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Montana Tourist Attractions

Montana Tourist Attractions - Bulgaria's region of Montana is so rich in natural resources and interesting cultural and historic landmarks, it is an area that you will want to visit again and again. Not only is the surrounding landscape idyllic with its abundance of age-old spruce trees nestling beneath the Stara Planina Moutains, but the opportunities for tourism and recreation are also extensive. The area is perfect for fishing, parasailing, hiking and relaxing particularly in one of the many neighbouring mineral spas.

Around the Town

Montana tourist attractions include the Museum of History, which has over 50,000 exhibits and was established in 1953. The museum’s exhibits represent the cultural and historical development of the town since the 5th century BC to the present day. There are many fine Thracian relics from the Bronze Age as well as some stunning silver jewellery from the 13th century. Also of great historical importance is the collection of 18th and 19th century icons. The Kiril Petrov art gallery is known for its valuable works of art and is one of the best-stocked art galleries outside of Sofia containing over 2,350 masterpieces. Rising above the town, the remains of the ancient Montana fortress can be seen perched on Kaleto- Gradishteto Ridge. Montana’s other cultural monuments include an Orthodox church, an Islamic mosque, a Revival period house and a monument erected during the communist era. The main open plan square so typical of so many Bulgarian towns has an impressive display of fountains and is a pleasant place to stroll, shop or watch the world go by from one of the pavement cafes.

Ogosta Lake and Dam

The Ogosta Lake is possibly the most enthralling site in the area. It is the second largest artificial lake on the Balkan Peninsula and one of the biggest in Europe. Its water comes from three rivers, the Ogosta, Burzia and Zlatitsa. The lake has an interesting history; it took 20 years to build the lake, which was finally finished in 1986. Two villages, Jivovtsi and Kalimanitsa, were deliberately flooded in its construction and its inhabitants were relocated to Berkovitsa and Montana.
Originally the lake was intended to irrigate large areas of agricultural land between Montana and Zlatia near Lom, but the necessary pipe infrastructure was never completed and today the lake is used for electricity production with two hydro-electric power-stations situated close to the Ogosta Dam. The lake is also a popular destination for tourism and recreation and offers some excellent commercial fishing facilities.
Ogosta dam lies close to the village of Bistrilitsa. It is one of the largest dams in Bulgaria. The region hosts numerous private villas and is suitable for recreation and sports.

 

 

Berkovitsa

If you visit the lake and dam then it is well worth stopping off at Berkovitsa. This town also has its own ski resort on the northern slope of the Kom Peak of the Balkan Mountains. Within the town centre there are a host of cultural sites including the distinctive 18th century clock tower, the 19th century Ivan Vazov House-Museum, which displays typical Renaissance architecture in particular some elaborately engraved ceilings and used to accommodate the famous author of the first Bulgarian novel. Another classic example from the Renaissance period is the Sarbinska House, a single storey, 19th century building characterised by its fascinating woodcarvings. Today it hoses an ethnographic exhibition detailing local life as it was over a hundred years ago. The town’s church the Birth of the Mother of God Church is also typical of the Revival era and contains some impressive wood-carved icons and religious paintings. Perhaops the oldest relic in this area is the medieval fortress Kaleto. It was a former Christian stronghold under Byzantine rule and today you can still see thrones for the priests and the bishop in one of the two basilicas.

The Carpets of Chiprovtsi

A visit to this quaint village is a worthy experience, beautiful carpets hang from balconies and there are many more to see in the Carpet Museum. Carpet weaving has been a key factor in this village’s economic success. Ever since Ottoman rule Chiprovtsi has been renowned for its carpets in particular its kilims, which are double sided woolen carpets. Their designs and colours are more akin to paintings by Paul Klee – large geometric designs in bold, bright colours with the most typical designs being geometric floral patterns in burgundy, red and dark blue. The handmade kilims are all unique woven by highly skilled and creative women from the village. They can weave between two and three square metres of carpet a month and to complete a kilim of three metres in length takes about 50 eight to nine hour days. The life span of each carpet is incredible even if it is used as flooring as opposed to a simple wall covering – it is guaranteed to last at least two generations.

The Mineral Spas

The healing mineral waters of this region have been acknowledged as being beneficial since ancient times. The temperature of the water can range up to 38° C and it has a clear, colourless, odourless and is great to drink. One of the most famous spas in this region is Varashets, which used to be the oldest as well as the largest balneological health resort in the country. Not only is it famous for its curative mineral springs and two spa centres, but also for its mild mountain climate, beautiful scenery and large well- manicured park. The town has an excellent tourist infrastructure. So make sure you find time to visit this beautiful region and all of the Montana tourist attractions.