Bulgaria surprises its visitors with a scenic, cultural, as well as historic richness. The Romans, Slavs, and Turks have definitely left their mark on this country. This can be seen especially well in Bulgaria's capital Sofia, where the remains of many Roman buildings can be found. Furthermore, the National Archaeological Museum, as well as the National Art Gallery, which is located in the building of the former tsar's palace, can be found here. The landmark of the city is the impressing Alexander-Newski-Cathedral with its gold cupolas. On the other hand, Sofia is a shopping metropolis and vibrant city. The second largest city, ranking behind Sofia, is Plovdiv, which is located at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains. The city comprises numerous parks, museums, and architecturally charming buildings. The historical city centre with its houses from the era of the National Revival of Bulgaria is definitely worth an excursion. The many magnificent orthodox churches and mosques are definitely very impressive.
An accumulation of very special orthodox churches, chapels, and monastery rooms can be explored near the village Ivanovo. The rock-hewn monastery of Ivanovo can be reached via a stair system in the rock walls. It consists of various areas and was founded in the 13th century. In 6 of the rock-hewn churches, frescos have been conserved. The rock-hewn monastery is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the identically-named mountain range, you can find the Rila Monastery, one of the most important orthodox monasteries and also the biggest in the country. The buildings belonging to this monastery, which are situated at an altitude of 1,147 m between 2 rivers, accommodate approx. 300 embellished rooms.
One single work of rock art in the near of the village Madara, attracts a lot of attention. An image was cut into a 100 m high vertical rock. It depicts the image of a rider, who has just killed a lion with his spear, and the animal is now lying in front of him. The Madara Rider, also a World Heritage Site, towers over the Madara archaeological reserve, which is a plateau that is surrounded by rocks on 2 sides.
Velingrad, on the other hand, offers less architectural works of arts, but therefore a lot more relaxation. Located in the western part of the Rhodope Mountains, it is one of the leading balneological spa resorts of the Balkans. Here you will not only find the biggest Karst spring in Bulgaria, but also numerous mineral water springs. The resort itself comprises more than 22 mineral swimming pools. A further - slightly bizarre - attraction is the Historical Museum of Velingrad, which has the most extensive exhibition of painted Easter eggs in Bulgaria.
You would like another tip regarding tourist attractions? Here it is - a visit to Kazanlak and the surrounding Rose Valley, where you will find the most oil-emulsive roses in Bulgaria, is definitely worth it. Furthermore, the essence of roses is produced here. More information can be found in the Rose Museum.