Bulgarian Arts & Music

Tints & rythms

Bulgarian fine arts (paintings, graphic art, sculpture and monumental art) as well as Bulgarian applied arts (ceramics, pottery, textile, metal plastic arts, wood-carving) have their roots deep in prehistoric times. The cultural centers, necropolises, burial mounds, tombs, treasures and other remnants of the ancient Thracian civilization, with their grandiose sculptural and artistic decoration contain invaluable examples of perfection and indelible sources of inspiration for millennia ahead.

Bulgarian icon-painting, traditional for Orthodox Christianity, dates back to the 9th – 10th centuries and derives from unknown painters whose hands created masterpieces decorating the walls of the Boyana Church, Ivanovo rock-hewn monasteries and many others…

There is a well-developed art gallery in every Bulgarian town and city, though the biggest collection is exhibited in the National Art Gallery in Sofia. The biggest collection of icon-paintings is preserved in the Crypt of Alexander Nevski Cathedral and the National Museum of History and Archaeology in Sofia.

Bulgaria has been famous for its singers and great voices for many years. Descendants of the legendary Orpheus, the Bulgarian national singers and musicians are welcomed and their talent is appreciated with superlatives as ‘mystic’, ‘cosmic’, ‘magic’ and ‘unique’ for their voices when performing on world famous musical stages abroad.

Our luxury Arts & Music Tours represent a perfect mix for a cultural holiday for small groups or individual tourists.

Bulgarian Cuisine

The Bulgarian cuisine pretends to have given the patent to many Balkan specialties but at the same time has learned from the experience of the neighbors. The influence of the Orient is indisputable including the influence of Austria and Hungary as well as of the Mediterranean. The traditional cuisine is specific for the different geographic and ethnographic regions depending on the local food and customs.

The Bulgarian culinary abounds in delicious specialties, exotic dishes and other temptations well worth trying. Tasty, spicy and varied, the Bulgarian cuisine goes well with good wine.

Bulgarians have learned from experience to make heavy food like stews, gyuvetch (hotchpotch), fatty and spicy meat easy digestible using parsley, savory, mint, dill and eating them with vitamin rich salads made of turnip, lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, fresh peppers, carrots, onion and garlic. This generous use of vegetables and aromatic spices and herbs is one of the peculiarities of the Bulgarian cuisine.

As to methods of preparation – since times immemorial the Bulgarians have favored stewing, roasting, boiling and the earthenware dish. The roasting of food on charcoal embers is also widespread, leaving the meat deliciously tender and succulent.

Watch our Bulgarian Cuisine Impressions virtual tour (video clip, 02:14).

Our deluxe Food and Wine tours represent a perfect mix of cultural and culinary holidays for small groups or individual tourists.

Bulgarian Wine

Blend & diversity

Archaeology, folklore and literature have left numerous evidences of vine planting and wine production on the Bulgarian territory since ancient times. The Thracian wine from the Black Sea region or the city of Ismarus along Struma river was first mentioned by Homer in both the Iliad and the Odyssey. The wall inscriptions in the Thracian tomb in Kazanlak, the images on the items of the world-known Thracian golden treasures, and many other artefacts testify that Thracians worshipped this divine drink.

Bulgarians inherited the experience and the traditions of the local population in the cultivation of grapes and wine-production. The winery that was found in the region of Preslav dating back from the 7th – 10th century is a testimony of that and the first in Europe prohibitionist law imposed by the Khan Kroum (804-814).

In the Middle ages the greater part of the vineyards in Bulgaria were possession of the monasteries. The wine-making tradition continued during the ruling of the Ottoman Empire when the cult to the wine overruled the strict Islamic canons. In 1978 Bulgaria was recognized as the fourth largest wine producer in the World.

Bulgaria produces typical wine sorts of international quality (White Misket, Tamianka, Dimyat, Red Misket, Mavrud, Melnik, Gamza, Pamid) apart from the well-known European sorts of wine (Aligote, Muskat Ottonel, Rkatziteli, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pino Noir).

The wine & culinary sampling sessions of our tours give you the opportunity to travel in the wine regions of Bulgaria and taste the variety of high-quality wines produced of Bulgarian grapes and wineries, to enjoy the traditional local meals and relish wine with a tasty, ecologically pure food. Several sorts of white and red wine are sampled, and sometimes one or two rakiya brands (if produced in the same winery) accompanied by the right appetizers. Experienced specialists tell the story of the winery, the production technology, the characteristics and the qualities of the produced wine and give advice to new wine tasters.

