of Bulgaria.]