Bulgaria & Romania: Farewell to Bulgaria

May 25, 2019 – Veliko Tarnovo Tour and on to Bucharest, Romania

This morning we meet Roumen, an archeologist from Veliko Tarnovo who is also a tour guide, who gives us a very interesting tour of the Old City and the Tsarevets Hill Fortress.

Roumen, our guide to Veliko Tarnovo.
It is Saturday morning, and the streets and shops are empty at this 9:00am hour.
Cathedral of the Birth of Theotokos in Veliko Tarnovo
Entering the Fortress on Tsarevets Hill
View into the valley from the Fortress. The hill is protected in part by the Yantra River which circles around it.
View of Veliko Tarnovo from the Fortress.
Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God at the top of Tsarevets Hill.
Interior of the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God. The frescoes inside, painted in a striking modernist style rather than in the style of traditional Orthodox frescoes, depict conventional Christian subjects as well as glorious and tragic moments of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
The modernist images inside the Cathedral show perhaps a little more flesh than we are used to seeing inside a church!

Returning to Veliko, we make a photo stop at the Monument of the Asenevtsi Kings, built in 1985 on the occasion of national celebrations of 800 years of the uprising of the brothers Asen and Peter and the proclamation of Tarnovo as the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 – 1393). The monument is dedicated to the four Bulgarian Kings – Assen, Peter, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II. During┬átheir management Bulgaria reached a peak in its development as country and the capital Tarnovo is one of the most remarkable and powerful cities in Europe.

Monument of the Asenevtsi kings (aka “The riders”) in Veliko Tarnovo.
Interesting creature at the foot of the Monument of the Kings (the stone one – not Rigg)
Detail of the head of one of the four horsement

We drive a short distance to the nearby village of Arbanassi to enjoy a private choir performance at the tiny but ornate Church of the Nativity of Christ.

Entrance to the Church of the Nativity of Christ.
We sit in the old stalls awaiting the entrance of the four-member choir.
These are perhaps the most uncomfortable chairs in the world, obviously designed to prevent one from nodding off during services.
Beautiful choir performance for our group.
After lunch we continue north to the Danube River, the border between Bulgaria and Romania.
We are now on the Romanian side of the Danube, and about to reach land.
We walk through a historic district in Bucharest to reach our venue for dinner tonight.
The restaurant is called Noblesse, and it is an apt description of the historic building it occupies.

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