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Shumen tourist info and hotels

Shumen Bulgaria

Shumen is a nice, not too large city (around 75  000 inhabitants), situated in the north-eastern part of Bulgaria.
The town was established in the early Middle Ages as a fortress and a settlement next to it, in the Hissarlak area. By the end of second Bulgarian Kingdom it received its current name, also spelled Shoumen. There are interesting monuments of architecture, such as The Tower of the Old Clock, 1740, Tamboul Mosque (the largest one on the Balkan peninsula) and Kourshoum Cheshma, 1744.
Shoumen and the lands surrounding it, include some unique monuments of culture, preserved from ancient times to the present. Nearby are the first Bulgarian capitals of Pliska and Veliki Preslav (Great Preslav), as well as the village of Madara - the Bulgarian Troy, with the unique Madara Horsemen relief.


Shumen Tourist Attractions and Places of Interest

Shumen Plateau Bird View

Shumen Plateau Nature Park

Shumen Plateau Nature Park is situated southwest above the town of Shumen covering a territory of almost 4 000 hectares. It is declared a nature park in the year 1980 in order to preserve its rich flora and fauna. Some of the plants in the area can only be found here in entire Bulgaria, including sixty-four protected kinds of species and more than 250 medicinal plants! The fauna is not less impressive - there are more than 350 invertebrate and over 240 vertebrate species. While strolling among the beautiful old forests one will often glimpse a Red or Roe deer, badger, a fox, various kinds of lizards, tortoise, eagles, etc.
The area was inhabited since ancient times - here are located the Shumen Fortress and the Rock Monasteries, along with some contemporary tourist attractions such as the 1300 Years of Bulgaria Monument - Founders of the Bulgarian State. The Shumen Plateau Nature Park is attracting many visitors both from the town and abroad. There are also organized trips from the summer resorts on the Bulgarian Balck Sea Coast. The vast area has multiple eco-paths but is also reachable by few roads. It is very popular for bicycling and paragliding above the village of Divdyadovo. Biserna and Taynite Ponori caves are another addition to the varied attractions and some of the steep rock formations are attracting climbing enthusiasts. Many tourist cabins, fountains and rest spots are scattered all over the plateau. Nearby the 1300 Years Monument, there is a tourist informational center with a cafe. Many small lodges are also available for the visitors all across the nature park.

There are many attractive surface and underground karst caves on the plateau, but Biserna Cave (Pearl Cave) is maybe the most impressive. It along with and Taynite ponori Cave (the Secret Ponors Cave) also located here are amongst the twenty-five largest caves in the country.

Biserna Cave, also known as "Zandana" is the longest and the most beautiful among the entire cave complex in the area. Its entrance is located at 404 metres altitude and continues for 2716 metres in length.
The cave, initially discovered in 1928 has two galleries (upper and lower) and there is an underground river in it.
If visiting the town of Shumen and its plateau do not miss to have a glimpse at this miracle of nature!


Shumen Fortress

Shumen Fortress is situated 3km. west of the contemporary town of Shumen in an area called Hisarluka, among the plateau of Shumen. This over 3200 years old stronghold is one of the most impressive and well preserved in Bulgaria. Since the Early Iron Age, along the centuries it has been a very important defending point from various invaders and gradually has been receiving additional walls, a citadel and other site constructions. It is also one of the best researched archeological objects in the country, which apogee is supposed to have been during the time of the Second Bulgarian State, when the strongest construction on its site was built. During the invasions of the Avarians and Slavs, the fortress has been destroyed, but later the Bulgarian khan Omurtag rebuilds it.

Shumen Fortress attracts many visitors - local, from nearby cities and from abroad. There is a small museum amongst a beautiful garden at its entrance, where one can learn interesting details about the stronghold and ancient Bulgarian history via guided tours, offered in few languages.
However, maybe most stunning is the view from the eastern wall and its towers. From there one can observe almost the entire city of Shumen from bird sight, as well a large area of the surrounding forests and hills.
Visitors can enjoy few bars, restaurants and accommodation few hundred metres from the fortress, or simply take a stroll on one of the many marked eco-paths in the area.

