Ruse is the largest Bulgarian city along the Danube and the fifth
largest city in the country. It is located on the northeastern
border of the country with Romania. The city is the administrative
center of the municipality of Rousse and the district of Rousse, as
well as an economic, transport, cultural and educational center of
regional and national importance. The population of Ruse is 141,231
people (according to NSI data as of December 31, 2019), which
confirms it as the fifth largest city in Bulgaria. 310 km from Sofia
and 75 km from the Romanian capital Bucharest, the city is a
potential strategic intermodal and logistics center of the country
and Southeast Europe, given its geographical location, its
established role as an important industrial center, and the presence
of the first in the country road and railway bridge over the Danube
river - Danube bridge. The river also connects the city to the
European transport corridor № 7, creating conditions for commercial
and cruise river navigation.
Ruse is one of the cities in Bulgaria that attracts both with its magnificent architecture and its rich historical past. Thousands of years ago (from the II century BC) on the site of today's city there was the ancient Roman fortress Sexaginta Prista, which served as a fortress and port on the border of the Roman state. There are archeological finds testifying to the existence of a Thracian settlement before the emergence of Sexaginta Prista. After the devastation of the medieval town of Cherven, which was among the important centers of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, near the capital Tarnovgrad, most of the inhabitants of the ruined fortress migrated to the growing settlement in present-day Ruse. During the Ottoman rule, the city continued to develop, becoming an important port trade center and military fortification.
Ruse is the hometown of a number of Bulgarian Revivalists, defenders of the Bulgarian spirit, revolutionaries and participants in the Liberation. At the same time, however, it is a cosmopolitan city of its time, tolerating different religions and embracing technological and social innovations as a European city. After the Liberation, the city was the most populous, but also the most modern city in the Principality of Bulgaria, before the new capital surpassed it in population. Many of the technological innovations from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century find their first application in the beautiful Danube city.
Ruse is often called "Little Vienna" in Bulgaria because of the numerous cultural monuments, whose architecture includes the styles of neo-baroque, modern, neoclassicism and secession. Symbols of the city are the Revenue Building and the Freedom Monument. Residents and guests of Ruse have the opportunity to enjoy the architecture unique to Bulgaria. The aristocratic and romantic spirit of the city attracts more and more tourists.
The motto of Ruse is "City of the free spirit".
Ruse is the birthplace of Nobel Laureate in Literature Elias Canetti.
The name "Ruse" comes after a number of names: Rusi
(Rusi), Rusiko, Rushi, Ruschuk, Rusig and others.
There is a belief that Rusi and Ruse are synonymous with Cherven and derive from the all-Slavic adjective russe, related to the Latin rusos, the French ruzh and ruse, the Old Bulgarian ryzhd. The names Ruschuk and Ruse went hand in hand after the Liberation, together appearing on the postmark, so that later only the name Ruse remained. The oldest source in which the name Ruse is mentioned is an itinerary from the end of the 14th century. Along with Tarnovo, the name Rossi is mentioned in it.
Ruse is located in the western
part of the largest Danube lowland - the Coast, and northeast of the
mouth of the Rusenski Lom River. While the northern bank of the
Danube (on the Romanian side) is low and swampy, the southern bank
near Ruse is high and dry. There are two flood terraces and three
floodplain terraces - 15 - 22 m, 30 - 66 m and 54 - 65 m. The
average altitude of the city is 45.5 m.
The built-up part of Ruse has the shape of an ellipse along the river with a total length of about 11 km. The city covers the area between the landlocked island of Matei and the mouth of Rusenski Lom from west to the height of the Sickle (because it surrounds the city of Ruse from the south, like a sickle). In the 20th century the western end of the city was significantly changed - the mouth of Rusenski Lom was corrected and moved to the west, and the Danube bank and fairway were moved significantly to the north.
South of the city is the hill Sarabair with Leventa peak, 159 m high. On it is the tallest TV tower in Bulgaria - 204 m with the antenna.
As a port city on the Danube, today Ruse is connected to the ports of the ten Danube countries, as well as the Rhine countries and the canal connections of Western and Central Europe, through the Rhine-Main-Danube. The high coast, on which the city of Ruse is located, is invulnerable to floods. Exceptions are the flood terrace, the places around the mouths of the Rusenski Lom River - Saraya district, the former naval barracks and the port of Ruse-West.