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May 7 – 20, 2023
Flagler College Students
We will take a late afternoon/early evening flight from Orlando to Sofia Bulgaria. This will be an overnight flight with a stop in one of Europe’s large cities. Arrival in Sofia, Bulgaria is on the afternoon of day 2 considering the 7-hour time difference.
In the early afternoon we will arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria. We spend the night in Sofia and adjust to our new surroundings. You can explore in the late afternoon before heading off to a Welcome Dinner.
Spanning 3000 years of Archaeological History Pre-Roman through the rise of Byzantium
Today we step back in time to Ancient Serdica. Serdica during the 3rd and 4th century CE was considered the second largest city in the Rona Empire. A major trading center along the Roman Road, this city is still largely covered by modern day Sofia. It was in ancient Serdica, In 338 CE that the EDICT OF TOLERATION was decried by Emperor Galerius thus officially making Christianity the main religion of the entire Roman Empire.
Students will explore the catacombs, visit the archaeological excavations, walk on the Roman road, and meet with local officials to learn how Sophia preserves ancient history while continuing to develop their modern city.
We will also visit the National Archaeological Museum and talk to directors from the Balkan Heritage Foundation; the largest archaeological excavation nonprofit in Eastern Europe.
In the late afternoon we will head to the Stone & Compass Center.
10th-12th century Archaeology
Today you will enjoy a day trip to the 2nd Bulgarian empire’s capital city of Veliko Tarnovo. In the 10th century CE, the Great Bulgarian Kingdom rose and at one point rivaled that of Byzantine. Veliko Tarnovo became the seat of power. Here you will have the opportunity to climb Tsaravets Fortress, the largest castle complex in Europe which was the hub of this medieval city. Shopping, gelato, and traditional crafts make Veliko a favorite of all who visit. Participate in on-the-go lectures as we pass through hundreds of years of history. We will also visit with local crafters and meet the director of archaeological excavations for the region.
17th century local village life to the Communist Era
Spend the day researching the Center’s history and unearthing Communist-era leaflets, pictures and artifacts. Spend time in the center of Stolat and around the surrounding community looking at the history of the area through an archaeological lens.
18th-19th century Ethnographic Museum
Today you will visit an ethnographic open air living museum “Etara” where you will get to see craftsmen working on traditional water powered machinery. A great place to sample traditional sweets and baked goods and watch crafters create unique traditional items all by using 18th and 19th century water powered machinery. We will meet with the managers of this facility and learn how Bulgaria is utilizing ethnographic tourism as a way of creating new opportunities to increase economic welfare in rural areas.
10th-14th century Bulgarian Kingdoms
Today we get to travel to a local tomb complex and explore the ancient Roman ruins. Students will also get to visit the local regional Archaeological Museum in Sevlievo, receive a lecture from the director, and then tour the archaeological excavations at Hotilach.
1st-3rd Century CE Roman
On this day we travel to the ancient Roman Complex Nicopolis Ad Istrum. The city at one time boasted over 10,000 inhabitants and was one of the first commercial centers to utilize the idea of a “downtown” section of the city for commercial storefronts. Incredibly laid out, this vast complex has only been 15 percent excavated. We will meet with the director of the dig and learn more about the future of excavations along with a detailed lecture on the history of the city.
Today we step way back in time as we head to one of the oldest archaeological sites in Bulgaria. The director of the site and a Balkan Heritage staff member will guide our students through the excavations. In 2018 the oldest hand wrought gold in the world was found at this site. Also found at the site was a completely preserved wooden floor of a structure dating back almost 9000 years!
8th-1st century BCE
On this day we head to the famed Thracian tombs located in the valley of the roses. The Thracians rose to power in the 10th Century BCE and lasted a millennium. Their famous Gold Horde now housed at the museum in Varna, along with the excavated tombs, showcase the wealth and power of this ancient empire.
On this last day in Stolat, we will enjoy the center to its fullest! Take a hike, enjoy the amenities, and play in the pool. In the evening we will have traditional dancers and musicians arrive for a traditional Bulgarian cookout and celebration. Archaeological students on this day will also have the opportunity to begin laying the groundwork for a future excavation that will take place on the center property.
Ottoman and Roman Era
Spend one last morning enjoying a breakfast at the Stone and Compass center before we head into the mountains and stop at the famous Shipka Pass; the site of the final battle between Bulgarian and Russian forces to overthrow the Ottoman Empire. In the late afternoon we will arrive in Plovdiv! This ancient city formerly known as Philipopolis was founded by King Philip, the father of Alexander the Great. Enjoy an incredible tour of this city before we head West towards the Rhodope Mountains. We will meet with the head of TRAKART; a museum that is redefining how historical objects can be utilized without removal from sites. Head up to the famed Roman Amphitheater and enjoy meandering through the cobblestone roads of this ancient city.
Today we start our morning with a visit to Rila Monastery! This site is the most visited place in Bulgaria. In the afternoon enjoy a true natural wonder as we head up 7000 feet into the mountains! Take a gondola to the ridge of the seven lakes and spend the afternoon hiking the glacial lakes. In the evening we head back to Sofia.
Wake today and cherish the memories you have made as we head back to the US.
Payment can be made in full or following the payment schedule below. Tuition for FlagSHIP programs is provided by the college, students will not be charged for tuition, however, you will receive 3 credits. More details including how payments can be made can be found here.
Includes $75 study abroad administrative fee added upon course registration
Due: June 1, 2022
Due: October 1, 2022
Due: March 1, 2023