Originally, Hisarya (also known as Hisar) was not on our road trip itinerary. But then I got word from my friend J. that she would be there for a few weeks. We immediately adjusted our route, which wasn’t hard, as the town was really close to where we were originally spending the night anyway. And boy howdy, am I glad that we did! Not only did I get to go out to dinner with my friend and meet her group (which was a blast), but Hisarya turned out to be a really interesting little city.
This small-ish village of about 10,000 people is well known for its mineral baths and springs, which were very popular with the Romans (back then the town was named Diocletianopolis)–this is evidenced by the large amount of ancient Roman ruins and massive wall that encircles much of the town center.
Today, the 22 therapeutic mineral springs are still popular with visitors and have ensured that this small town has an income. Many of the different springs are said to heal various ailments or treat different parts of the body. We drank from one, which had warm water, that was said to be good for the kidneys. Vince found another that was meant for the eyes, so of course he was into that and splashed it all over his face and eyes. I heard that another was good for “girl parts,” but I don’t know how people go about using that one in public!
I am sure the mineral baths are awesome, but I was much more into the extensive Roman ruins. To be frank, nearly every inch of Bulgaria is home to some sort of ancient dwellings and ruins–whether they be Thraician, Roman, etc. After awhile, they stop being so impressive. But Hisarya, with its thick fortress walls, is different. On each side of the walled fortress, there is a large gate. The road to Filopopolis (Plovdiv) passed through the main gate, which was known as “The Camels.”
Within the walls, there is a Roman amphitheater, baths, dwellings, and more. They are some of the best preserved ruins I have seen in Bulgaria.
Kalofer–birthplace of the poet and revolutionary hero, Hristo Botev–was the next stop on our journey. It’s hard to miss the town’s massive monument to Botev. It’s a bit of a climb; but the statue itself, and views of the town, are pretty impressive.
After spending some time taking photos and warming up in the sun, we headed back down the steps to the Hristo Botev National Museum. The museum and family home sit in the Botev gardens. Vince and I were the only tourists there (surprise surprise!). The museum itself features many of Botev’s personal effects, photographs, and family history.Very little was translated into English, so that was a bummer.
The tiny home of the Botev family sits next to the museum. After visiting the huge house museums in Koprivshtitsa, this one was a bit of a let down. However, I think it’s more about the fact that Botev himself lived in the house, rather than its grandeur or displays, that attracts visitors.
Another RT Round Up post will be up on Thursday. Tomorrow is Wordless Wednesday, so stop by and link up your own WW post if you have one!
Wishing you all a great week!