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Veliko Tarnovo
Велико Търново
The medieval stronghold of Tsarevets

Coat of arms
Veliko Tarnovo is located in Bulgaria
Veliko Tarnovo
Location of Veliko Tarnovo
Coordinates: 43°05′N 25°39′E / 43.083°N 25.65°E / 43.083; 25.65
Country  Bulgaria
Veliko Tarnovo
 - Mayor Rumen Rashev
Elevation 325 m (1,066 ft)
Population (2008-06-16)
 - Total 71,546
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal Code 5000
Area code(s) 062

Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgarian: Велико Търново, sometimes transliterated as Veliko Turnovo) is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. Often referred to as the "City of the Tsars", Veliko Turnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists with its unique architecture.

The old city is situated on three hills, Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora raising amidst the meanders of the Yantra. Tsarevets housed the palaces of the Bulgarian Emperors and the Patriarchate, as well as a number of administrative and residential edifices surrounded by thick walls. Trapezitsa was known for its many churches and as the main residence of the nobility. In the Middle Ages it was among the main European centres of culture and gave its name to the Tarnovo Artistic School of architecture, painting and literature.

Veliko Tarnovo is an important administrative, economic, educational and cultural centre of Northern Bulgaria.

In the present day, the population of Veliko Tarnovo has been growing quickly, especially in the past 5-6 years. Today (according to unofficial sources), the population is around 105 000 inhabitants, though this does not include the metropolitan area (in American style, which is 30–40 miles radius of circle around the city), which it is believed to contain more than 250 000 inhabitants. The largest residential district is called "Buzludja", having been built during the communist era in the beginning of the 1970s, the main buildings are block apartments or so called "projects". Today the population of this area is around 40,000.



Main sights

One of Bulgaria's primary tourist destinations, Veliko Tarnovo boasts many historical monuments and landmarks, such as

  • ruins of the castle Tsarevets on the hill of the same name, which housed the royal and patriarchal palace
  • Trapezitsa, the second fortress of the inner city on the right bank of Yantra
  • Church of St Demetrius of Thessaloniki
  • SS. Forty Martyrs Church
  • Church of SS. Peter and Paul
  • the numerous Bulgarian National Revival buildings with their typical architecture
  • museum of the Bulgarian Revival and the Constituent Assembly, located in the old Ottoman municipal building built by Nikola Fichev
  • Archeological Museum, which keeps numerous founds and remains of the ancient history of these lands
  • Samovodska Charshia, the old trade street which sheltered skilful craftsmen through the Revival Period and even today many of the houses and the workshops are fully restored
  • the House with the Monkey and Mother Bulgaria monument, both on the main street
  • Gurko Street, an illustration of Bulgarian Revival architectural style where it is possible to visit the Sarafkina House
  • church of St. Constantine and Helena, with panoramic view over the Yantra River and the Asens' Monument
  • Stambolov's Bridge, which is the way to the Asens' Monument and the City Art Gallery

Higher education

  • Veliko Tarnovo University
  • The "Vasil Levski" National Defence University with its
    • Combined Forces Facility (Former Higher Military School of Ground Forces, now also providing basic military knowledge for air force and navy cadets)


Veloko Tarnovo-Panorama.jpg





Veliko Tarnovo.jpg

Notable people

Born in Veliko Tarnovo

Died in Veliko Tarnovo

Living in Veliko Tarnovo

  • Trifon Ivanov (born 1965), former international football player.
  • Varban Minev (born 1948), Chairman of The National Association "Traditzia" in Veliko Tarnovo and Honorary Citizen of the town

Twin cities

Veliko Tarnovo is twinned with the following cities:[1]


Tarnovo Ice Piedmont on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Veliko Tarnovo.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Veliko Turnovo article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Bulgaria : Veliko Turnovo

Veliko Turnovo (Велико Търново, also transliterated as Veliko Turnovo) is a mountain city located in the north of Bulgaria.

Veliko Turnovo
Veliko Turnovo
Near the centre of the town
Near the centre of the town


A town with very rich history, Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and has long traditions in the culture of Bulgaria. The city is rich in museums and historical sites, combined with vivacious night life propelled by the students in one of the largest universities in Bulgaria.

