I started my exploration of Shumen on ulitsa Tsar Osvoboditel. It’s not the main street through town but there were a handful of historic homes along it, some that double as museums.
One of the homes belonged to Hungarian nationalist hero Lajos Kossuth. He lived in Shumen in 1849 and the home is now a museum. Other house museums include the homes of revolutionary Panayot Volov, writer Dobri Voynikov, and the Zhekov home, where composer Pancho Vladigerov took his first piano lesson. They’re typically open weekdays only, but none were open when I walked by.
Another fine building along Tsar Osvoboditel is the Dobry Voynikov Community Center. It was built by French architect I.M. Mercier between 1885 and 1898. The first opera and first comedy in Shumen were both performed there.
I walked for another 15 minutes and came to Tri Svetiteli Orthodox Church, which was built in 1857.
From the church I headed a few steps south to bulevard Slavyanski. This gorgeous tree-lined street runs through the center of town. The north side is pedestrianized while the south side is open to traffic. Between the two sides is a park.
All kinds of outdoor cafés and shops are on the pedestrianized side. They’re mostly housed in colorful 19th century buildings.
There are a couple of important buildings along bulevard Slavyanski. One of them is the Vasil Drumev Dramatic Puppet Theatre on the pedestrian side of the street.
The other is the Regional Museum of History on the traffic side. The museum features over 150,000 pieces spread out over eight galleries. The artifacts date from antiquity to the 20th century. I spent about an hour going through the collection and I thought it was interesting. There was an impressive collection of Byzantine icons and Thracian artifacts. It’s open daily except Sunday.
Near the puppet theatre there’s a monument to Shumen-born playwright Dobry Voynikov and another one commemorating the year 1856. Directly across from it is the park and stairway that leads up to the Founders of the Bulgarian State Monument.
The ruins of a giant phallic monstrosity as you continue west on bulevard Slavyanski towards the old Ottoman Quarter is an abandoned construction site. It was supposed to be a Communist era administrative building. It’s an eyesore in an otherwise lovely city.