The first destination is the Quiet Nest Palace, the former summer residence
of Queen Marie of Romania, and its famous gardens of more than 35ha. The
gardens are the "residence" of 3000 or so plant species of which cacti
alone are over 250, and thus Europe's second most important collection. The
palace park is an imitation of the famous Cretan labyrinth. Each stone for
the church therefore was brought from the island of Crete. The Garden of
Allah is the prettiest. The Silver Well and the alleys paved with mill
stones are also very interesting. The earthen jars were brought from
The chief attraction of the place is the wonderful Botanical Garden, a
branch of the University of Sofia. Its ten hectares surround the small
summer palace of the Romanian Queen Marie. (The area was part of Romania
between 1913 and 1940). The attractive villa has the unusual addition of a
minaret, said to have been built for the Queen's Turkish over.
The gardens are the "residence" of 3000 or so plant species of which cacti
alone are over 250, and thus Europe's second most important collection.
The gardens are set on a steep hillside, and descend in six terraces to the
sea - supposedly one for each of the Queen's children. There are over three
thousand varieties of shrubs, roses and flowers, set among streams,
waterfalls, and ornamental channels. There is a rock garden, a formal
French one with clipped box cones and geometric beds, and an astonishing
collection of cacti. Interspersed are stone thrones, seats, pillars and
ornaments collected by the Queen.