Assen's fortress

One day trip from Kazanlak to Plovdiv, Bachkovo monastery, and Assen’s Fortress

One day trip from Kazanlak to Plovdiv, Bachkovo monastery, and Assen’s Fortress

Get in the car and drive through the time and space around beautiful places. Enjoy impressive views, exciting stories, nature, art, the breath of the past, and the touch of the presence. I guarantee that this day is going to be very colorful and fun.

I suggest you go first to Bachkovo monastery. The history begins a long time ago in 1083 and goes through several historical changes. The founders are two Georgian brothers Gregory and Abas Pakourianos. Although Abas has had actually been dead by that time, Gregory built the monastery partly with his brother’s money and by his name. Since then the place has been a witness to several wars, belonged to Byzantine, then to Bulgaria, then it was destroyed by Ottomans, restored by Bulgarians, etc. That’s why the place is a unique combination of Byzantine, Georgian, and Bulgarian cultures. You will admire impressive paintings that decorate walls and fine craftwork inside the church. You only remember in the summertime that you should have covered your knees and shoulders while visiting Bachkovo monastery.

The second stop on the tour around Bulgarian historical treasures is Assen’s fortress, a paradise for those who like ruins. The first fortress here was built in the 5th century BC by Thracians, but current remains are from constructions during the 9th, 11th, and 13th centuries. Because in these ages wars were part of everyday life and countries were expanding and shrinking like balloons, the fortress was used by Byzantines, Romans, Bulgarians, Crusaders, and eventually destroyed by Ottomans. Interesting thing is that while the whole complex of Assen’s fortress fell and was left to decay, the church stands like a guardian of god’s servants, and has been in use all the time. The entry fee is only 4 BGN.

From the Assen’s fortress, head to the place where the history and culture connect. Plovdiv. Here is the ancient roman theater that you have seen on every promo material about Bulgaria. Here are the colorful houses in the old town. And here is the capital of culture. Officially it was in 2019, but this city is so vivid and full of events that no matter when you go there, most likely there would be some festival unless the restrictions banned it. A tour to Plovdiv is popular for a good reason. In any way, you will see many street artworks, “Singing Fountains” and original restaurants and coffee shops.

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