March 2, 2021

Significant places associated with the Liberation of Bulgaria – Part 1

On the 3rd of March Bulgaria celebrates its Liberation Day. Why is this day so important to us and what is the history behind it? On the 3rd of March Bulgaria celebrates its Liberation Day. Why is this day so important to us and what is the history behind it? In the 14th century, Bulgaria fell under the Ottoman rule and its territory became part of the expanding Ottoman empire. Our country reappeared on the map of the world again after the Russo-Ottoman War (1877–1878). This means that the Bulgarians managed to preserve themselves as a nation, keep their faith and traditions for 5 centuries while living under foreign rule. Longing for the Liberation of Bulgaria Before the Russo-Ottoman war, the Bulgarians tried to achieve liberation on their own by organizing uprisings. Sadly, all attempts were unsuccessful, but in reality they served an important purpose – they showed the rest of the world that Bulgaria still existed and deserved to be independent. The April Uprising of 1876 was the one […]
September 28, 2020

Bulgarian superstitions and curious traditions – Part 2

Superstitions have always been passed through generations and all of us have had our fair share of them throughout our lives. Either you had relatives with strong beliefs towards them, or they were just part of your culture. We have already introduced you to some of Bulgaria’s superstitions and curious traditions in this article. Let’s check more! Some of them are quite silly, but others are rather interesting, so here are some of the typical Bulgaria superstitions. “Every day” superstitions Did you know that… Leaving bread upside down is believed to bring misfortune and bad attitude in the house? Some Bulgarians don’t even give salt to their neighbors, due to the belief that by doing so, they are giving part of the family happiness? Usually, swallows are signs of spring, but if one decides to make its nest on the roof of your house in Bulgaria, it’s said that peace and tranquility will come to that home? If you sneeze, then someone is for sure talking about you? Is your […]
September 16, 2020

Bulgarian autumn – colorful fairytale near Plovdiv

Bulgaria is a country happy to have four distinct seasons. All of them have their charm and beauty. Having a magnificent nature we can enjoy picturesque sceneries all year. Since the Bulgarian autumn is very colorful and impressive, one quickly forgets the sadness over the hot summer days. Plovdiv is a city where summer continues until the end of September. If you are visiting after that don’t be alarmed. The town itself is beautiful and cozy in this season, but also, being in the central part of Bulgaria it is a perfect starting point for colorful autumn travels. Here are some ideas for a two-day autumn trip (or a weekend trip) an hour away from Plovdiv. Vrata village, Belintash and Karadzhov kamyk The village Vrata (Врата) is located in the Rhodope mountains, 46,5km from Plovdiv. Traveling by car you will need around one hour to reach it since part of the trip will be on some serpentines and you won’t be able to travel very quickly. There are several hotels […]
August 19, 2020

Alternative Bulgarian Souvenirs

We, the tour guides of the Free Plovdiv Tour, are extremely lucky as we have had the chance to meet people from all over the world. We have shared our knowledge with them and they have done the same by revealing to us the culture of their homelands. In addition to that, all of us have also received unique gifts that brought us even closer to our guests (find out more by checking our Gifts and souvenirs from tourists article) and left us with memories for a lifetime. We know how important the gifts and souvenirs from a place are. They can help us capture a special moment and relive experiences we have had years ago. This is why we are now sharing with you a list of alternative Bulgarian souvenirs that you can bring back to your friends and families. Onions and violets No, we are not talking about the spicy vegetable and the flower. We are giving you a hint to buy typical Bulgarian candy because- who doesn’t […]
June 18, 2020

10 Bulgarian seaside destinations for every taste

One of the biggest prides of Bulgaria are its beautiful beaches. From the northernmost Durankulak to the southernmost Rezovo, there are countless places – big and small, more or less famous, where you can soak up some sun. So here are the top 10 Bulgarian seaside destinations that cater to all tastes. Seaside destinations for history geeks Historical heritage may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are searching for a summer holiday destination. But if you find the prospect of lying on the beach for a week with nothing much to do rather daunting, these two towns may have just the right mix of history and chill. Nessebar Nessebar is over three millennia old. Its old town is situated on a peninsula, which is joined to the mainland by a thin sliver of land. Part of the list of UNESCO, this beautiful town showcases a motley collection of scenic ruins. Its biggest pride are the beautiful churches in various states of repair, the oldest of […]
February 13, 2020

Where to spend February the 14th in Plovdiv?

