Silistra is situated on a low terrace on the Danube River, at the spot where the land border with Romania begins.
Few are the Bulgarian towns that have undergone so many radical changes in their historical fate. Silistra is the successor to the Roman fortress Durostoru, built by Emperor Trajanus in 106 A.D. It emerged as a small trade and crafts settlement outside of the fortified camp of the Roman legion. Durostorum became a self-ruling municipium (the second highest class of a Roman town) in 169, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the Emperor-Philosopher. This was the time of its zenith. Slavs from the Severi tribe moved here around 590 and gave the town a new name - Drastar. It was converted into an important Bulgarian fortress and Bishopric. During the next centuries this attractive town changed rulers several times. Svetoslav, the Prince of Kiev conquered it in 969. Three years later, the Byzantine Emperor Tzimiskis conquered the town and called it Theodorupolis. Tsar Samuil liberated it once again in 976. After its repeated capture Emperor Vasilius II the Slayer of Bulgarians made it the main town in the district of Podunavie. In 1070, Drastar became the de facto capital of an independent state with the Pecheneg leader Tatush at the head, as he did not recognize the authority of Constantinople. Only in 1091 did Emperor Alexius Komninus succeed in routing the Pechenegs, moving them into Macedonia and reconquering Drastar. After the successful uprising of the brothers Asen and Petar against the Byzantines in 1185, Drastar was annexed to the territory of the Second Bulgarian State. From 1413, it was within the territory of the Ottoman Empire. The name Silistra was used for the first time during the negotiations between Tsar Ivan Shishman and Sultan Murad. After the First Balkan War (1912), the Second Balkan War (1913) and the First World War (1914-1918) came a period of continual abrupt changes caused by the claims of the Romanians, unsuccessful negotiations and transgression of peace treaties. The Bulgarian state received Southern Dobrudzha back only in 1940 by force of the Crayova Treaty with Romania.