Bulgaria have lot of history to offer since the ancient times. Every ruler create his own mark , so for us who love castles and fortresses is perfect place to go. Many of us including my self have been to Veliko Trnovo and castle that is based in this old capital of Bulgaria. But not much of the outside world knows about Belogradchik fortress.
Belogradchik fortress is perfect example how man can build in harmony with the nature. Fortress is build in a very strange and in the same time amazing landscape. Inside the fortress there is some high strange rocks that complete this fascinating fort.
How to get To Belogradchik
Situated above the cozy town of Belogradchik in the Bulgarian northwest, the castle has been around since Roman times, though it was reconstructed extensively under medieval Bulgarian and Ottoman rule. To get there you should go in direction of Zajecar if you are in Serbia , Croatia,or coming from Western Europe. If you are already in Bulgaria you should drive from Sofia Nortwest toward the Serbian-Bulgarian border and city of Belogradchik. From Sofia is less than 100 km so in 2 hours maximum you should be there.
In my personal case i was driving from my hometown Veles in central Macedonia to Belogradchik. I took the A1 highway toward Vranje, and switch to the Aleksinac and further toward Zajaecar. Before Zajecar there is a road for border cross passing. Belogradchik town is not far from the border. Around 30 km and you are there. My whole trip took me bit less than 6 hours excluded the time of waiting on the borders.
If you travel with plane than from the Sofia airport Terminal 2 you have metro , buses going also from Terminal 1 to the center. Ride will cost you around 1 euro. Than take a bus to Belogradchik.
Historians believe it happened in the time of the Roman Empire. The Romans were clever enough to choose a site where there was almost no need to build. The natural rocky landscape meant that walls from only two sides had to be built – from the northwest and from the southeast. For the rest of the structure, rock verticals as high as 230 feet (70 meters) were used. At the initial state of its life, the Belogradchik Fortress served merely as a lookout point.
The huge rocks impress you from the first moment you get there. Even when you look from the far you can not notice what is construct by the humans what was there from the nature. Fortress was also use in the Medieval time as a military base or lookup point due the strategic location of the Belogradchik fortress.
At a certain point, during the reign of the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Sratsimir (14th century), the fortress had to acquire a tougher military function. At that time, the Ottoman Empire was gaining new territories in Europe, and thus it forced many rulers, including the Bulgarians, to strengthen their defense systems. In this period, the fortress was the second most important in the state of Ivan Sratsimir, only after his castle – the Vidin Fortress.
During the Ottoman rule of the region, the fortress was reconstructed and reinforced once again because of the rebellion activity that was taking place. As for recent history, the last time the fortress was used as a military site was during the Serbo-Bulgarian War in 1885.
What made and impression on me is that the whole surrounding look amazing. Forest around the hills, huge rocks and fortress somewhere in the middle .
Things to do in Belogradchik
City center of Belogradchik is on 1,5 km from the fortress. In this bit over 5 000 population town not much to see or do. Next to the fortress is the museum of history and bit further is one guesthouse where you can stay if you want. In the city there is another hotel and more or less thats it. Belogradchik town is peaceful and place where you can enjoy in real Bulgarian cuisine and have some Rakia homemade drink with some of the locals.
Overall i would really recommend this fortress because is unique and worth to see. Nature around is great so you can even hike and spend whole day wondering around this little town. Also is good for those who want to have a day trip to somewhere and see something new.