Shoumen fortress ruins

Shuomen fortressBulgaria ancient Fortress

1300 Years of Bulgaria - Founders of The Bulgarian State Monument

The monument "Founders of The Bulgarian State" is opened on 28.11.1981y. in honor of the 1300 years foundation of the Bulgarian country,  and represents most important moments from the history of the first Bulgarian realm(khan Asparuh - Simeon). The complex composition of eight solid concrete segments, built under different angels shapes two half-halls, where are playing shadows, half-shadows, contrast and harmony. The mosaics are made in Byzantine’s technique, from natural stones. The lion standing over the town could be seen in radius of 30km., and it is a symbol of Bulgarian spirit. The monument astonish with its grandeur and huge dimensions.

The monument 1300 Years of Bulgaria - Founders of the Bulgarian State is situated in the Natural Park of Shumen Plateau on "Ilchov Bair" hill above the town. It can be reached both via road by car or bicycle and on foot via processional stairway through the woods.
Authors of the spectacular monument are the sculptors Krum Damyanov and Ivan Slavov, and the huge formation is finished in 1981. The structure consists of two groups concrete formations and symbolizes the creation and upsurge of the Bulgarian State in the period VІІ - Х century.
Along with twenty-one sculptures, here is and the largest open-air mosaic triptych in Europe. In the upper part of the monument the light forms a cross as a symbol of the adoption of Christianity. With three types of characters is displayed the advance of the Bulgarian State, representing the Rune letter, the Glagolitic and the Cyrillic alphabets.

On top of the memorial stands a majestic, 1000 tons granite lion overlooking the city of Shumen. Thanks to its huge dimensions (140 m. long and 70 m. high) and location at 450 metres above the sea level, the monument can be seen from 30 km. distance.
There is a tourist info center on site, a cafe, parking and a playground for kids. Different eco-paths lead to various shelters among the beautiful forests of the plateau and to the Rock Monasteries scattered in the area.

Shumen Plateau Park Monument 1300 Bulgaria

shumen monument 1300 years Bulgaria

Kyoshkovete Park

Kyoshkovete Park is a popular recreational area in the western part of Shumen, but still is somehow peaceful and not too overcrowded. It is situated right under the Shumen Fortress on the plateau above the town, which can be reached from the park via different eco-paths and by car or bicycle via well maintained road. The park features a tourist info centre, small zoo, two hotel-restaurants, playground for children and is a popular tobogganing area for the kids during the winter.

In addition to the park itself, maybe most attractive are the eco-paths that lead to the plateau of Shumen. There are several routes, including a dedicated dendrology one. Following any of those one will be able to appreciate the huge diversity of flora and fauna of this protected area, observe some very old and rare trees, magnificent caves and relax at many of the fountains and shelters.


The Rock Monasteries

An interesting tourist attraction on the plateau of Shumen is a whole complex of Rock Monasteries, scattered across the southeastern part of the plateau. Those medieval monasteries and churches date back to the XII - XIV century and were once important part of the religious, cultural and educational life in the area during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

The Osmar Monasteries are found three kilometres north from the village of Osmar. They are built on a steep rocky slope in the bottom of Osmar boaz, surrounded by dense old forests. Scattered around are many fountains and recreational spots, attracting a number of tourists thanks to the easy access.

The best preserved and the largest monastery within this complex is the Kostadinov monastery. It includes an altar and some preserved fragments of frescoes. On its site one will find and the natural formation "The Eye". About one hundred metres east from here is located the Direkliyata monastery.

Northwest from the village of Troitsa are the Troitski monasteries - a couple of monasteries standing 2.5 km. away from each other. They are called "Momina Skala" or "The Lass Rock".
Within a natural cave, not far away from the village of Han Krum, on the western part of western slope of the Kaluger Boaz is located the Han Krum monastery. It can be reached by climbing a staircase, which is carved in the rock.

In the eastern part of Shumen plateau is situated and the last monastery of that group - the Divdyadovo monastery, which is right above the village with the same name. It is one of the most visited due to its proximity to the 1300 Years of Bulgaria Monument.

The Eye Rock Phenomenon, also known as Halkata (the Ring) is situated near a complex of Rock Monasteries on the Shumen Plateau Nature Reserve. It is actually very close to one of the largest and most interesting monasteries within this group - Kostadinov abbey, above the village of Osmar. A small, maybe a bit dangerous path leads up to the Rock Phenomenon, but it is visible well enough without reaching right next to it.
It is considered that this site was once a scene of ancient sacrifices.
There are proposals the phenomenon to be included in the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.

