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Lovech Fortress

Lovech Fortress

The Lovech Fortress is a ruined historic stronghold in Bulgaria with links to Thracian, Roman and medieval history. Named after the hill on which it stands, some sources state that the Hisarya Fortress we see today was built in the 9th to 10th centuries. There are also several stories linked to the site, including that it was the location of the signing of the treaty that officially created the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

Lovech Fortress history

The Lovech fortress overlooks Lovech from Hisarlaka Hill on the right bank of the river Osam. It was part of the fortification system designed to protect the approaches to the capital Tarnovo and the Troyan Pass, the shortest road between Northern and Southern Bulgaria.

The earliest settlement on this site is thought to be from the Chalcolithic Age, around 4000 – 3000 BC. Parts of dwellings, fragments of pottery vessels and a gold application were discovered there. The archaeological excavations show that a Thracian settlement also existed in this place.

The fortress was built in Roman times, but it is best known as the place where the Lovech Peace Treaty with the Byzantine Empire was signed in 1187. It marked the birth of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

The remains of seven churches representing three different architectural styles were found. The church situated on the top of the hill is the oldest and the biggest one. It was built around the 5th century. During the excavations, many adornments, everyday life objects, tools, and pottery were discovered.

In the 13th and 14th centuries was the heyday of the medieval city, its administrative, spiritual and commercial centre. The despot of Lovech Ivan Alexander was elected Bulgarian king in 1331. The two archaeological finds of silver coins depicting Tsar Ivan Alexander (1301 – 1371) and his son Michael are especially interesting. The first one consists of 16 coins in a pot, while the other one is comprised of 1430 coins in a pitcher.

The Lovech Fortress was one of the last strongholds which were conquered by the Ottomans, falling in 1446. A giant metal cross is placed inside the fortress. It can be seen from almost every spot in Lovech.

Lovech Fortress today

The fortress is one of the most visited landmarks in Lovech. It was declared a monument of architecture and construction by virtue of publication in State Gazette.

Today the fortress has special night lighting. Upon request, the guests of Lovech can watch and listen to the audio-visual performances “Lovech – Star City”, “We honour our history” and “Lovech Fortress tells.”

There are beautiful views of the city from the site.

Getting to Lovech Fortress

From Varosha, it’s a 10- to 15-minute uphill walk to reach the ruins. Bus lines 1, 2,3 and 4 stop nearby.


New Attractions in the Lovech Medieval Fortress

The town of Lovech has a magnificent guardian who watches over it day and night. This is the Lovech medieval fortress, which rises above the city and preserves wonderful stories from the past.

The fortress has been restored and open for tourists for years, but recently new attractions have been added making it worth visiting again!

On entering the Lovech fortress you will be greeted by two figures, representing in real size the look and equipment of Bulgarian warriors from the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (XII-XIV) century.

One of the new attractions is a laser show. It includes text and paintings that are projected onto the rock wreath above the Stratesh hill. You can enjoy the audio-visual performance "Lovech Fortress reveals . ", on the inner fortress wall, in summer and autumn. And on the outer wall, "Sound and Light" is projected throughout the year. In order to admire these attractions, you must make a preliminary request.

Everyone who dreams of an unusual wedding, a "Boyar wedding" is held at the fortress. It is a marriage ritual in the style of the Bulgarian Middle Ages under a specially stylized dome in the basilica of the fortress. All guests are dressed in medieval clothing, and the newlyweds - with royal robes and crowns.

If you want, you can just walk to the medieval fortress of Lovech. It is located in the old part of Lovech, so do not miss to check it out. It is situated on two terraces, on the rocky hill of Hisarya, which reveals a magnificent view!

On the Hisarya hill is very lively since the stone-copper age. Since then, parts of homes, fragments of clay pots and a golden inlay have been found. Archaeological excavations show that there existed a Thracian settlement. Parts of a stone and clay dwelling were revealed, numerous fragments of gray Thracian ceramics and a Rodos amphora handle with a stamp. During the Roman conquests at the beginning of the 1st century, the settlement was moved to the flat part of the city. But when the invasions of the barbarian tribes began in the middle of the third century, it was moved to the hill because of the natural conditions of protection. It existed in the V-VII century (the Early Byzantine era). Probably after the demise of the settlement from the Early Byzantine era for some time the hill was deserted.

In Bulgarian history, the name Lovech is mainly found in connection with events dating back to the 11th century. The first mention of the fortress is related to the invasion of the Pechenegs in the Bulgarian lands and the Byzantine military action against them. It is Lovech that is the city that stops the Byzantine troops, led by Isaac II Angel, who came to the north of the Balkan Mountain to stop the Bulgarian rebels. Thus in 1187 Lovechbecame one of the symbols of the restoration of the Second Bulgarian State.

