If you’re already in the biggest Bulgarian city on the Black sea – Varna, find a day to quiver just about 100 km westward . Taking the road to Shumen offers the possibility to visit the archeological reserves of the first two Bulgarian capitals Pliska and Preslav, the unique rock relief Madara horsemen – enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage List., the contemporary city of Shumen with it’s historical Tombul mosque and the medieval fortress above the town. The travel through the eastern part of the Danubian plain at the foot of the northern slopes of the Balkan mountain will unfold in front of you wonderful panoramic views.
Here below is an exemplary program of the trip:
08:30 – Departure from Varna
10:00 – Arrival at the archeological reserve of the first Bulgarian capital – Pliska (75 km) – Visit to the site Pliska was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire, from 681-893. When Bulgaria accepted Christianity in 864 under King Boris I (reign 852-889), Pliska also underwent changes – the pagan temples were rebuilt as Christian churches and new churches were built.
11:30 – Arrival at the site of Madara rider (12 km. from Pliska)- Visit to the site
The relief depicts a majestic horseman 23 m (75 ft) above ground level in an almost vertical 100 m (328 ft)-high cliff. It is of almost natural size. The meaning and sybolism of the depiction is uncertain, as well its actual masonry tradition and cultural source. Some considered it an example of the Thracian horseman – a recurring motif of a deity in the form of a horseman in the Paleo-Balkanic mythology.
12:30-13:30 – Lunch
13:30 – Departure to Veliki Preslav (35 km).
14:30 – Arrival at the archeological reserve of Veliki Preslav . Visit to the site.
In view of the impressive town planning, the vital economy and the grandeur of buildings like the Round Church and the Royal Palace, Preslav was a true rival of the largest and most important city centres in the western hemisphere.
16:00 – Departure for the town of Shumen (18 km) – Visit to Shumen fortress and free time.
18:00 – Departure to Varna (100 km).
19: 30 – Arrival at Varna.
Oh, I almost forget: this: Stone forest – just to the right of our entrance to Varna- could be interesting at the sunset!