"Autumn in Bulgaria" Cultural Tour

October 17-31, 2024

Iliana Bozhanova, Todor Yankov, and the Folk Arts Center invite you to join us on a tour through the Shopluk, Thrace, and Pirin folk areas of Bulgaria!

Registration is open! View the itinerary below.

Some of the towns we will visit include:

  • Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria
  • Plovdiv - the 8,000-year-old hometown of Iliana and Todor
  • Velingrad - the spa capital of the country
  • Bansko - the most popular mountain resort
  • Gotse Delchev town and Rila monastery - the most beautiful in Bulgaria

We will be very happy, if you are able to spend 15 days of your life in Bulgaria with both of us and your new and old American friends! Discovering Bulgaria with friends will be something very exciting and unforgettable! Don’t miss it! The life is very short!

Sincerely yours,
Iliana, Todor, and Marcie

December 15, 2023
Plovdiv, BULGARIA

Tour Highlights and Daily Itinerary

Dancing, Singing, and Folklore Performances

  • A visit with the Bistritsa Babi
    The Bistritsa Babi present the traditional polyphonic singing found in the Shopluk region of Bulgaria. Although the social function of the polyphonic singing has changed over the twentieth century, as it is now primarily performed on stage, the Bistritsa Babi are regarded as an important component of the region’s cultural life, promoting traditional expressions among the younger generations. The women are among the few remaining representatives of traditional polyphony and the village of Bistritsa is one of the last areas in Bulgaria in which this cultural expression has been maintained over the centuries.
  • Folklore performances presented by local groups from the villages Draginovo, Dorkovo, Kostandovo and Rakitovo. The performers in these groups belong to all the local ethnic groups – Bulgarian Christians, Bulgarian Muslims and Armani – Southern Vlachs.
  • Concerts from representative folk ensembles “Voivodintsi” – led by Iliana and Todor and “Nevrokopski ensemble” from Gotse Delchev.
  • Visit to the rehearsal and concert of professional folk ensemble “Trakia” from Plovdiv.
  • Dancing together with local Bulgarian recreational groups.
  • Dance and singing classes with Iliana and Todor.

Tours, Museums, and Sightseeing

  • Visiting the Rila monastery – the most beautiful and famous in Bulgaria.
  • Sightseeing in the Rhodopi, Pirin and Rila mountains.
  • Taking the open-air lift to Lake Bezbog in the Pirin mountains.
  • Visiting the National History Museum in Sofia.
  • Enjoying Plovdiv’s charming Old Town.
  • Touring the ancient theater from the 2nd century, where many cultural events are now held.
  • Visiting the Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis – reopened to the public in 2020.
  • Enjoying traditional food and incomparable picnics with Iliana and Todor.

Additional Notes

  • There will be free time for you to relax, undertake your own explorations, or to enjoy the mineral water in Velingrad.
  • Non-dance participants are VERY welcome and will find enjoyment in all the activities!
  • Each participant will get a tour t-shirt, designed by Iliana, and a CD of the dance music from the teaching program.

Day by Day Itinerary

  • Thursday October 17
    - The tour starts at Sofia airport (Terminal 2).
    - Accommodations in a hotel in Sofia for 2 nights.
    - Our first meeting with the Bulgarian folklore – “Bistrishki Babi” will sing for us.
    - Welcome party after the dinner.
  • Friday October 18
    - Morning visit to the National History Museum.
    - Lunch picnic in the Vitosha mountains.
    - Afternoon dance class with Iliana and Todor.
    - Dinner followed by a singing class with Iliana and Todor.
  • Saturday October 19
    - Leaving Sofia, traveling to Voivodinovo village for celebrating The Fertility day.
    - Concert from Ensemble “Voivodintsi” with Artistic Director and Choreographer Iliana Bozhanova and Music Director Todor Yankov.
    - Accommodations in a hotel in Plovdiv town for 4 nights.
  • Sunday October 20
    - Morning tour: “Discover Plovdiv” with a tour guide.
    - Afternoon dance class in Voivodinovo and coffee break with cake.
    - Evening singing class, homemade dinner and party with the Recreational group Voivodintsi.
  • Monday October 21
    - Visit to the New Basilica and the church St.Konstantin and Elena.
    - Visit to the Ethnography museum in Plovdiv.
    - Afternoon walk in Old Plovdiv.
  • Tuesday October 22
    - Morning visit with the Professional Folk Ensemble “Trakiya”. We will watch their rehearsal and they will perform for us.
    - Free afternoon for shopping and self-paid dinner.
  • Wednesday October 23
    - Leaving Plovdiv and traveling to Velingrad – the Spa capital of Bulgaria.
    - Lunch-picnic.
    - Accommodations in a hotel for 3 nights.
    - Visiting Draginovo village for the ritual “Talyosvane” and concert for us.
    - Bazar from the local women – traditional knitted and woven goods.
    - Singing class with Iliana and Todor after the dinner.
  • Thursday October 24
    - Visit to the History museum in Velingrad town.
    - Afternoon visit to The Carpet factory in Kostandovo village.
    - After that - free time for swimming.
    - Dinner followed by singing.
  • Friday October 25
    - Morning dance class in the Cultural center “Vasil Levski”.
    - Free afternoon for spa and swimming.
    - Concert for us by the groups from Dorkovo, Kostandovo and Rakitovo villages, which present the local minority groups and their folklore.
  • Saturday October 26
    - Leaving Velingrad and traveling to Bansko town.
    - Accommodations in a hotel for 3 nights.
    - Dance class (2:00-4:00pm).
    - Walking in the town and self-paid dinner.
  • Sunday October 27
    - Morning visit to St.Troitsa church in Bansko.
    - Lunch picnic in Predela area.
    - Late afternoon dancing with a local recreational group from Banya village.
    - Dinner back in Bansko.
  • Monday October 28
    - Morning outing in the open-air lift Dobrinishte will take us up in Pirin Mountains to the lake Bezbog.
    - Afternoon travel to Gotse Delchev town.
    - Concert for us from Nevrokopski ensemble.
    - Dinner in Gotse Delchev.
  • Tuesday October 29
    - Leaving Bansko and travel to Eleshnitsa – near Rila monastery.
    - Lunch in restaurant.
    - Visit to the most famous and precious in Bulgaria - Rila monastery.
    - Accommodations in Sofia for 2 nights.
  • Wednesday October 30
    - Morning dance class.
    - Afternoon visit to the National Ethnography Museum in Sofia.
    - Walk in the center of the capital.
    - Last dinner at the hotel and Goodbye party.
  • Thursday October 31
    - Flying back home.

Prices:

  • €2,010 - double occupancy, per person
  • €2,255 - single occupancy
  • $700 deposit required with registration
  • Note: prices do not include airfare and personal travel medical insurance.

Price includes:

  • Accommodations in 3-star hotels.
  • Three meals a day. Exploring the traditional food, you will have ONLY two SELF-PAID dinners during the tour.
  • Transportation to and from the airport in Sofia.
  • All entrance fees for performances, museums, and classes.