About the Karlovo
[dropcap1]K[/dropcap1]arlovo is a historically important town in central Bulgaria located in a beautiful valley along the river Stryama at the southern foot of the Balkan Mountains. It is administratively part of Plovdiv Province and has a population of about 30,000.
The town is famous for the worldwide-known rose oil, which is grown here and used in producing perfume and cosmetics. In addition to this, Karlovo is the birthplace of Vasil Levski, the most distinguished Bulgarian to start preparing the national liberation from the Ottoman rule in the late 19th century. There is a museum and large monument dedicated to him.
Karlovo is also a popular location for tourism in the region.
During the 2000s, Bulgarian archaeologists made discoveries in Central Bulgaria which were summarized as “The Valley of the Thracian Kings”. On 19 August 2005, some archaeologists announced they had found the first Thracian capital, which was situated near Karlovo in Bulgaria. A lot of polished ceramic artifacts (pieces of roof-tiles and Greek-like vases) were discovered revealing the fortune of the city. The Bulgarian Ministry of Culture declared its support to the excavations.Find out more Karlovo
The first Thracian capital
Vasil Levski – Bulgaria’s National Hero
Vasil Levski, was born in Karlovo on 18th July 1837. He was the leader of the Bulgarian National Revolution, founder of the Internal Revolutionary Organization and the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central. On 27th December 1872, Levski was caught by the Turkish police.He was sentenced to death by hanging. On 18th February 1873, the death sentence was carried out in Sofia. The place of Vassil Levski’s execution is in the centre of today’s Sofia.
The Levski Heritage Trail
As you wander around Karlovo you’ll notice various wall plaques, in Bulgarian, at all sorts of odd places. These seem to be a work-in-process of developing a Levski Heritage Trail inspired by a local historian Stoyan Kichev. As yet there seems to be no published guidebook but the Levski Museum has details of the various places such as where he cut his hair off and other known-to-few facts.
Karlovo History Museum
The town is dominated by Levski-inspired historical markers but also has a rich history and culture. Evidence dates it back to Stone Age times and through the Thracian and Roman periods it was a local trade and manufacturing centre. During the late Ottoman and National Revival years the town blossomed as a hub of artisanal manufacture, especially that of woolen braids and rose oils. The 20th century saw the advent of heavy industry with the building of one of Bulgaria’s first hydro-electric schemes and post-WWII the Socialist-led investment in major factories including armaments.
Levski’s Birthplace and Museum
Vasil Levski was born Vasil Ivanovich Kunchev, the eldest son of Ivan and Gina Kunchev, here in Karlovo on the 18th July 1837. His father was a wool dyer by trade at a time when the town was one of the Ottoman Empire’s main suppliers of woolen braid.
The house where he was born and bred, along with his two brothers and elder and younger sisters, was a typical artisans cottage where the family shared their living space with the equipment and material of the trade.
Levski himself never owned a house and so his birthplace has been reverently restored as the centrepiece of the National Museum in his honour. This is one of Bulgaria’s most popular historical sites with thousands of tourists per year.
The museum is open almost every day (except perhaps Christmas Day) from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm with an hour closed for lunch. A small entry fee applies.
This is definitely the “Must Do” here in Karlovo.
The Levski Monument
This is probably the Bulgarian people’s best known monument and every year on February 19th, the anniversary of his execution, thousands come to pay homage from all over the country. The monument is situatedon Vasil Levski Square in the old town. To get there from the town centre take the road a cross the Blue Mosque called Vasil Levski street (where one of Hotel Hanat entrance gates is located) which leads, through the old town, to the monument.
The Old Town
The Old Town is a historical place which shows the spirit of the old houses of the Bulgarian National Revival. About a hundred houses have been preserved in this part – monuments of culture, two-storey, beautifully plastered and yards with decorative portals.You can also see the Mazakov house ,it’s an ethnographical exposition to the Historical Museum, the house of Daskal Botyo, in which Hristo Botev lived for several years.
St Virgin Church
The church was restored in 1851. The Apostol (Vasil Levski) served as a deacon there from 1859 to 1862. The building is of an impressive size with a plan of pseudo-basilica with a nave and two aisles.
St Nikolai Church
The church was built in 1847. The tomb of the mother of Levski – Gina Kuncheva is located in the church’s yard. The icons in the church are beautifully painted by famous artists.
The picturesque Waterfall
The approximately 15 meters high Suchurum (flying water) waterfall is also know as the Karlovo waterfall, located right below the Karlovo water-power station. The waterfall is an attraction for the visitors and a favorite place for recreation, walks and summer time picnics for the residents of Karlovo and the region.
The Bullet Mosque (Kurshum Djamia)
In the the 14th century Karlovo Valley was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. In the end of the 15th century Sultan Bayazid II gave the Ottoman Military Leader Karla Ali Bey the village of Sushitsa and the belonging lands. In 1485 he built here the first and oldest mosque – Kurshum mosque. A fine and solid building, named after its lead roof, even today the mosque still stands erected in the middle of the town as a remarkable monument of the building art of that time.
The Central Balkan National Park with a network of well mept chalets present excelentopportunities for mountain tourism for both mountain climbers or just nature lovers. The highest mauntains in the Central Balkan loom over the town of Karlovo.
Nearby Monasteries in Sopot and Kalofer.
Town Events not to be missed include:-
The Roses’ festival
The Rose festival or as known by the locals under the name the Day of the Roses, takes place on the first Saturday of June each year. The day begins with a rose-picking ritual in the fields in the morning, followed by a celebration on the main square. The programme continues throughout the day and is very popular not only amongst the local population but also attracts a number of international guests.
There is the Queen of Roses Competition, theatres, concerts and crafts exhibition. Also there are typical for the region singers, musicians and dancers. The folklore part of the celebration ends with a winding dance called ‘horo’. The final concert in the evening is accompanied by magnificent fireworks.
Birth of Levski Celebrations
Vasil Levski’s birth is celebrated on 18 of July with a variety of performances, scientific conferences, sport and tourist competitions, exhibitions, etc. The day ends with festive illuminations in the square in front of the monument of the Apostle in the Old town.
Vasil Levski Memorial Day
On 19th February, the people of Karlovo commemorate the feat and self-sacrifice of Vasil Levski. On this day in front of the monument of the Apostle, in the Old town the citizens and the guests of the town bow down in admiration to the hero. The whole week is dedicated to Levski – exhibitions and cultural meetings are organized by schools, the museum and the community centre.
Kukery Festival (Mummers Day)
Mainly in the surrounding villages, the events take place in March.
Karlovo Produce Market
Although the market is open throughout the week, the best day to pay a visit will be on a Saturday morning when a number of farmers do bring their own produce from the surrounding areas.
Activities within the surrounding areas:-
Bike racing (annual XC mountain bike race in May)
The above meterial is referenced from:-
The Virtual Tourist http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Bulgaria/Plovdivska_Oblast/Karlovo-381870/Things_To_Do-Karlovo-TG-C-1.html#tip=2059949