Balkan Tours 2020 2021

Balkan Peninsula has always been one of the attractive and mysterious destinations around the world. With Balkan Tours 2020 – 2021 you have the chance to breathe in the specific,  mysterious air on the Balkans. In addition, you can discover, enjoy and feel the modern and elite today and at the same time feel the mystic scent of history in the Balkan countries. These countries have the body of an old person but a very young and mature soul. Shortly, Balkan tours that you will experience in these geographical regions you will remember as your unique moment.

Here, briefly, you can learn some general characteristics of the countries involved in this Balkan entity.

Balkan Tours 2020 – 2021 “Greece”

“You should see the landscape of Greece. It would break your heart.” – Lawrance Durrell

Greece is a nice mixture of colours and cultures. When in Greece, you feel like you constantly travel in time. From present to past, then past to present. Different pictures tell you vivid stories about history, culture, traditions, people. The capital of Greece, Athens is a whole country where you will find much more than the ancient streets …

Balkan Tours “Bulgaria”

Small country as Bulgaria is, big in history and archaeological sites it is. Due to the fact that Thracian, Slavic, Byzantine and Ottoman states were dominant on its lands, Bulgaria is such a colourful country. Its capital Sofia is one of Europe’s leading cultural cities.

The Kazanlak Tomb in the town of Kazanlak, the Thracian tombs in Sveshtari, the Rila monastery (which is the largest Orthodox monastery on the Balkan Peninsula) are under the protection of UNESCO.

Balkan Tours 2020 – 2021 “Croatia”

Croatia or “the Pearl of the Adriatic”, is at the intersection of Central Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Its area of 56,594 square km can offer many and interesting places to see. Croatia is famous for its coastline and amazingly clear water. Dubrovnik is a city that has a striking architecture of the Renaissance period. This beautiful city admires with magnificent palaces, monasteries, churches. Also, museums, fountains, immaculate sea and nature. Surrounded by walls, the Old Town, considered World Heritage, is one of the most picturesque places in Europe. The beaches are so impressive and beautiful …

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Balkan Tours

Balkan tours – adventurous and relaxing journey

Balkan tours – reading books and watching films about Balkan countries is a good start. Thus you get some knowledge and a desire to see. This can make you dream about visiting these places and experiencing the culture. Balkan tours can be the door for an exciting, relaxing and adventurous journey through some of the most interesting places on the Balkans.

We are a tour operator based in Bulgaria. And one of the people who live on the Balkans. Believe us, it’s worth travelling around and learning more about the Balkan Peninsula. Even if you have already been to that mystique part of the world, you still have many things to discover and understand.

At first sight, the Balkans look like any other place on the world. But getting to know it better, travelling around, will take you deeper and deeper in its breathing, full of life organism. An organism composed of many cells like culture, history, food, entertainment, people…

Balkan tours – the countries

Balkan tours is not a fixed tour. It is a tailor-made-by-you tour. The tour which best suits you – preference like, time like… Shortly, you are the designer of the tour which will take you to the Balkan countries. Countries, each one of which veiled in mysticism characteristic for the Balkan Peninsula only. You will be able to visit Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia. Also North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro. 

If we divide the Balkans according to their uniqueness and yet their sameness, a probable division would take Bulgaria to the group of breath-taking landscapes. Then, Romania – the country of mysterious castles and the legends that go with them. Follows Croatia – beautiful coastlines. And Montenegro – again the coastlines which go with quality beaches and seasides that surround lovely old towns. We shouldn’t forget about Bosnia and Herzegovina with its nature and amazing waterfalls. Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be leaders for those who like the history of communism and socialism. Of course, Balkan tours and Turkey – warm hospitality, delicious cuisine along with profound history. Greece – history, friendly people, interesting archaeological sites, vibrant nightlife, and relaxing beaches. Serbia, the magnificent country in the heart of the Balkans conceals precious treasures. Then, North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. 

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Ottoman Travel Bulgaria

Travel Ottoman Bulgaria to see, taste and feel a past not forgotten. No doubt it’s not forgotten. How could it be?! It’s 500 years of ‘common coexistence’. Coexistence not very peaceful most of the time. However, by far these are the most controversial times of Bulgarian history. These were the times when Bulgaria had its indisputable heroes.

”We are within time and time is within us, it changes us and we change it”

travel ottoman bulgaria vasil levski

Vasil Levski together with Hristo Botev and a lot other Bulgarians are our heroes. Heroes who fought for a free Bulgaria. And they made it. They granted a state with “freedom of the people, of every individual, and of every religion” to us.

