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Vratsa ↓

Town of Vratsa

The town of Vratsa (69,423 inhabitants, 380 m above sea level) is situated along the two banks of Leva River, in the northern foots of the majestic Vrachanski Balkan. It is 116 km north of Sofia, 41 km south-east of Montana, 80 km and 74 km south of Kozlodouy and Oryahovo, respectively, 57 km and 17 km north-west of Botevgrad and Mezdra, respectively. Vratsa is the largest town in North-Western Bulgaria. Its nature, history and culture form a unique combination. It is a regional administrative centre.

History: South of the town is the fantastic gorge of Leva River, coming out of the Vrachanska Mountain, which is known since a lot of time ago as Vratsata. In the 6th century there was a fortress here according to the Byzantine chronicler Prokopiy. Later the medieval Bulgarian settlement Vratitsa emerged in this area. In the beginning of the Ottoman invasion Radan Voyvoda successfully defended the area for quite a long time, taking advantage of the natural fortifications and the strong walls of the existing fortress. During the Turkish rule Vratsa was turned into a garrison settlement and was many times ruined and recovered. At first, the Wallachian ruler Mihay Vityaz ruined the town is 1596, while later on (in the beginning of 19th century), during the rule of Osman Pazvantooglu the town served as a battlefield for the troops of the Vidin feudal and the Sultan. At the end of the 18th and particularly during the 19th century Vratsa grew into a big craftsmanship, trade and administrative centre. Its products - aba manufacturing (a coarse homespun woollen cloth and upper men's garment made of it), leather products and goldsmith - reached Lyon, Vienna, Bucharest and Constantinople. At mid-19th century the town already had 2500 houses.

All these influenced the spirit of the town. Cathedrals, schools and beautiful houses were built at that time. Sofroniy Vrachanski worked and lived in the town. Other natives of Vratsa are the prominent Bulgarians Ivan Zambin, the first Bulgarian diplomat in Russia, Dimitur Hadzhitoshev, famous political leader killed by the Turks in 1827, etc. The town was liberated from the Turkish Rule on 9th November 1877.

With the decline of the crafts after the Liberation Vratsa lost its significance. After the construction of Sofia - Mezdra - Varna railway line, the towns of Mezdra and Roman took off some of the town's trade and market functions. Later on, when the railway line Mezdra - Vratsa - Lom was completed (1913) and a continuation of the railway from Broussartsi to Vidin was finished (1923) Vratsa partially regained its position.

Landmarks: The Town Museum of History (at the central Hristo Botev Square, tel.: 092 20373) is famous for its extremely valuable golden Thracian treasuries, its original samples of the well-known Vratsa goldsmith school and numerous exhibits and a lot of information about the life and last days of the poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev. There is an impressive monument of the poet in the central town square named after him. Immediately behind is the restored residential and defence turret of the "Kurtpashovs". 150 metres north-west is located the other turret, constructed at the same time and to serve the same purpose, namely the turret of the Mezhchiis?.

The Revival-Ethnographic Complex (General Leonov Str, tel.: 092 20209) includes the Hadzhitoshevs? House (the most valuable and interesting), the house of Grigoriya Naydenov - a member of the local revolutionary committee and a volunteer, the house of Ivan Zambin, The Ascension Church dating back to 18th century, which gave shelter to Levski, P. R. Slaveykov and other revolutionaries and enlighteners. Also here is the oldest school in the town - The Ascension School (1822). There is a bust-monument of Vasil Levski in front of the complex. The Nikola Voyvodov Complex (also in the centre of the town) includes the native house of Voyvodov and the house-museum of the typical Vratsa urban traditions and style from the very beginning of the 20th century. Also here is the house of Gen. Kiril Botev, (Ivanka Boteva Str), where the brother of Hristo Botev together with their mother lived from 1900 to 1903. The native house of Prof. Andrei Nikolov (Andrey Nikolov Str below the Tourist House) - the patriarch of the Bulgarian sculpture, houses a permanent exhibition of his masterpieces. The beautiful Hristo Botev Tourist House, situated on the Kaleto Hill was built in the period 1926-1931 with the donations from the tourists of Vratsa. Steep stone stairs lead to the house and there is a round-routing asphalt road. In the proximity with the Tourist House is the monument of "The Herald of Liberty". It at this place that one can hear each Sunday the sounds of a battle horn reproducing the signal of the Russian soldier, Petlak the Cossack, who had thus announced the liberation of the town on 9th November 1877. At about 100 metres behind the monument there is a high white-stone obelisk bearing the names of the volunteers from the region of Vratsa who took part in the war. The southern part of the town, where the Leva River leaves the Vratsata Gorge, houses the old craftsmanship area - the Kemera Quarter. All the old shops and stores are currently under restoration. Some of them are already refurbished and may be visited. The Town Art gallery has a rich collection of the works of famous artists and sculptors, among which one can spot the names of Andrei Nikolov, St. Ivanov, Tseno Todorov, Ivan Funev, Pencho Georgiev, etc.

Accommodation: Hemus Hotel (1, Hristo Botev Sq.). Tourist Hotel, also known as the Tourist House (1, Leva River Str, in the southern part of the town, on the way to the Vratsata Gorge), offering 150 beds in 3 suites and in single and double rooms. DNA Hotel ( Mito Rozov Str). Alpine House in the Vratsata Gorge, 1 km south of the Tourist House.


Тourist information: available at the hotels and mostly in the Tourist House.

Transport: Vratsa connects to the villages and town within the region and throughout the country by bus and railway transport. There are regular bus lines to Sofia, Montana, Kozlodouy, Oryahovo, Mezdra (at short intervals), as well as to the smaller villages, scattered around the town. The bus station (tel. 092 22558) is located on the way between the railway station and the centre of the town. Vratsa is an important railway station along the railway route Mezdra - Boychinovtsi - Brusartsi - Vidin (Lom). The town connects to the national railway network through the railway station of Mezdra. The railway station (tel.: 092 24415) is located in the North-Eastern part of the town. There is regular bus transport within the town.








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