Local places of interest
Places of interest
Elena used to be a craft, trade and cultural centre in the 18th and 19th centuries. The town itself and the people of Elena played an important role in the Bulgarian Revival. The people of Elena took part in almost every important event from that moment on e.g. Velcho’s Conspiracy in 1835 and the Tarnovo Rebellion in 1862.
The town of Elena is known as the “Bulgarian Bethlehem” because there were three churches in the town during the Revival. At that time this was something unknown in any other town.
147 cultural monuments were preserved in Elena and 7 of them are of national importance:
The house of Ilarion Makariopolski
Of all the preserved old houses in Elena this is the most interesting. It is a cultural monument of national importance. Ilarion Makariopolski , a fighter for the independence of the church and his brother Nikola Mihaylovski , a prominent, erudite and cultural renaissance figure and his son, the poet satirist Stoyan Mihaylovski, were born in this house.
The Clock Tower
If you visit Elena, it is impossible not to hear the Clock Tower which is one of the most important and valued symbols occupying a well-deserved centre place in the town crest. It was built in 1812 by an unknown master-builder. The tower is 15 metres high and can be seen from all over the town.
Daskalolivnitsata was the first school in Bulgaria to use some modern teaching methods. It was opened in Elena in 1844 and was housed in a specially constructed building.
The architectural and historical complex “Daskalolivnitsata” is located in the centre of the town. The complex is comprised of the school building, the church of St. Nikola and the Kamburov Inn. The church of The Assumption of the Holy Virgin is also located in the yard of this historic complex.
The complex is part of the 100 Bulgarian tourist sites.
The church “St. Nikola”
It is the first sacred place of Elena. It existed before the 16th century. It was decorated completely by the famous Elena icon-painters of that time – David and Jacob.
The five houses of Razsukanov
The five Razsukanov’s or the five Hadzhidimitrov’s Houses, located on “Sava Katrafilov” Street, are monuments of culture of national importance. They are a very interesting architectural ensemble of five houses under one roof. The houses were built by Hadji Dimitar Razsukanov for his five sons.
It is one of the most distinctive houses in Elena. It was built around the year 1830 in the first years after the Liberation and is a three-storey building.
Elena has over 6,000 ethnographic objects of material cultural heritage, 780 works of Bulgarian Revival and modern art and lots of ancient books.
Maryanski monastery “The Holy Transfiguration”
In the village of Maryan (4km to the east of Elena) is the Maryanski monastery “The Holy Transfiguration”. It was built on the site of another monastery that existed during the VIII – IX centuries. The evidence is 6 column capitals which have been found. Four of them are kept in Sofia and the other two in the monastery itself.
The monastery was built in 1835. During the excavation. foundations of an ancient Christian church were visible under the altar, where a marble sarcophagus, containing human remains, a gospel and a crown, was found. The discovery led some researchers to the idea that this would be the tomb of Bulgarian king Boris I. According to other sources, the tomb is of Queen Mara, who retreated there after the death of her partner Sultan Murad and later the village was named after her … Maryan.
Markov – Raiuv Stone
This is a huge stone which was said to have been thrown there by the strong King Marko. An eco trail, beginning 3 km south of Elena in the direction of the Elena – Tvarditsa road, leads to the sanctuary of the Markov-Raiuv Stone. The sanctuary is located on the crest of a 740 m hill, surrounded by an oak-hornbeam forest. Its dimensions are 6 m long, 3.5 m wide and 3.2 m high.
The waterfall of Hristivtsi
This beauty spot is located on the Miykovska River, in the territory of the Elena Balkan. It was declared a protected natural site in 1974.
The Peak of Chumerna
This is one of the highest peaks in the Central Balkan Mountains – 1536 m. It is a secluded peak in the Elena-Tvardishki part of the mountain. Ski slopes with comfortable ski lifts were built there.
Yovkovtsi Dam Lake
It is located near the town of Elena. It can be enjoyed by fishermen (permits can easily be obtained in Elena) and those who like to take a walk, with or without a picnic.
Veliko Tarnovo is a town situated in North Bulgaria in the valley of the river Yantra.
It is one of the oldest towns in the country and its history dates back more than five thousand years, which has been proved by archaeological excavations.
The rise of Veliko Tarnovo is related to the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 – 1393). In 1185 the town was declared a capital of the restored Bulgarian State by the brothers Asen and Petar, who declared the end of the 167 year long Byzantine dominion.
After its selection to be a capital, the town developed fast, as within the period 12th – 14th century it was the most unconquerable Bulgarian fortress, as well as a cultural and intellectual centre of Bulgaria.
The most significant monument of culture in Veliko Tarnovo is the medieval fortress Tsarevets, situated on a hill of the same name, surrounded on three sides by the river Yantra. Excavations show that although Tsarevets is surrounded by a fortified wall, it was not a closed fortress, but a real medieval town.Situated in the centre were the following structures – the palace, the church “St. Petka”, multiple residential and economic buildings, water reservoirs and battle towers. The Patriarch’s residence was on the highest part of Tsarevets, and the Patriarch’s church “The Ascension of Christ” was also in close proximity.
Veliko Tarnovo is also famous for its multiple orthodox temples. One of the most emblematic medieval churches is the temple “St. Forty Holy Martyrs”, constructed in honor of the triumph of Tsar Ivan Asen II (1218 –1241). Some of the most popular Bulgarian monasteries – Patriarsheski, Preobrazhenski, Arbanashki, Plakovski, Kapinovski, Kilifarevski, etc., are situated in the vicinity of the town.
In architectural terms, the appearance of the old part of the town takes the visitors back to the past. Walking along Gurko street or Samovodskata Charshia (the crafts streets), visitors have the opportunity to see houses built over 200 years ago, and experience a completely different atmosphere. The market street is a kind of an ethnographic complex with craft workshops, souvenir shops and galleries.Most of the local museum, are located in the old part of the city. Some of the most interesting are the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Revival and Constituent Assembly, Museum of Modern and Most Contemporary History, The house of Sarafkina, the House Museum PR Slaveykov, the Stambolov Inn and the tavern Hadzhi Nikoli.