Lovech Castle, Hisarja or Hisarya Fortres

Lovech Castle, Hisarja or Hisarya Fortres

Lovech Castle or Hisarja Fortress is an ancient citadel that stands on two terraces of Hisarya Hill that overlooks the city so you won't miss it. Hisarya Fortress was first erected in 4000- 3000 BC (Chalcolithic Age) by first Neolithic settlers who recognized strategic location of this hill. This natural formation has high cliffs and steep slopes. Additionally river provided first settlers with water and natural defenses against sudden and unexpected attacks from an enemy. First people constructed very simple wooden walls to protect their village, but given natural landscape it was more than enough for their security. Archaeologists discovered ruins of houses, pieces of pottery, golden jewelry and other artifacts.


Location: Lovech


Description of Hisarya Castle in Lovech


Somewhere between 4th and 3rd centuries BC Hisarya Castle was probably captured and settled by the Thracian tribe known as Meldi. They found their capital in below the hill in the region of modern neighbourhood of Varosha and named it Melta. Hisarya Castle was too far from the source of water so it was reserved only for the periods of military conflicts or natural disasters like floods.


Military fortifications were greatly increased during occupation by the Roman Empire. Romans linked Lovech Fortress with other cities in the area and a small fort in a modern Lovech below that was known as Prezidium. Parts of ancient Roman roads are visible in parts of the city. First Christian church in Lovech was constructed here by the Late Roman/ Byzantines in the 5th century. Its ruins are still preserved on the top of the Hisarya Hill.


Hisarya Fortress plays an important role in Bulgarian history. It was here that in 1187 Byzantine Empire acknowledged birth of a Bulgarian Empire that came to be known as the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Lovech eventually fell to the invasion of the Ottoman Turks in 1445, however it got some privileges that other Bulgarian cities did not get. Among them was a prohibition for Turks to settle permanently in the city. Another law protected Christian children from being taken away to Turkish army as soldiers known as janissaries.


Today Hisarya Castle of Lovech is open to the public. It is easily seen by a huge metal cross that is seen from almost any point from the city of Lovech below. Archaeological digs still continue to this day. Despite years of excavations and research Lovech Castle still carries many secrets. Just recently scientists discovered two caches with treasures that were probably hidden during one of the sieges or simply at the time of personal danger. Its former owners were probably killed so they didn't return to their hidden spots. One of these caches included a pot with 16 coins, while another cache consisted of an amphorae with 1430 coins inside. Both finds contained coins that depicted Tsar Ivan Alexander (1301- 71) and his son Michael.