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SVISHTOV

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.

LANDMARKS
• The Town Historical Museum.
• Ethnographic Museum.
• The House-Museum of Aleko Konstantinov, where the heart of the great Bulgarian - educated, brilliant lawyer; scholar; community activist; founder of the first tourists' society in Bulgaria; translator from Russian and French; and, foremost, writer, who wrote some of the nicest Bulgarian feuilletons and travel notes - is preserved. His most famous work is the travel report To Chicago and Back and the novel Bay Ganyo, a humorous look at painful problems of national life, psychology and manner of thinking. He was murdered by hired assassins for political reasons.
• The Holy Trinity's Cathedral (1867), the work of the renowned Bulgarian master builder, Kolyu Ficheto. The icons were painted by another famous Bulgarian - the artist Nikolay Pavlovich, and the bell was donated by the Russian Emperor Alexander II.
• The old churches St. Demetrius' (1640), where a wooden cross with a silver handle, inscription in the Old Church Slavonic language and wood carvings is kept, and Sts. Peter and Paul's (1644), remarkable for its murals.
• Churches from the 19th century: the Holy Prophet Elijah's (1835) with antique architecture and exceptional acoustics; the Holy Transfiguration's (1836), where the founding of the Svishtov District was ceremonially declared on July 16, 1877, and the first Bulgarian chorus sang in 1868; and Sts. Cyril and Methodius' (1874), consecrated by the first Bulgarian Metropolitan Ilarion Makariopolski.
•Clock tower (1760).
• The school of Hristaki Pavlovich (1815).
• The House of Peace, where the Austro-Turkish separative peace treaty was signed in 1791.
• The old National-Revival houses - Danailova, Sladkarova, Hruleva, Brachkova, Cherkezova, Radoslavova, the home of the Sabevi brothers among others.
• The Monuments' Park in the locale of Tekirdere, where the Russian soldiers disembarked and began the war.
Remains of the ancient town of Nove and the medieval town of Staklen in the locale of Kaleto, near the Monuments' Park.
• The locale of Pisanite Kamani 2 km from Svishtov with Paleolithic finds.
• The locale of Yankovo Garlo 20 km from Svishtov, where the detachment of the famous Bulgarian militia leaders, Stefan Karadzha and Hadzhi Dimitar, disembarked from a sailing boat during the turbulent years of the Ottoman oppression.
• Remains of the Yatrus border castle near the village of Krivina close to the mouth of the Yantra River, discovered by German and Bulgarian archaeologists.
• The Shroud of the Virgin's Monastery (16-17th century) with the Assumption of the Virgin's Church, 3 km from the town.
• Vardim Island - a natural reserve approximately 10 km from the town, the third-largest Bulgarian island in size after Belene and Kozloduy, a place of residence for colonies of cormorants, herons, etc, and - of the natural vegetation - the only habiat of a variety of the common oak that is resistant to flooding (called the Vardim Oak).

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