/ Culture & History

Discover the history of the ancient Thracians the predecessors of the nowadays Bulgarians. It is an overwhelming and exciting story complemented by visits to tombs, ruins, temples and museums.
Specialty category: Archeology/History
Duration: 8 days

ITINERARY:

Day 1
Arrival in Sofia. Transfer to the hotel and dinner.

Day 2
08.30 Breakfast in the hotel
09.30 Walking tour of Sofia
12.30 Lunch
14.00 Visit to the National Museum of History - The National Museum of History in Sofia contains more than 650,000 exhibits and is one of tha largest museums in the Balkans. It provides a comprehensive view of Bulgarian history from Prehistory to the present.
16.00 18.30 Time at leisure
18.30 Dinner in the hotel

Day 3
08.30 Breakfast in the hotel
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Visit to the Starosel Tomb
14.30 Departure to Plovdiv
15.30 Walking tour of Plovdiv, which is one of the most ancient towns in Europe. On its territory there were found settlements from before 6 000 years. Sights of the town to be visited:
Thracian tomb, perfectly preserved, built of stone blocks.
The Antique theatre, antique stadium, fortified walls with turrets, Roman thermal baths, multicoloured tessellate pavements preserved in their proper place.
The ancient town district preserved in original manner with buildings from the Renaissance in original style with ruins, of Roman fortified walls among them, from before 3 500 - 2 500 years.
Museum of archaeology. One of the richest in the country. There could be seen collections of prehistorically utensils, golden and silver decorations, pectorals and arms from Thracian mounds in the region, and a big numismatic collection.

18.00 Accommodation
18.30 Dinner in the hotel


Day 4
08.30 Breakfast in the hotel
09.00 Departure to Tatul
11.30 Visit to Tatul Tomb
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Departure to Perperikon
15.00 Visit to the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon


The rock city of Perperikon was deified by the people already during the Chalcolithic Age (fifth - foruth millennium BC).The first constructions hewn into the rocks appeared already during the Late Bronze Age (18th - 11th century BC): niches oriented to the Sun, stone altars, basins for crushing the grapes and for making sacred wine. Temples and palaces were gradually created near them until finally the city took shape. It consists of am imposing Acropolis on the top, a fortified palace-sanctuary, and developed fortifications from the north and south. Entire ground floors of the buildings are hewn into the rock to a depth of up to 3-4 m. The streets, the courtyards and the squares were hewn into the rocks, often surrounded by beautiful colonnades. An ingenious sewage system was created for their draining during rain. The palace-sanctuary is the architectural masterpiece of Perperikon. Its ground floor covers 10 000 sq. m. and has 50 separate rooms: halls, rooms, corridors and indoor staircases. Some of the key elements are the large reception hall, more than 30 m long, the two underground mausoleums with tombs from the east and from the west, and the earliest temple cut into the rocks, which was subsequently incorporated in the northwestern corner of palace-sanctuary. The grandiose architectural ensemble is positioned in a staircase-like fashion on several storeys.
The plan of the megaron is clearly perceived in the general appearance of the complex. This Mediterranean type of castles originates from the island of Crete, and it is among the main characteristics of the great Minoan culture. An inscription with characters in the Cretan Linear A script, dated to the 15th - 14th century BC, was discovered in Perperikon. The palace-sanctuary was a fortified capital city of the Thracian kings in the Rhodope Mountains.
The Romans who came to the Balkans in the 1st century developed and urbanised the ancient Thracian city. The Christianization of the Rhodope region started from there in the early 5th century. Perperikon remained an important military fortress and bishopric centre. After the Ottoman Turks came, the ruins of that city sank into oblivion and were buried under tons of earth.
18.00 Accommodation
18.30 Dinner in the hotel


Day 5
08.30 Breakfast in the hotel
09.30 Departure to Kazanlak
11.30 Accommodation
12.00 Lunch
13.00 Visit to Kazanlak Tomb
Kazanlak tomb is one of the most famous monuments of Thracian culture of the early 3rd century BC, included in the World Register of Historical Sites of UNESCO for its extraordinary art gallery. The scenes of funeral procession, the musicians, the Thracian ruler and his wife, the chariots, the horses and other depictions are all very interesting.

14.30 Visit to the local history museum
15.30 Visit to the institute for production of rose oil optional
17.00 Time at leisure
18.30 Dinner in the hotel

Day 6
08.30 Breakfast in the hotel
09.30 Visit to the Thracian Valley of Kings
Visit includes stops at Ostrousha Tomb, Golyama Arsenalka , and the tombs of Shoushmanets necropolis near the town of Shipka - Helvetia, the Griffins, and the Tomb with the Columns. Thracian rulers and members of the nobility were buried in monumental stone tombs, which also served as places for ritual ceremonies to honor the deceased ruler, with offerings of rich funeral gifts.
Probably the most interesting tomb in this region is the Kosmatka Tomb, discovered in the summer of 2004. "This is probably the richest tomb of a Thracian king ever discovered in Bulgaria. Its style and its making are entirely new to us as experts," said Georgy Kitov, the head of the team.
Archeologists have discovered a 2,500-year-old golden mask that was likely made for a Thracian monarch's funeral. The mask depicts a full face with moustache and beard. The rare artifact is made of 600 grams of solid gold and "is without paragon in archeology,". The mask may belong to King Seutus III, the Thracian king who ruled in the fifth century BC. Besides the mask, archeologists also found a golden ring showing a rower, and many bronze and silver vessels. Inside one of the rooms they found a golden crown of oak leaves and acorns, the first such object found in Thracian temple. No remains have been found but archeologists continue to excavate the tomb.

12.30 Lunch
13.30 Departure to Shumen
17.30 Accommodation in Shumen
18.30 Dinner in the hotel

Day 7
08.30 Breakfast in the hotel
09.30 Departure to Sveshtari
11.00 Visit to Sveshtari Tomb
Discovered in 1982 near the village of Sveshtari, this 3rd-century B.C. Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb has a unique architectural decor, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The 10 female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decoration of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands. It is a remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getes, a Thracian people who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers.
12.00 Departure to Varna
12.30 Lunch
15.00 Arrival in Varna and visit to the local museum & Roman baths optional
17.00 Accommodation and time at leisure
18.30 Dinner in the hotel

Day 8
08.30 Breakfast
Time at leisure
Departure to Sofia from Varna Airport


The package price includes:
Bus transportation
Accommodation in a twin room in 3* and 4* hotels
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
English speaking guide during the whole trip
Entrance fees

Single room supplement upon request





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