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Pleven

Pleven


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Pleven Tours

Visit Pleven as part of our Bulgarian UNESCO Sites Programme

Settlements: Pleven

Pleven - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Pleven (122 149 inhabitants, about 150 metres above sea level) is located in the central part of the Danubian Plain, past the Vit River. It is situated at the distance of 174 km to the north-east of Sofia, 35 km to the north of Lovech, 53 km and 49 km to the north-east of Cherven Bryag and Lukovit, respectively, 146 km to the south-west of Rousse, 55 km to the south-west of Nikopol, 49 km to the west of Levski and at the distance of 76 km to the south-east of Oryahovo. It is a town-pantheon. A regional administrative centre.

History: Pleven has a centuries old and rich in events history. It originated in Thracian times on the place of todays park of Kailuka and it was named Storgoziya, which name was preserved in Roman times as well. After its destruction by the barbarians, the Slavs rebuilt it under the name of Kamenets. A second settlement was set up to the north of it which was named Pleven (from plevel which means weed). Later on the two settlements united and they were first mentioned under the name of Pleven in 1266 when the Magyars occupied it. After the 12th century the town developed as a craftsmans and trade centre. The town put up a ferocious resistance to the Turkish invaders and that is the reason for its being destroyed and for its population being slaughtered, expelled and converted to Islan after its downfall. In 1596 Pleven was conquered and set on fire by the Wallachian Voivoda Mihail Vityaz (Hrabri) (the Courageous).

During the 17th and the 18th centuries the Bulgarian population in the town grew in number and took the trade and crafts in their own hands and started to develop its cultural life as well. The town became famous on the Balkan Peninsula and in Anatolia for its market of cattle and sheep (as of 1842). In 1825 a Bulgarian secular school was opened there, in 1840 - the first Bulgarian girls school was opened by Anastassia Dimitrova and a year later a new boys school was opened. In 1834 the Saint Nikolai Church was built and in 1845 its iconostasis was made. Dimitur Dospevski and Nikola Obrazopissetsa (the Image Painter) painted the icons. In 1869 a chitalishte (cultural centre and reading-club) was founded in the town, too. In 1871 Pleven had 3101 houses with the population of 17 000 people. On 6th May 1869 Levski set up the first secret revolutionary committee here. The citizens of Pleven took part in the detachments of armed volunteers of Philip Totyu and Hristo Botev.

Pleven became famous most of all with the events, which took place during the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation (1877-1878). After the forcing of the Danube River by the Russian troops, their Western squadron headed to that town of strategic importance. The Turkish commandment on its part dislocated the whole garrison of the Vidin Fortress here headed by Osman Pasha, in command of a 40-thousand people army. A system of defensive facilities was built up around Pleven. The Russian forces under the command of Gen. Shouldner, consisting of 7000 people, carried out the first assault of Pleven on 18th June 1877. It was not a success. There were more than 2400 people killed and wounded (against 2000 on the part of the enemy). The second assault was held on 30th July and despite the numerous victims (over 7000 people killed and wounded) was not a success, either. On 11th and 12th September a 100-thousand Russian-Romanian army carried out the third assault orientated at the town. This battle cannot be equalled to any other during the whole war in relation to its large scale and bloodshed. The units of Gen. Skobelev managed to perform a break-through at the Green Hills but the Chief Russian Headquarters did not appreciate the situation well enough and ordered a retreat... 16 000 people killed and wounded on the part of the Russians and the Romanians during the two-day not abating battles.

The outstanding military engineer Gen. Totleben arrived promptly from Russia to organize the blockade of the town. In execution of the blockade related plan, Gen. Gourko conquered the villages located by the road to Sofia - Dolni Dubnik, Gorni Dubnik and Telish, and the knot around the town got tight. Staring from the end of October Russians and Romanians gradually built up a fortifying blockade line. At the beginning of December it reached 50 km. At the same time the situation of the Turkish Army was deteriorated due to hunger, diseases and cold. It was completely isolated, the essential merit for this belonging to the epic battles for defence of the Shipka Pass. There Bulgarians and Russians at the expense of incredible sacrifices and with unseen courage and selflessness stopped the 45-thousand army of Suleiman Pasha heading towards Pleven and did not allow them pass through the Balkan Mountain. On 10th December 1877 Osman Pasha made a desperate attempt to break through the blockade in the region of the Vit River, but suffered a complete defeat and Pleven fell after 5 months of defence at the expense of incredible efforts.

The town quickly grew up after the Liberation. The newly built railway lines Sofia - Varna (Rousse) and Pleven (Yassen) - Somovit - Cherkovitsa greatly contributed to it. Today Pleven is the 7th biggest town in Bulgaria.

