The town of Svishtov is situated on the bank of the Danube, where the river moves into the Danube Hilly Plain. From this point one makes the most direct connection between the Danube and the Maritsa's river valley and the Aegean Sea via the Balkan Passes.
The first inhabitants of these lands were of the Neolithic Era. During the first century, the Romans built the Nove fortress as a headquarters for the Legion. The ancient settlement near the castle developed as an important port, a significant economic centre and crossroads, whose significance was retained later by the Byzantines also. At the beginning of the Ottoman rule only a few huts remained at this site in order to light fires to show the way for boats and sailboats. The advantageous position attracted many emigrants and, over the years, the town became a first-class trading town of the Ottoman Empire. The Russo-Turkish War of Liberation began here on June 26-27 1877, when the main forces of the Russian Army disembarked on the banks of the Danube in the locale of Tekirdere (4 km or 2.5 miles from the town). Despite being completely destroyed during the war, the town was reconstructed and preserved its significance as an economic and cultural centre. The educated and patriotic traders of Svishtov ensured the material prosperity of the town, which created the conditions for its cultural zenith. Way back in 1651, Philip Stanislavov published the first book printed in the new, contemporary Bulgarian language; Philip Sakelarievich made the first large donation to his home town for the development of the work of enlightenment in 1912; with the donation of Dimitar Hadzhivasilev, the State Secondary School for Commercial Trade was built in 1895 by an Austrian architect; Elenka and Kiril D. Avramovi willed their estate to the municipality for the construction of a building for a cultural club and a theater; Dimitar Apostolov Tsenov donated his entire estate (50 million leva) for the construction and maintenance of an academy of commerce in the European style - the present-day Economic Academy, which bears his name. The Revivalist Hristaki Pavlovich opened the first secular school here in 1831. In 1833, he published the first Bulgarian arithmetic textbook -and in 1844, the first history of Bulgaria, Tsarstvenik or History of Bulgaria (a revision of Slavo-Bulgarian History by Otets (Father) Paisiy of Hilendar). The writer Aleko Konstantinov, the artist Nikolay Pavlovich, the famous community activists and statesmen Dragan Tsankov and Grigor Nachovich, the founding father of Bulgarian caricature Alexander Bozhinov, the author of the text to the Bulgarian anthem Tsvetan Radoslavov, the notable Bulgarian diplomat Dimitar Stanchov, and the long-time Minister of Education Prof. Ivan Shishmanov were all born in Svishtov among other worthy Bulgarians. The great artist, Vladimir Dimitrov (nicknamed the Master), and the gentlest Bulgarian lyricist Nikolay Liliev, taught in the town.