Belogradchik Fortress - History and Facts | History Hit

Belogradchik Fortress

Belogradchik, Belogradchik, Bulgaria

Belogradchik Fortress is an impressive fortification in Bulgaria with a history dating back to Roman times.

Peta Stamper

07 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

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.

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Bulgaria Historic Sites

Discover the best historic sites in Bulgaria, including cultural landmarks and attractions such as the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon and the medieval Boyana Church.