We, today’s Bulgarians live in a country of great heroes and inheritance from those days. Travel Ottoman Bulgaria and you can be surprised how often locals and even tourist signs refer to some bridges as ‘Roman’. This, probably, is normal because everything is so old that its true history has been forgotten. In that sense, it’s easier to think that ‘everything-old-is-Roman’ rule.

However, many are that things that stayed on Bulgarian lands after the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria’s largest and also quite probably the most beautiful mosque is in Shumen. Its name is Tombul Mosque. The mosque’s name comes from the shape of its dome. Tombul Mosque is the second largest on the Balkan Peninsula after the Sultan Selim Mosque in the Turkish town of Odrin (Edirne).

travel ottoman bulgaria tombul mosque

When you do tours Sofia, you shouldn’t miss the National Archaeological Museum. It’s in the centre of Sofia and it occupies the building of the largest and oldest former Ottoman mosque in the city. Originally, people knew it as Koca Mahmut Pasa Camii.

The mosque of the seven girls

When we talk about wonders and mysteries, we surely mention the Rhodope mountains. This completely wooden mosque, an example of an old construction technology, is located in the Rhodopean village of Podkova. Although it is a mosque, people of different religions visit it. It’s, in fact, the temple of belief. Due to that, most probably, this mosque was constructed without the use of nails. For such places there are usually many legends. The legend here is of seven girls who sent their beloved ones to the battlefield to never see them again. As their fiances didn’t come back, the girls sold their trousseau to buy materials. They built the mosque for a night and nobody saw them ever again. The legend doesn’t finish here. But I am not going to tell you more.

travel ottoman bulgaria devils bridge

Travel Ottoman Bulgaria and find out. Do you know what is interesting? Together with the Ottoman heritage, the ones who come to Bulgaria can also become part of its traditions. Nestinarstvo Bulgaria tours and many more traditions attract with enormous energy. A wonder or a strong belief is everything in Bulgaria.

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Nestinarstvo Bulgaria Tours

Wonder or strong belief

Is it a wonder or a strong belief? Do the nestinari (fire dancers) have special skills or energy? Where does this ritual come from? Why is it on UNESCO’s World Heritage List? These and may be different questions tease people’s imagination. Not only that of tourists’ but of Bulgarians as well. Nestinarstvo Bulgaria tours might have some of the answers: Do you want to try?!

There are many stories for where nestinarstvo originates from. The biggest group of supporters, though, believe that the fire dancing on live coals ritual comes from the Thracians. Why Thracians? The Thracian tribes worshipped their God Sun. Which is, when scattered in a circle the live coals symbolise exactly the Sun.

Like other rituals in Bulgaria, nestinarstvo has both Christian and pagan elements. The most precious about this ritual is the enigma that stays behind it. There are constant arguments about the ritual’s origin, the mysticism that veils it, the different stories about it. 

Chrisitianity and paganism, nestinarstvo Bulgaria tours 

When Constantine, the Emperor of the Roman Empire, and his mother Helena start to enforce Christianity on the Bulgarian lands, the fire dancers had to accept the Christian symbols in order to stay alive. Therefore, it was very natural that Constantine and Helen became the new idols for nestinari. Before these were the pagan idols. With the spreading of Christianity, the new idols are the Emperor and his mother. 

In the past people practiced nestinarstvo in Aegean Thrace. Actually, the villages where nestinari performed the ritual were five. They are in Strandzha Mountain (the Black Sea region). Today it is practiced in its authenticity in one village only. More specifically, in the village of Bulgari (nestinarstvo Bulgaria tours).  

The ritual

What is the ritual like!? Every source that tells about nestinarstvo adds new things or at least a little bit different to the ritual. They more or less explain the same thing. Let us be part of nestinarstvo Bulgaria tours and get into the world of this enigmatic ritual.

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Stoletov Bulgaria Tours

Stoletov Bulgaria tours to remember

‘And today, every time there’s a storm in the mountain,
The summit recalls this grim day and, recounting
The story, its echoing glory relays
From valley to valley, from age unto age!’ (Ivan Vazov)

Stoletov Bulgaria tours introduces a monument that stays proudly on a peak and reminds the Bulgarians of their glorious past. This monument is Shipka Monument and it is a symbol of the Russo-Turkish War. It speaks of the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. The war follows the April Uprising from April 1876. It broke out prematurely and was quickly put down. That didn’t the least discourage the Bulgarians who were, against their will, part of the Ottoman Empire for 500 years. On the contrary, that increased their desire for independence. After the sultan refuses to implement a series of reforms in European Turkey, that were proposed to him, Russia declares a war to the Ottomans.

