TRIP DURATION: 9 days
PRICE: € 1229 based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. Small group surcharge of € 270. Single room supplement € 130; Single rooms are subject to availability.
GROUP SIZE: 5–8
We will begin this photo excursion in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, where we will have a one-day photo tour with a local guide. We will continue south to the Danube River and Bulgaria, where we will take pictures of one of the country’s most beautiful cities, Ruse. Then we will go to the former capital, Veliko Turnovo, and further south to Gabrovo, Tryavna and the Shipka Pass, famous for its historical past. In southern Bulgaria we will follow the Strandzha Mountains – the largest protected territory in Bulgaria, which was established in order to protect the region’s unique ecosystems and biodiversity as well as its distinctive Strandzha folklore, culture and historical legacy. We will visit the villages of Brodilovo, Kosti and Bulgari; We will continue further south to the Turkish part of Strandzha, where we will reach the sea (the Black Sea) and the picturesque fishing village of Kiyikoy. We will conclude this trip in the most photogenic city in the region, Istanbul.
Along with visiting the most popular picture-taking spots, we will also photograph places where tourists don’t often go such as Balat, the glass factory, Santral Istanbul, the Yahya Efendi cemetery, Miniaturk, Rumeli Kavagi, Emirgan Park and Kuzguncuk. Photography styles: ethnographic/cultural, landscape and urban photography.
WHAT THE PRICE INCLUDES:
Group transportation in tour van/microbus; Accommodations based on two people sharing a room; Eight (8) nights including breakfast; Photographic leader in English; Day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary; Extensive pre-arrival information and services.
WHAT THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International air fare; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those arriving or leaving out of the tour dates: meals not included in itinerary; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, film or processing, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips of any kind.
DAY 1 Bucharest
This photo excursion will begin in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, at 9 AM from the hotel that has been selected in advance for participants (all trip participants should have arrived in Bucharest on the previous day). The entire day will be spent on a photo tour organized by a local guide. Between the two World Wars dozens of beautiful buildings were erected in the city, predominantly in the baroque and neobaroque styles, as well as the style typical of the Romanian capital established by Brakulesku.
There are more than 360 churches in Bucharest, which residents have jokingly commented on by declaring that there is “one for each day of the year!” An ambitious project by the Bucharest mayor’s office has turned the capital of Romania into the “Venice of the Balkans”, as Romanians often love to call it. Tourist gondolas hurry along the Dambovita River, which travels lengthwise almost completely across the Romanian capital. The Palace of Parliament (the former palace of the Romanian dictator Ceausescu) is the second-largest building in the world – after the Pentagon – with an area of 350000 m2 and a height of 86 m, not including the additional 92 m of subterranean floors, including a total of around 1100 rooms. It was built between 1984 and 1989 exclusively of Romanian building materials. Enormous halls, diverse architectural styles, rich decoration and vast spaces are the defining characteristics of this unique building. Since 1994 the building has been occupied by the Romanian parliament. The photo walk will conclude with a night photography session. We will spend the night in Bucharest.
DAY 2 Ruse (around 80 km)
In the morning we will head south to Bulgaria. We will cross the Danube Bridge on the eponymous river and then arrive at the Bulgarian riverside city of Ruse. The center of the city is renowned for its unique architecture dating from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Baroque, modern, neoclassical and secessionist styles find wide application in old buildings here, while their facades are adorned with bay windows, balconies, columns, pilasters, arches, sculptural figures, busts, monograms and shields. Roofs are made of galvanized sheet metal finished with small steeples, weather vanes, lightning rods and beautiful parapets. The style of many of these buildings is influenced by Viennese architecture, which is why the city is often called Little Vienna. Ruse won the distinction of being dubbed the most beautiful city in Bulgaria in 2009. The entire day will be spent taking pictures in this particularly beautiful city. We will spend the night in Ruse.
