The town of Pleven has a population of 117 000 inhabitants and is a district centre. The town lies at a distance of 160 km northeast of Sofia. It is located at the heart of the Danube Hilly Plain, surrounded by limestone hills along the Tuchenitza River. The earliest traces of life date back to V c. B.C. On the territory of the district was discovered the biggest gold treasure in Bulgaria - The Valchetrun treasure. It consists of 13 vessels of cult purposes weighing 12,500 kg.
In the beginning of the new era these lands became part of the Roman Empire. A station with the name of Storgozia was established on the road from Ulpia Eskus /present-day village Gigen/ to Philipopolis /present-day Plovdiv/. In the years it grew into a fortress and a settlement with the same name. The archaeological research tells about mass construction of public and religious buildings. One of the most precious monuments of this period is the early Christian basilica from IV c. It is the second of size after the basilica in Pliska. With the arrival of the Bulgarians on these lands at the end of VII c. the settlement was called Kamenetz and to the north of it was established a new settlement with the name of Pleven. Later both settlements merged. During IX -XIV c. on the site of the present-day town there existed a settlement and a medieval fortress. The town was mentioned for the first time in a deed of honour of the Madzhar king Stephen V in relation to his merits during a military march. The town was conquered by the Turks at the end of XIV c. The main means of living of the inhabitants during the Ottoman yoke were agriculture, trade ad crafts. A lot of churches, schools, bridges and fountains were built during the Revival period. In 1840 the first girls' public school was opened. Among the town's landmarks of this period are the churches "St. Nikolai" from 1834 and "St. Paraskeva" from 1862. In the course of the Russian-Turkish War the town of Pleven had a strategic significance and was the focus of the world's publicity for a period of 5 months. In the region of the town were concentrated large army forces of both the Russian and the Turkish armies. From the outcome of the Pleven battle depend the outcome of the Russian-Turkish War from 1877. On 10 December 1877 Osman Pasha surrendered to the Russian army. The day was celebrated by the inhabitants of Pleven as the Appreciation Day.
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The tourist sights of the town are: the charnel-house mausoleum of the defeated Russian and Romanian soldiers during the Pleven battle from 1877, the Panorama, the history museum, the church "St. Nikolai" (1834), the art gallery "Iliya Beshkov" and others.
On the territory of Pleven District are located the following natural landmarks: the reserve "Milka" (Belene Island), the protected sites "Persinski blata", "Kitka", "Kailaka", the Chernelka River Gorge. An important ornithological site is the Island of Belene. Pleven is a vine-growing region and the most famous wineries of the region are: Pleven, Dolni Dubnik, Telish and Nikopol.
The History Museum in Pleven was founded in 1911. It has been located at a two-storey building since 1984 - monument of culture of national significance. The building was built in 1884-1888 under an Italian project for barracks. The numerous exhibits of the museum are situated in 24 halls. The numismatic collection of the museum consists of 25 000 coins. The collections are divided in five sections - archaeology, ethnography, Revival period, new history and nature. In the yard of the museum there is an open lapidarium with architectural details and tomb monuments.
The charnel-house mausoleum of the defeated Russian and Romanian soldiers was built after an idea of Stoyan Zaimov with donations of the Bulgarian people. It was opened in 1906 in the presence of the Russian general Stoletov. The wood-carved iconostasis was made by professor Ivan Truvnishki and was awarded on the Paris exhibition in 1906. The icons were pained by professor Markvichka and professor Mitov.
The Panorama in Pleven is a complex of four halls dedicated to different stages of the development of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878. In the second hall there is a three-dimensional images exhibition.
The art gallery "Iliya Beshkov" in Pleven houses 9 000 works of the artist. The gallery owns the biggest collection of African "shona" stone plastics in Europe.
The art Gallery "Svetlin Russev" in Pleven is located in a restored building - a monument of culture. The paintings and the sculptures in the gallery were donated by the great artist. The collection consists of Revival period icons, wood carvings, works of Bulgarian and European Artists.
The ancient town Eskus at the village of Gigen lies at a distance of 40 km from Pleven. In the northwestern part of the village are situated the remains of the Roman and Byzantine town of Ulpia Eskus. The town was founded near the camp of the 4th Skith and 5th Macedonian legions of the Roman army. The town of Eskus was in its boom during the I and II c. A.D. During the reign of Konstantin the Great a bridge over the Danube was built to connect Eskus with Sukidava (present-day Romania). Eskus fell victim to the Huns' invasions during the first half and the middle of V c. Its fortified walls were later restored in 527-565 during the reign of the emperor Justinian the Great. In 585 the town was destroyed by the Avars when many other towns in this part of the Roman Empire had the same fate. The ruins at the village of Gigen were related to the ancient town of Ulpia Eskus for the first time in XVII century by the Italian military engineer Luidzhi Marsili. In the history museum of Pleven are exhibited monuments from the ancient town of Ulpia Eskus - architectural details, many-coloured floor mosaics, sculptures, bronze plastics of gods, golden jewellery and other objects.
The town of Belene has a population of 10 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 72 km northeast of Pleven. Belene is the municipal centre of 5 component settlements. The town is located along the Danube River.
In the vicinities of Belene there are remains of a ground fortification and a Slavic settlement which originated at the site of the Roman fortress Dimum. In XVI c. the settlement is known under the name of Belni Paulikyan because it was populated by Pavlikyans which took the Catholic religion in XVII c. To the north of the town of Belene is the Belene Island.
