|Population ||65,031(15 Mar 2004) |
|Area ||530 sq/km |
|Altitude ||320 m |
|Latitude ||43° 5' 8" N |
|Longitude ||25° 39' 20" E |
|Website ||veliko-tarnovo.net |
Veliko Turnovo(Cyrillic: Велико Търново, "Great Turnovo") is a city of approximately 65,000 people in North-central Bulgaria, 240km north-east of Sofia. It is the capital of the regional government(oblast) of the same name. The city sits upon the side of a ridge at the base of which runs the Yantra River. The river makes four sharp bends below the city and around three largely uninhabited hills: Tsaravets, Sveta Gora, and Trapezitsa.
The known history of Veliko Turnovo begins in the 4th millennium BC with evidence of human habitation in the western area of the city. Archaeological evidence of human settlement dating to the 3rd millennium BC has been found on Trapezitsa Hill. In the 2nd millennium BC the Thracians settled on the banks of the Yantra River below the steep sides of Tsaravets Hill. The hill was fortified by the Romans in the 1st century AD and in the 5th century the Byzantines, under Emperor Justinian, built a keep enclosing a small town on the hill.
In 681 AD a truce between Bulgarian khan Asparouh and Byzantine emperor Constantine IV established the First Bulgarian Kingdom. The kingdom flourished and expanded while hostility with Byzantium increased. In 972 Byzantine emperor John Tzimisces declares Northeast Bulgaria a Byzantine province. By 1018 all of Bulgaria is under Byzantine rule.
In 1185 the brothers Asen and Petar declare an uprising against the Byzantine Empire and the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom with Turnovgrad, as Veliko Turnovo was called then, as its capital. In 1186 the church "St. Dimitar" was inaugurated and in it Petar was proclaimed king. The city flourished and grew for 200 years until on July 17, 1393, Turnovgrad is taken by the Ottoman Empire after a three-month siege and the fortress on the hill is destroyed. Turnovgrad was the location of two uprisings against the Ottoman Empire in 1598 and 1686 that failed to free Bulgaria.
Turnovgrad, along with the rest of Bulgaria, remained under Ottoman rule until the 19th century when national identity and culture re-asserted themselves as a strengthening resistance movement. The idea of the establishment of an independent Bulgarian church and nation motivated the 1875 and 1876 uprisings in Turnovgrad. On April 23, 1876, the April_Uprising in the city marked the beginning of the end of the Ottoman occupation. It was soon followed by the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). On the 7th of July, 1877 Russian General Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko liberated Turnovgrad. Bulgarian revolutionaries assisted by the Russian army ended the 480 year rule of the Ottoman Empire. In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin created a Principality of Bulgaria between the Danube and the Stara Planina range, with its seat at the old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Turnovo. On April 17, 1879, the first National Assembly convened in Veliko Turnovo to ratify the countries new constitution, known as the Turnovo Constitution, and officially make Sofia the capital of Bulgaria.
The old section of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria.
In deference to the city's past, Tsar Ferdinand Saxe-Coburg Gotha chose the "Saint Forty Martyrs" church in Veliko Turnovo as the place to declare the complete independence of Bulgaria on October 5, 1908.
In 1965 Turnovo was renamed to Veliko Turnovo.
- The official site (http://veliko-tarnovo.net/) of Veliko Turnovo (Bulgarian and English).
- Veliko Turnovo (http://www.studentholidays.com/bg/bg19.htm), in English
- Another site (http://www.veliko-turnovo.com/) in Bulgarian.
- Short history in English (http://www.geocities.com/orient_travel/museum_towns_and_villages.htm#Veliko_Turnovo)
- Pictures from Veliko Turnovo (http://www.pbase.com/ngruev/tirnovo)