DAY 3 Veliko Turnovo (about 100 km)
Early in the morning we will leave for the old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Turnovo, where we will arrive at around 11:30 in the morning. The remainder of the day will be devoted to a photo walk around this magical city. Veliko Turnovo is shaped like an amphitheater and is situated on four hills: Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, Sveta Gora and Devingrad. According to contemporaries, medieval Turnovo was a new Jerusalem, Rome and Constantinople all in one.
The meandering Yantra River flows between the city’s hills, creating fantastic opportunities to practice landscape and urban photography simultaneously. We will see and take pictures of the following old architectural monuments: the Tsarevets Architectural and Historical Reserve; the village of Arbanasi, an architectural reserve; the Holy Forty Martyrs Church; the Demetrius of Thessaloniki Church; Saints Peter and Paul Church; the Saint Ivan Rilski Church; the Samokov market and others. We will spend the night in Veliko Turnovo.
DAY 4 Gabrovo – Strandzha (Brodilovo) (about 270 km)
We will have an early photo session in Veliko Turnovo, after which we will head to Gabrovo, where we will stop for a short photo session. Gabrovo is located at the foot of the Balkan Mountains. It is 25 km long and in some places only 1 km wide. The city is interesting from a photographical point of view; it provides opportunities for urban photography in a unique blend of architectural styles from pre-liberation, the communist era and the present day.
We will continue to Tryavna, located at the northern foot of the Trevnenska Mountains 20 km to the east of Gabrovo. The houses in this architectural reserve have preserved their original appearance; they are most famous for their woodwork. After this we will go through Shipka Pass (1185 m), which connects northern and southern Bulgaria, then continue on to Burgas and Strandzha. In the afternoon we will arrive in the village of Brodilovo, in the heart of the Strandzha Mountains, where we will have an evening photo session and spend the night. Strandzha is the largest protected territory in Bulgaria, encompassing more than 1% of the country’s total area.
DAY 5 Bulgari (about 60 km)
In the morning we will begin our tour of this magical mountain. We will visit the only village in Strandzha which holds the status of a folklore reserve, the village of Bulgari, where we will have our first photo session of the day. We will also spend part of the day visiting and taking pictures in the village of Kosti. We will again spend the night in Brodilovo.
DAY 6 Turkish Strandzha – Kiyikoy (about 100 km)
Early in the morning we will cross the border into Turkey and enter the Turkish part of Strandzha. We will go past the highest peak in the mountain range, Mahya Dagi (1031 m). We will stop for a short photo session in the nearby Turkish villages of Derekoy, Kapakli, Armagan, Cukurpinar, Baypinar and Kurudere.
We will have a short photo session in the small mountain settlement of Demirkoy. In the afternoon we will arrive in Kiyikoy at the edge of the sea. This small fishing village will provide us with wonderful opportunities to practice seaside landscape photography and to take pictures of locals, most of whom are fishermen. We will have an evening photo session at the harbor, which is particularly picturesque. We will spend the night at a hotel in Kiyikoy.
DAY 7 Istanbul (about 130 km) Early in the morning we will leave for Istanbul. We will spend the entire day taking pictures in the city.
Istanbul is perhaps the most photogenic city in this part of the world, offering countless opportunities to practice street photography. On this day we will take pictures in the Sultanahmet district (the historical part of Istanbul), the Grand Bazaar and the university, the Golden Horn, the Galata Bridge, the Beyoglu neighborhood and Taksim Square. We will also go to places that are not visited by tourists, where we can take pictures of authentic city life.
DAY 8 Istanbul
A photo excursion will be organized in collaboration with a local photo club to one or several of the following sites: Balat, the glass factory, Santral Istanbul, the Yahya Efendi cemetery, Miniaturk, Rumeli Kavağı, Emirgan Park and/or Kuzguncuk. Day 9 (16 July) – departure from Istanbul Participants can depart from Istanbul, return by plane to Bucharest or go to Sofia on the travel agency’s bus.
We can arrange an additional stay-over in Istanbul upon request.
BOOKING AND MORE INFO
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