Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
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BULGARIA – THE LAND OF ORPHEUS

Cultural Tour & Folklore Workshop

Our newest suggestion is a combination of cultural tour and a workshop, which is an original and interactive way to experience the authentic spirit of the country.

The workshop is a joint project of Yomex Culture & Tourism and the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts Plovdiv. The program gives the opportunity not only to get acquainted to the Bulgarian nature and the rich historical past, but also to get an inside glimpse of the Bulgarian culture and its traditional values, woven in the authentic rhythms of the horo dance and ruchenitsa, with musical times and measures unique for the Balkan region.

Folklore dancers

St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Sofia

Rima monastery

Roman amphitheatre, Plovdiv

Plovdiv, Old town

Hissarya fortress

Bachkovo monastery

Smilyan village

Folklore dancers

Alexandrovo Tracian Tomb

Perperikon

  • BULGARIA – THE LAND OF ORPHEUS – THE PROGRAM

     DAY 1 – Sunday – Arrival to Sofia

    National Theatre Sofia IMG_0484 bg_folk_dancing

    Meet your English (French / German / Spanish / Japanese) speaking local tour guide at Sofia Airport, transfer and accommodation at 3*/ 4* centrally located hotel.

    Panoramic tour of the center of the city. The bus will drop you off at St. Nedelya Square to start the walking part of the tour – see the beautiful St. Nedelya Church and the ruins of the ancient center of Roman Serdica, the Rotunda from 4th century – the oldest preserved building in the city. Pass by the Presidency, the National Theater, the National Art Gallery to reach the temple St. Sofia which gave its name to the town long time ago. Take a closer look at the magnificent Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Transfer back to your hotel.

    “Get Together” dinner at local restaurant with live folklore music and traditional dishes

    DAY 2 – Monday – Full sightseeing day in Sofia & visit of Rila Monastery :

    430x323 treasure Rila_Mon_n

    Breakfast.

    09.00 h Pick-up from the hotel to spend the morning at the National Museum of History and Boyana church. The National Museum of History has the most impressive collection of national treasures from Palaeolithic through Neolithic, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Thracian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine history, with focus on the over 1300 years history of the Bulgarian state. See one of the oldest gold artifacts in the world dated around 8000 years BC and the unique masterpieces of the gold and silver Thracian treasures. Nearby, situated at the foot of Vitosha mountain, Boyana Church is one of the Bulgarian monuments included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Its frescoes dating back to 1259 are among the most valuable works of medieval European painting for their vivid use of Renaissance techniques and motifs. Departure to Rila Monastery /120 km, ~1.40 h drive from Sofia/.

    Lunch at a mountain restaurant along the river with menu of monastery receipts and trout.

    After lunch visit the the largest monastery complex in Bulgaria, part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage. A major Christian, cultural and enlightenment centre, it was founded in the X c. by St. Ivan Rilski as a colony for hermits in the heart of Rila mountain. The monastery is the best example of Bulgarian Medieval and Revival architecture and has original frescoes by famous Bulgarian master-painters of the National Revival period (XVII-XIX c). Truly unique masterpieces are kept in the monastery’s museum. Drive back to Sofia.

    No dinner service. Overnight

    DAY 3 – Tuesday – Sofia – Plovdiv

    plov-theatre_1864652b etnografski-muzejplovdiv2

    Breakfast.

    09.00 h Departure to Plovdiv /150 km, ~1 h 30 min/ – the second largest city in Bulgaria, an ancient crossroad between East and West with 24-centuries long history. Sightseeing in Plovdiv – it’s like an “open-air museum” where the culture of the ancient Thracians, Greeks and Romans mingles with the Christian culture of the Middle Ages – see the city stadium and the Forum ruins, the amphitheatre dating from 2nd century, antique mosaics, cobblestone streets, houses from the Revival period, churches and galleries.

    Lunch in a restaurant in the Old town and accommodation at 3*/4* hotel. Leisure time.

