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Settlements: Mezdra

Mezdra - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Mezdra (13 502 inhabitants, 230 м above sea level) is spread out amphi-theat-ri-cally along the left bank of Iskar River where it exits the Balkan Iskar Gorge. It is located 100 km north-east of Sofia, 58 km and 17 km south-east of Montana and Vratsa, respectively, 40 km north-west of Botevgrad. This is the boggiest railway cross-section in Northwestern Bulgaria and one of the most important for the whole country.

History: Mezdra is a successor of ancient culture. Remains from the Stone-CopperAge and the Thracian period were found there. During Roman domination there was a big town with a castle on the rocks up above the river Iskar (remains of it can be seen south of the railway station, in the Kaleto area). It protected the roads to Sofia, Vratsa and Montana. The town declined with the collapse of the Roman Empire. During the Bulgarian Middle Ages the settlement recovered, but only to be burnt to ashes in 1393, when the ottoman hordes devastated the area. A document dating back to the 15th century marked the place as Mezra Torbaritsa, meaning an empty bag. The life in the settlement revived during the 18th century, yet it remained small and insignificant. Immediately after the Liberation (1878) there were only about twenty houses in Mezdra totalling 86 inhabitants. When the railway line from Sofia to Varna was constructed in 1897, the village started its rapid development, while with the construction of the railway Mezdra - Vratsa Lom (Vidin) during the period 1913-1923, it turned into an important distribution point for this part of the country. The village was proclaimed a town in 1950.

Landmarks: The Kaleto Fortress - south of the railway station, next to the new reinforced concrete bridge. A flat terrace high on the rocks houses the remains of a fortress with a well-preserved 5-6 metre wall. The archaeologists found out that the foundations of the fortress are of Roman origin, while the wall on the foundation dates back to the Old Bulgarian period. This are the best-preserved remains in the area. The fortress is within 15 minutes walk from the centre of Mezdra. The Art Gallery in the town houses a rich collection of masterpieces of art, among which one can see some original sculptures of Prof. Ivan Funev.

Accommodation: Rodina Hotel (26, Hristo Botev Str.).

Transport: The town has well-developed bus and especially railway connections. There are bus lines to Vratsa (most frequent and regular), Botevgrad, Montana, Vurshets and many smaller villages within the area. The telephone number of the bus station is 0910 2501. Being a very big railway section, dozens of trains pass each day through Mezdra to and from Sofia, Varna, Rousse, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Vratsa, Vidin, Lom, etc. The railway station is big and modern (tel.: 0910 2551).

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