A hope reborn

That is a hope reborn for the Bulgarians. Stoletov Bulgaria tours, Stoletov Peak remembers the heroism of the Bulgarian and Russian people. Bulgarian volunteers were spies for the Russian fighting forces. They were interpreters, assistants, as well as builders of road army devices. Bulgarians also fought alongside the Russian army. They were part of the epic battle for Shipka Pass, as well.

The battle at Shipka Pass, just like the pass itself, was very strategic and important. It was as well the scene of fierce fighting during that war, Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878).

”….. Our men have no bullets, with bravery girded,
Their bayonets broken, their breasts ever sturdy,
They’re all to a man ready gladly to die ……. Our men have no bullets, with bravery girded, Their bayonets broken, their breasts ever sturdy,
They’re all to a man ready gladly to die ……….. Each stone is a bomb and each tree-trunk a sword is. Each object – a blow, and each soul – flame that sears……….”

The man behind Shipka Monument

Stoletov Bulgaria tours doesn’t forget the man who feared no bad conditions on the peak. The man who was not an engineer but one of the few for the time that could read drawings. The man, Penyo Atanasov – Bombeto (bombe – bowler hat) is the one who gathered a team and built the monument, Shipka Monument. The entrance of the monyment is guarded by a big, bronz and proud lion.

There are interesting stories related to the building of the monument. First of all, the peak is a very cold place. One that hasn’t been on the peak doesn’t know how severe and cold the wind can be there, even in the summer. The construction of Shipka Monument took three years. People worked from early April until the end of October in the years 1928, 1929 and 1930. However, it officially opened in 1934.

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Vitosha Bulgaria Private Tours

Vitosha Bulgaria private tours

Doesn’t Vitosha Bulgaria private tours sound like a flying carpet to you? One that likes to take you on an imaginary journey around the mountain Vitosha. This is the fourth highest mountain in Bulgaria after Rila, Pirin and Stara Planina (Old Mountain or the Balkan). The mountain is relatively young and it’s in close proximity to the capital of the country, Sofia. That makes the city unique because it is situated at the foot of the mountain. Not many places can be that lucky.

On the territory of Bulgaria there are 37 mountains. 36 of them are in the southern part of the country. There are biggest and highest, most beautiful and alpine mountains.

Vitosha mountain is one of these 37 mountains (Vitosha Bulgaria private tours), as well as the symbol of Sofia. The mountain is also the oldest nature park on the Balkan Peninsula. What is more, Vitosha is the only dome-shaped mountain of volcanic origin in the country. The mountain has the shape of a big dome. Cherni Vrah (or Black Peak) is Vitosha’s highest peak (2290 m). It is one of the 10 peaks in Vitosha over 2000 m high. Characteristic of the mountain are the stone rivers. They are heapings of rock blocks, in the shape similar to that of a cube. They are a result of the water flowing which gradually smoothened their edges.

Interesting legends

People used to praise Bulgarian mountains in the old songs. Mountains were always people who later turned into rocks. Not only songs but legends as well are likely to animate mountains and thus making them part of human relationships.

Let me not postpone it any longer but tell you the legend that lies behind Vitosha Mountain. Once upon a time there used to be two ridges, The Big Ridge and The Long Ridge. In the nearby villages lived a girl named Vita. She was a shepard and used to trake the herd of sheep to the Big Ridge. She had a beautiful voice and could sing. On the other ridge, the Long Ridge, there was a quiet and humble boy, a shepard as well. He could play the rebec. His name was Lyulin. Whenever he heard Vita’s strong voice, he accompanied her. If the girl didn’t sing, the villagers would hear the boy calling her, ‘Vitooo!’. To that Vita would say. ‘Shtoooo?’ (meaning ‘What?’) And what actually villagers could understand was ‘Vitoshoooooo’.

In short, these two young people became the reason for Vitosha Bulgaria private tours. Funny, isn’t it?

Love at first sight

Vitosha Bulgaria private tours, Vita’s mother cursed Vitosha and Lyulin to turn into rocks. The reason for that was the fact that Vita declined all the good marriage proposals for Lyulin. Eventually, she ran away from her family. That day the villagers heard the young people in love calling each other from the Big and the Long Ridges. It was a clear and sunny day. All of a sudden, a scary thunder split the earth where Vita was standing, the Big Ridge and Vita fell. A thunder hit Lyulin on the other ridge. Since then people call the Big Ridge – Vitosha and the Long Ridge – Lyulin. The peak, where the thunder hit Vita, is Black Peak (Cherni Vrah).

