Lovech Fortress - History and Facts | History Hit

Lovech Fortress

Lovech, Lovech, Bulgaria

The Lovech Fortress is a ruined historic stronghold in Bulgaria with links to Thracian, Roman and medieval history.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About 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.

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