During the excavations a large amount of ornaments, household items, cannons, ceramics were found. Particular attention is paid to the two collections of silver coins depicting King Ivan Alexander and his son Mihail.

Do not miss to visit the fortress in June 2018. Then, on the occasion of 831 years of the unsuccessful siege of Lovech Medieval Fortress during the Asenovci Liberation Movement, the Municipality of Lovech organizes a Festival of Medieval Life, Culture, Arts and Military Skills from the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. There you will be able to see historical reconstructions that include: Outdoor Museum, Armor and Attributes Archery and Crossbow Shooting Crafts and Arts Medieval Games Contact Fighting.


  • The Lovech Fortress lies on the two terraces of the beautiful and picturesque Hisarya Hill in the old part of Lovech. This is one of the most visited landmarks in Lovech. It was declared a monument of architecture and construction by virtue of publication in State Gazette, issue No 75 of 1967.

The hill was first populated during the Chalcolithic Age (4000 – 3000 BC). Parts of dwellings, fragments of pottery vessels and a gold application were discovered there. The archaeological excavations show that a Thracian settlement also existed in this place.

The fortress was built in Roman times, but it is best known as the place where the Lovech Peace Treaty with the Byzantine Empire was signed in 1187. It marked the birth of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

Apart from the natural protection it got from the high steep hill slopes and the river, the fortress also had a solid stone wall.

The remains of seven churches representing three different architectural styles were found. The church situated on the top of the hill is the oldest and the biggest one. It was built in the period 5th – 6th centuries.

During the excavations many adornments, everyday life objects, tools, and pottery were discovered.

The two archaeological finds of silver coins depicting Tsar Ivan Alexander (1301 – 1371) and his son Michael are especially interesting. The first one consists of 16 coins in a pot, while the other one is comprised of 1430 coins in a pitcher.

The Lovech Fortress was one of the last strongholds which were conquered by the Ottomans in 1446. A giant metal cross is placed inside the fortress. It can be seen from almost every spot in Lovech.

It is your first main attraction to see in Lovech.

  • Varosha Old Town- the architecture-historical resort of Lovech. The Varosha district dates from the Bulgarian Renaissance. It is famous for its churches "Saint Sunday" and "Holy Virgin Mary", The Vasil Levski Monument, The Middle-Aged Fortress of Lovech, Vasil Levski Museum, The Covered Bridge, The Art Gallery, Bash Bunar Alley, Stratesh Park the Black Monument and The White Monuments and many others.
  • The Black and The White Monuments have been built in the memory of Bulgarian-Turkish battle in Lovech during the Russian-Turkish war in 1877. They are both located in Stratesh Park in Lovech. There are several more monuments in Lovech- The Vasil Levski Monument, The Ekzarh Joseph Monument and Todor Kirkov Monument.
  • The Stratesh Park bears the name of the hill it is located on. The nature around the park is lovely. You can find the Lovech zoo in the Stratesh Park.
  • Bash Bunar Alley is located at the south part of Lovech. Next to the Bash Bunar public drinking fountain there is a sculpture figure,depicting a man drinking water from a pitcher that a woman is holding in her hands. The rumor has is that the person who drinks from the water of that drinking fountain will stay in Lovech forever. Nowadays the Bash Bunar Alley is preferable place to rest and to entertain for both adults and children.

Aftermath [ edit | edit source ]

According to the treaty, the youngest of the Asen brothers, Kaloyan, was sent as a hostage to Constantinople to guarantee the peace. However, Niketas Choniates noted that the situation became even more grim for the Byzantines. Soon after the siege the Bulgarians in Macedonia rebelled under Dobromir Chrysos. The peace lasted until 1189 when due to the Bulgarian proposal to support the Third Crusade against the Byzantines, Isaac Angelos launched another campaign and suffered a heavy defeat in the Battle of Tryavna, which confirmed the Bulgarian military superiority in the war.


Architectural and Historical Reserve Varosha – Lovech

The architectural and historical reserve Varosha covers the entire old part of the town of Lovech along the right bank of the river Osam. Part of Varosha are also series of buildings on the left bank of the river – near the Covered Bridge and the Staratesh park.

The old residential section of Lovech – Varosha, was declared an architectural and historical reserve in 1968.

The basic part of the architectural legacy of the region is related to the construction during the Revival, mainly in the period from the beginning of the 19 th century to the 1970s.

The streets of Varosha are narrow, meandering, and sometimes unexpectedly in front of them appears a wall or an entrance door. The houses in the area are small, as in most cases they are surrounded by high stone fences. The yards are arranged in levels, where ivy, wild geranium, lilac and roses are planted.

