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RAZGRAD

Razgrad is situated on the Ludogorsko Plateau, in the valley of the Beli Lorn River. Over many centuries, Razgrad has been natural crossroads, criss-crossed by important transport routes connecting Central Europe with the Black Sea and Asia.
The region has been inhabited since ancient times, evidence of which has been discovered in three prehistoric settlement mounds in the vicinity. Besides, the thirty burial mounds and the historic finds in the locale of Hisarlaka east of the town are proof that there was busy life going on here during the time of the Thracians. Centuries later the Romans built - upon the ruins of the Thracian settlement - the strategic fortified town of Abritus, a town whose name is connected with the bloody battle with the Goths in 251, in which Emperor Trajanus Decius himself was killed. Subsequently destroyed by barbarian incursions, the medieval Bulgarian settlement of Hrazgrad (Hrisgrad) emerged on the site of this town in the 13th century. After Bulgaria was subdued by the Ottoman Empire, the invaders called it Hezargrad, Hezezgrad or Hrazgrad - but the Bulgarians called it Razgrad. The oriental town became an important centre for craftsmanship. The modern town is known as a centre of the pharmaceutical industry.

LANDMARKS
There are approximately 300 immovable archaeological, architectural, artistic and historical monuments of culture in Razgrad and the 18 villages in its region:
• The Ancient Town of Abritus Archaeological Reserve, which spreads over an area of 100 hectares (247 acres) 2 km from Razgrad. It includes monuments of the Roman, the Thracian and the medieval Bulgarian culture. The most notable part is the ancient town of Abritus. During its excavation a large residential building was discovered which had a commercial section along with part of a fortified wall, towers, doors, and a Roman stone sarcophagus from the 2nd century (with skeletons from an initial and a secondary burial). Many of the monuments are exhibited; the most famous of which is the gold treasure from Late Antiquity consisting of 835 coins and the Gold Pegasus.
• Historical Museum.
• Ethnographic Complex in the Old Quarter.
• Ahmed Bey Mosque (1442).
• Ibrahim Pasha Mosque (1616).
• The clock tower, a symbol of the town, built in 1764 and restored twice.
• The Maiden's Fountain bronze sculpture (1885).
• St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker's church (1860) - the first domed basilica built in the town.
• The house-museums of individuals who made great contributions to the national culture.
• The Symphonic Orchestra, founded in the middle of the last century, part of the cultural visiting card of Razgrad.
• The Anton Strashimirov Drama Theater.
• A professional Kapanski ensemble, which popularizes the specific style of the regional folklore traditions. (The Kapantsi are a Slavic-language ethnographic group with a specific dialect.)
• The Ilia Petrov Art Gallery.
• The Prof. Boyan Penev Library, founded during the Revival Era.
• The Voden Natural Reserve 36 km (22 miles) from Razgrad - a centuries-old broadleaf forest with a variety of plant species including a firm for breeding wild game (bisons, fallow deer, etc.).
• The Sboryanovo Historical and Archaeological Reserve near the village of Sveshtari 40 km (25 miles) from Razgrad. It includes more than 140 archaeological monuments - prehistoric settlements, settlement and burial mounds, sanctuaries, a Thracian town, an early Byzantine castle, fortifications from the time of the First Bulgarian State and a late medieval Turbe (Turkish tomb) among others. The remains of the ancient town of Helis are situated in the middle of the reserve along with two massive necropolis mounds on either side - the final resting place of eminent Getae. Within the eastern necropolis mound (declared a world cultural-historic heritage by the UNESCO) one will find the Sveshtari Royal Tomb - a unique monument of Thracian-Hellenistic art from the first half of the 3rd century B.C. It was uncovered during the archaeological excavations of the Ginina Thracian Mound in 1982. It consists of a corridor (dromos) and three arched chambers. The richest decoration is in the central chamber - stone sculptures, reliefs and murals. The burial ritual, the construction techniques, the architectural form and the ornamentation testify that a Thracian ruler was buried in this tomb. The elongated proportions of the figures, the composition and the style find their parallel in the images of the Thracian tomb of Kazanlak.
• The windmill, 500 m from the village of Belentsi, Isperih District. It is the only windmill from the beginning of the 19th century still operating today in Northeastern Bulgaria. It continues to function despite being declared a national cultural monument in 1990. It has an entirely wooden mechanism; the bottom end of the supporting beam (which supports the whole structure) is 3 m underground, and the transverse axis which passes through the two spinning cogs has not been changed in 160 years. In a strong wind, in the space of 24 hours, the mill can process one-and-a-half tons of wheat; on still days the milling of one krina (around 15 kg or 33 Ibs) can go on all day.

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