Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Veliko Tarnovo, known like the ‘City of the Tsars’, is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of the province with the same name. It’s located on the Yantra River, surrounding the Balkans, famously known as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The old part of the city is situated on the three hills, Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, and Sveta Gora. The palaces of the Bulgarian emperors and the Patriarchate, the Patriarchal Cathedral and some administrative and residential edifices surrounded by thick walls are on Tsarevets. Trapezitsa is known for its many churches and as the former main residence of the nobility. During the Middle Ages, the city was among the main European centres of culture, it has an important architecture that attracts lots of tourists. It was a very important city with foreign merchants (Jewish, Roman Catholic, Armenian) but in 1393, the Ottoman Empire captured it. The city and the rest of present-day Bulgaria, remained under Ottoman rule until the 19th century, when national identity and culture reasserted themselves as a strengthening resistance movement (480 years under Ottoman rules). It was at Holy Martyrs Church in Veliko Tarnovo where Tsar Ferdinand declare the complete independence of Bulgaria in 1908. Today, Veliko Tarnovo is the center of one of the largest urban areas in Bulgaria and is one of the few cities in the country with a growing population.

Tips

It’s a city with a rich and interesting history, so a good way to know more about it, is to take a guided tour or a private guide. You’ll discover beautiful monuments and churches.
There are other important cities and naturals places to see near the city. You can rent a car to discover it by yourself but make attention because you’ll find people that only speak local language so if you don’t understand the signs, you’ll be in a problem. Make sure you have good maps and indications.

The Marques de Sapucai Sambódromo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Marques de Sapucai Sambódromo or Avenida Marques de Sapucai or Passarela do Samba is an avenue surrounded by bleachers of the carnival parade of the best samba schools of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is located west of downtown Rio de Janeiro. The avenue has just a dozen meters wide for about 800 meters long and there are bleachers which sides are open and there are boxes on three levels and the capacity is just over 80,000 people. The samba schools that parade are judged each year to choose which one will be best for 1 year. At each end, there is a place for preparation of dancers, floats, costumes and musical instruments. The parade of each school finished at Square of Apotheosis where there is also the museum of the samba. Before the existence of the Sambodromo (1984), the stands were to be assembled and disassembled every year and there wasn’t a specific place to do it. The avenue has a lot of traffic during the year but during the carnival is completely closed. Oscar Niemeyer was the architect who directed the project. The place will be used for the Summer Olympic Games this year for the marathon and archery.

Tips

Before buying tickets, learn much about the place cause you have to be able to see the parade. The best seats are in the middle or at the end of the avenue.
You have bars, places to eat something and toilets in each sector of the sambodromo. Behind the stands, there is another street with fast food, ice cream, souvenir shops and other toilets. Bring toilet paper in case it would be finished due to the length of the parade that usually ends up with the sunrise.
You can bring your own camera but professional cameras are prohibited.
Check for the Sambodromo Transfer that will give you the security of travel. In the sambodromo, there is no problem, there is security everywhere.

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.