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Monument to the Assen Dynasty

Veliko Tarnovo


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Today I went on a walk to a place I see every day on my way to and from work; the Monument to the Assen Dynasty, which is on a hill surrounded on three sides by the River Yantra.

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On the walk over the bridge to get there I noticed something one of my students had told me about the week before; padlocks locked to the bridge railings. On each padlock was engraved or scratched two people's initials. Apparently, couples come here with an engraved/ scratched padlock, lock it to the railings and then throw the key into the river below. This symbolises the strength and longevity of their relationship. I got the impression from my student that this is quite a new tradition, and I don't know how seriously it's done, but I still think it's interesting.

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Once I reached the monument I admired it for a bit, took in the amazing views of Veliko Tarnovo on this side of the hill and took some photos. I couldn't see my flat because that looks over another part of the river from the other side of the hill. The Assen Monument consists of an upright sword, flanked by four Bulgarian Tsars on horseback. From 1185 to 1241, these Tsars helped the Bulgarian State reach its political, cultural and economic height, with Tarnevgrad (as VT was formerly known) as its capital.

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Behind the monument there was an art gallery, but to my surprise (considering it was a Saturday and a nice sunny day to boot, so quite a few people were around), it was dark inside and locked up. A notice said to ring the bell for entry, and that it was open today, but I chickened out of doing so. I thought it would feel really awkward having someone open up the whole thing just for me, even if maybe other visitors would come in after me. I will definitely go inside the place before I leave Bulgaria, however.

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So instead of going inside the gallery, I continued walking, taking more photos as I went.

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Soon I came across a fork in the road, with an extremely long set of steps up a hill in the middle. I climbed all the steps to the top of the hill, which is part of Sveta Gora Park. I climbed higher and higher until I could see all of VT and the hills surrounding it; I couldn't get many photos, however, because from the viewing point there were lots of trees and shrubbery in the way on each side (which were too steep and slippery to attempt scrambling down). It was great to get that sense of height though!

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After I had climbed back down all the steps and walked back past the art gallery and monument and across the bridge, I went on to the little Christmas market round the corner from Mother Bulgaria Square. To be honest, it didn't seem to sell anything that you wouldn't see in a Christmas market in the UK, and I didn't buy anything. Then I went back to the flat to rest and have some late lunch. I wanted to preserve my energy for the school Christmas party that evening!

Posted by 3Traveller 03:17 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged bridges art market bulgaria veliko_tarnovo river_yantra mother_bulgaria_square assen_monument sveta_gora_park

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