The town of Elena, 7421 inhabitants, 300 meters above sea level, is located in the Central Balkan Mountain. The distance to Veliko Turnovo is 38 km, to the Bulgarian capital Sofia - 280 km and 230 km to Varna. The town lies in the lovely valley of the Elena River. Nature has been pretty benevolent in this region. A great number of small rivers and several deep and scenic gorges run across the Elena hollow.
THE ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE
Elena has managed to preserve the greater part of its architectural heritage. The city clock tower is a remarkable and ingenious monument of culture. Constructed by an unknown master-builder as early as 1812. The tower is visible from any part of the town. The Ilaryon Makaryopolsky museum-house is the most interesting of all the old houses in Elena. Elena's community-centre, by the name of "Headway", was founded in one of the rooms here. The Popnikolov house was built around 1830. The Kamburov Inn served as an inn in the Bulgarian Renaissance and had the functions of a public building. The Razsukanov houses are five in number and built under the same roof. There is an art-gallery which has a valuable ancient icon collection in the Jordan Hadjipetkov house.
FOR YOUR ATTRACTIVE REST
Renaissance Elena has left a significant trace in the history of Bulgarian education and church independence.· The St.Nikolas church is the oldest in the town. It was built at the turn of the 16 th century and burnt down in 1800. The church was rebuilt in 1804. The legend has it that the church had a number of ancient manuscripts written on parchment. The "Assumption" church is next to the St. Nicholas one. The Virgin Birth church is situated in the central part. In the Museum of the Renaissance there is an icon collection and a number of precious pieces of Bulgarian religious painting in Elena. In the outskirts of Elena are situated the Kapinovski monastery and the Plakovski monastery. Hiking fans will be surprised by a number of a picturesque tourist itineraries and eco-paths in the Elena Balkan. Adventures are given the opportunity of mountaineering in the open air or in a hall. Fishing fans have the special chance of fishing in crystal-clear rivers and Iovkovtzi Dam in the region of the villages of Miikovtci, Hanevtzi, Balutsi and Valchovtzi. They can stay overnight in a tent on the bank of the river where are special camping sites with barbecues. You can witness the preparing of lamb-cheverme and taste the delicious food. Those who favour skiing have the opportunity of climbing the Chumerna peak. There are ski-tracks and rope-lines.
EVERYDAY LIFE AND TRADITIONS
The population of Elena is making its living by stock-breeding, vine and fruit growing. There is a hardly a house where it won't offer home-made wine or plum brandy.