Veliko Tarnovo is the medieval capital of Bulgaria, located in north central Bulgaria, located on the river Yantra. The city has rich historical legacy including the remains of the two medieval hill fortresses Tsarevets and Trapezitsa. Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest settlements in Bulgaria, with a history of more than five millennia. The first traces of human presence, dating from the 3rd millennium BC, were discovered on Trapezitsa Hill. In the 14th century, the city was described by Bulgarian cleric Gregory Tsamblak as “a very large city, handsome and surrounded by walls, with 12,000 to 15,000 inhabitants”. In the 14th century, as the Byzantine Empire weakened, Tarnovo claimed to be the Third Rome, based on its preeminent cultural influence in Eastern Europe. You can feel the atmosphere of these times while walking through the Samovodska Charshia (the commercial street), which has preserved its authentic style. You can witness the craftsmen working, buy souvenirs and try the local cuisine. Today, Veliko Tarnovo is the center of one of the largest urban areas in Bulgaria and is one of the few cities in the country with a growing population. It is a foremost educational and cultural center, and the home of two major universities and extensive artistic activity.
The city is a leading tourist attraction, boasting a steady increase in visitors for the last two decades. During the same period, it has also consistently attracted foreign settlers, and today, the city and its surroundings have become the home of the largest foreign expat community in Bulgaria. The visit of the Tsarevets fortress is an incredible experience. The walls, gates, watch towers and the remains of houses, churches and the king’s palace can really take you into the middle ages. At night, you can witness the amazing show Sound and Light, when the fortress becomes live with music and colorful lightning. There are a lot of nice restaurants, cafes, karaoke bars, cocktail bars, sport bars, pubs, discos for every taste and casinos. The city is very lively and you can combine a relaxing vacation with exciting night life. Just a few kilometers away is the ethnographic village Arbanasi with its amazingly beautiful traditional Bulgarian houses and an amazing view to the city of Veliko Tarnovo.