The 1832 St. Constantine and Helen church is rather small in size, yet its yard exhibits major icon paintings which testify the icon painting tradition in Bulgaria. Its interior has magnificent wood-carved iconostasis and a richly incrusted bishop throne, none of which we were allowed to photograph but from the outside.
Painted murals on the church facade.
"Glimpse" of the church interior (photo taken from the outside)
We then headed to an amazingly beautiful restaurant (Magnolia) recreating the Bulgarian national revival architecture, where we had a traditional cuisine lunch with some Bulgarian red and white wine in a very well decorated Summer garden. The perfect "break" before the visit to the Bachkovo Monastery.
Inner room in the Magnolia restaurant
Soon after lunch we found ourselves driving south of Plovdiv to visit the second biggest Monastery of Bulgaria and once more we were not allowed to take photographs. Having been founded in 1083 Bachkovo has well preserved frescoes covering its interior (amazingly beautiful), which we expected to find in Religious or Art books before heading back home (we hadn't found many until then and were beginning to get worried that we would be forced to limit some of these "rich" visits to images we might have been able to "keep" in our minds.
Detailed frescoe (left) of the Monastery entrance (right)
By the time we reached the Hotel located in the centre of Plovdiv, we still had time to stroll in the streets of the modern city, which looked like any western European one. We finally managed to buy some Unicart books of some of the cities and monuments we had visited so far before it was time to be back again for a night out at some traditional Tavern (its architecture reminded me of the Turkish caravenserai with the dancing ring in the middle, though it was better decorated), which had a folkloric night with traditional singing and dancing going on (some of which was quite good particularly the singing).