My favourite way to visit this area is to begin at the Mother Bulgaria monument.  Cross the busy road and head down the street between the post office and a club of some sort.  On the way you will pass this sign pointing the distances to various cities around the world:

At the bottom of the street you will see the information sign about Gurko Street which leads off to the right.  Work your way up the street and then as the street begins to head downhill take any one of the numerous steps to the left.  This will lead up towards the Cathedral and library. From the Cathedral turn left heading back towards town and as you pass the Yantra Hotel on the right, cross over and climb the steps to the Samovodska Charshia with its numerous craft shops and souvenir places. Continue along this road passing the House with the Monkey and back onto the main high street which heads back to the Mother Bulgaria monument where you can collapse from exhaustion with a huge ice cream.


The Birth of the Holy Mother Cathedral is situated on the left as you head down the one way street from the Old Town towards Tsaravets.

It was built in 1842 and is another example of a work by Kolyu Ficheto, the architect from Dryanovo responsible for a number of houses and major buildings in Veliko Tarnovo.

Video Clip: View of Tsaravets from the Cathedral

Some more information and a nice 3-D interactive model of the building.



This famous street runs along the river Yantra in the old part of Veliko Tarnovo.  From the 14th to the 19th century, Bulgaria was under Turkish rule.  On 7th July 1877, Russian General Joseph Vladimirovich Gurko pronounced Bulgarian Independence.  The street where this declaration took place was renamed Gurko Street in his honour.

(Sign at the bottom of Gurko Street)

Okay, enough of the probably highly inaccurate history lesson!  It's a beautiful street which winds its way uphill into the heart of the old part of town. 

(Posing halfway up the street)

The houses perch high above the river and in between you get lovely views across town.  There is a restaurant about halfway up and a couple of small shops here and there.  You should also make time to see the Sarafkina House (more details elsewhere on this page).

(Outside the restaurant)


Located on Gurko Street, this former house of a wealthy money lender (which is where the word saraf comes from) is now an ethnographic museum. The downstairs is divided into small exhibition rooms where you can see furniture and clothing from the 1800s, and lots of other items such as jewellery, and examples of ritual bread, martenitsas and so on.  Upstairs there are lots of historical photographs from different local families.  The building itself is decorated with ornately carved wood and has lovely views across the river.

Open Tues-Sat

09:00 - 18:00 April till October.
09:00 - 17:30 November till March.

Admission  6 levs (adults) 2 levs (students)
Children under 7 - free
Free admission the last Thursday of the month


Further Information


If you carry on from Samovodska Cheresha towards the town centre you will soon see the House with the Monkey on your right hand side.  So named after the little statue situated on the facade.  The building was designed by Kolyu Ficheto, a very famous architect, and built in 1849 as the home of a wealthy merchant.


Someone with limited knowledge of Bulgarian may attempt to translate this as 'Only Vodka Cherries' imagining you can buy kilos of boozy fruit along here, but it is not so.  The name relates to the people of Samovdene who came here to sell their wares. The Samovodska Bazaar.

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