Hello and welcome back bookdragons, tv wizards, and travel seekers! You might know my name by now and you probably figured out that I love to talk about books, tv shows, beer, and travels. But what you don’t know is that I come from an ancient land of warriors, also known as Bulgaria. My hometown lays on the gate of one of the most beautiful mountains in Eastern Europe – Rodophi and it’s called Asenovgrad. Today am going to tell you all about it.
Asenovgrad is the largest town in Bulgaria that is not a province center. It was founded by the Thracians as Stenímachos around 300–400 BC. In 72 BC the city was captured by the troops of the Roman Empire as part of the Roman expansion towards the Black Sea. After a long period of peace, the town was destroyed by the Goths in 251 but rebuilt later. In 395 the Roman Empire was divided into two parts and the city fell under Byzantine Empire control. Afterward, the Slavic tribes flooded the region (until around 700 AD) and became the majority of the population.
During the wars between the Bulgarian and the Byzantine Empires, the city became a major military stronghold for the Bulgarian rulers. Due to an aggravation of the relationships with the Latin Empire, in 1230 Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Asen II strengthened the local fortress Stanimaka and for this reason, the city and the fortress were named after him in 1934 – Asenovgrad (literally city of Asen) and Asen’s fortress.
Nowadays it is best known as a designer’s town full of fashion stores, specifically about bride dresses. But if you don’t have a wedding on the horizon, you can still come to visit my beautiful town because there is so much to see here. The beautiful scenery for example or the hundred big and little churches and monasteries, for which they call it The Little Jerusalem. The most iconic church in the town is the Church of the Holy Mother of God, which is the only preserved building of the Asen’s fortress.
So if you’re ever in Bulgaria, make sure to visit the gate to the Rodophies – Asenovgrad.
Of course, I couldn’t help myself and I made a video, so be sure to check it out! Happy travels!