The first steps are made under the cultural influence of Thracians, Proto-Bulgarians and Slavs (9th century). The national architecture quickly started shaping its own face. By the end of 10th century it has already freed itself from foreign influence and created its own appearance.
The Bulgarian architectural tradition namely blending to the environment, with stern and static forms is discernible today in the building of Boyana Church (suburbs of Sofia).
During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (12th - 14th centuries) the enriched stylistic techniques were manifested in the Holy Forty Martyrs Church and in Sts Peter & Paul Church in Veliko Turnovo.
The picturesqueness and mobility of the composition reached their perfection during the Bulgarian National Revival period (18th - 19th centuries) in great masterpieces such as Rila Monastery (the present day construction) and, of course, the Bulgarian National Renaissance houses.
Depending on the overall external appearance and decoration - wood-carving or murals - on the colouring of iron facings, the houses and architectural ensembles differ in the different regions.
Below is a short list of must-see-in-Bulgaria places:
The houses dated to the second half of the 19th century have exquisite painted facades and sunny verandahs, with carved ceilings and stylish European furnishings and rooms with harmoniously painted walls.
The houses, dated from the 19th century, are two-storey, covered with heavy stone tiles, with white timbered facade to the street, bay windows lacework eaves and spacious verandahs with high seats and settees.
Two-storey houses with white facades, dated from the 18th century, overgrown with ivy and laced with crane's bill, heavy tiled roofs, decorative white chimneys, large roofed verandahs and yards steeped in verdure.
Kotel and Zheravna
Situated 14 km from each other, the houses are nearly the same. The stone-tiled roofs blend harmoniously with the surrounding mountain slopes. All the houses in Zheravna, without exception, look to the south. The ceiling and the doors are decorated with geometrical forms, stylized plants and animals. Austere houses with heavy gates that resemble minor fortresses are typical of Arbanassi, Melnik and Bansko.
The village was the royal residence of the old capital city of Veliko Turnovo. The oldest stone buildings are richly decorated with carvings and wrought iron. They are recalling for the wealthy life of their former inhabitants.
Large houses, dated back from 17th and 18th centuries. The lower ground floor is high, while the upper living quarters are overhanging the lower part and frequently have two rows of windows. The fireplaces continue into chimneys which are part both of the interior and the facade. The basement houses the cellar where the famous Melnik wine is aged.
The town's architecture resembles that of monasteries in many respects. The fortified Bansko house's austere and inaccessible appearance is broken only by the spaceous verandah with carved columns and railings.
Houses with special charm, built during 18th - 19th centuries. They are of the Black Sea type, with stone basements, wooden staircases leading up to the living quarter with overhanging the lower round floor. They are faced with beams to protect the building from the humid salty air. Nessebur is included in UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The Bulgarian National Revival architecture (18th - 19th centuries) in the old town was created by Bulgarian master builders. Along the steep cobblestone lanes, behind stone walls and iron-studded gates, rising silhouettes in warm colours, overhanging facades with many windows and striking details, shape the appearance of the Plovdiv symmetrical house. Every house has its own style and atmosphere, its intimate world with carved ceilings and bright murals, with fine furniture from Venice, Vienna and London.
Veliko Turnovo has preserved the atmosphere of the Bulgarian National Revival times. The old part embraces the architectural ensembles on Gurko street and in Samovodene marketplace.
The distinct Turnovo building tradition is influenced by the terrain. Stately buildings with bay windows and garrets are dug one above the other into the rocky hills. The works of the self-taught master Nikola Ficheto are genuine architectural masterpieces. The old capital is part and parcel of the appearance of the modern city.
Bulgarian Architecture TOURSOur guided cultural tours feature the wealth of different architectural styles.
Must-see-in-Bulgaria for visitors, you will be charmed by Boyana Church and Rila Monastery (both - UNESCO sites), St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral's gold dome standing out in Sofia's skyline as the finest piece of architecture in the Balkans, the Holy 40 Martyrs Church and the St. St. Peter and Paul Church in Veliko Turnovo, that have marked the beginning of the Bulgarian architectural tradition.
Unchanged for centuries, in harmony with the present-day appearance, the old parts of Plovdiv and Veliko Turnovo are still vivid, full of life and beauty. Famous for keeping the Bulgarian spirit and character, the museum towns will make you feel the original architectural phenomenon of Bulgarian Renaissance houses.
We offer tours with different duration. Each tour includes visits to a number of cultural and historical monuments, focusing on the different architectural styles masterpieces of art and architecture. You will be impressed by the creativity of the Bulgarian Renaissance, you will enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Bulgarian countryside, as well as many other sights part of Bulgaria’s cultural and historical past – UNESCO sites, ancient fortresses and basilicas, archaeological landmarks, churches, monasteries, and many more…
We would recommend you to extend your tour and visit the most impressive heritage sites in Romania, Macedonia, or some other neighboring countries as well. We would be glad to assist you in customizing the itinerary according to your preferences.
Featured tours:The ideas listed below are just a few samples of the different types of Bulgarian Architecture tours we can arrange. We can create a tour based on your specific interests enriched by inspiring visits and amazing travel experience.
Grand Tour (10 days / 9 nights)Our Grand Tour starts from Sofia and includes visits of Plovdiv and Veliko Turnovo with the exquisite old houses presenting the uniqueness of the Bulgarian Renaissance architecture. Koprivshtitsa, Arbanassi, Tryavna, and more... are the towns and villages on the itinerary as well. The tour is extended to the Black Sea with a visit of Nessebar (UNESCO site) – a rocky peninsula, with beautiful old houses, located along the narrow cobbled streets.
Standard Tour (8 days / 7 nights)Our Standard Tour starts from Sofia and reveals the beauty and uniqueness of the Bulgarian Renaissance houses including visits to the major towns and villages located in the central part of Bulgaria – Plovdiv, Koprivshtitsa, Tryavna, Veliko Turnovo, Arbanassi, and more.
Guaranteed Departure ToursOur guaranteed departure tours Bulgarian architecture are private guided tours upon request, organized for min 2 persons. The best period is April – October but mostly March and November are also very good for touring in Bulgaria.
Special discounts apply for small groups of 6 and more persons.
The price includes land services only. It may vary depending on the type of hotel accommodation, transportation and guide service.
Superior accommodation, knowledgeable and friendly tour guides, many extras...
Your Unique TourOur customized Bulgarian Architecture tours variety could be unlimited.
Put your ideas in the hands of our travel consultants and they will make your customized tour exclusive and memorable. We will design your tour by focusing on your preferred towns and villages with their unique architectural style, and specific interests in culture, history, archaeology, nature, music, traditions, wine or culinary. We would be glad to assist you and be at your disposal by the end of your tour taking care for all details.
Feel free to contact us and find out what we can do for you.