As one of the three ancient capitals of Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo is located in the north-central part of Bulgarian, and once served as the capital of Bulgaria in history. In the late 12th century, the Bulgarian aristocracy Asen brothers organized the military forces in Veliko Tarnovo to break away from the Byzantine Empire, created a new kingdom, and established the capital there. In 1393, the Ottoman Empire conquered Bulgaria, leaving the city in ruins. The surrounding terrain of the city is of great strategic importance. And it’s the second largest city in the Balkans in the Middle Ages, second only to Constantinople. Now, a lot of historical monuments and attractions are well preserved. The old town has been designated a key protected zone and a tourism area. The ancient town is located on the two mountains of Tsarevets and Terra peja, between which Yantra River winds through. The two mountains are enclosed by walls.
History and Culture
In 1205 Latin Emperor Baldwin Flanders was captured by the King of Bulgaria and imprisoned here. Veliko Tarnovo was then the seat of the archbishop, and therefore is famous for the church buildings. On the top of the Tsarevets mountain stand the archbishop’s Ascension Church and Archbishop House. However, the most famous is 40 Martyr Church, which was constructed by the order of the Tsar Ivan Assen II (1218-- 1241).Inside there are the famous marble columns with the carved words to commemorate the victory at Lokietecha village (After the battle, the Balkans, Bulgaria became the largest power in the Balkan Peninsula). In 1908 the Kingdom of Bulgaria declared independence from Turkey in this church. On the Terra peja montain erected some aristocratic chapels, of which 17 have survived till today.
Bulgaria is located in the southeast of the Balkan in Europe. It borders on Romania to the north, Turkey and Greece to the south, Serbia and Macedonia to the west and the Black Sea to the east. With the total coastline of 378 kilometers, there are 70% of mountains and hills in the whole territory. The domestic lowlands, hills and mountains each account for about one-third, with the average elevation of 470 meters. Balkan Mountains transverse the central part, north of which lie the vast Danube plains while south stand the Rhodope Mountains and the Maritsa River valley and lowlands. In addition, the major mountains include Rila Mountains (its main peak Musala with the elevation of 2925 meters, being the highest peak in the Balkans). The main rivers include Danube and Maritsa: Danube flows through the northern border, and its tributary Iskar runs through the northwest territory. There are Maritsa and its tributary Tundzha river in the south.
Its north enjoys the continental climate while its south is a Mediterranean-style climate; it’s warmer in winter. The average temperature: -2 ~2℃ in January and 23 ~ 25℃ in July. It has the average annual rainfall of 450 mm in the plains and 1300 mm in the mountains.
It’s common to give a tip with the amount 10% of consumptions when you dine at a Bulgarian restaurant. Travelers are advised to purchase travel insurance. Bulgaria issues a medical certificate to any employee working in this country and all employees with the medical certificate can enjoy free diagnosis and treatment services because the State burdens most of the medicine and treatment expenses. The medical funds of retirees, soldiers, the unemployed and minors are borne by the State. All emergency centers provide free services.
Bulgarian legal currency is Lev, and the fixed exchange rate of Lev with euro: 1 euro = 1.95583 leva. Lev is a freely convertible currency. However, RMB is not directly convertible with the local currency. So it’s advised to exchange euro at home before departure.
Bulgarian residents believing in the Orthodox Eastern Church account for about 26% of the total population. The majority of Turks keep faith in Muslim but there are still the small number of them believing in Catholicism and Protestantism. Their taboos include the figure 13 and Friday, which are considered unlucky.
Bulgarian is only a small country with the area of 110,000 square kilometers, but most people there are possessors of pets: dogs, cats, guinea pigs and so on. Pets enjoy a high status in the family and the Bulgarian people do not like the people who hurt animals.
Bulgarian "Rose Festival"; when first meeting each other, people from the Bulgarian business sector generally exchange business cards, but they have a strong sense of time and keep appointments by arriving on time, therefore you should be punctual for appointments in dealing with the Bulgarian people. Bulgarian businessmen are friendly and kind to foreign businessmen. They often spend a longer time thinking before making a decision, for which you should be patient. At the same time they desire for lower prices of imported goods.
When taking a car, Bulgarian people generally invite a guest to sit next to the driver, to better enjoy the scenery along the way. In the visiting and sightseeing process, you should observe public order and can not throw cigarette butts everywhere and please must be careful not to take photos towards military facilities, government agencies, and the coast of Black Sea.
Bulgarian bridal makeup is very special, and "terrorism" is played on wedding. Marriage is regarded by Bulgarians as a major turning point in life and is therefore highly valued. As a result, the auspicious wedding lasts five days and numerous rituals are held. From Thursday to Monday of the next week, the wedding ceremonies are held one by one, and are all highly stylized. In rural areas, the day before the wedding, a person with triangular scarf tied on the waist will go to the village inviting the guests, and the invitees will have to take a sip of wine from the flagon.
Bulgarian people generally make handshakes when meeting with guests in the formal social occasions. But good friends and relatives usually hug and kiss each other to express politeness. For a very respectable male person in their eyes, Bulgarian woman will often curtsy and at the same time reach out one hand to the person so that he can express politeness by kissing the hand.
Bulgarian people pay great attention to their behavior cultivation. They often maintain upright and dignified postures in public and social occasions, and are not too causal even at home, especially in the presence of elders and guests. Of course, young people have greater freedom and flexibility, and are often more casual but meanwhile keep the proper limits for behaviors. In Bulgaria the V and OK gestures are very popular. The former is to form a circle by thumb and index finger, and then stretch out the other three fingers, meaning a tribute or a promise.