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Shumen Tours

Visit Shumen as part of our Wine Tour - Northern Bulgaria

Settlements: Shumen

Shumen - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Shumen (population: 89 054; 220 m above sea-level) is situated at the eastern mouth of the Shumen Plateau, on either bank of the Bokloudga river (Poroina - which means torrential). It is 380 km north-east of Sofia, 115 km south-east of Rousse, 90 km west of Varna, 140 km north-east of Veliko Tarnovo, 41 km east of Turgovishte, 49 km south-east of Razgrad, 113 km south of Silistra, and 56 km north-east of Vurbitsa. An old Bulgarian fortification. A district centre.

History: Shumen is an old town of fortresses. Its foundation and development were connected with the fortresses at the eastern end of the Shumen Plateau (in the area of Hisarluka). The famous fortress of Shumen was built in four basic periods: early and late antiquity, and early and late Middle Ages. It was first created by the Thracians (Vth century before Christ) and then consequently inhabited and built on by the Romans, the Byzantine, the Bulgarians and the Turks.

Together with Pliska and Preslav, Shumen was an old Bulgarian fortification of 7th-10th centuries and it developed into a feudal town with a castle and an interior fortress, a number of churches, workshops (12th-14th centuries). This is the place where Tsar Ivan Shishmans inscription was found. The inscription announced the Tsars visit to Shumen.

The Arabian traveller Idrisi first mentioned it as Simeonis (Shimeonit) in 1153. Some consider that it comes from Tsar Simeons name. In 14th century people called it Shoumna or Shumen. Most probably it has the meaning of shouma (foliage) or zaShumen (covered up with branches) because it was situated in such an area. In 12th-14th centuries Shumen was a significant military, administrative and economic centre surpassing even the old capital of Preslav, and growing outside the fortifications.

The town fell under Turkish rule after a long siege. It was turned into a well-fortified military town with a big garrison within the fortress. It housed a lot of Turks, Jews, Tartars, and Armenians. The town was mentioned with different names like Shumena, Shoumna, Shoumoular, Soumounoum, and of course in the last centuries of the domination as Shumen. In 18th and particularly in 19th century it developed as an important crafts centre, which was one of the preconditions for an active cultural life. On 22nd May 1813 here was held the first in Bulgaria civil celebration of the day of the Saint brothers Cyril and Methodius, and the first theatre performance. In 1828 the first monastery school for young girls was founded. In 1846 the first amateur associations in the schools were established. After the defeat of the Hungarian Revolution (1848) many Hungarian revolutionaries emigrated to Shumen with Layosh Koshout at the head; these actively participated in the cultural life of the town. Due to them in 1851 the first symphonic orchestra conducted by Shafran was set up. Shumen is the town of the first class school for young girls and the first communal cultural centre (1856). The first works of drama were written in Shumen: Mihal (1853) by Sava Dobroplodni. The town hosted one of the first theatre performances (1856). The first Bulgarian short story Miserable Family (1860) by Vassil Droumev from Shumen, founder of Bulgarian theatre, was written here, as well as School Theatre - the Wealthy Man (1864) by Dobri Voinikov from Shumen, too. Born in Shumen, Panayot Volov was one of the main apostles of the Fourth Revolutionary District at the time of the April Rebellion (1876). He died on 25th May 1876 near Byala (Rousse district).

After the Liberation the town fell in decay because of the loss of markets for the crafts, the migration of Turks and the comparatively cheap and of high quality industrial goods from the West competing with the local production. The town gradually recovered and in 1882 the first Bulgarian brewery was established with Czech capital; Shumen Beer is still among those much sought after.

In the period between 1950-1965 the town bore the name of Kolarovgrad but after that it regained its old name of Shumen. Because of its proximity to the first capitals of Danubian Bulgaria (Pliska and Preslav), and the Madara Knight, as well as because of its rich historical past, in 1981 Shumen was chosen as centre of the celebrations dedicated to the 1300th anniversary of the foundation of the Bulgarian state by Asparuh. The great Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov was born in the town. The historical conditions and the natural environment make it a first-class tourist centre.

