Bulgaria has a significant, highly visible and well developed heritage. These relics of the past are very beautiful objects for tourist visits and provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the country's rich and complex culture. This wealth is often underestimated by the Western public at large. It has hundreds of monasteries, such as Rila and Batchkovo, the old towns of Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo, the elegant 19th century avenues of Roussé, Varna or Bourgas, the 40 churches of Nessebar or the Black Sea houses of Sozopol, the religious complexes in the rocks of the Eastern Rhodopes, the monuments of Sofia, the countless villages of the National Renaissance, Chiroka Laka, Koprivchtitsa, Melnik or Tryavna... The mixture of influences in Bulgaria is felt in the architectural heritage more than in any other field, and we will often see mosques and churches rub shoulders and even mix their influences in civil architecture.In addition to this heritage, Bulgarians have a vast and ancient culture with unique tonalities. They are always very proud of their folklore: music, polyphonies, still very lively crafts, mural painting, embroidery... Not to mention one of the most formidable productions of icons in the world (exhibited in Sofia and too little known in the West) as well as formidable works by Bulgarian artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, immersed in all the major trends in modern European art.
10 sites classified by UNESCO :
UNESCO, which identifies and protects natural or cultural sites that it considers to be part of a "world heritage" to be conserved, is of course present in Bulgaria. Today, there are ten of these sites classified as being of primary importance for historical, scientific, aesthetic, cultural or ecological reasons:The Boyana Church near Sofia, a masterpiece of Bulgarian fresco art.The monastery of Rila in the southwest, the most important in the country.The Pirin National Park in the southwest, a high mountain nature reserve.The Thracian tomb of Kazanlak in the Valley of Roses in the centre of the country.The Byzantine city of Nessebar on the coast, with more than 40 ancient remains.The Rider of Madara west of Varna, a relict sculpture from the proto-Bulgarian eraThe Thracian tomb near Svechtari.Srebarna Nature Reserve on the banks of the Danube, a major place for bird migration.Ivanovo's rock churches in the north, a unique testimony of ecclesiastical cave architecture.The primary and ancient beech forests in the north of the country. The ideal, for those who would like to visit the listed sites as a priority, would obviously be to follow these "ten wonders". But they are so well distributed in every corner of the country that one can only consider seeing them all during a long itinerary. The presence of ten UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bulgaria is a good indicator of the country's cultural wealth and shows that there is no region to neglect...
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette