Elena is a small town in Bulgaria, found on the slopes of the Stara Planina mountain. It is the capital of the Elena municipality and a rather popular mountain resort in the country. The hostels and hotels here are known for their delicious Bulgarian cooking. The town started off as a pre-fifteenth-century settlement that became a trade center in the region during the 1700s. Known in the past as the Bulgarian Bethlehem, because of its many churches, this town is a great place to stop in and explore.
Even today, you can leave your hostel and walk down streets lined with over a hundred old homes with classic architecture. Most of the basements and buildings of Elena are made of stone. Included among these old buildings is a school, made in the mid-19th century. You can also visit the classic church of St. Nicholas, made in the 1500s, and the stone Church of Assumption from the 1800s.
If you are able, ask your hostel owner about the legend and the history of the town. It is a story of two lovers, one named Elena, and their adventures in the nearby Balkans. The town lies right next to the forests, with the Elena River flowing nearby. Among the hills is the Chukani, on which an old climate and health school is located.
When visiting the church of Saint Nicholas, be sure to ask about the history of the building. While it has roots in the 1500s, there is evidence that it existed long before then. It was the location of storage of many old parchment books and was the only church in the region back then. The architecture of the church is completely stone, with thick walls and oak-and-iron studded doors. It is assumed that the new fortifications were added after the original building was burned along with most of the precious old books that lay within. You can still see over 300 of these in the store-house of the church.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Elena hostels. Welcome.