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What to see if you travel along the Sub-Balkan Road

/ Republican road I-6 /

Sopot – Karlovo – Kalofer – Pavel Banya – Kazanlak PART 1

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Sopot is located 136 km from the town of. The town of Sopot is located in a distance of 136 km from Sofia. As a settlement its history began about 3 000 years ago. Massive Roman ruins lie beneath the very centre of the town.

The entire proposed trip can be done on the Republican road I-6 or the so-called Sub-Balkan road. Sopot is located in the fertile Stremska valley, at the foot of the Balkan Mountains, near the town begins the starting station of the Sopot cable car, which can take you up to the hut Nezabravka.

Before the Liberation, Sopot was an important centre for the activities of Vasil Levski, who was baptized there in the Sopot Monastery as Ignatius the Abbot. Here the Deacon established the first monastic revolutionary committee.

In Sopot you must see:

There is our home of blessing,

There the corner born, the corner dear,

Magnet for sacred memories,

where I was born…


In 1850 in the town of. Ivan Vazov – Bulgarian poet, writer and playwright. The poet’s native house was destroyed and burned down during the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation, but later in 1935 it was officially restored and opened as a museum.

Part of the National Literary Museum, the Ivan Vazov Museum has preserved an impressive collection of manuscripts, photographs, documents, personal belongings and valuable materials that bear witness to the life and work of the great writer. Vazov created a great number of works – poems, short stories, novels, dramas, comedies, novels, travelogues.

Many of his works aim to perpetuate, remind, awaken the feeling of belonging to the homeland, to the nation and its cause, to the history of our heroic past, which we all know and remain forever in our minds as Bulgarians.

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Among them are the novels “Under the Yoke”, “Nemily-Nedragi”, “A Bulgarian Woman”, “The Sheeple of Shipka”, “I am a Bulgarian”, “Epopeia of the Forgotten” and others.

Ivan Vazov

Annually, on the author’s birthday – 9 July, the Vaz celebrations are held, and every five years the Vaz Prize for Literary Creativity is awarded.

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…I also see the school kindly,

on that edge,

my childish soul blooded

with love for God and the world…


Maiden (Radino) school was built in 1851. It was one of the first girls’ schools in Bulgaria. One of the rooms recreates a Renaissance classroom. Another room houses a permanent exhibition of prints by Binka Vazova – niece of the folk poet, with views of old Sopot. Burned during the Russo-Turkish War and later rebuilt. The girls’ school and other places in Sopot are described by Vazov in the novel “Under the Igo”.

interior of Radha Gospodina's classroom
Renaissance church "St. St. Apostles Peter and Paul

The Renaissance church “St. St. Apostles Peter and Paul”, which is a parish church, is located in the central part of the town of Sopot. It is located at the southern foot of the historic Trapeto Hill and in the immediate vicinity of the Sopot Maiden Monastery. With its impressive appearance, it is one of the most representative buildings of church construction in the Bulgarian lands.

  • Chapel of the Protection of the Virgin
Chapel of the Protection of the Virgin

Today’s chapel “Protection of the Virgin Mary” was built in 1943, but the very place on which it is built has a centuries-old and rich history, with great weight in the past of the town. According to a local legend, it was this Christian temple that gave the Turkish name to the town – “Akce Klise” (White Church), with which the settlement was recorded in the Ottoman documents throughout the period of slavery, until the Liberation – 1878.

  • Grandfather Stoyan’s waterpot

Grandfather Stoyanov’s Mill is located in the northwest corner of the town. The historic mill from Vaz’s novel “Under the Yoke” is in operation and shows the interior of a typical carriage mill. In it is Grandpa Stoyan’s room with its preserved interior, as well as the workroom. In the vicinity of Vodenitsa is the marked favourite stone, on which the national poet Ivan Vazov used to sit.

Grandfather Stoyan's waterpot

C a r l o v o

The Apostle’s City

Karlovo the town of Vasil Levski

The town of Sopot is located 5 km away. Karlovo. In the 15th cent. The village of Sushitsa (today’s Karlovo) was given to Karlazade Ali Bey as a possession, and for a century the village gradually grew into a town and began to be called Karlova. It was Karlazade Ali Bey who built the oldest surviving building in Karlovo – the Kurshum Mosque (1485), so called (“Lead Mosque”) because of its lead roof. Its building has been declared a cultural monument. It is believed to lie on ancient Thracian remains.