    17.00 – 20.00 h – first meeting of folklore workshop with teachers from the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts – Plovdiv. Presentation of the program – the Bulgarian folklore heritage – musical instruments, songs and introduction into horo dances. During the five days’ classes the participants will learn to perform some of the most characteristic Bulgarian folklore dances like ruchenitsa, pravo, makedonsko and daichovo horo, kopanitsa.               .

    ***Optional individual classes can be arranged for authentic Bulgarian folklore instruments for people who have some musical experience and interest upon request.

    Dinner at the hotel. Overnight

    DAY 4 – Wednesday – Plovdiv – Starosel

    Starosel starosel_degustationhisarya

    Breakfast. 09.00 h Departure to Thracian tomb of Starosel /50 km, ~1 h drive/. Visiting the Thracian tomb with a local guide – this is the oldest ever found royal Thracian complex with mausoleum dated back to the 5th century BC. Religious ceremonies, related to the cult of Mother Goddess, her son the Sun and Orpheus were performed in the temple. A warehouse for wine and water is situated in the northern part of the mound. Short drive to Starosel winery – tour of the complex and degustation of local wines. /Optional in September, during grape-harvest time – picking and bare-foot squeezing of the grapes…/

    Continue to Hissarya spa resort – famous for its warm mineral waters healing people from antiquity. Sightseeing of Roman ruins and leisure time for lunch, shopping and stroll in the calm green park area. Return to Plovdiv ~ 15.30 h.                                       .

    Afternoon workshop classes – folklore dances 17.00 -– 20.00 h.

    No dinner service. Overnight.

    DAY 5 – Thursday – Plovdiv – Smilyan – Bachkovo Monastery

    Asenova-krepost homemade-bulgarian-yogurt-recipe selo_Smilyan

    Breakfast. 08.30 h Departure to Smilyan /115 km, ~2 h drive/ – in the picturesque mountain Rhodopean village is located a popular yogurt eco-farm, where the kind hosts will show you how the healthy and delicious Bulgarian yogurt has been prepared for centuries. After the demonstration and degustation of the milk products head to Bachkovo monastery /85 km, 1.30 h drive./

    ~13.30 h Lunch at mountain restaurant with cool waterfall near the monastery.

    Visit of the second largest monastery in Bulgaria – it was founded in 1083 by the Georgian brother Bakuriani who donated the land. An icon know as the Holy Mother of God Icon with a silver cover dating from 1311 is kept in the cathedral. This icon is believed to have miraculous powers and gathers hundreds of pilgrims every year. On the return to Plovdiv – stop at Assenova fortress /30 km, ~ 30 min drive/. Return to Plovdiv ~16.00 h.               .

    Afternoon workshop classes – folklore dances 17.00 – 20.00 h.

    No dinner service. Overnight

    DAY 6 – Friday – Plovdiv – Alexandrovo Tomb – Perperikon

    3 Thracian Tomb_Alexandrovo_PIL_BULGARIA perperikon1 perperikon7

    Breakfast.

    08.30 h – Departure to Alexandrovo Thracian tomb /90 km, ~1 h 20 min drive/. Arrival at site ~10.30 h – visiting the museum and the replica tomb with beautifully preserved vivid frescos.

    ~12.30 h – pick-nick near the stone mushrooms – a beautiful natural phenomena, or lunch at local restaurant in Kurdzhali town and after that visiting the Regional Historical Museum with large collections of artifacts from antiquity and interesting ethnographic collection /60 km, ~1 h drive/. Continue to Perperikon – the archeological complex is believed to have been the temple of Dionysus, the Thracian and Hellenic god of wine and ecstasy. Sightseeing on site till 16.00 h. According to the most famous legend the mythical musician Orpheus was born in the Rhodope mountains. He was enchanting people and all creatures with his magical music playing on his lyre. Return to Plovdiv ~17.30 h /100 km, ~1 h 40 min dive/.

    Afternoon workshop classes – folklore dances 18.00 – 20.00 h.

    Dinner at the hotel. Overnight

    DAY 7 – Saturday – Plovdiv

    horo_dance steps_2 danscers

    Breakfast.

