Tsarevets Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Tsarevets Castle

Tarnovo, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Tsarevets Castle in Veliko Tarnovo is a medieval fortress and was the centre of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Today it is open to visitors and also hosts sound and light shows.

Peta Stamper

15 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

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.

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