Bulgaria is a country with one of the oldest cultures in the world. There are pieces of evidence and monuments from different eras – from prehistoric times till the present. The official foundation of the country was in the 681st AD, and nowadays, Bulgaria is the only country in the world that never changed its name in its entire history of more than 1 300 years.
Despite the fact that the country was founded in the VII century, different findings are proving that there were civilizations that inhabited these lands as far back as 8 500 years ago!
The amazing abundance of civilizations that left traces on the territory of Bulgaria, make the country extremely attractive not only for culture trips but also for the so-called “educational tours”, where students from all over the world are coming to see, explore and learn about all the ancient civilizations that inhabited these lands.
Our culture trips will also make you familiar with the traditions and customs of local people, which are alive and active in present times as well. You will have the opportunity to have a closer look at crafts like pottery, weaving, leatherwork, woodwork, etc., which are now with increasing popularity in times when handmade items are highly valued worldwide.
Last, but not least, the hospitality of the local people and their respect for food and drinks have a big role in creating the country’s culture. And in this regard, we also have a huge variety to display during our culture trips.
There are numerous locations included in our trips, where you can see remains from different prehistoric periods. These are for example the area of Dorkovo (Plovdiv municipality), where fossils of 5-million-year-old prehistoric mammals of the Pliocene geological epoch have been found, the Magura Cave in Northwest Bulgaria, Kazanlak, Stara Zagora (Karanovo Neolithic culture), as well as the Varna Necropolis, where the oldest processed gold in the world (from 4 400 – 4 100 BC during the Chalcolithic period) has been found.
These were times marked by almost constant fights and wars for territories. At the end of the VII century Khan Asparuh, conquered an eastern part of the Byzantine empire and marked the beginning of a new era. What followed were centuries of political and military confrontations during which Bulgarian lands reached the shores of three seas for the first time under Tsar Simeon I. However, in 1 018 Bulgaria fell under Byzantine rule only to be resurrected by the uprising of Asen and Peter in 1 185.
The Bulgarian state once again flourished during the rule of Tzar Ivan Assen II in the XIII century, when the county achieved its biggest power and conquered the territory of almost the entire Balkan Peninsula including parts of present-day Romania, Greece, North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. Again the empire had access to 3 seas – the Aegean, Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
As a gateway between the east and the west the Bulgarian Kingdom succumbed to the fierce Ottoman invasion in Europe. No force in the world at the time could stop the power that rose from the east. The Bulgarian nation was under the Ottoman rule for almost 500 years.
As a result, the country’s development almost stopped. Nevertheless, this period is a prime example of how strong and unbreakable the spirit of Bulgarians is. During all these years they managed to keep their language, religion, culture and traditions alive. And the revival in the XIX century gave birth to the Third Bulgarian State.
Nowadays, during the culture trips, you can see different tools, clothes and craftworks, churches and monasteries from this period in different locations, spread all around the country.
Since 1878 Bulgaria has officially been a free state and has been in constant trials and tribulations ever since. The desire for national unification leads the country to numerous regional wars, followed by WWI and WWII. The outcome of the Second World War left Bulgaria under the political and cultural influence of Soviet Russia.
The communist party held its regime till 1889. Ever since Bulgaria follows the path to democracy and has been a member of NATO since 2004 and of the European Union since 2007.
It is amazing how the ancient crafts not only persisted but achieved development during the past years and now they are very popular among young people in Bulgaria as well.
We can say that crafts are like a bridge between the past and the present. They are also an effective way to preserve the ancient customs and traditions in modern times when many people value handmade items with a personal touch. This is what we can stand against the massive factory-produced goods coming from different parts of the world but unfortunately carrying no cultural significance or distinctiveness.
During the culture trips in Bulgaria, you will have the opportunity to visit museum complexes with active craft workshops. In many different locations, you can see the production process, learn some secrets well-kept during the past centuries and buy some original items that came from the hands of the local masters.
