About Belogradchik Fortress
Standing on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains, Belogradchik Fortress – also known as Belogradchik Kale or as Kaleto – is an impressively well-preserved fortification in north-western Bulgaria. Today, Belogradchik Fortress is open to the public and it features as one of our Top Tourist Attractions of Bulgaria.
Belogradchik Fortress history
The Romans initially founded Belogradchik Fortress as a stronghold from the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD, building the highest part of the fortress known as the Citadel. The mission of the fortress was to control the road from the town of Ratsiaria. Over the centuries, Belogradchik Fortress has been used by a succession of different forces including the Byzantines.
The 14th century saw the site fall under the remit of Tsar Ivan Sratsimir’s Vidin kingdom, during which time it was enlarged and strengthened. Nevertheless, at the end of this century, Belogradchik Fortress was captured by the Ottomans, a move which saw the site used to suppress local uprisings and protect this corner of the Ottoman Empire.
During the 19th century, Belogradchik Fortress continued to be used for military and defensive purposes. In 1850, Belogradchik Fortress played a sinister role in suppressing the Belogradchik uprising, it being the place where activists were decapitated. In 1885, the fortress was also used in the Serb-Bulgarian War.
Belogradchik Fortress today
Today, a monument stands in recognition of the Belogradchik Uprising where one of the leaders was beheaded within the outstandingly well-preserved remains of the fortress. Visitors can clearly see the openings for guns in the fortress walls. From the highest point of Belogradchik Fortress called ‘First Slab’, you get a beautiful view reaching across the mountains.
You can also grab an audio-guide from the ticket booth and follow the history of the site around as you wander. Be sure to bring comfortable shoes for walking across the rocky ground while exploring.
Getting to Belogradchik Fortress
Belogradchik Fortress is best reached by car and is around a 3 hour drive from Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. There is parking for only 2.5 Lev.