    Morning workshop classes – folklore dances 09.00 – 12.00 h.

    No lunch service.

    Leisure time in the afternoon in Plovdiv and time to prepare for the afternoon concert.

    16.30 h – Pick-up from the hotel and transfer to the Academy for the folklore concert. All guests, participants in the workshop, will have the opportunity to show what they have achieved in these 5 days of trainings. All dressed up in folklore costumes, the guests will have their own concert together with their teachers. The show will be video-taped and at the end of the tour everyone will receive a gift DVD with movie of the show they presented and highlights from the workshop classes.                                         .

    After the concert – Farewell dinner with live music and wine tasting.                                   .

    Overnight

    DAY 8 – Sunday – Plovdiv – Sofia – departure

    Breakfast.

    Departure to Sofia airport for the return flight

     

    END OF PROGRAM

    The workshop program is carefully prepared with the Academy professors and it does not require any special training or physical efforts; it is suitable for both beginners and those who already have some dancing experience. The tour might be modified according to clients’ requirements if needed.

    The workshop theme could be chosen between one of the following options: folklore dance and music, modern dances and ballet, authentic musical instruments, classic and jazz singing, orthodox choir music, and fine arts – painting, sculpture, design, graphics, icon painting, photography, fashion and costumes. The program has the capacity to be developed as a model of intercultural exchange between local and foreign cultural formations in different fields of arts and crafts.

    N.B.   The information, images, and/or data contained in this program and presentation are intellectual property of Yomex Culture & Tourism and may not be modified and reproduced in whole or in part without the prior, handwritten and signed consent of Yomex’s Management.

     

  • Preliminary dates suggested:   Day 1 – Sunday – Arrival to Sofia

    AUTUMN:   13 September 2015   27 September 2015  11 October 2015

    SPING:   24 April 2016   15 May 2016   05 June 2016

    SUMMER:  19 June 2016   10 July 2016   24 July 2016

    Group of / Accommodation in 3-star hotels in Sofia & Plovdiv 4-star hotels in Sofia & Plovdiv
    20 to 25 persons
    850 EUR 940 EUR
    15 to 19 persons
    880 EUR 970 EUR
    10 to 14 persons
    990 EUR 1090 EUR

    PACKAGE PRICE IS NET PER PERSON IN DBL ROOM AND INCLUDES:

    • 2 overnights in 3-star / 4-star hotel in Sofia incl. breakfast in DBL / TWIN room;
    • 5 overnights in 3-star / 4-star hotel in Plovdiv incl. breakfast in DBL / TWIN room;
    • 4 dinners /incl. 1 with live music and 1 with folklore program/ & 4 lunches in local restaurants as per program;
    • 2 wine-degustation;
    • Guide service with professional local guide in English /French, Spanish, German, Japaneese or other language upon request/;
    • Luxury coach or minivan for all transfers as per program;
    • All entrance fees for museums and sights included in the program;
    • 5 days x 3 hours workshop – folklore dances with professors from Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts;
    • Special final concert for all participants in the workshop in folklore costumes;
    • Certificate for participation in Folklore workshop of Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts – Plovdiv;
    • Souvenir gift & DVD from the workshop and the concert;

    PACKAGE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

    • Flight tickets – Yomex Culture & Tourism can provide flight arrangements from airport in Japan to Sofia airport upon request;
    • Personal expenses and tips;
    • Any additional services not mentioned in the description of the program

     

  • Academy_plovdiv

    Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts – Plovdiv is combining in itself a School of higher education, Research centre, Centre for creation and emanation of artistic values and Centre of spirit.

    Have you ever heard about the sunny country of Bulgaria, situated in the most fruitful land of Europe? God has poured out here lavishly all his gifts – the sea, the rivers, the mountains, the valleys.

