The Belogradchik Rocks
About 230 million years ago, tectonic platres were folding to create the Balkan Mountains and elevating the region of Belogradchik. Later the region became the floor of a shallow sea littered with enormous quantities of gravel, sand and clay. The sediment piled up and gradually became thicker layers of this conglomeration with sandstone mixed in. Pushed up during the formation of the Balkan Mountains these massive rocks were worked on by erosion that left behind the odd formations of the Belogradchik Rocks.
Beginning with the Roman Legions a number of armies found these rock formations the perfect defensive backdrop for fortifications.
The Belogradchik Fortress
The Belogradchik Fortress is an ancient fortress situated on the north slopes of the Balkan Mountains, near the northwestern Bulgarian town of Belogradchik and is the town’s primary cultural and historical attraction. The fortress encompasses the Belogradchik Rocks and is one of the best-preserved strongholds in Bulgaria. The complex is a cultural and natural monument of Bulgaria.
The fortress’s walls are over 6 feet thick at the foundation and stand up to forty feet in height. It includes three separate protected yards connected with each other through gates. The fortress has a total area of 110,000 square feet. The Belogradchik Fortress was reconstructed to later become a proclaimed cultural monument. It is managed by the local historical museum authority.
The fortress and surrounding area have been defended by and added to bys the Romans in the first century, the Ottoman-Turks and several Bulgarian armies.
Veliko Tarnovo is in north central Bulgaria and is often referred to as the “City of the Tsars”. It is located on the Yantra River and is best known as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The old part of the town is situated on three hills, upon which there are the palaces of the Bulgarian emperors and the Patriarchate, the Patriarchal Cathedral, and a number of administrative buildings surrounded by thick walls.
With the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire with its capital in Veliko Tarnovo, the fortress became the most important one in Bulgaria, often compared with Rome and Constantinople in magnificence. The fortress and castle complex has three entrances. The main entrance is located in the easternmost side of the hill. The castle is located in the centre, surrounded by an internal stone wall, two battle towers and two entrances – north and south. It consists of a throne hall, castle church and the king’s chamber. The restoration of the fortress Tsarevets began in 1930 and was completed in 1981 in honour of the 1300 anniversary of the Bulgarian state. Kings Petar, Asen, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen the second lived there. The castle was the biggest one in the 14th century.
Trapezitsa is known for its many churches and as the former main residence of the nobility. During the Middle Ages, the town was among the main European centers of culture and gave its name to the architecture of the Tarnovo Artistic School, painting and literature.