The city of Ruse is situated on the highest right bank of the Danube river, at a distance of 320 km from Sofia, 200 km from Varna and about 300 km from Plovdiv. The population of the city is about 180 000 people. This is one of the largest cities in the country – an important cultural, commercial and industrial center.
The close proximity of the river Danube had always had great significance for the development of the city from the Antiquity to the present day. The Roman military camp and fortress were established here in the 1st century AD. It had the name of Seksaginta Pristis –Port of the Sixty Boats. Since the 16th century, the city had been known under its Ottoman name – Ruschuk. During the Ottoman dominion, Ruse was one of the main cities of the Ottoman Empire, which reflected on its economical and cultural development. Ruse was number one in many terms – the first railway station in Bulgaria was constructed here; a contemporary publishing house was established; a newspaper was issued; the city was a headquarter of multiple consulates.
After 1878 Ruse was the largest city in Bulgaria Principality, its economy was developing very fast and this had its influence upon the entire appearance of the city. The connection which the city was having with Europe through the Danube river was favorable for its development. Due to the beautiful architecture and the internal shaping of the buildings constructed by Italian, Austrian, German and Bulgarian architects, Ruse was also known as “The Small Vienna”.
One of the city symbols is the Building of the Tax Administration – a beautiful building in the center of Ruse. It was constructed in 1901-1902 and impresses the visitors with its wonderful facade and the seven figures on the roof. They are a symbol of arts, science, music, agriculture, commerce, defense and the free spirit flight. On the top is the symbol of commerce – Mercury.
Another significant place to visit is The Regional Historical Museum. More than 130 000 monuments of culture are stored in it. Among them is the Borovsko Thracian Treasure – a set of up to five silver ritual vessels dating back to the 4th century BC.
Another interesting landmark is the Museum of the City Style of Life, also called The Kaliopa House. Its exposition represents the interior of a rich Ruse home from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, and the beautiful wall-paintings on the second floor were made by the Austrian painter Charles Schausberg.
The museum house of Zahari Stoyanov is situated in close proximity to the Museum of the City Style of Life. Two expositions are presented inside it – the first one is dedicated to the revolutionary and writer Zahari Stoyanov (1850 – 1889), and the second one traces the history of Obretenov family from Ruse and their activity for the national movement for the liberation of Ottoman dominion.
The mortal remains of Zahari Stoyanov, as well as those of many other renowned Bulgarians, are stored in the Pantheon of the Leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival in Ruse. Tribute is paid to more than 450 leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival in the ossuary temple.
One of the most interesting landmarks of the city of Ruse is the remains of the fortress Seksaginta Prista. It is situated in the north-west part of the city, on a small hill near the bank of the Danube river. The closed exposition presents the fortress scales, and a part of the finds can also be viewed in the historical museum of Ruse, where they are exhibited in a separate room.
The only National Museum of Transport in Bulgaria is situated in Ruse, which is housed in the building of the first railway station in Bulgaria. Among the most interesting exponents of the museum are the coaches of the tsars (kings) Ferdinand (1887 – 1918) and Boris ІІІ (1918 – 1943), and also the saloon coach of Sultan Abdul Aziz (1830 – 1876). There are three halls in the museum, displaying the history of the railway transport and shipping in Bulgaria.
There are also interesting and beautiful landmarks in the vicinity of the city of Ruse. The beautiful Natural Park Rusenski Lom is situated at a distance of 20 km south-west from the city, on an area of 3408 hectares. The park offers various options for ecological and alternative tourism, and a number of significant historical and cultural monuments are situated within its borders. The remains of the medieval town of Cherven – one of the largest military, economic and cultural centers of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 – 1393), are among them. The Ivanovski Rock Churches are also situated here – a site included in the List of Global Cultural Inheritance of UNESCO. Another religious center in close proximity to Ruse is the monastery St. Dimitar Basarbovski – the only active rock monastery in Bulgaria.
Even today, the Danube river is a basic factor for the development not only of Ruse, but for all of Bulgaria. The Danube Bridge by Ruse has strategic importance because a major part of the crossing of the river by automobile and railway transport in the eastern part of the Bulgarian peninsula had been performed only through it. A number of cruise companies organize travels along the Danube and some of them include passing through the Bulgarian territory in their schedules.
The city is a host of multiple cultural events such as the Ruse Carnival, the March Music Days, the Autumn Days of Arts and Science, etc.
The tourist exhibition entitled Weekend Tourism is conducted annually in Ruse. The festival of Tourist Entertainment and Animation is also conducted as a part of the schedule within the framework of the Exhibition.
Ruse offers various categories of accommodation places, catering and entertainment establishments. You can find more information regarding the landmarks and the events in the city and accommodation places in the Tourist Information Center which is situated on the central square.
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