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Borovets Bulgaria Tours

The comfort to be with family and friends

Borovets Bulgaria tours, Borovets – the closest to the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia and the biggest interntional mountain resort in the country. The resort is only 70 km away from Sofia which makes it a preferred place to relax and enjoy with friends and family.

What more can people who live in the capital ask for? On one hand, the big city with lots of opportunities and of course, lots of stress. On the other hand, the solution for a more relaxed life. After a busy day or week in the city a visit to the mountain, which is only 10 km away from Sofia, Vitosha can mean one thing only. A stress free escape from everything. Vitosha – ‘the lungs of Sofia’. The mountain is the ideal place for education in responsible attitude towards nature. Green and sports schools in the mountain are something common and preferred. Children learn how to know and love nature.

And then, of course, close to Sofia is also the first mountain resort in Bulgaria and on the Balkans, Borovets.

Borovets Bulgaria tours, holiday site

Since 1896 people have known Borovets as a very good place to relax. Actually, the guilty for that is a general (at that time he was a lieutenant colonel). He built the first holiday vila at the site. Thus he announces Borovets, verbally, a place to rest and enjoy the nature.

Later, between 1898 and 1906, the Bulgarian Tzar Ferdinand also built his summer residence there. Tsarska Bistritsa. The residence included several hunting cabins as well. Back then, before the today resort became what it is now, Borovets was originally established as a hunting place for the Bulgarian Kings. The architectural look of the residence is quite traditional. It’s been influenced by the Revival Period but there are also European elements in it.

Rila mountain and Borovets

Once Chamkoria, soon Borovets becomes favourite place for many aristocrats and wealthy families. They follow the example of the Tzar and build their holiday villas on the site, Borovets. Chamkoria is a Turkish word and it means pine forest. Borovets is the exact translation of the word Chamkoria.

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Rila Lakes Bulgaria Tours

Seven Rila lakes Bulgaria tours

Magic and love are everywhere in Bulgaria. Everywhere you look around. Everywhere you go, you see and feel them. The seven Rila lakes Bulgaria tours are no exception. The Rila Mountain is not far from the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. A personal Sofia tour can be a good start of a two day tour around Sofia and then The Seven Rila Lakes.

Firstly, the fact that the lakes are in the beautiful Rila Mountain. This is the highest mountain in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula. In Europe it takes the prestigious sixth place. The nature and beauty of Rila attract thousands of tourists every year.

Thracians, who lived on these lands, gave the mountain the name Dounkas. later, they changed it to Roula, which in its turn was altered to today’s Rila. Dounkas means a place with lots of water. And Roula means water mountain which relates to the water abundance of the mountain. There are 200 lakes in Rila Mountain and lots of mineral springs. The Seven Rila lakes (Rila lakes Bulgaria tours) are some of the most clear and heavenly beautiful lakes in the mountain.

Play truth or legend on Rila lakes Bulgaria tours

Truth or legend for Rila lakes Bulgaria tours? Legend, of course. Every fairytale starts with ‘Once upon a time…’. So, once upon time there was a couple of young giants very much in love with each other. There lived nobody else but them only in Rila Mountain. Their home was very warm, cosy and welcoming, and full of love. All the nature was in harmony with the love the giants had.

As it sometimes happens when there is happiness around, evil is not late. So, the evil forces felt the great times that the married couple was having and envied a lot. they had to do something in order to destroy that love and hapiness forever. Dark clouds veiled the mountain, strong winds tried to blow everything away and devastating earthquakes shook the ground. At first, the husband fought back. He fiercely defended his home and protected his wife. He managed to save every blade of grass, every little flower, the smallest living ctreature. Unfortunately, that only made the evil forces even more vicious. They used all their power and the young male giant was killed.

The evil force left a devastated widow behind. They also left destruction behind.

How did lakes form

The wife’s sorrow and pain for her husband were so big, that she couldn’t stop crying. A great amount of tears gushed out in a never-ending flow. They reached the valleys and formed clear lakes of striking purity.

These lakes are seven and can beseen in Rila lakes Bulgaria tours. Each one of them has its name related to a specific characteristic that the lake has. The highest lake is The Tear. The name comes from the lake’s clear waters. Next one is The Eye (or The Heart). Its shape is almost perfectly oval. The lake to follow is The Kidney. That lake has the steepest shores of all in the group. Before you reach that lake, there is a big rock that resembles the figures of a big man and woman. According to the legend these are the giants who will always be there to protect their beautiful home.

