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Rural Tourism: Berkovitsa

Berkovitsa - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Berkovitsa (16 818 inhabitants, 400 m above sea level) is situated in the northern foot of Berkovski Balkan (Western Stara Planina). It is at a distance of 89 km to the north of Sofia, 24 km to the south of Montana, 53 km to the west of Vratsa and 25 km to the north of Petrohan Pass.

History: Berkovitsa is an old settlement. This is confirmed by the remains of a fortress and a church from 4th century on the Kaleto Hill, situated to the north west of the town. The settlement is known from the reign of Tsar Kaloyan (the beginning of 13th century) as well and in the time of the Vidin Kingdom (the second half of 14th century) it is a border fortress. Berkovitsa is mentioned in written form for the first time in a Turkish document dated 1491. During the Turkish rule it developed as a crafts settlement - mainly in wood-processing and pottery. A great number of refugees from other parts of the country settled here. The inhabitants of Berkovitsa many times have raised their heads against the Ottomans. In 1403 they took part in the uprising of Konstantin and Fruzhin, in 1688 - in the Chiprovtsi Uprising, in 1836 - in the uprising under the leadership of Mancho Punin as well as in the uprising in 1837. After the Liberation in 1878 the town declined, because it remained away from the railway line passing through the Iskar Gorge, thus losing markets in the Ottoman Empire for its crafts goods. The national poet Ivan Vazov worked for a certain time in Berkovitsa as a chairman of the court.

Landmarks: The Ivan Vazov House-Museum (2, Ivan Vazov Str., tel. 0953 2235) which is in the central part of the town is arranged in the building where the poet lived in the period 1879-1880. The house itself is a precious architectural monument with an interesting exterior and interior architecture with wood-carved ceilings and original fireplace, cupboards, shelves. The atmosphere in which Vazov lived is preserved. There is a documentary exhibition showing the period of his work in Berkovitsa - the creation of the narrative poem Gramada (Cairn), the short novel Mitrofan and Dormidolski, etc. Permanent ethnographic exhibition - organized also in an architectural monument of culture, in a close proximity to the Ivan Vazov House-Museum. The clock tower is remarkable for its solid construction and beautiful upper part in which the clock mechanism still works. It was constructed in 1762 and is one of the oldest towers in our country. The town picture gallery. The Krustevs House built in Revival style. The Holy Virgin Church (1843) has an original belfry, wood-carved iconostasis and the Golden Gospel - an exceptional work of art from 1892 is kept there. The St. Nikola Church (19th century).

Accomodation: TOBO Inn-hotel (a folk-style hotel-restaurant, 23, Nikolaevska Str.). Educational-qualification complex of the Ministry of Trade and Tourism (with 2-star hotel, 16, Ashiklar Str.). Mramor Hotel-Restaurant.

Tourist information: Tourist Information Bureau (4, Hristo Botev Str., at Berkovski Balkan Tourist Association, tel.: 0953 4106) and at the hotels.

Transport: Road and railway transport connect Berkovitsa with the rest of the world. There are regular bus routes to Sofia, Montana, Lom, Vurshets and many other smaller villages in the region of the bus station (tel.: 0953 3574) and the railway station (tel.: 0953 3014, 3015) that are in the eastern part of the town (the first is close to the centre). Berkovitsa is the last railway station of the local railway line Boichinovtsi-Montana-Berkovitsa. It is connected through the railway station Boichinovtsi with the settlements along the main railway line Sofia-Mezdra-Vratsa-Broussartsi-Vidin (Lom), as well as the whole republican railway system.

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