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Introducing Shipka

The tiny mountain village of Shipka, impressively set in the foothills of steep mountains, lies near the famous Shipka Pass. The one good route through the Stara Planina, the pass was where the Russian army and Bulgarian volunteers decisively thwarted an Ottoman counterattack in the 1877 Russo-Turkish War. Aside from the bucolic peacefulness here, the exquisite Shipka Monastery with its golden dome, and the Freedom Monument (dedicated to the soldiers who died fighting the Turks), make Shipka a great day trip from Kazanlâk. While it's easiest done by car, regular minibuses also go.

Shipka is now also world famous for some amazing archaeological remains. In 2004 a 2400-year-old burial shrine for Thracian King Seutus III was uncovered nearby, containing vast amounts of Thracian gold and a unique golden mask, which were promptly sent on triumphant tours of world museums. The tomb's physical remains can be seen, but the gold resides in Sofia.