Троян (Troyan). Sometimes, the spelling Trojan is used as well. I'm not sure if the name has anything to do with the ancient Troya in →Turkey. As a matter of fact, 'Troyan' derives from Via Trayana - a former Roman trade route crossing the mountain range near present-day Troyan.
Troyan stretches along the northern foot of Средна Стара Планина (Middle Stara Planina aka High Balkan mountains) right in the heart of Bulgaria. The closest bigger city is 30 kilometres away to the north - it's the local centre Ловеч (Lovech). South of Troyan, a road leads to the ridge of the mountains and the important Troyan pass (see below). Behind the mountains, the →Valley of Roses starts. It's around 130 km to the west to the capital →Sofia.
The town is rather small and the centre of an area, where agriculture and pottery play an important role. More interesting than the town itself is the monastery nearby (see below) and the road to the south, passing the (see →Troyan pass).
The town itself is only 130 years old and therefore rather young. However, there are remainings of much older settlements in the area. Only a few kilometres away from the town, there's the Троянски Манастир (Troyanski Manastir, Troyan monastery). This monastery is the third biggest monastery of Bulgaria, right after →Rila and →Bachkovo. Troyan Monastery was founded at the end of the 16th century. Even during the long Ottoman occupation, the monastery remained active and played an important role for the resistance movement against the Ottomans. The Bulgarian national hero and democrat V. I. Levski (1837-1873) founded the Revolutionary Committee in Troyan. Because of that, he was sentenced to death by the Ottomans.
Getting there / transportation
Troyan is the terminal station of the railway coming from Lovech in the north. This means, that there are direct trains from →Veliko Tarnovo and →Ruse to Troyan. As for other destinations, busses and microbusses are the best bet. Some busses cross the mountains, heading as far as →Karlovo, →Plovdiv and even to the capital →Sofia. Note that the pass road can become totally impassable to cars and busses during the winter months.
|Inside Troyan monastery|
Troyan monastery is comparetively young, but still it offers many interesting details. The main building is marked by a monastery church featuring a triple nave. Inside, some excellent icons created by the famous Sograph brothers from 1847 to 1849 can be seen (the Sographs also painted some icons for →Rila and →Bachkovo monastery). Originally, it was a wooden church, but the structure was replaced by a stone building in 1785 and extended in 1835. The iconostas from 1835 is a masterpiece of Bulgarian wood carving and was created by famous masters of the Trjawna school. Generally spoken, Troyan monastery is much smaller and less spectacular than the monasteries of →Rila and →Bachkovo. Therefore it's less frequented by visitors. Nevertheless, it's good for a nice stopover.
When you head south by bus or car, you will soon enter a steep road zigzagging to Troyan pass. The vast Stara Planina mountain range divides Bulgaria into a Northern and a Southern part. The further you get to the east direction Black Sea, the lower the mountains get. The mountains of Източна Стара Планина (Eastern Stara Planina) near the coastline do not exceed an altitude of 700 metres. The highest peak of the mountain range is the 2,376 m high Ботев (Botev). In the north-west of Bulgaria, the Stara Planina straddles the border to neighbouring →Serbia.
|War monument at the Troyan Pass: Truly an eerie sight|
Naturally, pass roads are strategically highly important points of a country. Important passes in Bulgaria include the 1,326 m high Шипка (Shipka) pass in the east between Казанлък (Kazanlak) in the →Valley of Roses in the south and Габрово (Gabrovo) resp. →Veliko Tarnovo in the north, the Петрохрански (Petrohranski) and Витиня (Vitinya) pass in the west (the motorway to →Sofia crosses the latter) and the Troyan pass in the middle. With an altitude of 1,525 metres, Troyan pass is the highest of those pass roads. The pass lies in the heart of Balkan National Park.
No specific hint, since I moved on the same day. Not many travelers make it to Troyan, so don't expect a large variety of accommodation options.
- bulgaria.domino.bg/troyan English-Bulgarian website about Troyan and its vicinity.
Do you have or do you know a good website about Troyan? Don't hesitate, let me know! After checking it, I would love to add it to the link list. You can submit a link by using the →contact form. Note that commercial websites will be treated differently.