Video Clips & Photos of Area
Above is a typical village view and
to the right a shot across the top of Yagoda village in the Valley of the
Here is a video
clip of Yagoda village and then the area around the village where I
have bought and below the view from the road going into my village.
I am afraid my first attempt at
videoing was pretty dire but I have rescued a few clips to give you some
idea of the sites around Stara Zagora and give you some idea of the
This is a clip of the view from the
top of Shipka pass on the Balkan mountains. The Shipka pass runs from
Kazanlak over the mountain to Garbovo and then you can drive on to Veliko
Turnovo. There are wonderful views from the top down into the Valley of
the Roses with all the lakes and dams and across the mountains to the
north and east, towards the small ski resort of Budludja. Click here to
Russian Church at Shipka
Here is a short video clip of the
church and then the view taken from the car park (although a little hazy).
The 'Valley of the Roses' is also now
known as the 'Valley of the Thracian Kings' following the discovery of
more than 1,500 Thracian tombs in and around the Kazanlak region. These
tombs and temples are over 2,500 years old. A golden mask was found in one
of the most famous tombs near Shipka and it now resides in the museum in
There are a number of tombs available
to visitors, including that of King Seuthus III, just outside Shipka. The
tomb is built from perfectly carved large square stones with a corridor
leading to what was originally a domed temple room with amazing acoustics
and then into a sacrificial chamber or what later became the sarcophagus
for the king, carved out of one huge slab of rock. The entrance cost is 3
levs per person and includes a guide to explain the history and findings.
Lakes & Dams
There are a number of lakes and dams
in the Valley of the Roses. These are used for bathing, water sports,
fishing etc. Here is a
short clip of one of the lakes.
In the village of Tarnicheni, there
is a working rose distillery (and lavender after rose season) which you
can visit with prior arrangement. It has been renovated and restored into
a beautiful working museum. You can see the old way they used to distil
the rose oil (picture on far left above), the still working but older rose
distillery (next picture in) and the new more efficient distillery where
hundreds of bags of rose petals are brought in and put into the
distillation vats. You can purchase rose oil directly from the distillery
Stara Zagora has nearly all amenities
you would want in a major city. It has a medical university and a
veterinary university. There are tree lined parks and pedestrian areas,
cafes, restaurants, shops, neolithic ruins, a huge park, stadium and more. There
is also a new opera theatre being built as the old one burnt down a few
years ago, there are roman ruins, museums and such. The Foreign Direct
Investment magazine, which is a division of Financial Times Group, ranked
Stara Zagora equal to Zurich in 2004 for city of the future and was ahead
of all other European cities for quality of life based on low cost living,
new accommodation and cultural heritage.
Budludja Ski Area
Budludja is about a 25 minute drive up the
mountain from Kazanlak. The road is fairly good, although windy until you
reach near the top when you would struggle to get through if there was a
fair amount of snow. You then get to a couple of old rest homes and hotels
and this is where you would park.
Once up where the slopes are there is
a small drag with a south facing slope
and then 2 short drags and a longer button lift. There are a couple of tin
shacks at the bottom to hire equipment and get a cup of coffee or beer.
It was around 8 levs a day to hire
equipment and I think 12 levs a day to use the ski lifts.
The area is mostly used at weekends
when there is snow. It would be fine for messing around, sledging,
pottering about on skis etc for a day but there is no way you can call
this a ski resort.
Here is a video
clip to give you a better impression.
There are a number of small spa
resorts where there are open outdoor pools filled with natural warm spring
water, however the two main resorts are Pavel Banya and the Stara Zagora
spa resort. There is a smaller one in Yagoda with out door pool as
well as indoor baths and massage facilities.
The Stara Zagora mineral baths are
located around a 10 minute drive from the city and are built on the site
of a 2nd century Roman bath. There are regular buses into the city and the
region is under going serious redevelopment with 4 star hotels springing
up where the old rest houses were. It is a lovely, peaceful area with
great walking and scenery.
Plodiv is around an hour or so drive
from Stara Zagora and the old town is huddled on a hill with cobbled
streets, old timber houses painted in beautiful colours and various shops
selling artwork. Many of the houses are museums and there are roman ruins
everywhere. Click here for video
from monument out across city
As well as the above the medieval
city of Veliko Turnovo (below) is only a an hour and half's drive over the Balkan
mountains, the coast is a two hour drive and on the way there are the Blue
Rocks near Sliven,
(Lake and hills near Elena)
Every year on the first weekend in
June, there is the festival of
the roses held in Kazanlak to celebrate the regions rose growing industry
and there is a museum dedicated to the subject.