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Arbanasi: frescoed medieval churches and typical Bulgarian architecture

Arbanasi is a small town in central Bulgaria, only 4 km from the town of Veliko Tarnovo, which was the ancient capital of Bulgaria. Arbanasi was founded in the thirteenth century as a village monastery, and thanks to its location on a plateau, 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 the eighteenth century, medieval churches with rich murals, this cluster of buildings make it one of the most characteristic and picturesque Bulgarian towns.

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


The typical buildings of Arbanesi have appearance of a fortress with high walls of stone, but the external facade contrasts with the pleasing and comfortable interiors, with ceilings, windows, doors finely carved in wood and walls with ornamental grout.

Even the churches follow the same architecture, with sturdy walls, small windows and no exterior ornamentation, while the interior is rich in murals and carved wood.

Arbanasi is a town museum, declared by the Bulgarian state an historic settlement, with 144 houses renovated, 5 churches with richly decorated interior (Nativity, St. Archangel Michael and Gabriel, St. Demetrios, St. Athanasius, St. George) and 2 monasteries (St. Nicholas and Virgin Mary).

To visit in the area:

Veliko Tarnovo (4 km), the ancient capital of Bulgaria, is one of the oldest settlements in the country. The historical part of the city is situated on three hills, has many historical monuments as the ruins of the castles of Tsarevets and Trapezitsa, the Church of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki, and many houses by the typical Bulgarian architecture.

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