Thracians and then Romans originally settled and fortified Shumen. After the migration of the Turkic Bulgars in the 6th century, nearby Veliki Preslav and Pliska became the centres of the medieval Bulgarian kingdom. In 1388, the Ottomans captured Shumen, renaming it Chumla. It became an important market town and, in the final days of Ottoman domination, part of the Turks’ strategic quadrangle (along with Ruse, Silistra and Varna) of towns fortified to defend against Russian advances in 1877. Reminders of Ottoman multi-ethnicityremain with Shumen’s minority Jewish, Armenian and Muslim communities.
This brick museum (857 487; bul Slavyanski 17; admission 2 lv; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri) on the main road exhibits numerous Thracian and Roman artefacts from Madara, Veliki Preslav and Pliska. Ancient coins, icons and a scale model of the Shumen Fortress as it was in its heyday are also on display.