Archaeological Complex „Kaleto”- Mezdra

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A new tourist attraction situated on a rocky hill towering over the left bank of the river Iskar near the town of Mezdra keeps traces of seventy centuries of history. The remains of the “Kaleto” fortress are situated in the southwest part of the town of Mezdra. The fortress itself is situated on a rocky massif above the bed of the river Iskar. The hill is naturally protected and strategically located at the cross-point of important roads connecting the Danube valley with the Sofia Plain, Eastern and Western Bulgaria. Preserved are traces of two fortified settlements from the end of the Stone and Copper Ages and the Eneolite (4 thousand BC) that are destroyed by natural fires. This time-span covers the period from the end of the 5th to the first half of the 4th millennium BC. Numerous artifacts from the excavations of “Kaleto” show that at the end of the Copper Age the settlement near Mezdra was flourishing as a handicraft center. One of these findings – the Sanctuary of the Taurus – is unique. It has no analogue in Bulgaria. The history of “Kaleto” went on through the centuries. At this place there was a Roman fort in the middle of the 2nd century, a pagan cult center during the 3rd century, a fortified settlement during the 4th and 5th centuries, which continued to develop in the late Roman and Byzantine period. The archaeological Complex “Kaleto” – Mezdra includes the ancient and medieval fortress with the same name, which has been the subject of scientific excavation for many years. In 2013 the complex was restored and turned into a tourist attraction under the “History, Culture and Nature – Tourist Attractions of Mezdra” project implemented with EU financial support. Some of the findings discovered during the excavations are arranged in a permanent exhibition hall. A central place in it occupies a model of the Roman and late ancient fortress “Kaleto” (2nd – 5th century). Archaeological findings and remains of the 5 different historical periods of the fortress are exhibited there. The other building houses studios of local craftsmen, an information center and a souvenir shop. A visit to the restored stronghold can be combined with a tour to other sites of interest near the towns of Mezdra and Vratsa. The Govedarnika locality with its 30 small caves and niches in the 40-meter high cliffs with graffiti with figurative, anthropomorphic and abstract images is 7 km away. The rock phenomenon Ritlite is 11 km away, and the famous cave Ledenika – 31 km away. Another place worth visiting is the picturesque Cherepish “Assumption” Monastery only 14 km away from “Kaleto”.

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