The houses built in the period 1850 – 1870 were the best representatives of the Varosha architecture. Typical for them is that they do not include workshops because the entire craftsmen activity is concentrated on the commercial street and the Covered Bridge.

200 historical and architectural monuments of local and national significance are located on the territory of the architectural and historical reserve Varosha. Among them are: the Vasil Levski museum, the Etnographic Complex, the Lovech Middle Age Fortress, the churches “The Assumption of Mary” and “St. Nedelia”, the open bridge, the building of the Yosif I school, where the song “Go, Folks Revived” was written, as well as many houses related to the activity of Vasil Levski (1837 – 1873) – struggler for the national liberation from ottoman dominion.

Varosha hasn’t stopped developing. Most of the houses are inhabitable hotels, catering and entertainment establishments, museum sites are working. This turns the old residential section of Lovech into an attractive place for the guests and the residents of the town.

Souvenirs and information materials can be bought in the shops on the Covered Bridge.

Upon a preliminary arrangement with the Regional History Museum in Lovech, a tour trip in the town can be organized.

Upon a preliminary reserve, the Tourist Information Center in Lovech also organizes tours in the town and the local landmarks with a tour guide.


An Old-Time Story in Lovech

“Do you love theatre, my boy? If yes, get ready to watch now…because I will perform a real old-fashioned play for you. We should just pass through this wooden old door and we will go back in times as long as 100 years ago.
Look at this table, in the corner, where the old woman is kneading dough… Hey, missus let us treat this boy with our delicious meal…”

Those were the words, spoken to me by the slender middle-aged man, who met me at the entrance of the Ethnographic Museum in the city of Lovech. The man was dressed in worn out suite and had a washed out bowler hat on his head. He was describing situations and picturing old-time customs to me in a manner, I would never forget.

“And here the old woman will ask what to put in your clay pot…may be beans broth or fresh feta cheese with parsley and herbs“, the man continued on talking to me and the scenes started to come up clearly in front of my eyes as if I was there – back in the past. I could see the old woman, taking out bundles with bread from the built-in closet. I could imagine her cooking and almost felt the aromatic smell in the air, when the man tapped on my shoulder and showed me the little metal box. It had ancient print in letters, saying “Milka Suchard”. He explained to me that this was the first box with cocoa for drinking, which was imported in Bulgaria in the far away year of 1901.

That was the most fascinating walk in a museum I could ever think of. The man was playfully telling stories about the past, the history and the customs of the people, who used to live in the two houses of the nowadays museum building.
Lovech ethnographic museum is found in the Bulgarian National Revival Quarter of Varosha, at the foot of Hissarya Hill, where Hissarya Ancient Fortress is located. The expositions are arranged in two ancient houses, which used to be homes of the revolutionary Ivan Drasov and the musician Nencho Rashev. The Drasov’s House was built during the first century of the 19th century. The exposition represents the home of a wealthy trader’s family during the changing period from traditional national revival style of living to typical city style with Western European influence. The exponents are original and they have belonged to old Lovech families, who lived back in the end of the 19th century.

The other Rashev’s House was built in 1835. The exposition presents the style of living of an intelligent writer from the 30s and the 40s of the 20th Century. The house also hosts a special room, showing the daily routine of the girls, living in Lovech at that time. “Here you can see a girl, who is knitting”, the curator was telling, “Over there the girl is playing the piano, and this girl is reading a book. See how the girls used to have fun, when 100 years ago there was no Internet, no TV, and no radio” he kept on explaining.

In the ethnographic museum you can learn not only about the history of the both houses. Right after you go through the wooden door out the curator will show the hill and the fortress across and will say to you: “This ancient fortress was built back in Roman times, when in 1187 the Byzantine Empire signed a peace treaty with the brothers Asen and Peter, and this is actually the beginning of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. The Fortress of Lovech is one of the last ones, seized by the Ottoman invaders. “In such fascinating manner the curator will keep on telling about big battles, glorious times, and brave leaders until you find that Lovech is getting more precious and cosy for you. Then you will be more than sure, that you will always want to visit it time after time, now and then.

At last the man will send you off to the gate, but this will not be the end of his stories. He will show a white house above the museum to you and will say: “A great Bulgarian man, born in Lovech used to live in that house. His destiny starts from here and this exact destiny brings him to space in 1977.” Well, every Bulgarian can guess that this man is the famous Bulgarian cosmonaut Georgi Ivanov. Probably not many know about the misadventures of the Rusian-Bulgarian crew during the flight, about the big failure on the board of the space ship and about the self control, the courage and the skills of the two pilots – Georgi Ivanov and Nikolay Rukavishnikov, who successfully landed “Soyoz 33” craft on Earth.