The Island of Belene (Persin) is the biggest Bulgarian island on the Danube river. It was formed of alluvial sediments. At average level of the Danube waters it occupies an area of 41, 078 m2 at a width of 4,8 km and length of 14 km. The high waters of the DanubeRiver overflow the island.
The town of Cherven Bryag has a population of 15 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 50 km southwest of Pleven. Cherven Bryag is the centre of a municipality with 13 component settlements. The settlement is located at the site where the Panega River flows into the Iskar River. Cherven bryag was proclaimed for a town in 1929. The municipality is a rich agrarian-agricultural centre. In the region of Cherven Bryag were discovered a prehistoric necropolis, an ancient and a medieval settlement. The town was written in the Ottoman documents in 1430 under the names of Sarayar and Cheruvnik.
The tourist sights f the town are: the church "Sveta Bogoroditza"/Holy Virgin/ (1885), the temple "Sofronii Vrachanski", the remains of a medieval settlement and a church and the rocky formations in the region of the village of Resletz.
The town of Levski has a population of 11 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 49 km east of Pleven. Levski is the municipal centre of 12 settlements. The town is located in the valley of the Osam River. In the vicinities of the town there are remains of a Roman settlement. The town was described in the Turkish registry books from 1430. Until 1897 the town was known under the name of Kara agach.
The town of Nikopol has a population of 5 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 55 km northeast of Pleven. Nikopol is a municipal centre with 13 component settlements. The town is situated amphitheatrically on the slopes of several hills on the high right bank of the Danube River 3 km east of the mouth of the Osam River.
The town is the successor of the old Roman fortress Sekuriska. In 629 the Byzantine emperor Iraklius gave it the name of Nikopolis. Nikopol was the last fortress of the Tarnovo Kingdom. In 1395 in Nikopol was captured and beheaded the last Bulgarian king Ivan Shishman under the order of the Turkish sultan Bayazid I. During the Ottoman yoke the town was known under the name of Kyuchuk Stanbul which in translation means the Little Istanbul. The town preserved its function of an important military, administrative and trade centre for a long time. In the region of the town was waged the battle between the Polish king Vladislav III Varnenchik and the Madzhar king Sigizmund against the Turkish army.
The tourist sights of the town are: the fountain Eliya, the churches "St. Peter and Pavel" (XIII c.) and "Uspenie Bogorodichno" /The Assumption/ (1840), a group of Revival period houses, remains of a Roman settlement and a medieval fortress.
In the region of the municipality was discovered the Nikopol treasure dating from XIV c. The treasure consists of vessels, coins and jewellery made by Bulgarian masters.
The fountain Eliya in Nikopol was built in II c. by the Roman master Frontona in honour of his deceased wife Eliya. He poured out his grief in rhymes over the stone. In XIX c. the archaeologist Dizharden touched by the deed added another inscription on the fountain.
The medieval fortress is situated in the hazel-trees park of the town. From the fortress is preserved a stone gate with an iron door.
The town of Knezha has a population of about 13 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 46 km west of Pleven. The town is the municipal centre of 3 component settlements.
In the region of Knezha there are remains of settlements from the Bronze and the Middle Ages. The town has been known as a military settlement since XVI century. Knezha is an agricultural region with well-developed production of grains, fodder, sunflower, sugar beet and other cultures. In the town is located the maize scientific research centre.
The town of Iskar has a population of 4 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 32 km west of Pleven. Iskar is the municipal centre of 3 settlements. The town is located along the right bank of the Iskar River. The settlement was founded by immigrants from the adjacent settlement of Peserovo (present-day Pisarovo) in the beginning of XIX c. The municipality is specialized in the growing of grain and technical cultures.
The town of Pordim has a population of 2 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 20 km east of Pleven. Pordim is the administrative centre of 7 settlements. The town was described in the Ottoman documents from 1430. In the region of the municipality there are remains of prehistoric settlements, an ancient and a medieval fortress. The municipality is specialized in agriculture. Pordim is the birth place of the playwright Ivan Radoev.
A tourist sight of the town is a house-museum in which the emperor Alexander II lived.
The town of Slavyanovo has a population of 5 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 25 km northeast of the district town. In the vicinities of the town there are remains of a prehistoric settlement and medieval settlements. In Slavyanovo there is a big poultry factory. The settlement is specialized in the growing of grains, technical cultures, vines, fruits and vegetables.
The town of Gulyantzi has a population of 4 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 34 km north of the district town. Gulyanzi is the municipal administrative centre of 11 settlements.
In the vicinities of the town there are remains of prehistoric and ancient settlements. The municipality is specialized in agriculture.
The town of Dolni Dubnik has a population of 5 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 18 km west of the district town. The town is the municipal centre of 6 settlements. The first written evidence for the town is from the tax registry books of 1430. In the region of the town there is a deposit of petrol and natural gas. The municipality is specialized in the production of watermelons, melons, wheat, maize, sunflower, fruits and vine-growing.
The tourist sights of the town are: monuments dedicated to the deceased warriors in the Liberation War, the monument of the prominent Bulgarian caricatures professor Iliya Beshkov(1901-1958), born in the town.
The town of Dolna Mitropoliya has a population of 4 000 inhabitants and lies at a distance of 10 km northwest of Pleven. Dolna Mitropoliya is the centre of a municipality with 15 component settlements. The town is established in XVIII c. The region is specialized in the production of grains, technical cultures, vegetables and vine-growing.