Yambol

Location:
The town of Yambol is situated in the South-eastern part of Bulgaria, within the hill - dotted Tundzha river valley. 300 km east from the capital Sofia and only 30 km west from the Black sea coast, Yambol has a strategic transport location is one of the biggest towns of Bulgaria with a population of about 83 000 inhabitants.

History:
According to the archaeological discoveries the first settlement in the area was established as long ago as the 6000 B.C. It is believed that the ancient Thracian town of Kabile was founded by Philip II of Macedonia and was the region's most prosperous political, economical, and religious centre from B.C. The city flourished under the Roman Emperor Diocletian who built a fortress here in the 3 AD and called it Diospolis - the "City of Zeus" in Greek, but also reflecting in a way the emperor’s name. In the following centuries the city became part of the First Bulgarian Kingdom and its name underwent various transformations until it became known with its present name Yambol. The inhabitants of Yambol were among the first to put up resistance to the Ottomans. The imposing fortress of Medieval Yambol was a significant obstacle on the way of the Ottomans and the city was under a long siege until it was eventually conquered in 1373. Throughout the Ottoman rule it established itself as a strategically located economical centre and many Ottomans settled here. After the Liberation of Bulgarian in 1878 Yambol continued to rely on agriculture, trade and light industry. The town has an important contribution to the world’s scientific progress as the family of the inventor of the computer John Atanasov stems from here.

Things to see:
In the city:
Yambol is a town with impressing cultural heritage and charming provincial feel.  The pace of life here is contagiously laid back which make for a pleasant and relaxing experience. A great place to start exploring the local lifestyle is the town’s Covered Bazaar, also known as the “Bezisten”. Since 1510 when it was created, it has attracted the travellers under the colourful arches of its roof with its lively atmosphere and huge variety of items on display. It was the heart of the city’s commercial activity.  It was declared a cultural landmark in 1972 and is valued as one of the most beautiful covered markets on the Balkan Peninsula and as an excellent example of Ottoman urban construction. Experts point out that the bazaar’s excellent acoustics make it a suitable venue for concerts. Another remnant from the Ottoman rule in Yambol adorning the central parts of town is the Eski Mosque erected at the end of the 14th century which is today the only Muslim place of worship in town and captivates with its spacious interior and intricate wall paintings. The main Eastern Orthodox Church in Yambol is the Saint George Church which dates back to the mid 19th century when it played an important role for the preserving of the culture and the national spirit since it became the home of a primary school established in Yambol. There are many beautiful wall paintings and woodcarvings from the time of the National Revival that can be seen today by the visitors of the church. The art lovers would find a visit the Papazov Art Gallery quite delighting. George Papzov was a great Bulgarian painter who was born in Yambol at the end of the 19th century but spent most of his life in France where he created his works under various artistic influences. More than 3000 impressive paintings, sculptures, and other works of art are on display at the gallery in dedicated to him. The town’s History museum will astonish the history buffs with its exhaustive exhibitions featuring more than 90 000 items that reveal curious facts about the history and the cultural development of Yambol and the region.  In the Planetarium you can observe the starry skies while the Tundzha River Park situated on one of the islands in the river is the  perfect place to go for a stroll and  spend a couple of relaxing hours.  A great time to visit Yambol is during the “Kukerlandia” Masquerade Festival that takes place in the beginning of March. The Kukeri are young men who dress up in various masquerade costumes and perform dances and rituals in order to scare the evil spirits away and bring health and rich harvest throughout the following year. The Kukeri tradition is closely related to the Bulgarian’s lifestyle in the times when people relied mainly on the land and the crops they were producing. The costumes resemble scary creatures and are made out of natural materials among which fur, beads, bells, colourful threads. To witness the Kukeri festival in Yambol is a unique experience since the typical costumes from the region are said to be among the most beautiful, colourful and authentic  ones in the whole country.

Outside the city:
The National Archaeological Reserve Kabile is located in the region of "Zaychi vrah" peak, 1.5 km north of the village of Kabyle. The complex occupies an area of about 6 000 square meters and includes the remains of ancient Thracian town, a Thracian sanctuary, remains of a Roman town and an archaeological museum.

The Thracian city of Kabyle occurred in the 2nd century BC on a plateau near the Tundzha River.
Its strategic location was the reason why the town was repeatedly attacked and conquered. Kabyle reached its apogee in the 2nd and 3rd century when it became the most important Roman military camp in the province of Thrace and a major crossroad for the trade routes stretching along the territory of the Eastern Roman Empire. At the end of 6th century the city was conquered and destroyed by the Avars.
Kabile was declared an archaeological reserve in 1965 and is now listed in the “100 National Tourist Sites” of Bulgaria. The museum in the complex offers displays items and artefacts found in the region during the different archaeological excavations.

The Horse-riding base "Simex" is located in the village of Kabile, 4km North-west from the town of Yambol. The base has training and racing horses from different breeds:  Hanover, Holsteiner, East Bulgarian, ponies. If you love riding or would love to try it, this can be the perfect place to do so in the region of Yambol.

Photos from Yambol


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