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What to see

The Tracian Tomb in Kazanluk

The Tracian Tomb in Sveshtari

The Horseman of Madara

The Boyana Church in Sofia

The Rock Monasteries of Ivanovo

The Rila Monastery

The Old Nessebur

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BULGARIA



THE TRACIAN TOMB IN KAZANLUK

One of the most famous monuments of Thracian culture, included in the World Register of Historical Sites, in 1979, was discovered in 1944. A corridor, 1. 95 m in length, 1. 12 m in width and 2. 24 m in height leads to a domed tomb, 3. 25 m in height and 2. 65 m in diameter at the base. The building material is brick, used two centuries later by the Romans. The frame is of blocks of stone and clay is used as bonding material. It is situated in the southern part of a mound, at ground level. The entrance is from the south side. The tomb became world famous with its unique mural, done in wet fresco and tempera.

The Thracian Tomb in Kazanluk

The artistic decoration covers an area of 40m2.It is an extraordinary art gallery, taking the visitor a long way back in time. The pictures show battles and scenes from daily life, realistically displayed, with great dynamism and details in the clothing and armour. The scenes of funeral procession , the musicians, the Thracian ruler and his wife, the chariots, the horses and other depictions are all very interesting. The tomb dates from the late IV c. - early III c. BC Nearby an exact copy has been built for tourists.

 



Festivals and Fairs


The Great Koprivshtitza Folklore Festival

The Great Koprivshtitza Folklore Festival is Bulgaria's largest gathering of traditional musicians and singers and is a cross between a pop festival and a medieval fair. It is a sight that knows no equal: thousands of musicians and singers making the hillside above the picturesque village of Koprivshtitza their home for a few days. Coupled with this you have the colourful stalls of the traders and the thousands of visitors who come for the festival.

This is Bulgarian music as it was always played, played by the ancestors of those who first played it. But perhaps it is what happens on the periphery that is the most authentic. Strolling players or soloists, simply playing for the sheer enjoyment. forming new bonds with other musicians or just letting their music ring out over the hillside.

The Bourgas International Folk Festival

The Bourgas International Folk Festival, held annually, attracts a host of Bulgarian and international artists and is held in the second half of August.

The Kazanluk Festival

The Kazanluk Festival of the Roses is held annually in early June, and has grown from a local to an international event. Not only are the roses, Kazanluk's main industry, in full flower. but the town itself blossoms while visitors enjoy the "Rose Picnic" and all the fun of a folklore festival, with its costumes, songs and dance. Should you still have the energy left, you can always visit the old factories where the rose oil is extracted.

St. Trifon's Day

In the agricultural calendar, St. Trifon's Day celebrates the pruning of the vines, and is held on February 14.

Kukerov Den

On the first Sunday before Lent, Kukerov Den celebrates the start of the agricultural year, and all over Bulgaria you can witness processions led by the dancing. leaping Kukeri dressed in colourful masks and costumes.

Baba Marta

Baba Marta is celebrated on March 1 when peasant house-holds brush out the winter cobwebs with a traditional spring clean. and people offer each other tokens of good luck called martenitsas.

Kukeri
Like western countries. the Bulgarian calendar is dotted with important feast days and festivals. The festival of the Kukeri re-enacts ancient surovaki rites to ward off evil spirits and Kukeri fertility rites. Although only held once every five years, it brings together dancers from all over Bulgaria in a rainbow of colours and styles.

St. Lazarus Day

Lazaruvane is also celebrated in spring on St. Lazarus Day, and here village girls considered fit for marriage perform ritual songs and dances.

St. Konstantin and St. Elena Day

The coming of summer is traditionally celebrated on St. Konstantin and St. Elena Day on May 21, and in some of the remoter villages in the Stranzha hills fire dancing, dancing on heated coals, is still practised in celebration of summer's arrival. Ethnologists have suggested that this practice is directly descended from Dionysina rites of the ancient Thracian.

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