Landmarks: The Founders of Modern Bulgaria complex (monument) (tel.: 054 52598, 52107) is located on Ilchov Bair south of the town. With the means of architecture and sculpture the whole of the Bulgarian history from Khan Asparuh to Tsar Simeon is depicted. It was officially opened in 1981. There is an information centre and two restaurants. Working hours: 8.30 a.m.- 5.00 p.m. all the week round.

The Town Museum of History. (15, Slavyanski Blvd., tel.: 054 57410) - founded in 1904 by Rafail Popov. Working hours: 8.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. Entrance fee: symbolic. The Pancho Vladigerov Museum Complex (136, Tsar Osvoboditel Str., tel.: 054 52123, working hours: 09.00 a.m.- 12.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m.- 06.00 p.m.). The Layosh Koshout House-Museum (115, Tsar Osvoboditel, tel.: 054 57209, working hours: 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.). The Panayot Volov House-Museum (42, Tsar Osvoboditel Str., tel.: 054 63429, working hours: 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.). The Dobri Voinikov House-Museum (157, Tsar Osvoboditel Str., tel.: 054 56897, working hours: 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.).
There are four interesting cultural monuments in Shumen traced back to the epoch of late Middle Ages. The first one is called Bezistena; it was built to serve the traders from Doubrovnik in 16th century. At present an original restaurant is housed there. The second one is The Clock Tower of 1741 being a stone prism with a built-in drinking-fountain (with rich ornamentation and an inscription). The interesting Kourshoum Cheshma (Bullet Drinking-Fountain) (1744) is located in the most lively in the past administrative and commercial part of the town. The drinking-fountain is covered with lead tiles where its name comes from.

The Sveto Vaznesenie Church (St. Ascension) of 1829 (48, Otets Paisii Str.) is of great interest, too. Kazandgiiska Street has been restored, a reminder of the 50 crafts in the past. You can see beautiful houses from the Revival Period in the Cherkovna Quarter.

There are a number of cultural institutes in Shumen as well: Vassil Droumev Theatre of Drama (in the centre of the town, 72, Slavyanski Blvd., tel.: 054 52241). The Patilancho Puppet Theatre (in the central part of the town, 11, Todor Ikonomov Str., tel.: 054 55062, 57541). The Elena Karamihailova Art Gallery (81, Tsar Ivan Alexander, tel.: 054 42126, 40171, working hours: 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m. Shumen is a university centre. There is the Konstantin Preslavski University.

Accommodation: The Shumen Hotel Complex (four-star, in the central part of the town, Oborishte Square). It offers 430 beds, restaurants, bars, cafes, discos, halls, a swimming pool. The Madara Hotel (three-star, in the centre of the town, 1, Osvobozhdenie Square). It offers 200 beds, a restaurant, cafe-confectioneries. The Orbita Hotel (two-star, in the Kyoshkovete park). It offers 30 beds, a restaurant and a cafe. The Lyubomir Targovski Tourist House (Oborishte quarter, 8, Antim I Str.). It offers 14 beds in two-, and three-bed rooms.

Tourist Information: at the Tourism Committee (in the central part of the town, zip code 9700, 17, Slavyanski Blvd., tel.: 054 59141, 55111). The Madara Knight Tourist Association (15, Hristo Botev Str., tel.: 054 59456, 59528, 59167). At the hotels and the tourist house.

Transport: There are regular bus lines from Shumen to Varna, Rousse, Turgovishte, Razgrad, Silistra, Karnobat, Pliska, Preslav and other smaller towns and villages in the district. The central bus station (tel.: 054 61618, 60193) and the railway station (tel.: 054 60155, 62537) are next to each other situated in the eastern part of the town, behind the town park. Shumen is an important railway station on Sofia-Varna railway line. It is a starting point for the railway line to Karnobat. Near Shumen is the town of Kaspichan where the railway forks to Rousse and Silistra. The nearest operating airport is that in Varna. There is public bus transport in Shumen.

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Bulgaria Regions: Shumen