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Encyclopedia > Turgovishte Province
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Turgovishte province shown within Bulgaria

Turgovishte is a province in central Bulgaria. Its main city is Turgovishte, while other towns include Popovo, Opaka and Omurtag. The town of Turgovishte (population: 40 775; 170 m above sea-level) is situated at the southern foot of the low mountain of Preslav along either bank of the Vrana River. It is 339 km north-east of Sofia, 41 km west of Shoumen, 25 km north-west of Veliki Preslav, 24 km north-east of Omourtag, 100 km north-east of Veliko Tarnovo, 36 km south of Razgrad, and 35 km south-east of Popovo. It was an ancient market settlement. A district centre. This article is about political regions. ... Omortag-Khan or Omurtag of Bulgaria succeeded his father Krum to the throne in 814. ...


History

The earliest vestiges of human life in the area date back to the copper-stone era (halcolite) of the 5th-4th millennium before Christ (near the village of Ovcharovo). In the vicinity of the town there have been recovered remains of settlements and necropolises from the ancient times (the gold treasure from Kralevo). The name of the present town was first mentioned in 16th century as Eski Dzhoumaya (eski - old, dzhoumaya - Friday; on that same day markets were organised in the Turkish settlements, so in this particular case it is rather a market place or if translated - “Old market”). It was first registered as such in a Turkish register of 1573, and in the following 17th century the traveller Hadzhi Kalfa gave it a short description. At first it was entirely an Oriental town. In the course of years a lot of Bulgarians settled to live there. The crafts underwent a brisk development together with the trade therewith. The well-known Eski Dzhoumaya Fair started at the end of 18th century became the largest in the Danube district and one of the biggest and most representing in the Ottoman Empire. It used to commence on 14th May and last for 8 days. Traders came from the whole of the Ottoman Empire, from Russia and from the west European countries - Germany, Austria, and England - they offered industrial goods. Lots of cattle were sold at the fair, but most of all horses, so it was called “Haivan” or “Kamshik Panair” (Whip Fair). It always started with big horse races (koushii). At the beginning it was held in the central parts of the town but in 1865 - 1868 it was moved to a special place outside the town with elementary conveniences like inn, stables, cattle-sheds, eating-houses, bakery, wells, court place where problems and thefts were settled, etc. - prototype of nowadays market places. It was held till the end of 19th century. The material prosperity lead to cultural progress of the settlement. The small school was now transformed into a secular school in 1846 and in 1863 the construction of its new building of European style was completed (it was the most prominent building in Eski Dzhoumaya), this was where Pencho Slaveikov worked as a teacher for some time. In the winter of 1872 Angel Kanchev set up a revolutionary committee. The leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival, Sava Gerenov and Sava Katrafilov, spread the seeds of progress and national consciousness. The latter together with Nikola Simov-Kourouto (the colour-bearer of Botev’ detachment of armed volunteers) were members of Botev’s detachment. Both of them died a heroic death in the battles against the Ottomans.


During the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation (1877-1878) the inhabitants of the town showed great courage in defending the Bulgarian quarters from the Circassians and Bashi-bozouks. The town was liberated in January 1878. In 1934 the town was renamed Turgovishte. It is more and more developing as a tourist centre. The traditional fair in Turgovishte known as the Spring Fair and Industrial Goods Expo was resumed.


Landmarks

There are more than 30 buildings of interesting architecture in the old Revival quarter called Varosh. Among them are the school named St. Cyril and Methodius and Their Five Disciples where Spiridon Gramadov and Petko R. Slaveikov (who gave the plan for the construction) were teachers and where the latter started editing the “Gaida” (Bagpipe) newspaper. At present the building houses the Museum of History. The Assumption Church is one of the most beautiful churches built in Bulgaria before the Liberation. The house of Angel Hadzhi Droumev is one of the most precious sights from the Revival Period in the town; it was built by the masters of Tryavna (the Ethnographic Museum at present). The Nikola Simov-Kourouto Museum Exposition. Sveshtarov’s House (1860). The houses of priest Zahariev, of Ilia Katsarov and others. The “Nikola Marinov” Art Gallery bears the name of the renowned Bulgarian artist born in the town and possesses a rich collection of his works.


Monuments of Nikola Simov-Kourouto, of the Russian soldiers killed in the War of Liberation, of all those killed in the wars and others.


In Turgovishte there is a Theatre of Drama (Svoboda Square) and a Puppet Theatre. There is a branch of the Blagoevgrad University here.


Surrounding areas

The Turgovishte spring is located 8 km south-west of the town. The temperature of the mineral water is 27oC, and the water debit is about 6 litter per second. It cures diseases of the kidney and gastric-enteric diseases. A real resort has been set up in its vicinity - an open swimming pool, a prophylactic house, a hotel, and private villas. Part of the mineral water is bottled. There is a regular bus line to the town. In the immediate vicinity of the town is the interesting Hunting Park, the Yukya Forest-Park, the Borovo Oko lake, and 7 km away is the Park in the Turgovishte gorge.


Twenty-four kilometres south-west of Turgovishte is the town of Omourtag where there are preserved the Menzilishkata drinking-fountain from 1779, the St. Dimitur Church from 1851 and six Revival houses among which is the one belonging to granny Ivanka Hadzhiiska (built in 1876) where she hid 200 women and children from the Turkish army during the War of Liberation. At present it houses the town museum. There is a regular bus line between Turgovishte and Omourtag.


The Roman Bridge is situated some 60 km south-west of Turgovishte between the villages of Vidanovo and Malko Dolyane, above the Stara River. In spite of its name it does not date back to Roman times, it was built in 16th-17th century. It is 60 m long, 4 m wide and the top-point height is 10 metres. It has the shape of a crescent with one central arc and 5 supplementary ones. It was built directly on the natural rock. This unique installation has been completely preserved; it fascinates with the exquisiteness of its architecture. In ancient times it was an important strategic road. The village of Stevrek is the point of departure (on the Omourtag-Elena way); there is bus transport from the village to Omourtag and Antonovo. The distance from the village to the bridge is 8 km (1.30-2 hours long walk) along the country road fit for vehicles. The road goes through the former village of Malko Dolyane.


The Garbatata drinking-fountain is located 50 metres away from above mentioned Stara River, some 75 km south-west of Turgovishte and some 25 km west of Antonovo. It is a natural limestone rock, about 4 metres high and having the shape of an arc. On top there is an outfall where runs the water falling from the vertical cliff above the limestone ridge. So falling from the outfall the water forms a small cascade called the Garbatata drinking-fountain (meaning a drinking-fountain crooked like a hunchback). The small village of Stara Rechka is the point of departure; a regular bus runs between the latter and Antonovo. One can get to the drinking-fountain from the village following a tourist map route for about an hour walk.


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