Monument of Freedom

More popular among the citizens of Shumen as "razperko" (as it represents a man with hands spread wide), the Monument of Freedom is a large stone structure. It is located in the very center of the town in a small park between the Regional Historical Museum and the Municipality of Shumen. The sculptor is named Liubomir Dalchev and the monument was found in 1965. From here begins the stone stairway that leads up to one of the symbols of Shumen - the 1300 Years of Bulgaria Monument on the plateau above the town.
Although small, the park is a nice recreational area for a short break and popular among the kids for skateboarding.


Museums in Shumen

Regional Historical Museum

The Regional Historical Museum of Shumen is established in the distant 1857 from the writer of the Bulgarian national revival - Sava Dobroplodni. It is situated in the very downtown of the city in a beautiful small park under the 1300 Years of Bulgaria Monument. Today it is a scientific and a cultural institution with nine departments and an autonomous scientific group. The museum preserves over 150 000 movable cultural properties from the Chalcolithic era till present days, 15 000 of which are displayed in eight exposition halls. There are also regular temporary expositions on various thematics.

The museum features a library with some 25 000 units of literature, restoration and conservation workshops, as well as its own publishing called "Bulletins of Historical Museum - Shumen". The institution performs regular scientific studies in the region of Shumen. It is a part of the "The 100 National Tourist Objects in Bulgaria" listed as number 94 and also takes participation in the annual "European Night of Museums".
There are organized bus tours from Varna and this is also a good starting point to take the steps to the 1300 Years of Bulgaria Monument on the Plateau of Shumen.
Right across the park, where one will find the Monument of Freedom, on its left is the Municipality Council of Shumen and on its right across the street is located another popular cultural establishment in the city - The Museum of Shumen Garrison.

The Museum of Shumen Garrison

The Museum of Shumen Garrison is established in 2003 and is located in the centre of the town between the Monument of Freedom and the Monument of the Russian Army, right next to the Military University. It preserves important documents and items related to the participation of Shumen's troops in different wars, such as the Russian-Ottoman, The Balkan War and the First World War. On display are many medals, badges, flags, uniforms and various weapons. Exhibited are also pikes, arrows, axes and helmets from the Middle Ages.  What is really attractive about this museum is that visitors are actually allowed to touch some of the weapons exhibited here!
Outside on display is a huge rocket and an artillery cannons. The museum features and a military library.

House-Museum Lajos Kossuth

House-Museum Lajos Kossuth has been opened for public during year 1949 in honour of the 100th anniversary from the arrival of the Hungarian political emigrants in Shumen, leaded by L. Kossuth. The house itself is a splendid example of the architecture during the Bulgarian revival and the museum is separated into two parts - political and living.

The living areas, along with the beautiful yard and garden depict the daily life during that period. The political part has on display interesting documents and material about the Hungarian revolution (1848 - 1849), as well as for the living of its leader and his followers.
The address of the establishment is 27, Tsar Osvoboditel str. and there are single person guided tours in English and Bulgarian.
The monument of Lajos Kossuth in Shumen can be found on bul. Slaviyanski.

Dobri Voynikov House Museum

Dobri Voynikov House Museum is the birth place of the popular Bulgarian teacher, musician, conductor, composer and dramatist. D. Popov Voynikov is born here in 1833 in an older house, which he later rebuilds in 1862 and now it is preserved and looks like once when he lived here. The house-museum is a nice example of the way of life people from Shumen had during the Bulgarian Revival. The house was turned into museum in 1976, and its interior was restored with original materials.

Inside the house there is an interesting exposition of his violin, conductor instruments and materials, personal items, etc. Outside one will find himself into a beautiful garden kept in authentic manner.
The museum address is 87 Tsar Osvoboditel str., not far away from a couple of other popular house-museums on the same street - those of Lajosh Kossuth and Pancho Vladigerov.

Panaiot Volov House Museum

This is the home of one of the most charming heroes of the Bulgarian National Revolution - the apostle of the April's uprising Panaiot Volov. In the year 1966 the house has been restored and turned into museum. Today this is the oldest, well preserved house in the town of Shumen - from the end of 18th century. The initial atmosphere is reproduced with original materials and the museum includes exposition of the daily life of Volov family.
There are three premises: "Peshti" (kitchen, furnaces), "Kashti" (living rooms), and "Sofra" (low round dining table).

Outside the house one will find himself in a magnificent, well maintained small garden. Due to its size, usually the museum is being served only by a staff of one with short guided tours in Bulgarian and English.