Landmarks: Almost all landmarks them are related to the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation. About 200 monuments remind to the generations about the most sanguinary battles, which took place here. In the centre of the town there is a Mausoleum-Charnel House dedicated to the Russian and Romanian soldiers killed during the war (5, Vuzrazhdane Square, tel.: 064 30033). It was solemnly opened on 16th September 1907 in the presence of General Stoletov (the Commanding Officer of the Bulgarian volunteer forces). The architect of this outstanding monument is Pencho Koichev, and Prof. Ivan Truvnishki made the wood-carved lime-tree iconostasis. The iconostasis was highly acknowledged at the Paris exposition in 1906. Prof. Murkvichka and Prof. A. Mitov painted the icons. The Mausoleum is 24 m high. The Museum of the Liberation of Pleven is not far from there (157, V. Levski Street, tel.: 064 22435).

The Skobelev Park was built up in the south-west part of the town, on a low hill (in the place of the old-time redoubts Isa aga and Kovanluka). Bratskata Mogila (common grave) (which preserves the bones of thousands Russian soldiers) as well as a lot of militant relics of that time is situated among its greenery and lanes. The renowned Pleven Epic 1877 Panorama is situated at the top of the hill, too (tel.: 064 37306), created in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Pleven Epic on analogy of the Borodin Panorama in Moscow. Through its original combination of artistic paintings, sculpture, authentic articles and explanatory texts, it provides for a sufficiently clear idea of the development of the events, especially those related to the third assault of the town.

The Kovanluk second redoubt and the Murtvata Dolina (Death Valley) where over 6000 Russian and Romanian soldiers found their death are situated not far from the Skobelev Park. Тhe Totleben rampart in Kailuka. The Monument to Victory raises on the high hill past the Vit River, and the bridge of the river where the white flag of the defeated Osman Pasha waved is under it.

The Town Museum of History (3, Stoyan Zaimov Street, tel.: 064 22623, 22691, 23569) is situated in the green zone on the left bank of the Touchenitsa River, not far from the centre. The remarkable monument to the citizens of Pleven who died in the Serbian - Bulgarian War of 1885 is situated in the small garden opposite it. Museum of the Hunters and Fishermens Society (15-17, D. Popov Blvd.). The Town Art Gallery (75, Doiran Blvd, tel.: 064 38342). Iliya Beshkov Art Gallery (at the beginning of the steps leading to the Skobelev Park, 1, Gen. Skobelev Blvd., tel.: 064 30030, 30090).

There are two theatres in Pleven - Theatre of Drama (155, Vassil Levski Str., tel.: 064 34376, 22087) and the Puppet Theatre (14, Tsar Simeon Street, tel.: 064 24121, 28807).

The unique of its kind Kailuka Park is situated in the immediate proximity of the town on the south in the valley of the Tuchenitsa River. Sheer rocks, over 20 metres high (here rock climbing races are held), exuberant vegetation, lakes, swimming pools, lanes, recreation corners, sports playgrounds, the eccentric Peshtera (Cave) Restaurant and another tourist infrastructure make it a favourite place for the citizens of Pleven and the visitors of the town.
Accommodation: The Pleven Hotel (2, Republica Square). The Rostov Hotel (2, Osvobozhdenie Street). The Balkan Hotel (68, Rousse Blvd.). Garrison Military Club (77, Doiran Street). Kailuka Tourist House (at the beginning of Kailuka Park). It offers 70 beds in 5 suites and in 2-, 3- and 4-bed rooms.

Tourist information: at the Council of Tourism (5800 Pleven, 2, Vuzrazhdane Square, Municipality of Pleven, tel.: 064 24119, 26229). At Kailushka Dolina Tourist Association (23A, D. Konstantinov Street, tel.: 064 29014). At the hotels.

Transport: Pleven is a big transport centre. There are regular bus lines to Sofia, Veliko Turnovo, Lovech, Troyan, Cherven Bryag, Levski, Knezha and a lot of other big and small settlements. The Central Bus Station (Republica Square, tel.: 064 22961) and the Central Railway Station (6, Republica Square, tel.: 064 23455, 24127, 23843, 31133, 23446, fax: 064 24006) are situated next to each other and are located in the northern end of the town. Pleven is situated on the main railway line Sofia - Gorna Oryahovitsa - Varna (Rousse), and the local railway line for Somovit and Cherkovitsa starts from it, too. There is a town bus and trolley-bus transport functioning in Pleven.

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Settlements:
 Belene
 Cherven Bryag
 Levski
 Nikopol
 Pordim

Bulgaria Regions: Pleven