About Tsarevets Castle
One of Bulgaria’s most beloved heritage sites, Tsarevets Castle in the city of Veliko Tarnovo is a reconstructed medieval fortress complex and was the centre of the Second Bulgarian Empire, which ruled the region from the 12th to 14th centuries AD. The former seat of medieval tsars, today the site is a museum reserve and features as one of our Top 10 Bulgarian Tourist Attractions.
Tsarevets Castle history
First constructed on the site of an earlier Byzantine fort, by the late 12th century Tsarevets Castle had become the headquarters of the Bulgarian forces, who overthrew Byzantine rule in the region. For the next two centuries, Tsarevets Castle housed the royal palaces and administration of the new regime.
However, by the late 14th century the continued rise of the Ottoman Empire put increasing pressure on the Bulgarian forces and, along with the region as a whole, Tsarevets Castle was captured by the Ottoman army. For much of the medieval period Tsarevets Castle continued to flourish as a centre of religion, trade and administration.
In the 20th century significant restoration projects were undertaken at Tsarevets Castle, including the restoration of the Patriarch’s Palace and Baldwin’s Tower.
Tsarevets Castle today
Open between 8am and 7pm each day, visitors can tour the castle complex and visit the restored Baldwin’s Tower from where there are great views of the locality. Psychedelic sound and light shows are also held within Tsarevets Castle on certain evenings.
Watch your step whilst exploring the remains of over 400 houses, 18 churches and the royal palace, as the site is dotted with potholes and damaged steps.
Getting to Tsarevets Castle
Nestled within a bend in the Yantra River, Tsarevets Castle is easily found by car just off route 5 and 514 through Velio Tarnovo. There is parking nearby. You can also easily walk to/from Trapezitsa train station which has links across Bulgaria.
Medieval Castles in Europe
The landscapes of Europe are littered with medieval strongholds, built centuries ago to defend regions and people of great importance. Here are 15 of the continent's most incredible castles to visit.
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.