February the 14th is well known as St. Valentine’s Day – the day of the people in love. And while in many places around the world boys and girls were excited whether they would get a Valentine’s Day card on this day, here in Bulgaria we have a different celebration. Trifon Zarezan – the celebration of vine and wine. Trifon Zarezan It is the national festival of vine-growing and wine-producing. The traditions around this day are all connected to the awakening of the vegetation, end of winter and fertility of the land. Every farmer performs some special rituals on his own vineyard, but if you want to know what exactly is zaryazvane (зарязване), you will have to check this article dedicated to the holiday itself. For now, keep in mind wine is also included in the traditions. Love and wine in Plovdiv If you happen to be in Plovdiv for February the 14th we have some nice ideas for you on how to spend the day. Don’t worry – the […]
January 6, 2020

Jordan’s Day or Epiphany

Whether you have heard about Jordan’s Day or its ecclesiastical name Epiphan, it means one and the same day and holiday. There is evidence proving that the holiday was celebrated even as early as the 2nd century AD. Actually, until the 4th century AD Jordan’s Day coincided with Christmas so Epiphany appeared to be the collective name of the two feasts. According to the Orthodox church According to the Orthodox calendar, Jordan’s Day commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ performed by St. John the Baptist. Later, the Church decided to separate the holidays and since then the 25th of December is known as Christmas and Epiphany is celebrated on the 6th of January. Traditions in Bulgaria In Bulgaria, there is a long-lived tradition related to the date of the 6th of January. Usually, on Jordan’s Day, a ceremonial throw of a cross from the local church takes place. The ritual is put into practice wherever a water basin is available. Once the cross is thrown, men jump into the water and everyone […]
December 24, 2019

Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions in Bulgaria

Family dinners, gifts and lots of snow. This is what Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations are usually associated with. But just like every other nation, we, Bulgarians, have some specific Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions. Here’s a deeper look into a few of the most popular ones! Christmas Bread and New Year’s Eve banitsa Christmas bread As you will see in one of the next paragraphs, Bulgarians have many traditional holiday meals. However, two of them are much than just food on the table – the Christmas bread and the banitsa on New Year’s Eve. Both of them are connected to entire rituals, which determine the fortune of everyone around the table. Perhaps the most awaited moment during Christmas Eve dinner is the breaking of the specially decorated Christmas bread. Not only because it’s super tasty – but there is also a treasure, hidden within. Every year the matriarch of the family puts a coin, wrapped in tinfoil within the dough. It is believed that whoever finds the […]
October 23, 2019

Drinking coffee in Plovdiv – a special ritual

For every true Plovdivian the day begins with a good cup of coffee. Furthermore, the refreshing beverage is considered a must-drink for every guest of our city too. Although nowadays drinking coffee is so popular all over the world, not many people actually know where it comes from. History and origins It all began in the old Islamic world. In the 15 and 16 centuries, the Sufi followers in Yemen started drinking coffee. Soon everyone from Mecca to Cairo would do so. It is believed to originate from Ethiopia. For the first time, people there realized they could use the coffee beans. Eventually, in the entire Arabic Peninsula, parts of India, all of the Ottoman Empire and even the Balkans people realized the magical effect and amazing taste of the coffee. A special ritual in Bulgaria In Bulgarian lands, it was introduced during the Ottoman rule, exactly in the time frame mentioned above. Coffee has always had a socializing effect on people. You would not just drink it while you […]