UNESCO’s World Heritage List includes several sites in Bulgaria. The landmarks have been chosen because of their specific cultural or physical significance. Apart from listing the important places worldwide, UNESCO is involved in their protection. As the name of the list suggests, the sites are believed to hold grand importance for the cultural and natural heritage of humanity. The program was established back in 1972.
A total of 445 cultural, natural and mixed landmarks from Europe are included in the World Heritage List. Of them, nine landmarks are located in Bulgaria.
Boyana church, the Madara Horseman, Ivanovo’s rock churches and the Thracian tomb near the town of Kazanluk were included in the World Heritage List back in 1979.
The church in Sofia’s district of Boyana was included in the list because of its beautiful wall paintings. They were created during different centuries and a number of layers are visible today. More than 240 wall paintings are recognized and appreciated worldwide.
The Madara Horseman is one of Bulgaria’s symbols. The stone carving can be seen in Madara preserve, close to the town of Shoumen. The horseman will be depicted on the first Bulgarian euro coin. The stone relief represents a ruler riding his horse, an eagle flying above his head and a dog following. The ruler’s spear has pierced a lion, symbolizing victory. According to historians, the Madara Horseman dates back to the 8th century.
Ivanovo Rock Churches is a religious complex carved in the cliffs of Roussenski Lom park, near Rousse. Their number is large. Some of the stone churches preserve amazing wall paintings.
Kazanluk tomb is also one of the most important and significant landmarks preserved on the territory of Bulgaria. It is part of a large Thracian complex, since many necropolises were discovered in the same region, often called The Valley of Thracian Kings.
Its splendid wall paintings differentiate the Kazanluk tomb from other similar Thracian constructions.
Five other Bulgarian sites are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, too. These sites are the old town of Nessebar (included in 1983), Pirin National Park (1983), Rila Monastery (1983), Sreburna preserve (1983) and the Sveshtari Thracian tomb (1985). You will learn more about the specific history and characteristics of each of these landmarks in the pages to come.
- Ancient City of Nessebar (1983)
- Boyana Church (1979)
- Madara Rider (1979)
- Rila Monastery (1983)
- Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo (1979)
- Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak (1979)
- Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari (1985)
Properties submitted on the Tentative List
- Two neolithic dwellings with their interior and household furnishings and utensils completely preserved (1984)
- The Magoura cave with drawings from the bronze age (1984)
- The ancient town of Nicopolis ad Istrum (1984)
- The late ancient tomb of Silistra (1984)
- The Bachkovo Monastery (1984)
- The town of Melnik and the Rozhen Monastery (1984)
- The Roussensky Lom National Park (1984)
- The Ancient Plovdiv (2004)
- Thracian Tomb with Wall Paintings beside Alexandrovo village (2004)
- Vratsa Karst Nature Reserve (2011)
- Rocks of Belogradchik (2011)
- Central Balkan National Park (2011)
- Pobiti Kamani Natural Monument (2011)