St. Constantine and St. Helena church, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The church of St. Constantine and St. Helena is one of the oldest Christian temples of Plovdiv, located on a site that housed a Christian sanctuary already in the early fourth century. It is on the ramparts of the Acropolis, in the center of the old town. The Severian and Memnos martyrs were beheaded in 304 (at the place where the church is) because of their Christian religion. The archaeologists support that the temple was built 30 years after the death of these martyrs and that it had their name. The actual name is due to Emperor Constantine when he was canonized as a saint so they changed its name and that of his mother. Along the years, the temple was built and rebuilt and the one we see today dates from 1832. In 1950, they discovered an ossuary that preserved the bones of tens of generations of inhabitants of Plovdiv during excavations. Today they rest in a pit located beneath a tombstone found in the temple courtyard. This court has a solid stone wall around that reaches 6 to 8 meters in height and is crowned by a massive brick cornice. Some additional buildings in the courtyard gives it the appearance of a monastery. The interior has three naves with a vaulted ceiling of extraordinary richness. There are murals, an iconostasis wooden sculpted, icons and a wooden sculpted pulpit.

Tips

If you visit the church without an organized tour, enjoy to walk in the old town because there are many things to see, beautiful architecture and lots of history.

Basilica of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor, Galilee, Holy Land, Israel

The Basilica of the Transfiguration is a Franciscan basilica on Mount Tabor in Galilee in the Holy Land, Israel. It was built with an orientation to the east in 1924 by the Franciscans who had the field since their installation in 1631, where Christian tradition says there was the event of the Transfiguration of Christ alongside Moses and the prophet Elijah, in favor of Pierre, Jacques and Jean. The Basilica is on the ruins of another Christian church that was built between the fourth century and the sixth century but also another church built in the twelfth century by the Crusaders. There is also a Franciscan monastery that was erected with the basilica. In the proximities of this basilica, there are another Greek Orthodox church that was built by evoking the same event of the Transfiguration. The road route for the transportation of materials needed for construction, is used today by pilgrims visiting the basilica. The entrance to the site is by the door of the Wind or Bab el-Hawa, old vestige of the Muslim fortress of the thirteenth century. The sanctuary has three new, large arc between the two towers in its facade and bronze doors. The nave is separated by the side of the vault arches and overlooks a staircase carved into the rock that goes down to the crypt. The scene of the Transfiguration is represented at the bottom in the choir. You can also see the remains of the previous masonry on the walls.

Tips

From the top of the mount, you might enjoy a magnificent view of cultivated fields of the plain of Esdraelon.

Bari, Puglia, Italy

Bari is an Italian city, capital of the metropolitan city of Bari and the Puglia region on the Adriatic coast. She is well known as St-Nicolas relics are there. It is also a hub of trade and political and cultural exchanges between Europe and the Middle East; having the largest passenger port in the Adriatic Sea. There are two interesting areas to visit, Bari Vecchia, or old town with its narrow winding streets; designed to minimize the entry of enemy soldiers inside the walls and the Murat quarter (XVIII) which is organized in a checkerboard pattern and represents the commercial tradition of the city. The city has several churches and palaces built between the Middle Ages and the eighteenth century. Being a city to the sea, there are several public and private beaches. To see: the Basilica St-Nicolas de Bari, St. Sabin Cathedral, Norman-souève castle, the fort of St. Anthony Abbot, the palace of the Apulian Aqueduct, the Atti palace, the Colonna Palce, the Mincuzzi Palace, the Archaeological Museum, among others. The city also became an important stop for cruise ships also giving special importance to tourism, they have restored the old town and many buildings and monuments. Also recognized by its rich cuisine that uses many products from the region, based on the three main agricultural products of Puglia: wheat, oil and wine.

Tips

If you do the one-day visit to Bari because you are on a cruise, you can explore the city on foot because all the attractions are close to the port.
If you want to relax on the most important public beaches (Pane e Pomodoro beach and Torre Quetta beach), you find them at the east of the city and you can take a taxi, they are about 10 km away.
If you stay longer than a day, there are many beautiful cities nearby like the famous trulli of Alberobello (70 km), Polignano a Mare (40 km), the city of art of Conversano (40 km) among others. You can also visit the major cities in the region, Foggia, Lecce, Brindisi and Tarente and the easiest way would be to rent a car.