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Balkan tours 2018

Balkan Peninsula is among the most visited regions in the world. With Balkan Tours 2018 you will discover the modern and elite today and at the same time feel the mystic scent of history in the Balkan countries. These are countries that know a lot and lived a lot. Balkan tours that you will experience in these geographical regions you will remember as your unique moment.

In the Balkan tours 2018 you will be able to visit 16 cities including Kotor in a 14-day tour. 2018 Balkan tours include: Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia. Also, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro. Istanbul and Edirne in Turkey. Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece. Then, Kazanlak, Melnik, Sofia and Haskovo in Bulgaria. Dubrovnik in Croatia. Skopje and Ohrid in North Macedonia. Certainly, Sarajevo and Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And last but not least, Albania and Montenegro.

Let us continue with brief explanations of the history and general characteristics of the countries involved in this Balkan entity.

Balkan Tours 2018 – Turkey…

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The best period to visit Turkey with its unique geography, which you can experience differently in the four seasons, varies according to the region you like to visit. When you think of Turkey, Istanbul is the first city to come to mind. City tours of Istanbul – the home to many visits throughout the year. The city where the East and the West meet. With magnificent mosques, lively bazaars and rich history, Istanbul is a complete civilization.

Balkan Tours 2018 – Greece…


 “You should see the landscape of Greece. It would break your heart.” – Lawrance Durrell

Neighbouring Greece is another Balkan country that offers both sea and cultural holiday with their very old history, beautiful islands and people. Athens, the capital of Greece, is a whole country where you will find much more than the ancient streets…

Balkan Tours 2018 – Bulgaria…

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The Thracian, Slavic, Byzantine and Ottoman states were always dominant in Bulgaria. Proofs of that dominance are everywhere around the country. Due to them, the nature and the hospitable people, Bulgaria is a famous and preferred destination. The country’s capital Sofia, where you can go sightseeing Sofia, is one of Europe’s leading cultural cities and it is also improving day by day.

The Kazanlak Tomb in the town of Kazanlak, the Thracian tombs in Sveshtari, the Rila monastery (117 km south of Sofia) – the largest Orthodox monastery on the Balkan Peninsula, are UNESCO protected historic centres in Bulgaria.

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Basil II part 19

15. Psellus seems to have misunderstood the chronology of Basil’s reign, for the Lord Chamberlain was deposed in 985 and died in exile soon after. Cedrenus (699, p. 443) implies that his downfall coincided with the rise of Romanus, son of Sclerus. This young man was sent by his father to the emperor immediately after his (Sclerus’s) escape from Baghdad. He realized that he would never carry out a successful coup d’etat without the assistance of Phocas.

At the same time he secretly sent Romanus to the capital, pretending that his son was a deserter from his own army. He calculated that if Phocas beat the emperor he would probably be able to save the young man- on the other hand, if Basil won the son would be able to save him. Basil, after the Lord Chamberlain had been dismissed, did in fact welcome Romanus and appears to have relied much on his judgments.

16. Sclerus’s second revolt lasted only a few months, for the reconciliation between the emperor and his rival was effected in October 989. It seems likely that Sclerus was supported mainly by the Church and Bardas Phocas by the army. Psellus’s remarks about the opposition that ‘dragged on for many years’ may refer to the activities of Sclerus’s men who refused to accept the agreement made by their leader. Sclerus died in retirement on 6 March 991, blinded and practically a prisoner of Basil. He had accepted the title of Curopalates.

At Didymotichus

17. At Didymotichus.

18. It was the policy of Basil to ensure that the great feudal families should never agaiin be able to rebel against his government. The ‘favourites’ mentioned later in the chapter were the civil servants who passed under the name of ‘Senators’, the bureaucrats who were no less interested than Basil himself in the maintenance cf peace.

By the Novel of January 996 it was enacted that land taken from the people by the rich landowners since the reign of Romanus Lecapenus was to be restored without compensation. The rich were further curbed by the famous allelengyon, by which men with money were required to pay taxes for those who were impoverished. However politic these measures may have seemed to Basil, they were not only most difficult to carry out, but caused great bitterness among the various classes in the state.

19. Despite his reputation for hardness Basil was accustomed to grant the poor time in which to pay off their taxes (Cedrenus, 721, p. 484), and when he died there was some tributum already two years overdue. Constantine, his successor, compelled the debtors to pay five years’ tax in one lump sum.

20. Military ranks, junior officers.

21. Basil died on 15 December 1025. According to Cedrenus he had reigned as sole emperor for fifty years and was seventy years old. He was buried in the monastery of St. John Evangelist in the Hebdomon at Constantinople.

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