Our tourist packages include lunch or dinner and folklore program and demonstration of traditional Bulgarian crafts. If you would like to shatter all the usual stereotypical images of Balkans, then our deluxe wine tours are just for you!

Bulgarian Traditions & Ethnography

Roots & customs

Bulgaria has traditions dating back over two millennia. The country has a wealth of mysterious Thracian treasures and burial tombs, magnificent frescoes and many brilliant examples of ancient arts.

Ethnographic museums in almost every town store and study hundreds of thousands of exhibits of the ancient past of Bulgaria – folk costumes, fabrics, intricate embroidery, superbly fashioned jewellery, finely ornamented woodcarvings and fretwork, hammered ironwork, etc. Small craftshops sell crafts, costumes and musical instruments from all over Bulgaria.

The well-known Samovodene market in Veliko Turnovo, the Pottery museum in Troyan, the Woodcarving museum in Tryavna, the Etura architectural and ethnographic museum near Gabrovo and the Open-air museum in Zlatograd are but a few of the places to visit and see the revived beauty of the original Bulgarian handcrafts. Watch our Bulgarian Ethnography and Traditions virtual tour (video clip, 06:35).

Embark on one of our folklore & traditions tours across Bulgaria, around the historic heart of the Balkans, and explore the special highlights that this region of Eastern Europe is famous for.

Bulgarian Basilicas & Fortresses

Bulgarian strongholds


Foundations of the Christian faith, the early Christian basilicas were built upon the ruins of antique Thracian and Roman settlements. In the recently established Bulgarian state (7th – 10th centuries) some of the Bulgarian basilicas were built to be the most important places serving as places for coronations, for charismatic anointment of the sovereigns and their successors, or as burial places for the members of a ruling dynasty, and sometimes, as their premises. Some other were built to symbolize the Bulgarian Kingdom reaching the peaks of its power.

Grandiose monuments, these splendid cathedrals were constructed in a very specific architectural style of Eastern-Byzantine synthesis. Little is known today about their appearance. There is a reason to believe, however, that they were richly adorned as were the neighboring palaces.

In the 18th – 19th centuries, during the Bulgarian National Revival, the Bulgarian church went beyond its prime objective and became a part of the nationwide movement for political and cultural liberation. The erecting of churches in prominent places in towns and villages became a matter of national prestige. Ironically, many Bulgarian basilicas had served along the centuries several religions: Paganism, Christianity and Islam. Abandoned or destroyed, they were reconstructed and reinstated as churches or mosques depending on the turns of History.


The fortresses – impressive monuments of the fortification architecture on Bulgarian lands have gone through times of grandeur and fall. Swimming out of the darkness of forgetfulness, having survived the stormy tumult of the centuries, these strongholds are silent witnesses of blood-shedding battles and fateful events in Europe on a very important crossroads, the Balkans – an arena of fierce hostilities along the millennia.

Usually erected upon the ruins of Thracian settlements, in the times of the Thraco-Roman civilization they were rebuilt as military, administrative and religious centers to form a system of Roman borderline fortifications.

During the Great Migration of Peoples the fortresses were maintained in efforts to stop the destructive pressure exerted by tens of peoples coming either from the ice-frozen steppes and marshlands of present-day Russia or from the deserts of Asia (Bulgarian historians have counted as many as 54 peoples assailing those lands between 3rd – 5th centuries AD).

Already an European super-power, during its seven-century presence on the European political stage the medieval Bulgarian state had balanced or countered the ambitions of the Holy Roman empire in the West and Byzantium in the East. The Bulgarian fortresses, on the other hand, were a barrier to withstand the waves of barbarians dashing at Europe and to the onslaughts of Muslims invading it, thus guaranteeing the development of the European West.
The Bulgarian fortresses – silent symbols of consolidation, might and agony, and surrounded with countless legends, remain deeply in the souls of Bulgarians, reminding for the times of the medieval Bulgarian Kingdom.

Embark on one of our cultural tours across Bulgaria, around the historic heart of the Balkans, and explore the medieval highlights that this region of Eastern Europe is famous for.

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