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BERKOVITSA

Berkovitsa is situated on the northern slope of the Berkovitsa Mountains (Western Balkan Mountains), on the Berkovitsa River, a tributary to the Barzia River.
Remains of a Roman and medieval fortress (in three terraced belts) have been discovered on the Kaleto Heights west of the town along with two Christian churches from late antiquity (4-5th century). The town was known at the time of Tsar Kaloyan (beginning of the 13th century), and was mentioned as a frontier fortress during the period of the Vidin Kingdom (second half of the 14th century). During the Ottoman rule, it was a crafts settlement - mainly of wood processing and pottery. After the Liberation it declined due to the loss of markets in the Ottoman Empire for its wares.

LANDMARKS
• The house where the national poet Ivan Vazov lived in 1879-80, while he was the head judge in the court in Berkovitsa. The house itself is a valuable architectural monument converted into a museum.
• The permanent Ethnographic Exhibition set up in a house that is also an architectural monument.
• The Krasteva House in National-Revival style.
• The Town Art Gallery.
• The clock tower, built in 1762; the mechanism still keeps the correct time today.
• The Nativity of the Holy Virgin's Church with original bell tower and wood-carved iconostasis. The Golden Gospel, from 1892, is preserved here.
• St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker's Church (19th century).
• The old high school.
• Sts. Cyril and Methodius' Klisura Monastery 9 km (5.5 miles) from Berkovitsa, founded in 1240. One can make accommodations here. The tourist route to the Balkan's peak Todorini Kukli starts here.
• The chestnut forest on the northern slopes of the Berkovitsa mountains - one of only two natural sources for Castanea saliva in Bulgaria (the other is in Belassitsa, above Petrich).
• The Kaleto - wooded hill near the town is a natural forestry park.
• The Ashiklar (Valley of the Lovers) locale - a romantic environment near the town with an established ecological tourism complex.
• The Varshets National Balneological Resort 18 km (11 miles) from the town, situated at the feet of the forested northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains, amid a wide valley on the Botunya River. The thermal waters (32.6-36.4°C or 90.7-97.5°F) have been used for 150 years for the treatment of diseases of cardiological, digestive, central nervous and skeletal-muscular systems among others. Regarding the elements, the mineral water is analogous to some in Argentina, Ecuador, and India. Thanks to the curative hyperthermal mineral waters and favorable, mild continental climate with a mountain-foothill influence there is a great possibility for balneological and climate-dependent spas; for this reason a Specialized Rehabilitation Hospital was built, a filial of the National Complex.
• The village of Barzia - a balneological resort of local importance 6 km from Berkovitsa.
• The Petrohan Pass on the Balkan mountain ridge with the longest tunnel in Bulgaria. On the highway between Sofia and Berkovitsa, one can find a restaurant, a modest holiday centre and a water repository. The saddle-shaped pass forms the divider between the Berkovitsa and Koznishki mountain sections of the Balkan Mountains.
• The Haydushki Waterfall 9 km (5.5 miles) from the town.
• A large Thracian sanctuary (3rd century) near the village of Gaganitsa.

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