2. From Plovdiv: Sofia - A Story of an Ancient State Day Tour
Our tour will start with a pick-up from your hotel at 09:00. We will have around 2 hours drive on a modern highway which is covering the ancient road connecting the Silk road with Rome. When we reach Sofia we will head toward the historical center of Sofia. We will park the car and will have around 3 hours walking tour of the city. We will visit one more museum- Sofia history museum where you will learn about our 20th-century monarchy period when Sofia became the center of our country. Also during the day tour, the remains of the Roman city of Serdica will be revealed by visiting the Roman ruins, St. Sofia church, and the rotunda of St. George. Other highlights will be Alexander Nevski cathedral, the symbol of the city, the monarchy palace, Sofia University's main building, a piece of art from the very late 19th century, the parliament, and of course the Communist administrative center. When we finish with the exploration of the center of ancient Sofia we will drive to its outskirts and will visit the main Communnist residence where in modern times is situated the National history museum. The museum's collections span over 13,000 years of history, from the earliest civilizations in the region to the Ottoman Empire and modern-day Bulgaria.
One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of medieval artifacts, including weapons, armor, and religious icons from the Bulgarian Middle Ages. This period saw the establishment of the Bulgarian Empire and the development of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, both important parts of Bulgaria's cultural heritage.
Our next stop will be the famous site- Boyana church., a medieval church that is considered one of the finest examples of medieval Balkan art. The church was built in the late 10th century but is known for its stunning frescoes, from the 13th century. These frescoes depict scenes from the lives of saints, as well as portraits of Bulgarian nobles and church dignitaries.
The church is also noted for its architectural features, which combine elements of Byzantine and Bulgarian styles. The interior of the church is divided into three parts, each with its own unique characteristics. The nave is lined with columns and has a ribbed ceiling, while the semi-dome of the apse is decorated with intricate frescoes. The narthex, or entrance area, is also adorned with frescoes and serves as a transition between the secular and religious worlds.
Our final stop before we head back to Plovdiv will be at one of the most interesting and significant monuments from the Communist period- park "The Bells". It was constructed in 1979 by the daughter of the last Communist leader of Bulgaria through the initiative called "The flag of peace". Children from both sides of The Iron curtain were meeting each other and making bells which are presented in the park.