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PLEVEN

Pleven is situated on the Danube Hilly Plain, in a small valley expanse on the Tuchenitsa River - a tributary to the Vit. On the south, east and north it is surrounded by the Pleven Highlands.

The earliest traces of human presence in the region are related to the end of the New Stone Age, when tribes of farmers and stockbreeders lived here. There was a settlement in the present-day locale of Kaylaka during the Bronze and Iron Ages, and during the first millenium B.C. a Thracian town, Storgozia, was founded there, which remained during the Roman times and developed as a roadside station and a well-fortified fortress. After the Slavs settled into this area at the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century, the town was called Kamenets (or Kamenitsa). The present name of Pleven is mentioned for the first time after the town was captured by the Magyars (Hungarians) in 1266, in a charter of their King Stefan V. At the end of the 14th century the town was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. After numerous destructions and reconstructions, the conditions were finally in place for the development of trade and crafts - especially during the time of Midhat Pasha, when it was part of the Danube Vilayet (district). Pleven became world-famous at the time of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) as the site of one of the bloodiest battles. The liberation of this town on December 10, 1877 decided the victorious outcome of the war. The press throughout Europe reported on this event, and the people of Bulgaria have built many monuments in gratitude to the heroes of the Pleven epic.

LANDMARKS
• The Regional Historical Museum in Pleven, whose expositions are arranged in an impressive two-story building - a cultural monument of national significance.
• The sites of the Museum of Military History in Skobelev's Park:
- The Common Grave-Ossuary of Brotherhood
- The Museum of the Liberation of Pleven.
- The Epic of Pleven 1877 Panoramic Presentation.
• The Ossuary-Mausoleum of Russian and Romanian soldiers in the centre of the town.
• The St. Nicholas' Church (1834) with icons by Dimitar Zograf and Nikola Obrazopisov. The iconostasis and the Archbishop's throne are made unique by their woodcarvings, the work of master Petar from Gabrovo.
• Approximately 200 monuments, which commemorate one of the bloodiest battles of the War of Liberation.
• The Ilia Beshkov Art Gallery.
• A collection of works of art, donated by Svetlin Rusev, exhibited in a reconstructed building of the old Baths (1607), an architectural monument of culture.
• The Pleven Drama Theater, founded in 1819; it now bears the name of one of the best contemporary Bulgarian playwrights - Ivan Radoev.
• The unique Kaylaka Park south of the town, in the valley of the Tuchenitsa River.
• The Mausoleum in memory of Romanian soldiers in the village of Grivitsa 6 km (4 miles) from Pleven.
• Pordim, a town 21 km from Pleven, where the main headquarters of the Russian army and Emperor Alexander II was situated.
• Dolni Dabnik, a town 15 km (10 miles) from Pleven, with many monuments to the Pleven epic. It is the largest source of petroleum in Bulgaria. In the vicinity, three dam lakes have been set up - wonderful spots for relaxation, motorized water sports, water tourism and fishing.
• The village of Radomirtsi (12 km east of Pleven) with a renowned arched bridge over the Zlatna Panega River, built in 1691 by master Simeon.
• The village of Gorni Dabnik 23 km (14 miles) from Pleven with the Park-Museum of Gen. V. N. Lavrov, who is connected with one of the most important moments of the siege of Pleven, many memorials and common graves from the war.

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