Because of the strong spirit and self-awareness of local people, the Bulgarian nation managed to preserve its culture over the years, regardless of the difficult times that passed. Even now people in villages are regularly performing some ancient customs and rituals like the famous barefoot dance over live coals – Nestinarstvo – entered in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
People celebrate numerous holidays related to fertility, forgiveness, a homage to the dead, gatherings with music, songs, jokes and rituals between young people, traditional weddings, etc. It might be a unique experience for each visitor to submerge in the local culture and to act as a first-hand participant in one of these holidays and rituals during our trips.
There are 9 UNESCO objects in Bulgaria which is an amazing fact having in mind the size of our country. Would you like to visit all of them on our culture trips? It is completely possible for just a week!
Bulgarian people show a lot of respect for food and wine, maybe a heritage from their Thracian ancestors. For them, food was not just a natural necessity even back in antiquity where the world was still very prime. Bulgarians often say “let’s sit at the table”, which means not just to eat, but to socialize, to discuss politics, to entertain or just chat. All the important life events commemorate on a table and that is why food is on such a pedestal in Bulgarian culture.
The local cuisine is very interesting, as, through the years, it has been influenced by many different cultures, which passed through the country’s territory and left their trace. It is a mixture of west European, Mediterranean and Oriental cuisine. It’s true to say the culture of a nation can be recognized by its cuisine, so you are welcomed to explore the great variety of mouth-watering meals found here on our trips.
As for the wines, we already mentioned that the country has a tradition in winery since ancient times. The numerous artefacts and vessels related to wine consumption, production and storage are clear evidence for this fact. Nowadays the country is gradually opening to the world with its wine production and it is becoming a hidden gem on the world wine map.
Apart from the traditional grape varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, here, on our wine trips, you will be able to taste something different. The local varieties as Mavrud, Rubin, Pamid, Gamza, Evmolpiya, Dimyat, Misket, Keratsuda, Gergana and Melnik are here to challenge your palate. Some of these varieties had already achieved popularity abroad. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill used to order 500 litres of Melnik wine each year for the cellar at his estate in Marlboro.
You can go further in your trips and dive deeper into the local culture by meeting with people from towns and villages. We can arrange a meeting with colourful personalities, regular rural Bulgarians that can make a personal demonstration of cooking, crafts and traditions, as well as meeting with students from specialized schools (music, art, etc).
The country has 7 different folklore areas, each of them with unique customs, dressing style, crafts, traditions, songs and dances. The variety is huge so all you need to do is come and explore.
Another part of Boiana-MG Company activities is organizing Educational trips for students and professionals from all over the world. The main purpose is exploration, cultural exchange, as well as exchange of technologies and know-how for producing different goods. This includes visits to local schools, historical and ethnographic tours and also visits to local factories and farms.
They are so many, but here are the highlights of our culture trips:
Boiana-MG Travel Company offers all kinds of cultural and educational trips. You can take advantage of our guaranteed departure trips, tailor-made trips or self-drive trips. The standard inclusions in culture or educational trips are accommodation in selected hotels (5-star, 4-star, 3-star, 2-star, guest houses and rural hotels), meals, and dedicated transportation throughout the tour, entrance fees and guide’s services.
We can also include additional services as porterage, upgraded meals, drinks, wine tasting, cooking classes, and many other different services and attractions.
For maximum flexibility, we also offer self-drive trips. Accommodation, car rental and personal meeting with our travel consultant upon arrival are the standard minimum of services, which are included. For a better experience during your exploration, you can request to include also many other additional services. Or if you prefer you can just receive our recommendations about all the possible visits and activities, so you can decide on your own while travelling.
You are invited to take this opportunity and request free travel advice with one of our travel consultants. Just send us your ideas by e-mail and we will propose the best personalized travel solution for you. So please do not hesitate and go ahead to send us your inquiry for your perfect culture trip.