Turgovishte

Location:
The town of Turgovishte is an administrative centre situated within 320 km from Sofia, in the eastern part of the fertile Danube plain. Only 125 km away from the Black sea coast and 100km south from Ruse - the biggest Bulgarian port on the Danube River - Turgovishte is a strategic crossroad for important transport corridors.

 History:
Tragovishte was an ancient market settlement and a district centre. Remnants of artefacts found here suggest that the town was inhabited by the Thracians as early as the 5th century BC. Remains from an ancient Roman fortress dated back to the 6th century AD reveal that the Byzantine armies were based in the area at the time. The information about the development of the city throughout the Middle Ages is scarce. In the 16th century it became a craftsmen commercial centre and managed to sustain its rapid economic growth. Merchants from all parts of Europe travelled to Turgovishte to take part in the City’s Handcraft products fair which was renowned for the exceptional quality and authenticity of the goods on display. During the Revival period (18th century) many schools, churches and cultural institutions started functioning in the city - most of the public buildings that adorn the heart of Turgovishte today were created back then. The residents of Turgovishte courageously defended their town and did not allow the Ottoman army to destroy it in its retreat during the Russian - Turkish war of Liberation (1878). In 1934 the name was changed to Turgovishte, meaning a “marketplace” to continue the traditions of trading, preserved throughout the years.Two decades later, Turgovishte became the capital city of the Turgovishte province.

Things to see:
In the city:
Little known by most of its visitors, Turgovishte captures with its surprising cultural and natural beauties. A walk down the narrow alleyways of the ancient Revival neighbourhood “Varosh” feels like drifting back in time. The houses of: Angel Hadzhidrumev  Sveshtarovi, Pop Zahariev, and Ilia Katsarov among other wealthy citizens of Turgovishte are authentic examples of Revival architecture. You shouldn’t miss the Historical museum housed in the former “Sveti Sedmochislenitsi” School (Seven Saints School) built in the mid 19th century. The museum has about 25 000 objects on display as part of three permanent exhibitions representing the history, ethnographic heritage and local crafts. The Nikola Marinov Art Gallery, named after the renowned Bulgarian artist born in Turgovishte features many of his works. Notable is the valuable exposition of more than 1000 aquarelle paintings by Bulgarian and foreign authors. A beautiful example of intricate woodcarvings and an impressive collection of icons from the mid 18th century can be seen in the “Assumption of St. Mary” church in the heart of town.
 A famous local revolutionary who took part in the National Resistance against the Ottoman repression is Nikola Simov. His house is today opened to the public and contains exhaustive information regarding his life and fate as well as representations of the struggle for independence of the people from Turgovishte during the Revival period. It is worth checking the program of the city’s Drama and Poppet theatres which can be quite entertaining as well. The wine produced in Turgovishte and the region is renowned for the high quality so visiting a wine cellar and sampling some of the local specialties is a must.

Outside the city:
Turgoviste is a  valuable agricultural region with plenty of artificial lakes, forests rich in game and picturesque landscapes.

The hunting grounds “the Yukya Forest Park” and Lake “Borovo Oko” just outside the town are teeming with rare wildlife and are great for exploration, photo safaris and of course hunting in certain periods of the year.

Only 7 km south from town, along the dramatic Turgovishte  gorge created by the river Vrana, the beautiful area known as “the Park „ is situated. Here apart from the waterfalls, caves and rock phenomena, the nature lovers will also find natural mineral water springs and vast green meadows ideal for a picnic in the open.

The town of Omourtag, named after the distinguished Khan of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, is situated within 25 km south - west from Turgovishte and is famous for its well preserved historical and cultural heritage. If you decide to stop by, you shouldn’t miss checking out the town’s museum situated in Ivanka Hadzhiiska’s House built in 1876. During the War of Liberation (1878), the owner of the house gave shelter to 200 women and children inside successfully protecting them from the Turkish army. Other notable landmarks are the Menzilishkata drinking-fountain dated back to 1779 and the St. Dimitur Church with its memorable iconostas and vivid frescoes.

The Roman Bridge is situated about 60 km south-west of Turgovishte above the Stara River. Even though it is known as the Roman Bridge, it actually was built way after the end of the Roman civilization. The impressive 10-meter high and 4 meters wide stone structure was erected in the 16th century to facilitate the transportation in the Turgovishte region during Ottoman times.

The Garbatata drinking - fountain, some 75 km south-west from Turgovishte is an interesting natural phenomenon worth visiting wile in the region.  It is a 4-meter high arch shaped limestone rock.  The water drips down on it forming a natural cascading outfall that resembles a humpback, hence the name of the fountain Garbatata (crooked like a humpback).

Photos from Turgovishte


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