Tsarska Bistritsa, Borovets

#12 of 19 in Things to do in Borovets

Tsarska Bistritsa ("Tsar's Bistritsa"; Bulgarian: Царска Бистрица) is a former royal palace in southwestern Bulgaria, high in the Rila Mountains, just above the resort of Borovets and near the banks of the Bistritsa River. Built between 1898 and 1914, it served as the hunting lodge of Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria and his son Boris III.

The hunting lodge was nationalized after 1945, when Bulgaria became a Communist state. The democratic changes of 1989 led to the controversial return of the palace to Simeon II, the last monarch of Bulgaria and afterwards a politician, in October 2002.
The architecture of Tsarska Bistritsa combines, in the spirit of Romanticism, elements of the authentic Bulgarian National Revival style with other European architectural styles. A cabin from the transatlantic ship New America is part of the interior. It was either a gift from the captain or won by Ferdinand during a poker game. The wooden ceilings and columns in the lodge are richly decorated in a Bulgarian style. Tsarska Bistritsa also has the royal family's collection of hunting trophies filled up for more than half a century.

The palace is powered by a Siemens AG 170 kW (hydroelectric) generator built and installed in 1912. Other structures include a stable, a chapel, a garage, a sentry box and fountains.

Sitniakovo and Saragiol are also located in the Rila Mountains.
For travelers who use our international travel planner, Borovets holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Tsarska Bistritsa and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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Tsarska Bistritsa Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
34 reviews
  • It might be not so special for some tourists, but for me it’s great place to visit especially seeing this very old generation on producing electricity via water something that’s extraordinary for...  more »
  • The palace interiors are permanently closed to the public. The rest is not interesting. You can see the same nature outside, for free.  more »
  • Perfect place for chill and have a coffee..
  • Amazing place the river is just gorgeous. Limited parking. They are open until 18:30 in the summer entrance fee 5 leva
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