Tsarevets Museum-Reserve information
Lonely Planet review
The inescapable symbol of this proud medieval town, this reconstructed fortress dominates the skyline, and is one of Bulgaria’s most beloved monuments. The Tsarevets Museum-Reserve is located on Tsarevets Hill, which has been settled since time immemorial due to its strategic location. Thracians and Romans used it as a defensive position, but the Byzantines built the first significant fortress here between the 5th and 7th centuries. The fortress was rebuilt and fortified by the Slavs and Bulgars between the 8th and 10th centuries, and again by the Byzantines in the early 12th century. When Târnovgrad became the Second Bulgarian Empire’s capital, the fortress was truly magnificent, but with the Turkish invasion in 1393, it was sacked and destroyed. Tourists can thank the Soviets for returning it to a semblance of its former glory (although some archaeologists grumble about the faithfulness of the restoration).