Get in

By plane

Although Veliko Turnovo's Gorna Oryahovitsa 4km (2miles) away is currently not open to international passenger air traffic (It is possible to arrange private aircraft landings there by arrangement), it is possible to fly to Bulgaria's capital city Sofia, or the coastal city of Varna and then by rail or modern coach to Veliko Turnovo.

By train

There is a small railway station in the town and it is possible to get a taxi to the centre of town from there for a cheap price. An alternative is to get a train a larger railway station at the nearby town of Gorna Oryahovitsa. You could then take a bus/minibus/taxi from Gorna Oryahovitsa station to Veliko Tarnovo.

By car

One of the main roads in Bulgaria runs through the city, so car transport is not a problem to and from the city. Since the town is located relatively in the centre of Bulgaria, it is quite comfortable to stop there for an hour to rest and get a glimpse of the sights.

By bus

Busses run approximately hourly from Sofia. Several buses daily run from Plovdiv and Varna. The small bus station is ~1km outside the centre of town so arrange pickup during winter

  • By foot - Walking is the best way to see Veliko Tarnovo [1]. The town is fairly large but everywhere is within easy reach including attractions such as Tsarevets, the medieval stronghold.

If in Veliko Turnovo, make sure to visit the castle of the old Bulgarian capital - Tsarevets. The city itself is a collection of traditional renaissance houses scattered over the hills around the river Yantra.

  • Shopska Salad - Made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, peppers and goats cheese, it is cheap and great as a snack. There are many restaurants and bars in Veliko Turnovo and this will be one of the most common things on the menu.



  • Zagorka Beer - Zagorka is one of the most popular types of beer in Bulgaria and is definitely worth a try if you are a fan of beer. The best thing is that it is very cheap in comparison to beer prices in Western Europe, as are other beers and alcoholic drinks in general in Bulgaria.
  • Bottled Water - It is strongly advisable to drink bottled water in Bulgaria as opposed to tap water.
View from the balcony of a private room
View from the balcony of a private room

Veliko Turnovo offers a wide range of accommodation, from very cheap private rooms and hostels to 4* hotels that can make you feel like you are in a Western European town or city. There is seemingly something to suit all types of people that are staying in the town.


You can try the following places:

Phoenix Hostel The best hostel I have ever stayed in. The British couple who own the place are extremely open minded and welcoming. Beds from 20lv (10 euro) per person. Free transport to and from the station. You'll find everything you expect from a modern hostel within our unusual 1850's timber-framed house. Phoenix is part of an ensemble of listed buildings (monuments of architectural culture) in the old town, the ancient capital of Bulgaria. PHOENIX HOSTEL HRISTO DASKALOV STR 12 VELIKO TARNOVO 5000 BULGARIA tel: +359 (0) 62 603 112 mob: +359 (0) 885 973 532 email:

  • Hiker's Hostel [2] - Beds from 20lv (10 euro) per person. Good quiet but central location and lovely view of the fortress. Free pickup service and very helpful English speaking staff. Free internet, wifi, breakfast.... Highly recommended.
  • Low Costel Hostel [3] - Great location, very clean and comfortable, social and cheap. An absolute gem.
  • Hostel Mostel [4] - 20lv per person per night for a dorm, 30 lv per person per night for a double en-suite room. Free Internet access and WiFi, free breakfast, and a free light meal and a local beer at night. Very friendly staff, who will do anything for you. Also free pick up from the bus/train station. 10% discount if you book ahead from their sister hostel in Sofia.
  • Hostel Pashov [5] - About 30lv for twin room (3 rooms available). Friendly owner with free transport to and from the station.
  • The Big White House [6] - Mid range prices by Bulgarian standards but still cheap. Stay in large luxury self catering apartments close to Veliko Tarnovo in the peaceful village of Tserova Koriya. Great quality at very affordable prices.


There are a number of 4* hotels in Veliko Turnovo with modern facilities and clean, comfortable rooms.

Stay safe

With a little common sense and respect for the locals, your stay in Veliko Turnovo will be a safe one. It is a friendly student town with a lot of history and welcoming people.

Get out

A place to see is nearby village of Arbanassi.

The roads around Veliko Turnovo are generally in good condition, making for pleasant (if sometimes rather hilly) cycling. A number of monasteries are close enough for cycling day trips. The closest and easiest is Preobruzhenie Monastery, approximately 5km north-west of Veliko Turnovo. It is also moderately easy to cycle to Arbanassi, although a few kilometres of climbing and high traffic may put off beginners.

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