The Royal days of Bulgaria are long gone. However, all around the country you can still find evidence of this period of Bulgarian history. Only 15 kilometers away from the heart of the city center of Sofia you will find the Summer Royal Palace of Vrana. The chosen location was where the homestead of the Ottoman governor of Sofia – Osman Pasha used to be. During the timeline of history, those lands change their ownership quite a lot. At the end of the 19th century they became property of the royal family of Bulgaria. We owe this project to our Royal Highness Ferdinand I. Construction works began at the beginning of the 20th century. The project consisted of the construction of various buildings with different purposes – hunting villa, royal palace, garden, rockery, artificial lakes, greenhouse and stables.
You will also find a simple wooden house built during the communist regime . It was used by Georgi Dimitrov, our first communist leader. There is also an old storehouse which belonged to the very first owner of those lands – Hadji Bone. The first “residents” of the stables were not actually horses, but two Indian elephants. The place used to have a private zoo full of exotic animals. Later on, all of them were transported to the Sofia Zoo. The place itself was built at two phases. Several architects from Austria and Bulgaria took part in the project.
Today, the only part of the palace open to the public is the beautiful park. Famous gardeners and landscape architects from different corners of Europe worked on the project. The development of the park took more than 40 years. The lack of good greenhouses and garden nurseries back then resulted into importing seeds and saplings from all continents. As a result, today all around the park there are beautiful flowers and trees.
Another funny fact is that the today’s name of the palace came as a result of Ferdinand’s passion for ornithology. He decided to name the palace after the first bird that he sees around. It happened to be a crow – (in bulgarian – vrana, врана).
Today the park is open for visits every weekend between 10:00 and 16:00. The easiest way to access it is by hopping on a bus number 505 or a cab. There is a bus departing from the city center (Eagles bridge) every hour. The bus ticket is 1,60 lv and the entrance fee to the park is 5 lv for adults. Kids and pensioners enter for free.
Departure from Bus stop Orlov Most
|Departure from Vrana Palace|
Author: Eleonora Ivanova