Asenovgrad Fortress

This week we took a day trip to the Asenovgrad Fortress (Asenova Krepost) in Asenovgrad, Bulgaria.

The road from Plovdiv to Asenovgrad is a relatively straight and flat, which often is the recipe for the most dangerous Bulgarian driving conditions. Proceed with caution when on the straigh single lane roads! We followed the signs into town and turned right at the end of the road at the rotary which took us up towards the entry road.

Being a Saturday, there was plenty of pedestrian traffic as well as vehicle traffic. Visitors have the option of parking at the bottom and hiking the 2km or can drive part way or all the way up to the top. The top is a bit congested so we parked at the restaurant half way up and hiked the remainder of the way.

During the trek to the top there are some spectacular views of the city, surrounding Rhodope mountains, Asenitsa River and the fortress itself. The most dominating structure of the fortress is the Holy Theotokos of Petrich Church, built during the 12th-13th century.

Entrance into the fortress was 2 eva a person and proved to be a fantastic value. The fortress has a very authentic feel as there are no modern amenities catering to tourists. The steps are steep, the rocks slippery and there are no railings to be found. And of course we would have it no other way. The 360 degree views from the top are breathtaking and the ten minute climb to the top from the church is definitely worth it. Mid way up the slope is a stone with an incription indicating that the fortress was renovated during Tsar Ivan Asen II’s rule in 1231.

The fortress itself dates back to the Thracian time period and artifacts from Early Byzantine and Roman periods have also been excavated. It was an important landmark during the Middle Ages as well before being conquered and renovated by Asen’s armies in the 13th century.

On the way back, we stopped at the Fortress restaurant halfway down the mountain for some fries and cheese which were some of the best we’ve had thus far in Bulgaria. The outdoor patios provide great views of the mountains and a perfect spot to relax with a pint of beer or glass of wine after the several kilometer hike.

We hope you enjoy our video compilation and a few photos!

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