Pancho Vladigerov Museum Complex

At the old Arastyanska street (nowadays Tsar Osvoboditel), one will discover a unique in Bulgaria museum complex, dedicated to the music - Pancho Vladigerov Museum Complex.
It consists of two expositions - "House-Museum P. Vladigerov" and "Musical Depot in Shumen" exposition.

This is the place where the world-wide known composer begins his carrier with his first piano lessons when six years old.
In the museum part one will find his one hundred years old royal, but the place is not just an exposition. There are live performances of both young and well known artists here.
Since 1986, the town of Shumen is hosting both the National and International competitions for young violinists and pianists, named after the most popular Bulgarian composer - Pancho Vladigerov.

Tombul Mosque

Tombul Mosque is the largest oriental architectural complex in the country, built in "tulip" style under the influence of the modern for its time French Baroque. The mosque is erected in 1744 with the financial help of Halil Sherif pasha, who has achieved high administrative position in the Ottoman Empire. The official name is after its main contributor, but is more popularly known as Tombul (tombul means protruding) because of its dome. The mosque is built with stone brought from the Pliska, Preslav and Shumen Fortress remains, but the master builder is unknown.

It represents an ensemble of buildings located in two inner yards. The astonishing devotional hall is 25 metres high, with various ornaments, geometrical figures and inscriptions in Arabic on its walls. Once near the mosque there have been a school, a madrassa and a library, which contained over 5000 books and manuscripts. The most valuable manuscript dates back to 1556 and currently the collection is being kept in the National Library in Sofia.
In the yard of the mosque there is a forty metres high minaret and a magnificent fountain.
Nowadays the mosque is an operative temple and highly popular tourist attraction in the town.
Nearby sites of interest include the Clock Tower, which stands just south of the sanctuary and the Kyoshkovite Park on the west.

The Clock Tower

Just south from one of the largest mosque on the Balkan Peninulsa (Tombul), in the town of Shumen another very old attraction is situated - the Clock Tower, erected in 1740. It is a part of the total architectural ensemble, has a hand-made clockwork and a magnificent, rich ornamented fountain embedded in its face side. It also includes a marble memory stone with inscription "The Master put in it a beautiful, incomparable clock inside and has been remembered with it." The Master however remains unknown.  In addition to that inscription, there are another 24 verses - one for each hour of the day.

Nearby one will find the already mentioned Tombul Mosque, the Korshun Fountain and the Kyoshkovete Park, which is one of the starting points to the Shumen Fortress on the plateau above the town.

Elena Karamihailova Gallery

Initially established in 1955 as a plastic art gallery, Elena Karamihailova gallery in Shumen has evolved to an institute. From the end of 19th century till present days the gallery preserves more than 2 000 art works. Paintings, sculptures, graphic and applied art are all included in this fantastic collection. The exhibition area covers a territory of about 330 square metres and features various kinds of displays and cultural activities such as exhibitions of local and guest artists, art of students from the local university and young talents from the schools of Shumen.
It is situated on 81 "Tsar Ivan Alexandrov" str., Shumen and is named after the notable artist Elena Karamihailova (1875 - 1961).

Holy Three Saints Cathedral

Holy Three Saints Cathedral is one of the biggest and most beautiful churches in the town of Shumen, situated on the central street. It was built in 1857 over old Christian cemetery and is part of the Varna's and Veliki Preslav diocese. Initially the temple was intended to be devoted to St. St. Kiril and Metodii, but bishop Veniamin decided that it will be in honour of the saints Vasilii Veliki, Grigorii Bogoslov and Johann Zlatoust.
The original architecture was in revival style, but later during the World War Two on 22nd February 1944 the church was burnt down to be rebuilt and consecrated by bishop Joseph on 27th September 1948. In 2004 is built and an ecclesiastic museum with exhibitions paintings and wood-craft.

Feast of the Ascension Church

Feast of the Ascension Church is located in the western part of Shumen, on its main boulevard - Simeon Veliki. On this place, the temple has been originating since six centuries and was destroyed and rebuilt many times. The current structure is erected in 1829, mainly with donations from the people of Shumen and is last renovated in 1940.
The iconostasis and the stall are made by masters from the town of Triyavna.
In the church's yard are buried prince Dimitar Muruzi and prince Valerian Madatov
Only on few hundred metre west of the church is another religious symbol of Shumen - Tombul Mosque and not far away further west is the beautiful Kyoshkovete Park.


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