The city of Lovech is located in northern Bulgaria 150 km from Sofia. The city has a population of roughly 38,000. The climate is temperate and continental, with hot summers and cold winters. The average temperature in January is 1.5 degrees below 0 Centigrade and during July it is 23 degrees Centigrade.
Lovech is one of the oldest settled places in Bulgaria. The city is built on the remains of the Thracian settlement Melta and the Roman city Presidium. The Hisarya Fortress was built during the First Bulgarian Empire (681-1018 CE). When the peace treaty between Bulgaria and Byzantium was signed here, it marked the beginning of the Second Bulgarian Empire and the end of Byzantine rule over Bulgaria that had lasted two centuries.
The Hisarya Fortress above Lovech is one of the last remaining Ottoman citadels.
Culture and agriculture continued to flourish in Lovech during Ottoman rule. By the 17th century, the city had developed into one of the country’s most important commercial centers, and traders from Lovech journeyed far beyond the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire.
The Vasil Levski Ethnographic Complex and Residence Museum is located in Lovech’s Old Town, The Varosha Quarter. Lovech is famous as the site of the efforts made by Vasil Levski (1837-1873), who dedicated his life to freeing Bulgaria from the Ottomans. The narrow, cobbled streets of The Varosha Quarter help create an authentic atmosphere carrying visitors back to those 19th century days. At the Old Town’s highest point, near the remains of the Hisarya Fortress, there is a monument to Levski.
The city’s and region’s past is preserved in the city’s history museum.
The symbol of Lovech is the covered bridge that spans the Osam River, connecting the old and new quarters. It was built in 1872-1874 by one of the era’s best-known master builders, Kolyu Ficheto. Today there are many shops on the bridge selling souvenirs.
In The Varosha Quarter, there is an art gallery in the Sveta Nedelya (Holy Sunday) Church, with frescoes painted in 1873. The church was declared a cultural landmark in Protocol № 7 of the National Society for the Preservation of Culture on November 11, 1999.
The Bash Bunar Park is situated on the Osam River. Its steep banks are dotted with caves of various sizes. Bones and implements from the Paleolithic Age and the Bronze Age were discovered in two of the caves – The Vasil Levski Cave and The Tabashkata Cave. The park is a fine place for strolling and relaxation.
Stratesh Hill is another popular location for walks in Lovech. The hill has been developed as a park, and the city’s zoo is located there.
There are also two monuments on Stratesh Hill that honor those who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1888.
The Kakrina Inn, where Levski was captured by the Ottoman authorities, is now a museum. It is 19 km from Lovech and listed among the country’s top 100 tourist destinations.
The Devetash Cave is 18 km from the city. It is the biggest of the roughly 60 caves on the Devetash Plateau. Of particular interest are the cascading waterfalls inside the cave. The Krushunsko Waterfalls are another natural phenomenon near Lovech. The falls are the highest travertine falls in Bulgaria. An ecological trail equipped with bridges and stairs has been built so that visitors can reach viewing platforms both beneath and above the falls.
One of the oldest settlements in the region is some 20 km from Lovech, the archeological reserve in the village of Staro Stefano. There are more than 100 buildings in the village dating from the middle of the 19th century that have been designated as cultural landmarks.
There are a number of hotels in Lovech that offer accommodations. Villages near the Devetash Plateau encourage village tourism and accommodate visitors in attractive guesthouses.
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