    Have you ever heard about Plovdiv – the town, where after each of your steps you hear the echo of the thousands years of history? Where, over three hills, had spread out a town, even more ancient and charming? It’s there, in this town, where the human voice and the music of different instruments are raising high over the noise and the vanity of everyday life and trying to sing better than birds, wandering off to the infinite blue sky. Because there, atop of three hills, the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts has been situated – at this place the history, the present day and the future go always together and make the inspiration for the young musical talents from Bulgaria, Australia, Asia, America, the countries of Europe.                                                                                         .

    If you haven’t yet heard about this place – WELCOME!

    The Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts is a state school of higher education where students are educated following the educational qualification Bachelor and Master degree. The curricula involve a credit system in accordance with the European system for credit transfer.

    At the moment the education of students is organized in four basic units: there are three faculties – Faculty of Music education; Faculty of Folk music and Choreography; Faculty of Fine Arts and a Department for Language and Special training.

    The students here are educated by bright personalities who are also proved and prominent creators and scholars. The academic teachers are the most trustworthy adherents of the young talents who grow up at the Academy. And after gaining skills, ideas and knowledge these young people start from here and sow the grains of art craving and beauty throughout the country and abroad. The Academy organizes various workshops for people from all over the word – musicians, artists, professionals and amateurs, lovers of the authentic vibrant Bulgarian folklore with musical rhythms and measures unique for the Balkan region. Famous world musicians have perfected their skills here, among them Sting’s guitarist Dominic Miller. One of the prominent students of the Academy is the world famous Bulgarian violin player Vasko Vasilev.

    Join our workshop and become part of this enriching experience!

    Photo gallery & videos of Academic Folk Ensemble – here http://www.afe.artacademyplovdiv.com/index.html

  • Apart from the world’s best yoghurt, the well-known Bulgarian rose oil and unique folklore, Bulgaria is also famous for the fact that one of the best loved ancient heroes, the Thracian singer and musician Orpheus was born and lived on its land. Where the exact birthplace of Orpheus is, it is not known for sure, but the tradition leads that it is somewhere in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria, what was once the great land of Thrace.

    According to mythology, Orpheus was son the nymph Calliope and the God of rivers Oeagrus. Legend says that he lived in Thrace around 1,400 B.C. Orpheus was considered one of the gratest poets and musicians of antiquity, and is still a symbol of the art of music. By dint of the music of his lyre and his singing, he could charm the wild beasts, coax the trees and rocks into dance, and even the rivers turned their course to follow him.

    orpheus2 rhodope-mountain-Bulgaria devil's troat                                                                                   .

    For many, Orpheus is a mythical person, but many others believe in his undying love for his beloved wife, Eurydice. Soon after the wedding the bride was stung by a viper and died. Orpheus played such sad songs that all the gods and nymphs wept. He was determined to bring her back and went down to the Underworld. His lovely music softened the heart of Hades, who agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth again. But she was not to survive the journey back, and vanished forever. The legend says that Orpheus’ lyre was carried by the Muses up to heaven, and put among the stars. His soul returned to the Underworld, where he was reunited with great love Eurydice.

    Orpheus is known as the  originator of all the Mysteries, and he was the first to reveal to men the meaning of rites of initiation – claim sources from Plato and Aristophanes. Scholars believe that the philosophical cult, Orphism, was drawn from his teachings and songs. It originated in Thrace at the beginning of 900 BC and later spread across ancient Greece and the Mediterranean. Among its followers were even some Roman emperors. As creator of the Orphic Mysteries, Orpheus gave a complete system of personal evolution leading to the deification of the soul. His teachings are deeply entwined with the Mysteries of Dionysos – the God of wine and ecstasy. The Orphic rites took place away from intruding eyes in deep mountain gorges and caves, like the rock womb that one can find in the eastern Rhodopes and Bulgarian lands keep numerous of these Thracian cult sites, monuments and temples.

    Nowadays in Bulgaria there are many literary and musical competitions inspired by Orpheus and people see him as an example of a pure and sacred love and the incarnation of power of music and art. Even today the Orphic divine energy is still alive and the Bulgarian lands give origin to some of the most talented singers, musicians and dancers in the world.

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