For several years now Veliko Tarnovo is in the top ten of the most visited tourist destinations in Eastern Europe.
Veliko Turnovo is located in central northern Bulgaria and is like an amphitheater built on three hills namely Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora. The capital Sofia is located at a distance of approximately 200 km south-west.
Turnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire in the 12th century. Visitors were referring to it as the second city after Constantinople (now Istanbul) in its splendor. If you're running through the city you can still feel the special atmosphere and energy, especially at night, when the Jantra River gives a magical glow to the city.
The region of Veliko Turnovo, which means old, has been inhabitated for centuries. The location in the mountains provides longstanding protection against enemies and invaders. Veliko Turnovo was in the Thracian times a settlement and flourished under the Romans to a large fortress above the city.
The architecture is typical for the views of the city and is reflected in the Jantra river. The traditionally built houses lean against each other over the abyss. They create cozy narrow streets where you can walk.
In the town you can stroll through the beautiful picturesque shopping streets and from the fortifications you will have a very good view over the other hills of Turnovo. One of the tourist attractions is Gurko Street. You will find antique stores and small workshops where traditional crafts are practiced.
In the main Vasil Levski Street are the fashionable shops and a small shopping center.
Above the city dominates the Tsarevets Castle, a bastion that recalls the status of capital during the Bulgarian Kingdom (12th - 14th century). On summer evenings Tsarevets demands the full attention during an impressive sound and light show.
Also worth a visit to is Arbanassi, an Ottoman village that is
situated 4 kilometers from Turnovo. Arbanassi was founded in
the 14 ° century by Christians moving from the south of the
Balkans to Bulgaria.
The heyday of Arbanassi was in the 17 ° and 18 ° century when it was one of the richest towns in Bulgaria. In Arbanassi was a favorable tax regime, interesting for many Bulgarian merchants and traders. Arbanassi grew into an important stopping place on the "silk route".
In Arbanassi you will find solid houses on the outside with high, solid walls and heavy gates. At the inside, the houses are spacious and comfortable, richly decorated with wood and wood carvings. The houses show the wealth of the merchants from the 18th century. Especially Konstantsalieva house museum is worth a visit. Also the richly ornated Nativity Church is a must.