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The Lead Mosque

Many prominent revolutionaries, scribes, teachers and fighters for freedom and independence originated from Karlovo.

In Karlovo you must see:

In the architectural reserve you will enjoy the incredible Renaissance architecture immortalized and preserved in 115 houses – carved ceilings, frescoed walls, decorated gates. Although rare, but during this period the anonymity came to an end and here the masters began to sign their works – Hadzhidimiter’s house in Karlovo – the masters Spas, Ivan and Non, the Djambaz house in Karlovo – Master Patyo.

  • Municipal History Museum “Karlovo” and the church “St. Nicholas”
Karlovo Municipal History Museum and St. Nicholas

The History Museum in Karlovo is housed in the building of the former men’s school. During its hundred years of existence, the museum has preserved in its funds hundreds of cultural monuments from antiquity to the present day and gives visitors the opportunity to trace the history of the Karlovo region.

  • Ethnographic exposition “The Mazak House”

The Mazak House was built in 1840 by Hristo Pop Vasilev, a teacher and priest in Karlovo, a companion of Levski. In his home he made the first virgin school. Because of his educational and revolutionary activities he paid with his life in.

In the women’s room on the first floor there is an exposition of a traditional occupation for the women of Karlovo – the knitting of Kalofer lace.

Ethnographic Exposition Mazak House
  • Zoe’s house

You can rent a room in the lovely Zoe’s House here

Zoe's house

See also Chardakliev’s house, Onbashiev’s house, Pate’s house, the house “The White Yard”, the house of Rayno Popovich, etc.

  • Daskal Botev’s House

There is a documentary exposition about the father of the revolutionary poet Hristo Botev Botyo Petkov. Photodocumentary exhibition presents the life and work of the prominent Renaissance enlightener.

Daskal Botev's House
  • The church “St. Nicholas”
St. Nicholas Church

In the Church of St. Nicholas you can see the handwriting of the famous icon painters Nikola Dospevski and Ivan Zografski. In 1877. Many people from Karlovo, hiding from the Turks in the midst of the Russo-Turkish Liberation War, found their death here. The events are known as “The Scary.” In the courtyard is also the grave of the Apostle’s mother – Guna Kuncheva.

  • The Monument of Vasil Levski

    The majestic monument was built in the first years of post-liberation Bulgaria and depicts the Deacon with a pistol and a roaring lion behind him. You can see it on Vasil Levski Square.

    The Monument of Vasil Levski

    The Buhalov Inn is one of the emblematic Renaissance houses in the beautiful complex “Ancient Karlovo”, which has recently been restored and opened its doors under the name “Centre for Crafts and Cultural Traditions”. The Karlovo Revolutionary Committee met here.

    The Owl Khan

    The National Museum “Vasil Levski” consists of the restored house of Vasil Levski, a newly built chapel and an exhibition hall.

    On July 18, 1837 Vasil Ivanov Kunchev – Levski, ideologist and organizer of the Bulgarian revolutionary movement was born here. One of the greatest Bulgarian national hero, fighter for freedom and independence of Bulgaria.

    The chapel holds his hair, which he cut on Easter Sunday in 1864. and gives to his mother for safekeeping.

    National Museum of Vasil Levski
    • Karlovo Kale

    The fortress is small in size and belongs to the so-called. castles. It covers an area of about 500 m². The layout of the fortress, the location, the technique of construction and the discovered artifacts date the fortress from the period of late antiquity IV-IV century. It was used for guarding and monitoring the roads crossing the mountain and the Roman road in the foothills of the Balkan Mountains. Karlovo Kale is located 15 minutes north of Besh Bunar.

    • Karlovo waterfall

    You can walk and take beautiful pictures at the waterfall “Suchurum” – the most famous natural landmark in Karlovo. It is located in the northern part of the town after the hydroelectric power plant “Vasil Levski”.

    Karlovo waterfall
    • The factory and the monument of Evlogy and Hristo Georgiev

    Wool-textile factory of Evlogy and Hristo Georgiev was declared a monument of culture and architectural construction. Located at 70 Todor Kableshkov Street. It was built with Evlogy Georgiev’s funds in 1891. It was donated to the Karlovo City Municipality for the maintenance of the local schools.

    Wool-textile factory of Evlogy and Hristo Georgiev

    When to visit Karlovo?

    February 19 is the day of worship to the feat and sacrifice of Vasil Levski, and on July 18 is celebrated the People’s Congress dedicated to his birth.

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    Happy travelling from the BestDeals Rent-a-car team!