In and Around Shipka

Upcoming 2013  Permaculture Garden Design Course June 1-7
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 Shipka is a beautiful little place in the middle of Bulgaria. Blissfully warm and relaxed for the majority of the year when the winter comes it transforms the place into a sleepy snowy wonderland with the occasional wicked wind from the north .
     Shipka and the surrounding region has a wealth of history to explore  from antiquity through to modern. If you enjoy history you will not be disappointed (see below for a brief overview of Shipka history).
    If you have a passion for outdoor activities then you may enjoy the hiking or bike trails leading up through beech forests and grassy peaks with spectacular views around the Balkans.  There is also paragliding, delta planing nearby and rock climbing and skiing/snowboarding at nearby buzludja peak in the winter.  
    It's a great place for families and you  can easily find well priced and comfortable accommodation in Town.
    Around Shipka are many traditional  restaurants and you can enjoy pretty much unrestricted access into the countryside to explore and picnic around.  
 
 

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 Flora and Fauna

    If you have a thing for flowers than you will very much appreciate the vast amount of wild flowers in this region .The specific geographical location of Bulgaria, its geological history, and the varied relief underlie the richness of the Bulgarian flora. It includes 3700 species of vascular plants, among them 170 Bulgarian endemic species and 100 subspecies, and about 200 Balkan endemic species and subspecies.  click here to view records and photo's of Bulgarian Flora
    As with the flora, Bulgaria's faunistic richness results from a combination of climatic and geographical factors. In terms of its diversity, Bulgaria's fauna ranks amongst the richest in Europe, and the country is thought to be home to almost one quarter of species so far found on the continent. Up to now, almost 30,000 species had been discovered in Bulgaria. So far, just under 800 species of vertebrates have been recorded with the remaining 97% made up of invertebrate species.





In and around Shipka



A Brief History

    Settlement in the area dates back to the Neolithic era (6-5th millennium BC) and findings from this period are displayed in the Iskra Museum in the nearby town of Kazanluk. 
    During the 4th-3rd centuries BC the area was  within the dominion of the Thracian  ruler Seuthes III and took an important place in the historical development of Thrace during the Hellenistic era. The Thracian city of Seuthopolis was uncovered nearby Shipka during the construction of Koprinka reservoir ,sadly it lay on the proposed floor of the reservoir and was not saved. In the 4th century BC, near the ancient Thracian capital of Seuthopolis, a magnificent Thracian tomb was built. Consisting of a vaulted brickwork tomb, it contains, among other things, painted murals representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. This is open for visitors in the nearby town of Kazanluk.
    The region has been named the Valley of the Thracian Kings in recent years as discovery upon discovery unveils that the area was an epicenter for Thracian civilization. When one looks over the landscape it is impossible  not notice the numerous  artificial hills scattered around the region ,each one marking the memorial of a well respected Thracian .  
    One of the most impressive monuments of the Thracian civilization  is the recently discovered  Tomb/Temple  of Seuthes III. In the summer of 2004 a team of Bulgarian archaeologists unearthed this large, intact mausoleum in Shipka. It is thought to date back from the fifth century BC and is open to visitors.
    Alexander the Great passed through our neighborhood on his first campaign against the Triballians in the spring of 335 BC on his way to cross the Danube. The Shipka Pass  (which the village Shipka lies at the southern entrance of) was his route and has since than be used by many military campaigns.

After 1370 the region was under Ottoman dominion. The Ottoman occupation lasted some 500 years. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877 resulted in the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. The Battle of Shipka Pass played a decisive part in this liberation and standing in the village, looking over the center,  stands the impressive memorial to those who died during the battle, The Shipka Memorial Church.   




Shipka National Park is located in the same area where the great battles of the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation took place during the 1870’s - a complex of memorial tablets, trenches and monuments reminiscent of the fights.
On the top of the Mountain at Shipka rises the Monument of Freedom (was opened officially in 1934) - paid for by voluntary donations of the Bulgarian people and erected after the design of Atanas Donkov and Alexander Andreev, a sculptor.