travelin2bulgaria

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Veliko Tarnovo Day

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Veliko Tarnovo is accustomed to vibrant festivities but not even Bulgaria’s national holidays of Independence and Liberation Days have matched the hordes of revelers that the city experienced for the city’s weekend of celebrations which climaxed on the 22nd March. According to the Novinite news agency, more than 30 thousand people squashed into the streets to enjoy the party and Bulgarians from right across the country came to immerse themselves in the thrill of the merrymaking.

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When we arrived, quite late as the main roads into the centre were blocked off further afield than usual, we ambled around a corner from the Yantra Hotel and were met by a lorry with its sides fully open, a party onboard and blasting out dance music through the streets.  Behind it was a sea of Bulgarians cheering and jumping around as far as the streets could hold them.

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We thought we could escape from the throng of thousands by heading down a set of side steps which would lead us down into Gurko Street but with over an hour to go until the 3D light show at Assenovtsi Monument, large fractions of family, friends and tourists  had already started to congregate to get a good view across the river. Squashing and sliding alongside people on the narrow cobbled pathway to get to our destination, I look up and every bit of balcony space from the surrounding houses above are bursting with guests as are the viewpoints from the road overlooking the river…everyone is waiting in anticipation for the show to begin so let the countdown begin…

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Thoughts of having dinner at a usually quiet Bulgarian bar are quickly discarded by the realisation that we’re never going to get through the crowds in time so with little time to spare, we persist through the mass of people until we finally manage to sneak through the entrance of a house belonging to a friend and find some sanctuary behind the closed door.

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Minutes later, I am fortunate enough to be seated on a seemingly precarious balcony with a view straight across the Yantra River and the Boris Denov Art Gallery building waiting for the combination of lanterns, lasers, 3D animation, music and fireworks to woo me…

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For more information about the Day of Holy Forty Martyrs click here

If you want to see a video of the show, click here

And if you want to see more photos, go here