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Settlements: Nikopol

Nikopol - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Nikopol (5108 inhabitants, at about 100 metres above sea level) is am-phi-theatrically situated along the slopes of several hills, on the high right bank of the Danube River, at the distance of 3 km to the east of the mouth of the Ossum River. It is situated 229 km to the north-east of Sofia, 95 km to the east of Oriahovo, 55 km to the north-east of Pleven, 51 km to the north-west of Svishtov, 25 km to the north-east of Gulyantsi and 6 km to the east of the railway station of Cherkovitsa. It is the smallest Bulgarian town situated along the Danube River.

History: Independently of its small size today, Nikopol has a long and interesting past. It is the successor of the antique settlements of Sekouristka (the remains are by the road between Nikopol and Cherkovitsa) and Nikopolis (town of victories). It is thought that the town got its todays name from the Byzantine Emperor Iraklii in honour of the victory over the Persians in 639. The Roman - Byzantine fortress of Tourissa on the opposite Danubian bank, together with Nikopol, were expanded after the 7th century by the Bulgarians, Tourissa being called Little Nikopol and Holuvnik. Today it is the Romanian town of Turnu Mugurele. Nikopol was the last stronghold of the Turnovo Kingdom, defended by Tsar Ivan Shishman. He died here in an unequal battle with the Turkish invaders. The Turks called it Кyuchuk Stamboul (Little Tsarigrad) and preserved it as a port and an important military, administrative and trade centre on the Danube River. The town was a powerful fortress for centuries and the battle of the Polish King Vladislav Varnenchik and the Magyar King Sigismund with the Turks was held here. During the 18th century Nikopol was the biggest town and fortress along the lower Danube River. The Turkish traveller Evliya Chelebi wrote that there were 16 drinking-fountains and two kaleta (fortresses) in the town - Tuna Kale and Pech Kale. There were barracks for 20 000 nizami (regular soldiers). The town had a completely Oriental appearance. As of 1860 Nikopol was a river station of Austrian ships as well.
After the Liberation, thanks to its natural and historical endowments, the town turned more and more into a tourist site.

Landmarks: The drinking-fountain of Elia (Syutliika), built up during the 2nd century by the ordinary citizen of Rome Frontona in memory of his early deceased wife Elia, who gave vent to his grief in verse over the stone. During the 19th century archaeologist Dijardin, moved by all that, placed another inscription. A nice lane takes us to the fountain nowadays.

Shishmans fortress - remains from the fortress, defended by the last Bulgarian Tsar before the Turkish invasion - Ivan Shi-shman. One of the gates to the fortress, called Shishmans Gate, is very well preserved.

The old St. St. Peter and Pavel Church dates back to the 13th century. The house in which Vassil Levski was hiding during his visit to the town on the way to Romania is preserved, too. In the house of Tsvyatko Smolyanov one can see the epitaph of the author of Abagar (the first printed book in the Cyrillic alphabet published in Rome in 1651) - the Catholic Bishop Philip Stanislavovitch who died in 1654.

The Monument to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation, led by General Studler-Krinder rises on one of the town hills. There are several houses of the Bulgarian Revival period, which were declared as cultural monuments in the town as well.

Accommodation: The Town Hotel. Nikopol Camping (in Shish-man Park, at the distance of 4 km from the town). It has 52 beds available in 9 bungalows with 4 beds each and 2 vans with two rooms, 4 beds in each room.

Tourist information: at the town hotel and in the Danube tourists society (tel.: 0651 2616). Such information may be obtained in the Town-hall as well (situated in the centre of Nikopol).

Transport: There are regular bus lines to Pleven, Svishtov, Guliantsi and other smaller settlements within the region. The telephone number of the bus station is: 0651 2436. The station of Cherkovitsa is situated at the distance of about 6 km to the west of Nikopol and it is the last station on the line of Pleven (Yassen) - Somovit - Cherkovitsa. There is a regular bus transport from the town to it. Nikopol has a river port on the Danube River as well but for the time being there are no regular passengers transportations along the Danube River on the Bulgarian part.

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