Stay 17 : A natural journey for the biosphere reserve

Stay 17 : A natural journey for the biosphere reserve.

Occidental Route

Stage 17/35 - 304 kms

0 km Zajecar

78 kms Tchoupréné

156 kms Pleven

70 kms Troyan

carte Zajecar a Troyan

Zajecar : Numerous tourist sights

Zajecar is the geographical, administrative, economic, political and cultural centre of the Zajecar District. It is located in the Zajecar valley. The Municipality of Zajecar lies at an altitude ranging between 115 and 692 meters above sea level and occupies an area of 1069km2. The town of Zajecar is located at the confluence of the White Timok and Black Timok. The major tourist sights are an antique site Felix Romuliana, the Sudovol monastery, the spas in Gamzigrad and Nikolicevo, the Grliste, Sovinac, Glogovicko and Rgotsko lakes, nature and the town itself with the neighbouring towns.

Tchoupréné : A natural biosphere reserve

The Tchoupréné Biosphere Reserve is located on the northern slope of the Stara Planina Mountain on the Serbia and Montenegro’s border in north-west Bulgaria. It covers an area of 1981,5 hectares between 1300 and 2033 meters above sea level. The reserve was established in 1973 and the biosphere reserve in 1977 and aims to preserve the natural forests to the north of the Norway spruce in Bulgaria. This primary forest is about 100 years old and is the only vast spruce forest in the Stara Planina. The forest represents a habitat for the capercaillie, red crossbill Loxia curvirostra and nutcracker or Nucifraga caryocatactes. The area is very remote and has been barely affected by man. This biosphere reserve is currently under review.

Pleven : A natural reserve

Pleven Bulgarie

Pleven Bulgaria
© Borislav Danov-BOBO1 -

The city of Pleven is 160 km from the capital - Sofia, 320 km from the Black Sea and 30 km south of the Danube River. Some of the city’s most interesting monuments include the Historical Museum, the “Pleven Epopee” Panorama, the Wine Museum in the Kaylaka Park and the remains of the Storgoziya fortress. The historical museum is housed in an impressive two-storey building, a monument of culture built for cantonment in 1884-1888. The museum’s exhibitions occupy 24 halls with an area of 7,000 square meters in the building, as well as a park with an open exhibition. The regional Historical Museum in Pleven also houses an exhibition dedicated to nature, which includes samples coming from the local nature, as well as a petrified thigh bone of Archidiscodon, the fossil of an elephant, which lived on these lands during the Pliocene Age.

There is nothing similar to the Wine Museum in the country. Its distinctiveness is based on the exhibition and the services which it offers as well as the fact that it is found in a cave in the Kaylaka Park. The museum’s collection contains wines aged 30 to 90 years. 6000 bottles of modern wines from all brands and regions in the country also form part of the collection. The Kaylaka Park is a favourite relaxation spot for Pleven’s residents and the town’s guests. It offers various opportunities for hiking, relaxation and entertainment. The vertical cliffs, over 20 meters high, are suitable for rock climbing. The region has provided a safe haven for a rich and diverse flora and fauna. Nature lovers can visit the “Chernelka” nature reserve, located about 12 km from Pleven.

Troyan : Famous handmade potteries

Troyan Bulgarie

Troyan Bulgaria
© Nenko Lazarov - Wikipedia

Troyan is a town in the Lovech Province in central Bulgaria, about 160 km away from Sofia. The nearest civilian airport is Gorna Oryahovitsa, 105 km away. The Beli Osam River flows through the heart of the town. The Troyan region is home to the cultural and historical site of the Troyan Monastery. 15 August is the day of the Monastery’s Patron Saint, when thousands of people from the country gather to celebrate and see a unique icon of Mary.  The icon is unique in that Mary has three hands made of silver. The town is famous for its traditional pottery, probably developed partly as a result of the local clay soil’s qualities. Pottery was the main source of income for the local craftsmen during the Bulgarian Renaissance age. Now, handmade pottery works are sold as souvenirs to tourists.

Troyan Monastery

Monastère de Troyan Bulgarie

Monastère de Troyan Bulgaria

The Troyan Monastery, is Bulgaria’s third largest monastery. It is located in the northern part of the country in the Balkan Mountains and was founded no later than the end of the 16th century. The monastery lies on the banks of the Cherni Osam near Oreshak, a village 10 km from Troyan in Lovech Province, and is a popular tourist destination. The flowery interior and exterior of the church were painted between 1847 and 1849 by Zahari Zograph, a popular Bulgarian painter of that time, who also painted the central church of the Rila Monastery, Bulgaria’s largest monastery. Many of these “moral and social experiments” of art during that era such as Doomsday and Wheel of Life were reproduced in Troyan. A highly controversial move by Zograph was to paint his portrait around one of the windows at the back of the church.

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