Geography and Population
Lovech is a province in central Bulgaria with area of 4129 sq.km. and population of approx. 168000 people. There are 8 municipalities in the region. The municipality of Lovech occupies 946 sq. m. of land in the north-eastern part of Lovech county. It covers approx. 23% of the territory of the county and it is at the first place for its size compared to the other seven municipalities.
Lovech municipality is situated in the middle part of the Danube hilly plain (lower lay-by of Osam river), it includes the most northern spur of the middle parts of Fore-Balkan to the south, crosses Devetashko plateau and part of Lovech high lands to the east, the eastern part of Begleshko-Radyuvenski plain and a hilly region to the west. The earth formation is mainly a hilly one, to the north east part – hilly and plain one.
The administrative centre of the region is the town of Lovech - one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria. The town is of a compact shape and it occupies the river terraces of Osam River. The average above sea level is 200 m. Its territory and surroundings have been inhabited ever since the remote past, a prerequisite for which is the favorable geographic situation between the mountain and the plain.
Remains of the Old Stone Age, the New Stone Age, the Bronze and the Iron epoch have been found in the caves Tabashka and Vasil Levski in the town of Lovech. The first "official" inhabitants of the town were the Thracian tribe, the "Meldi", whose traces date as back as IV-III century BC. They founded here their capital, called Melta. It was situated at the place of today’s neighbourhood and architecture reserve "Varosha".
Later, when the Romans colonized the Balkan Peninsula, they established a Roman station and named it Prezidium. It had a huge strategic importance along of the biggest Roman roads – "Via Trayana", which connected the White sea with the Danube river.
The Turkish invasion in the mid XIV century didn’t pass the town, but the citadel of Lovech "Hisarya" was captured last of all, in 1446.
In XVII century Lovech was a strong trade centre again and one of the richest towns in Bulgaria.
1784 is the most horrible year in the history of the town, when it was almost totally burnt and destroyed by a Turkish army. From 20000 citizens there were only 4600 survivors.
In the times of revolutionary organizations against the Turkish enslavers, Lovech was the centre of operations of the International Revolutionary Organization of Vasil Levski, called the Secret Revolutionary Committee. He was arrested by the Turkish military near Lovech. Now in the old town "Varosha" is the biggest museum of Vasil Levski in Bulgaria containing many personal items such as notebooks, clothes, weapons etc.
Places of interest
Lovech is famous for its "Covered bridge" built by the self-taught master - builder known as Koliu Ficheto. This masterpiece of Bulgarian architecture was built in 1872 -1874. During the Ottoman times, Midhad Pasha asked the master to build something original - a bridge over the Lovech open market and at the same time to join the two parts of the town that were divided by the river Osam.The genius builder studied the terrain on his own, he prepared the materials and came up with a special design. It was built without nails and joints, without estimation means, without surveyors level and without cement. The bridge was burned out in 1925, but was rebuilt in 1931 again. Today the new one is also wooden and covered. It connects the new and the old part of the town and is full of many souvenir shops, a cafe, and a pastry shop.
The roman citadel "Hisarya", situated on the similarly named hill, was particularly prominent for the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Here, in 1187, the peace treaty between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire was signed and the independence of Bulgaria was officially declared.
Outside the town, one can visit the Stratesh Park, which lies on the right bank of the Osam river and represents a wonderful place for recreation with tourist facilities, monuments, ruins of a Medieval fortress and even a zoo. It is also popularly called the Park of Lilies for the abundance of such flowers there.
Eco-path "Krushuna". There is an eco-path established near the village of Krushuna, near to the town of Lovech. It goes to the Devetashko plateau and passes by a marvelous waterfall. Its foamy waters jump over stair beds and spill down. The path runs through a thick of plants and passes low above the rapids.
"Devetashkata Cave", discovered in 1921, is one of the biggest caves in Europe. According to archeological research, it sheltered people since the late Paleolithic era. Devetaska cave is a monument of culture and a place of national and international significance and protection. This natural phenomenon is about 1500 meters long and has a huge entrance - 35 meter high and 55 meter wide. The cave has 11 underground lakes and rather beautiful cave formations.
"Sueva Dupka" Cave is still another natural phenomenon in the vicinity of Lovech. It is 400 m long, and is interesting for its cave species. Scientists have found that primitive man inhabited the cave. Various objects, including a coin with the image of the Roman emperor Antoninus, have also been found.