Tsarevets. There’s a lot of history in this monument. A beautiful entrance, on a bridge which will lead you through a gate to what once was a community. The Byzantines build here between the 5th and the 7th century, after which it was rebuild by the Slavs, the Bulgars and the Byzantines again. The Turkish empire destroyed a lot after it’s invasion in 1393. In communist times Bulgaria has left a stamp on it aswell, trying to restore parts.
On top of the hill you will find the restored church. On the outside it fits in with the rest but inside it has been painted in what I would describe as ‘Lord of the Rings’ inspired. It’s beautiful, but when you don’t expect it it can be, well, strange. When you walk to the back of the church there’s an elevator. For 2 leva it will take you to the tower from where you have a great city view.
In the back you can climb the restored Baldwin tower, where Baldwin I of Flanders – the perfidious Crusader who led the sack of Christian Byzantium in 1204 – got imprisoned and executed after his defeat by the Bulgarians a year later. There are great views from the top.
There’s more to find, like the remains of one of the churches, part of the big wall around Tsarevets and the foundations of the Royal Palace from where 22 kings ruled Bulgaria.
Adress: Tsar Asen Square, 5000 Veliko Tarnovo
Coordinates: 43.082316, 25.648665
How to get there?
Take the E85 to Veliko Tarnovo. North of the city (in this picture on the right) go to Street Tsar Ivan-Asen II | ул. Цар Иван-Асен II-ри. Follow this road until you passed the bridge in front of the fortress. You will be able to park your car on the left side right after you crossed the bridge. When you go right you will drive all the way to the entrance.