Switch to a white background with black text Switch to a black background with white text Switch to a yellow background with black text Increase text size Decrease text size

Bulgaria, June 2010

Pictures taken between 26th and 29th June 2010.

Bachkovo Monastery

Bachkovo Monastery is the second largest in Bulgaria. It lies in the valley of the Chepelare river (also known by the locals as Chaya), about 10km to the south of the town of Assenovgrad. The monastery is about a half hour bus ride from the city of Plovdiv.

The monastery was originally built in the mid-Byzantine period and was later destroyed by the Ottomans and has since been rebuilt. The only part that has survived from the monastery’s original structure is the Ossuary, a two story structure which now houses the monks. The Cathedral church of the Virgin Mary dates from 1604.

Café by a waterfall on the Chepelare river. The café is on a hill walkway to the Bachkovo Monastery.Café by a waterfall on the Chepelare river. The café is on a hill walkway to the Bachkovo Monastery.

Tony and Anthea on the walkway to the monastery.Tony and Anthea on the walkway to the monastery.

Tony holding a python on the walkway to the monastery.Tony holding a python on the walkway to the monastery.

Tony with the python around his neck, beside Anthea.Tony with the python around his neck, beside Anthea.

Tony and the python.Tony and the python.

Close-up picture of the python.Close-up view of the python.

Tony by a pond and fountain in the grounds of Bachkovo Monastery.Tony by a pond and fountain in the grounds of Bachkovo Monastery.

Entrance gate to the monasteryEntrance gate to the monastery.

A small spring by the monastery gate.A small spring by the monastery gate.

Inner courtyard of the monastery.Inner courtyard of the monastery.

Fountain in the monastery inner courtyard.Fountain in the monastery inner courtyard.

Building with elaborately painted exterior, part of the inner courtyard of the monastery.Building with elaborately painted exterior, part of the inner courtyard of the monastery.

View of buildings from the inner courtyard.View of buildings from the inner courtyard.

Portico area with frescos.Portico area with frescos.

Frescos on ceiling.Frescos on ceiling.

Outside the Monastery church.Outside the Monastery church.

Monastery buildings.Monastery buildings.

Tony and Anthea beside a sheep in the monastery grounds.Tony and Anthea beside a sheep in the monastery grounds.

 Tony with a view of the Chepelare river valley behind. Tony with a view of the Chepelare river valley behind.

Plovdiv

Plovdiv old town dates back to Roman times; it is built up on a hill and overlooks the modern part of Bulgaria’s second city. The old part has character with narrow cobbled streets and old houses, many belonging to prominent 19th-20th century artists – many now open-house museums.

Tony outside a grand 19th century house, old town Plovdiv.Tony outside a grand 19th century house, old town Plovdiv.

Grand 19th century house in traditional wood and painted.Grand 19th century house in traditional wood and painted.

Tony in front of a Roman arch in old town Plovdiv.Tony in front of a Roman arch in old town Plovdiv.

Tony inside the Church of Sveti Konstantin and Elena.Tony inside the Church of Sveti Konstantin and Elena. The current church dates mostly from 1832, however, its origins are much older. The original church on the site is believed to have been built in 337 in honour of Emperor Konstantin and his mother Elena. This makes it the oldest church in Plovdiv.

Frescoes in Church of Sveti Konstantin and Elena.Frescoes in Church of Sveti Konstantin and Elena.

Tony inside the Historical Museum, also called the Museum of Revival and the National Liberation.Tony inside the Historical Museum, also called the Museum of Revival and the National Liberation. It concentrates on the 1876 April Uprising and the Batak massacre. The museum is housed in the Georgiadi House, which was built in 1848 by Dimitâr Georgiadi.

Inside the Historical Museum.Inside the Historical Museum.

Traditional room inside the Historical Museum.Traditional room inside the Historical Museum.

Tony inside the Historical Museum.Tony inside the Historical Museum.

Tony beside a small canon in the Historical Museum.Tony beside a small canon in the Historical Museum.

Tony by a church bell, Historical Museum.Tony by a church bell, Historical Museum.

Tony on a roof top terrace, now a fine and relaxing restaurant, which has a delightful ambiance and served delicious Bulgarian foodTony on a roof top terrace, now a fine and relaxing restaurant, which has a delightful ambiance and served delicious Bulgarian food.

Tony sitting on restaurant roof terrace.Tony sitting on restaurant roof terrace.

Plate of traditional Bulgarian food.Plate of traditional Bulgarian food.

Tony inside Cultural Center Thrakart. Roman mosaics visible behind him.Tony inside Cultural Center Thrakart. Roman mosaics visible behind him.

Tony and view of mosaics.Tony and view of mosaics.

View of mosaics.View of mosaics.

Tony by fountains in Plovdiv’s main square.Tony by fountains in Plovdiv’s main square.

Behind Tony a large new bronze statue of Philip II, 4th-century BC king of Macedon.Behind Tony a large new bronze statue of Philip II, 4th-century BC king of Macedon.

Tony by a recently discovered Roman Stadium.Tony by a recently discovered Roman Stadium. The once huge Roman Stadium is mostly hidden under the pedestrian mall and buildings; alas, a visionary plan to reconstruct the street with a glass walkway and so reveal the whole structure, remains unrealised. For now, 12 rows of the northern section have been restored, and are visible from the street.

Two female musical entertainers in a restaurant, one playing the piano and the other the violin.Two female musical entertainers in a restaurant, one playing the piano and the other the violin.

Tony outside Plovdiv's magnificent 2nd-century AD Roman Amphitheatre.Tony outside Plovdiv’s magnificent 2nd-century AD Roman Amphitheatre, built by Emperor Trajan. It was, incredibly enough, only uncovered during a freak landslide in 1972. At its peak, the structure held about 6000 spectators. Now largely restored, it once again hosts large-scale special events and concerts. Visitors can admire the amphitheatre from several lookouts along ul Hemus, or from the cafés above. It’s possible to enter if the gate man is around, wait a while, as he comes and goes. As pictures show, I managed to enter and with help, make it down the ancient, tiny steps and onto the stage.

View into amphitheatre.View into amphitheatre.

View from the amphitheatre's stage.View from the amphitheatre’s stage.

Tony sitting inside amphitheatre.Tony sitting inside amphitheatre.

Seating inside amphitheatre.Seating inside amphitheatre.

Hikers Hostel. A Bulgarian girl named Nelly from Plovdiv – a staff member at the hostel.Hikers Hostel. A Bulgarian girl named Nelly from Plovdiv – a staff member at the hostel.