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Thracian Lowlands, Bulgaria | Best Wine Destinations 2017

Located south of the Balkan Mountains, bounded by the Black Sea to the east and Greece to the south, Bulgaria’s Thracian Valley is considered by many historians to be one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world.
Recently unearthed archaeological evidence suggests that wine was made 7,000 years ago by members of the cult of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.

Archaeological wonders combine with modern wines in a travel fantasyland.
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Bulgaria’s Thracian Valley combines archaeological wonders with modern wines.

Best travel destinations: Top 17 trips to take in 2017

Black Sea, Kaliakra cape

If you’re looking for something different in Europe head east and go off the beaten path –
choose Bulgaria for its unspoilt charm, gorgeous mountains and nature, amazing Black Sea coast, authentic culture and architecture and centuries old history. –more–

Why Eastern Europe Will be 2017’s Hot Travel Destination

Plovdiv, Roman Theatre

Once predominantly visited by aging baby boomers, now the regions are attracting younger customer segments looking for excitement, safety and a ‘different’ Europe, where there is the charming reminiscence of past socialist times with modern twists.

One might uncover a wonderfully burgeoning wine scene in Bulgaria or hang out in a kitschy bar sipping the indigenous fruit brandy rakija in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s once war-torn Sarajevo.
Other draws include gawking at Ottoman architecture in Macedonia or hiking Mount Dajti, located just outside the Albanian capital of Tirana. –more–

The Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria Choir

The Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria choir – one of the most popular Bulgarian Folk choirs today, is founded in 1994 by Emil Minev (producer) and Vanya Moneva (conductor).

The Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria Choir

This unique choir includes 18 female singers, carefully selected by numerous castings in different regions in Bulgaria, some of the best soloists and young artists in the country. –more–

The Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria Choir

Ancient Nessebur – on UNESCO World Heritage List

Nessebur, The Christ Pantocrator Church, 13th-14th century

On December 6, 1983, the Bulgarian town of Nessebur, which is also a town-museum, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and became one of nine Bulgarian landmarks in the prestigious family.

Nessebur has been granted this recognition for its multi-layered heritage of pre-historic, antiquity, medieval and National Revival Period sites and architecture. For the time being archaeologists have unearthed a total of 44 Orthodox churches, 18 of them preserved in very good condition.

Evidence of the town’s rich historical legacy comes to the surface even to this day. Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Bulgarians have left material traces of their existence and also their spiritual messages to the posterity on this tiny patch of land.

Little wonder then that tourists from all over the world flock to the site to admire the millennia of history, and the unique atmosphere of the place.

Bulgarian wine cellar tours provide an excellent means of sightseeing

Bulgaria has been gaining in popularity as a destination for wine cellar tours alongside its magnificent landscape and rich cultural and historical heritage. Many of present-day Bulgarian winemakers have opened wine sampling salons offering their numerous guests a chance to indulge in the exquisite quality, taste and flavor of the Bulgarian red and white wines.

The first scene of wine-tasting in Bulgarian literature dates back to the opening of the 19th c. and the town of Lyaskovetz, near the medieval capital of Veliko Tarnovo and was part of the “Marriage” novelette by Bulgarian author Tzani Ginchev.

Bulgaria prides itself on millennia-old legacy in wine-making.
Archaeological finds first attest to the wine-making traditions of the ancient Thracian civilization.
Not long ago an ancient Roman grape press from the 3rd c. A.D. was dug out near the town of Lyaskovetz attesting to the early wine-making traditions of the region.

Thracian wine receptacle in the form of female head. Discovered by the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and dated 25 centuries ago.

At the turn of the 20th c. the Bulgarian merchants used to export wines all over Europe. It was at that time that the first large cellars in the country emerged. The famous Melnik wine from Southwestern-most Bulgaria enjoyed particular popularity, and some of the local elderly residents have kept vivid memories of the time when Sir Winston Churchill placed his regular annual orders of 500 l of that wine.

Cultural tourism in Bulgaria

Rose Festival, Kazanluk, Bulgaria

Being a country of millennial history, Bulgaria has been a point of settlement for many peoples. In turn, they have left their imprints on its cultural identity.

More than 40,000 monuments of culture from various epochs have been found in its territory.

More than 5 million valuable items adorn the halls of 230 museums.

It is not by chance that an increasing number of visitors from EU, USA and the Far East have been coming to Bulgaria to get in touch with the cultural and historical monuments of one of the most ancient states in Europe.

Roses and Thracian treasures in Kazanluk

Thracian tomb in Kazanluk, 4th-3rd c. BC., UNESCO World Heritage

There have been numerous traces of human existence in those lands, but the most impressive and enduring among them date back to the times of the Thracian civilization. Evidence of this is the famous Thracian tomb in Kazanluk from the 4th-3rd c. BC., which was in fact the first Bulgarian site included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Thracian tomb in Kazanluk was discovered accidentally in 1944. It owes its world fame to the murals in the corridor and the vault chamber, as they rank among the best-preserved examples of early Hellenistic painting. A special facility housing an air-conditioning device that maintains fixed air temperature and humidity was built next to the tomb. A unique find was the female body laid there, which is very untypical of Thracian rituals and beliefs.

Specialists maintain that the tomb belongs to the third stage of the development of Thracian architecture. The first one was marked by the use of stone plates and dates prior to the 8th c. BC. Exemplary of this period is the megalith near Buzovgrad, a village on the outskirts of Kazanluk. During the second period the ancient Thracian builders used hewn stone blocks. It lasted until the end of the 4th c. BC. From then on the Thracians experienced the Hellenistic influence and began using bricks in their constructions two centuries ahead of Rome.

Authentic Bulgarian (Pomaks) wedding ceremony

Bulgarian Traditions ~ Pomaks wedding ceremony

The municipality of Teteven in collaboration with non-government organizations, with the financial support of UNDP and the Swiss government, has started in 2005 a series of high-priority projects aiming at the rapid development of the tourism industry on their territory. A multi-million-EUR investment plan is being spent to attractively exhibit the traditional handcrafts and unique local folklore – myths and legends, songs and dances, traditions and customs – treasures from all periods of the region’s history.

One of the highligths among the many tourist attractions is to be the unique authentic Bulgarian (Pomaks) wedding ceremony.

European monumental painting history’s first autograph

Kazanluk Thracian tomb, 4th-3rd c. BC, fragment

The Sofia University Prof. Konstantin Boshnakov presented Friday, 16 May 2008  his unique discoveries of inscriptions in the Thracian tomb in the town of Kazanluk, that provide new data about Ancient Thrace.

The two inscriptions that he found on the walls of the tomb about three meters above the floor state: “Kodzimases painted” and “Roygos, Son of Sevt”.

Boshnakov made it clear that the findings had global significance because many scientists had been interested in the Kazanluk Tomb which had remained largely unfamiliar for two reasons – first, because it was unknown who was buried there, and second, because the painter of the frescoes was not known either.

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