Travel Guide to Lovech, Bulgaria
While many Bulgarian towns can trace their histories for thousands of years, Lovech is certainly one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria’s timeline. Located in the northern section of Bulgaria, Lovech is located in a flat plain between the Balkan mountain ranges and surrounding the Osam River.
If visiting in the spring months, visitors will quickly learn why the town is referred to as the Town of the Lilacs. Hillsides are covered with the perfumed blossoms. This scent brings delight to all who visit.
- Province: Lovech
- Population: 50,666 (Year 2005)
- Altitude: 200 Metres
- Postcode: 5500
- Area Code: 068
- Geographic Coordinates: 43° 8′ North, 24° 43’East
There is evidence within the caves near Lovech that offer clues to the area’s past. Artifacts found within the caves demonstrate the strong possibility that the Thracian tribe, known as the Meldi, lived in the area from 4 to 3 B.C. They established their capital city, Melta, in the area that would later become part of Lovech. Eventually, Romans replaced the Meldi. The Romans saw the military advantages of the area and built their fortress known as Hisarya.
In 1187, Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire signed a treaty declaring peace and Bulgaria took over the area. The Bulgarians began building Lovech with the intention of turning it into a thriving trade center thanks to the roads that the Romans had established in the area. Things went well until the 14th century when the Ottomans invaded and seized the Hisarya fortress. Bulgarian children were held prisoner and trained to then fight in the Ottoman armies. The town was renamed Altan Lovech and remained an important trade center. Things went well until the 1600s when the town was burned to the ground. Of the 20,000 citizens, approximately 4,600 people survived the devastation.
In the 1800s, Nikola Fichev constructed an impressive covered bridge that allowed Lovech to span to the other side of the Osam River. This covered bridge allowed traffic to cross, as well as housing a number of shops. The bridge burned down in 1925. As this bridge as the link between the old section of town and the newer sections, it was rebuilt a few years later. Today, the covered bridge houses a number of shops, cafes, and restaurants making it important for the economy, as well as part of the town’s history.
The Lovech Historical Museum dates back to 1895. More than 570 displays feature artifacts and artwork donated by citizens. The museum includes information from all eras of Lovech’s history, including recent history.
Varosha is a residential neighborhood within Lovech. Here visitors can view architecture dating back to the Revival epoch. In this area, travelers will also find the 14-meter monument to Vasil Levski, a Bulgarian national hero, and a museum dedicated to his honor.
In the old town, the Lovech Art Gallery is open daily. To reach the old town, you must cross the esteemed covered bridge where many shops, restaurants, and cafes line the bridge’s sides. The art gallery features works of art by many local artists.
Hisarya Fortress is located in the old town. Constructed in the 9th century, the fortress is in pristine condition today. Painstaking care has kept the fortress well preserved.
If you are up for a drive, head to Devetashka Cave, 18 kilometers north of the city center. This is one of Europe’s largest caves. Within the caverns, one can find evidence of inhabitance by those from Paleolithic, Neolithic, Eneolithic, Bronze, Iron, and Middle Ages.
Within Stratesh Park, there are many lakes, gardens, monuments, and Bulgaria’s second-largest zoo. There are picnic areas, swimming areas, and paths for walking. Children love the wide array of animal species that reside inside the zoo walls. More than 270 animals fill up the 100 decares of space.
Natural mineral springs offer a place to recuperate in Bashbunar Alley. Exquisite gardens, appealing fountains, and healing springs bring visitors of all ages to the area. There are two restaurants that feature healthy cuisine in the area.
Two area churches also bring flocks of tourists to view the amazing architecture. Saint Virgin Mary contains an impressive altar with carved religious icons. Restored in 1834, the church is considered one of Bulgaria’s best displays of Revival art. Saint Holy Trinity Church was built in 1868 and offers impressive architectural detail.
The three-star Hotel Lovech has 128 double rooms, 8 triple rooms, 13 single rooms, and 6 suites. There is a five-star restaurant attached to the hotel and a bar and snack bar offer late-night drinks and snacks to guests.
Hotel Tsaryana is located in the old town. This small establishment has 12 double rooms that offer private bathrooms.
Orbita is a medium-sized hotel with 30 double rooms, each with a private bathroom. The Varosha Tavern is located near the hotel grounds and offers cold drinks and delicious Bulgarian cuisine. Orbita is within walking distance of many historical buildings and the famed covered bridge.
With much of its economy set about production, Lovech is one of Bulgaria’s thriving regions. Known for leather products, especially clothing, Velur PLC is southeast Europe’s largest leather clothing manufacturers. Nora PLC follows closely behind as the largest children’s clothing manufacturer in all of Bulgaria.
Sparky Eltos PLC is Bulgaria’s largest electric tooling manufacturing company. The company ships many of its products internationally, so it brings revenue into Bulgaria.
There are also a number of food producers. Prima Lakta is Bulgaria’s only milk-based formula companies. Melta-90 produces fruit and vegetable cans that can then be used at Litex-Juice where fruit and vegetable juices are produced. Vinal PLC produces the majority of the area’s wines and alcohols. Finally, Bonmix is a company that produces large supplies of flour.
Bulgarian cuisine is a solid blend of Russian, Mediterranean, and Turkish styles. Many traditional menus include Shopska Salad (a mix of cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions), Cheese Stuffed Peppers (deep-fried peppers that are stuffed with Bulgarian white cheese), Mish-Mash (an omelet filled with Bulgarian white cheese, tomatoes, and green peppers), and Kyopolou (a dip made from roast eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and green peppers).
Many discos and bars in the old section of town thrill the younger, active crowd. If you are looking for a cold beer, locally produced wines, and local cuisine, try one of the area’s taverns. There you will find friendly staff who serves some of the best foods in the town. Taverns worry more about quantity and customer satisfaction than with filling restaurants to capacity.
As one of Bulgaria’s oldest towns, Lovech is packed with many stunning sights. Gorgeous gardens, impressive ancient buildings, and delightful taverns add ambiance to the lovely town. If you are traveling to Bulgaria, Lovech is a charming town that is a worthy addition to your itinerary.