There are plenty of sites to explore within shouting distance of Liberation Square, so you don't need to go too far to get a taste of what Ruse has to offer. Walk a couple of blocks east and you'll find the Church of the Holy Trinity (Sveta Troitsa), a 17th-century beauty with a baroque facade and Russian bell tower that was added in 1878. Stop there to see the icons. Keep going east to the Park of the Men of the Revival (Park n Vuzrozhdentsite) to see the Ruse Pantheon, a mausoleum honoring the 100th anniversary of Bulgaria's liberation from Ottoman rule and housing the remains of Bulgarian heroes of the 19th century. In 2001 the Pantheon was "Christianized" when a cross was placed on its dome and a chapel added inside. It's open from 9am to noon and from 2 to 5pm Monday to Friday (4lev/$3.25/£2).

If you are staying in Ruse or in transit to somewhere else, detour to the Rock Churches of Ianovo. The Rusenski Lom River valley is a steep, rocky, canyonlike furrow that cuts through the land to give the Rusenski Lom River a way to the Danube. At Ianovo (18km/11 miles) south of the valley you'll begin to see signs leading to the rock monasteries that were carved into natural caves occurring in a steep cliff. Follow the signs for 3km (1 3/4 miles) from the road to the entrance and then to the stairway leading up to the church. There are more than 60 of these stony chambers in the hills above Ianovo, but this, the Tsurkvata Cave, is the only rock church in Bulgaria open to the public. The climb up the steep stairs can be challenging if you are out of shape, but there is a handrail. At the top, you'll pay a 4lev ($3.25/£2) admission charge, plus an extra 2lev ($1.60/£1) if you want to take pictures of the frescoes painted on the chambers' walls and ceiling. There also is a short trail behind the church cave to a "panoramic rock" where you can take spectacular photos of the valley below. The church is open from 9am to 1pm and from 2 to 6pm daily.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.