Are you planning a trip to Vratsa, Belogradchik or Vidin soon? In each of these cities, a gamified route awaits you among the unknown and majestic historical places of Northwestern Bulgaria.
You must have wandered around beautiful cities wanting to learn more about the myths surrounding their history without having to research online. But have you ever wanted to discover the secrets of a place by playing a game about exploring these small worlds?
In the Questo mobile app, game tours in the cities of Vratsa, Belogradchik and Vidin will take you on a journey, in the literal sense of the word, revealing their rich history. You just have to solve the riddles.
Intertwining fantasy with real historical accounts, each "quest" tells a mysterious story that needs your problem-solving skills to get to the end of the tale and the route.
As the final battle rages to liberate Bulgaria from the Ottomans, Petlak the Voivode is tasked with making his way to a high point to announce victory. There he will blow his trumpet so that all Vratsa will hear him. However, getting to the top is not easy at all. Petlak needs your help, as well as the help of Levski, a Bulgarian national hero, to get there alive.
At the entrance to the town of Belogradchik, we meet the humble magician Dragomir, who many years ago abandoned his influential family in pursuit of his dreams. Recent news forces him to return urgently as rumors spread about his brother's insane lust for power. Dragomir knows that only he can reason with his brother, despite his fear. For this purpose, however, he must face him in a final battle on the famous Belogradchisk rocks.
In Vidin, we follow Osman Pazvantoglu - a fearsome medieval Ottoman ruler who wakes up in modern Bulgaria. Confused and lost, he makes his way through the city that rose from the grave, hidden by the Bulgarian communist regime behind an apartment block, to the banks of the Danube, where the seat of his power is still located - the Baba Vida fortress. Accompanied by Osman's personal narratives, you will unravel his legacy to learn how he shaped Vidin's past and future.
Through the app, players can begin their walking adventure in search of clues and solving puzzles. The games can be played by one person, in pairs or in larger groups and even compete against each other.
How to play?
Game routes offer multiple puzzles that turn cities into living organisms by venturing into fragments of their history. Each solution leads you to a new location and a new puzzle to unravel. A lap usually takes between 60 and 120 minutes to complete, depending on the pace of the players. The routes pass by the city's most important sites, while offering a glimpse of sites and stories that would be missed by ordinary tourism. The price of one quest is 4.99 euros. The games are currently available in English, but new languages will be added in the future.
A little bit of what you'll learn?
The steps to freedom lead to the Herald of Freedom - the name given to the monument that commemorates the Liberation of Vratsa and embodies the city's gratitude to its liberators. A popular local legend has it that after Russian troops liberated Vratsa, at 12:30 p.m. on October 28, 1877, a horseman mounted a nearby hill and announced with a trumpet call that the people were now free. The Ottomans were finally driven out of the city. Gunshots can still be heard in the streets, echoing from the height of the hill.
The minarets of Osman Pazvantoglu Mosque are stylized with the peak at the top. Legend has it that the spade is actually an upside down heart, expressing unrequited love. Osman Pazvantoglu dedicated this mosque to a Bulgarian woman who was his wife. However, due to the difference in their beliefs, they could never be together and their love could not blossom. The legend of the mosque has earned it the nickname "the mosque of the heart".
The Madonna, the Monks, the Horseman and the Monastery are the names of the Belogradchik rocks. Their story tells of a girl imprisoned here in the monastery. Because of her extraordinary beauty, the nuns called her the Madonna. One day, Madonna saw a handsome man on a white horse and, despite the strict prohibition, ran to meet him. A strong love arose between them. He hid with her. A child was born to them. One day, their children's cries were heard - the girl and the child were expelled from the monastery. While they were running, thunder rolled and a terrible storm broke out, and an earthquake destroyed the monastery! Then suddenly everything turned to stone. The monks became hard and gray. The Madonna and her child were immortalized in the rock. And her lover on his white horse froze in the middle of the gallop, forever riding towards his beloved.
What is Questo?
Questo is a platform that collaborates with local storytellers from around the world to promote the idea that cities are the greatest playgrounds. The adventures offered by the platform include stories from the Baroque Netherlands through the memories of the painter Rubens, all the way to the misty horizons of Victorian London in the company of the detective Sherlock Holmes.
Handplayed creates the tours around Northwestern Bulgaria in partnership with the Questo mobile application and with the financial support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
Links to games:
- Belogradchik: https://questoapp.com/city-games/belogradchik-a-high-wizard-s-legacy
- Vidin: https://questoapp.com/city-games/vidin-the-time-travelling-ottoman-ruler
- The game is only available in English.