Apricot trees everywhere..
Despite the low-cost airlines’ invasion, Bulgaria remains quite unexplored, especially the Northeastern region. I currently live in the Netherlands, but originally come from Silistra – a small city on the Danube river. Silistra or the apricot paradise of Bulgaria as I call it offers an endless list of things to do to discover the region. And it’s definitely out of the beaten tourist path.
Things to do to discover the apricot paradise – the city of Silistra
The first thing to do in the morning is to treat yourself a Bulgarian breakfast – banitsa and boza. The cafe with the best banitsa in the whole world I would like to recommend is not fancy at all, but it does not disappoint. Their banitza will blow your mind!
Central Park of Silistra
After breakfast, it’s time for a walk in Central Park. It is a very beautiful park longing the Danube where you will find a part of the ancient remains of the Dorostotum city, modern sculptures, and hundred-year-old trees.
Immerse yourself and discover the history, lifestyle and the ethnography of the city
Now, it’s time for some cultural immersion. There are three museums and one Art Gallery to explore in Silistra – Historical and Ethnographic museums and Medjidi Tabia Ottoman fort.
The Historical Museum
The Historical Museum offers a mockup of the ancient Durostorum so you can have an idea where all the Fortress’ walls were located. Remains of some of the walls still exist at several locations across the town. The museum shows artefacts of ancient past through its numerous necropolis found and preserved there.
The Ethnographical museum
The Ethnographic museum aims to represent how the people from this region and all its villages have lived as well as their traditions and rituals.
The Art Gallery
The Art Gallery has a rich collection of paintings of the most famous Bulgarian artists among which is Vladimir Dimitrov – Maistora (The Master).
The famous Medjidi Tabia Fort is located in the Southern part of the city and to reach it you have to climb around 300 stairs. During the summer it is very hot and it’s preferable to go there early in the morning, or late in the afternoon.
Enjoy the best fish soup ever at lunch time
There are many little and nice restaurants in the town, but one of the best is a fish restaurant with a view of the port. The name of the restaurant is “Bai Danio” (Bai is called someone who is older, wiser and respected) and offers the best fish soup. The fresh fish of the day comes from the fishermen at the port. The restaurant is always packed in the evenings as it’s a famous spot for good food and atmosphere.
“St. St. Petar and Pavel” orthodox church, “Kurshumlu Mosque”, and the Arminian church “Surp Astvadzadzin”
Furthermore, you can also visit the beautiful “St.St. Petar and Pavel” orthodox church, “Kurshumlu Mosque” in the city centre and the Arminian church “Surp Astvadzadzin”. The orthodox church and the Armenian church “Surp Astvadzadzin” are located close to each other. Back in the days, an Armenian community lived in the city, but only a few elder people are still alive today. All the streets in the Armenian neighbourhood keep their Armenian names. Also, there are few craft shops locally known as “The Armenians”.
Medjidi Tabia Fort
Finally, it’s time to head to Medjidi Tabia Fort. First, you have to embark on a long stair-climbing walk. Medjidi Tabia is located at a park locally called “The Fort”. The path to the Fort is just lovely – such a peaceful and greeny…you sit, you take a rest, and continue to climb. At the top, you’ll see the Fort.Â It has the form of the hexagon and is well preserved. It’s been built between 1841-1853.
The Fort was a part of the Ottoman fortification system used during the Crimean War (1853-1856) and the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. It is best preserved of all six facilities in the system. The name of the Fort means “The White fort” as you can see from the colour of the walls inside. Once you finish the museum part, you can exit the fort taking the path longing its walls. It’s a narrow path, but very beautiful and shadowy in the summer.
If you want to explore the nature nearby Silistra, go to Srebarna Nature Reserve. There are busses from Silistra to Srebarna regularly.
The Srebarna Nature Reserve is a nature reserve located in 20 km west of Silistra and comprises Lake Srebarna and its surroundings. It is located on the Via Pontica, a bird migration route between Europe and Africa. The reserve was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. You can admire pelicans and cormorants living in the lake.
An eco path lies around the lake, so you can walk around or just have a picnic in one of the facilities around. If you go there in the summer, be prepared for mosquitos. They can be big and evil. If you decide to stay overnight in the village, you can find accommodation at the locals.
Ruse – the pearl of the Northern Bulgaria
Our mini-trip continues and the next day we head to Ruse – the fifth largest city in Bulgaria. Ruse’s architects used as a model Vienna and designed the city in Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo style. Thus, it’s often called the Little Vienna. The city centre is just gorgeous, so take your time and walk down the streets. You can also easily reach the Danube park.
That was the final destination of unexplored Northeastern Bulgaria and its apricot paradise and it’s time to say good-bye. Sofia, Varna, and Veliko Tarnovo are just in a few hours by bus, train or car from Ruse. The bus and train stations are located at the same place): Goodbye Silistra and Northeastern Bulgaria!
Thanks for reading!