AmaWaterways Excursions Vidin, Bulgaria, a look at AmaDante & Veliko Tarnovo and Plovdiv, Bulgaria
AmaWaterways Danube River Cruise Excursions to Vidin, Bulgaria, a look at the luxurious Amadante River Cruise Ship, and then touring of Veliko Tarnovo and Plovdiv in Bulgaria before heading to Istanbul, Turkey on an AmaWaterways Danube River Cruise that began in Budapest, Hungary.
Vidin is a port town on the southern bank of the Danube in northwestern Bulgaria. It is close to the borders with Serbia and Romania, and is also the administrative centre of Vidin Province, as well as of the Metropolitan of Vidin (since 870). As of February 2011, the town has a population of 47,138 inhabitants. An agricultural and trade centre, Vidin has a fertile hinterland renowned for its wines.
Veliko Tarnovo is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. Often referred to as the City of the Tsars, Veliko Tarnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists with its unique architecture. Until 1965 the name of the town was Tarnovo, and this is still the common name. The old city is situated on three hills, Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora raising amidst the meanders of the Yantra. Tsarevets housed the palaces of the Bulgarian Emperors and the Patriarchate with the Patriarchal Cathedral, as well as a number of administrative and residential edifices surrounded by thick walls.
Trapezitsa was known for its many churches and as the main residence of the nobility. In the Middle Ages it was among the main European centres of culture and gave its name to the architecture of the Tarnovo Artistic School, painting of the Tarnovo Artistic School and literature. Veliko Tarnovo is an important administrative, economic, educational and cultural centre of Northern Bulgaria. As of February 2011, the town has a population of 68,783.
Plovdiv (Bulgarian: Пловдив) is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia with a population of 338,153 inhabitants as of February, 2011. It is the administrative center of Plovdiv Province and the municipalities of the City of Plovdiv, Maritsa municipality and Rodopi municipality, whose municipal body had a population of 403,153 inhabitants as of February 2011. It is an important economic, transport, cultural and educational center, as well as the second-largest city in the historical international region of Thrace after Istanbul. It is the tenth-largest city in the Balkans after Istanbul, Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Zagreb, Skopje and Tirana.
Plovdiv's history spans 6,000 years, with traces of a Neolithic settlement dating to roughly 4000 BC, ranking it among the world's-oldest cities. Plovdiv was known in the West for most of its recorded history by the Greek name Philippopolis, which was introduced in 340 BC. Plovdiv was originally a Thracian city before later becoming a Greek and a major Roman one. In the Middle Ages, it retained its strategic regional importance, changing hands between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. It came under Ottoman rule in the 14th century. In 4 January 1878, Plovdiv was liberated from Ottoman rule by the Russian army and was within the borders of Bulgaria until July, the same year, when it became the capital of an autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia. In 1885, it and Eastern Rumelia itself became part of Bulgaria.
AmaWaterways is celebrating its 10th Anniversary by looking back on an award winning 2011 which saw their fleet expanded to 15 of the most luxurious river cruise ships in the industry. In 2012 they will add the AmaCerto, with a host of amazing new design features, and the Zambezi Queen, which will ply the waters of the Chobe River in the Chobe National Park during AmaWaterways African Safaris and Wildlife River Cruises.
While adding new ships every year, AmaWaterways is always retrofitting existing ships with the latest amenities, upgrades and inventions. With a commitment to bring the best in river cruise vacations, AmaWaterways' has always and will always lead the way in unparalleled on-board services that are constantly fine-tuned for the highest customer satisfaction. These factors, combined with a slate of new itineraries and specialty programs such as extremely popular Wine River Cruises, which were launched in 2010, had made AmaWaterways the front runner in this burgeoning new segment of the travel business.
Over the years AmaWaterways garnered a number of Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly, picked up an Award of Excellence form Luxury Travel Advisor, a Cruise Passenger Readers Choice Award in Australia for Best River Ship and was recognized for its Twitter account that put AmaWaterways on the list of The Top 25 Online Cruise Vacation Influencers by Influencers in Travel.
For more info about river cruising with AmaWaterways in Europe, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa go to AmaWatewaysPR.com.
Pliska railway station, Bulgaria
Pliska (Bulgarian: Плиска, Old Bulgarian: Пльсковъ) is the name of both the first capital of Danubian Bulgaria (the First Bulgarian Empire) and a small town (a former village known as Aboba) which was renamed after the historical Pliska after its site was determined and excavations began.
Pliska was the capital of Bulgaria between 681 and 893 AD. According to a Bulgarian chronicle, it was founded by Khan Asparukh. It is called Pliskusa by Georgios Kedrenos and Anna Comnena. It had an area of 23 km² and was surrounded by a moat and earthwork ramparts. The walls of the inner fortress were 2.6 meters thick and about 12 meters high.
Pliska was sacked by the Byzantine army in 811, but the invaders were soon driven out by Khan Krum (see Battle of Pliska). Khan Asparukh brought in artisans and craftsmen to improve the city. In 886, Boris I founded the Pliska Literary School (after 893 Preslav Literary School), which was headed by Naum of Preslav.
In 892, the city became the scene of a pagan revolt led by King Vladimir. After the crushing of the revolt, Vladimir was dethroned and the third son of Boris I, Simeon, was installed into power. One of the first steps of the new ruler was to move the capital to Preslav, a fortified town in the vicinity of Pliska, probably because of the steadily strong pagan influence in the old capital.
The importance of Pliska gradually waned throughout the 10th century with the concentration of power and resources in Preslav. The city was destroyed during the assaults of the Kievan Rus' and the Byzantine Empire between 969 and 972 and was not rebuilt again.
The ruins of the city of Pliska lie 3 km north of the modern village of Pliska. The site of the city is currently a National Archaeological Reserve. Ruins of the Great and the Small Palace, the strong stone fortifications and the Great Basilica (c. 875), one of the largest Christian places of worship of its time, used both as a royal church and as a national patriarchal cathedral, can be seen in the reserve.
Pliska Ridge on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Pliska.
Under Ottoman rule, the village known as Pliska since 1947, was instead called Aboba, a name which it kept until 1925, when the name was changed to Pliskov, a variant of its current name. The settlement has a population of 1124 and is located 146 m above sea level in Shumen Province at the south end of the Ludogorie plateau. It is approximately 400 km northeast of Sofia.
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