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Arbanasi: frescoed churches and Bulgarian architecture

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Arbanasi is a small village located in central Bulgaria, located just 4 km from the city of Veliko Tarnovo, which was the ancient capital of Bulgaria. This town was founded in the thirteenth century as a village-monastery, and thanks to its position on a plateau, it became an important commercial and religious center.

Arbanasi is known for its ancient buildings, there are houses in typical Bulgarian architecture dating from the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries and medieval churches rich in wall paintings. This set of buildings makes it one of the most characteristic and picturesque Bulgarian towns.

Arbanasi is easily accessible from Veliko Tarnovo which is only 4 km away. The nearest airports are located in Varna (240 km) and Sofia (220 km).


The typical constructions of Arbanasi have a fortress appearance with high stone walls. But the external facades contrast with the pleasant and comfortable interiors, characterized by ceilings, windows, finely carved wooden doors and walls with ornamental plaster.

Even the churches follow the same architecture, with sturdy walls, small windows and no external ornaments. While the interior is full of wall paintings and carved wood.

Arbanasi is a museum town, declared a historical settlement by the Bulgarian state. The ancient core is made up of 144 renovated houses, five churches with interiors richly decorated with frescoes (Church of the Nativity, Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, Church of Saint Demetrius, Church of Saint Athanasius, Church of Saint George) and 2 monasteries (Monastery of St. Nicholas and Monastery of the Virgin Mary).

To visit in the area:

Veliko Tarnovo (4 km from Arbanasi) is the ancient capital of Bulgaria. It is one of the oldest settlements in the country. The historical part of the city is located on three hills where there are many historical monuments. Including the ruins of the castles of Tsarevets and Trapezitsa, the church of San Demetrio of Thessaloniki (Sv. Dimitar Solunski), as well as numerous houses with typical Bulgarian architecture.

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