The curator of the museum will tell you the whole story, tap you on the shoulder, wish you “Good Luck” and will direct you to take the best sightseeing route. Up to the fortress hill, “Vassil Levski” Museum of History, “Saint Virgin Mary” Church, the Stratesh Park with the zoo, and of course the Covered Bridge of Kolio Ficheto. “Farewell, my boy” he will finally sees you off with smile on his face.

Ancient like the town, in his worn out suite and pale hat, the tall man will stay there, in the museum, keeping the secrets in his heart and telling interesting stories to you and may be many other visitors…
As for me – I am taking the road towards the fortress to see with my own eyes all these battles and brave men, the inspired curator told me about.


Museums at Akershus fortress

The site is home to two of Oslo's museums. The Norwegian Resistance Museum (Norges Hjemmefrontmuseum) tells the story of domestic events during the German occupation of Norway in World War II.

Hosted in the 17th century stone vaults, the audio-visual exhibits give an impression of what life was like under foreign rule. It covers the pre-war times through to the liberation in May 1945.

The Armed Forces Museum (Forsvarsmuseet) covers Norwegian military history from the late Viking Age including numerous wars and unions with Denmark and Sweden. It also touches on the beginning of World War II and the Cold War.


Asen’s Fortress

Previously a Byzantine castle, Asen’s Fortress was named after the emperor Ivan Asen II who conquered it from the Byzantines and gave the castle a full reconstruction. Parts of the castle remain intact to this very day, but its highlight is an old, and imposing, church that stands unblemished even today. It’s located near Asenovgrad on the foothills of the Rhodope Mountains, and it stands as a testament to the ruling dynasty that formed the Second Bulgarian Empire. We recommend visiting as a day trip from Plovdiv since it’s near several other great ideas for things to do in Plovdiv province.


Lovech Fortress

The fortress is on a hill above Lovech. It is an old fortress used untills 15th century and almost completely destroyed afterwards - the stones from the fortress were used to build the houses in the old neighborhood of Lovech, just above the fortress. It was partially reconstructed on the communist times.
There is not much to see in the inside – some walls of the old churches & houses inside – and not a lot of informative board either. But still, it is worth visiting it, trying to image how the life inside the fortress might have been…And for the views from above Lovech.

The fortress is above Lovech and the view from there is very beautiful. From the one side you see the whole city. And from the other side you have a view to the river and pure nature beauty. The preserved walls and the gate make the feeling even better.

The fortress is dating from the time of the Roman Empire, when a functioning road station called Presidium was designed. It`s one of the last seized from the Ottoman Empire.
Inside the fortress, you could enjoy the stunning view of the town or the mountain in the back. The beautiful river Osum and remains of a roman path could be seen also behind the fortress.

The walk up to the fortress is quite short, but steep. The fortress itself is nice, the view is fantastic, the information provided on the walls is interesting and both in English and Bulgarian. The entrance fee is OK and just the view to both sides of the hill is worth climbing up.

On top of Hisarya hill overlooking Lovech stands the fortress where it is rumoured the treaty was signed in 1187 with the Byzantine empire which led to the start of the 2nd Kingdom of Bulgaria.
If you have climbed up this hill through the lovely cobbled streets of the old town (there is a car park at the top of the hill if you want to save your legs) Then I suppose, a small entrance fee of 3 leva per person towards the upkeep of fortress is not a lot to ask. The views are nice over the town but apart from that the Fortress doesn't have a lot to offer.
There is a seating area for about 250 persons was laid out in the fortress and I think it is the intention to hold plays or musical events there to attract visitors for an evenings entertainment.


Steeped in wonderful history

Great way to pass a couple of hours.Stunning views over Lovech and surrounding mountains. Place itself is awesome seeing little ruins of houses and churches as well as the fortress.A must place to visit

Nice fortress remains. Wonderful view over Lovech. Nothing to see though. The wall just before entering is probably the best to see. Beautiful night illumination - make a photo of a surreal lighted fortress wall. Seems almost like knights will emerge riding down the gate .

Really nice view you can see the panorama of the city and the beauty of balkan's. Easy to get there and for cars parking for free

Beautiful view from the top. Nice walk among the old walls. The fortress makes you think of history. It's close to the museum, the covered bridge and the old town.

The fortress is on a hill above Lovech. It is an old fortress used untills 15th century and almost completely destroyed afterwards - the stones from the fortress were used to build the houses in the old neighborhood of Lovech, just above the fortress. It was partially reconstructed on the communist times.
There is not much to see in the inside – some walls of the old churches & houses inside – and not a lot of informative board either. But still, it is worth visiting it, trying to image how the life inside the fortress might have been…And for the views from above Lovech.

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Watch the video: Крепост Хисаря - Ловеч - Hisarya Fortress, Lovech (January 2022).