Travel Guide to Silistra, Bulgaria
Silistra is rather small. As the capital city of the province Silistra, the city has a growing economic base. Silistra strives to be tourist-friendly, but the tourism industry is recovering rather slowly. After the fall of Communism, Silistra lost many residents and is currently struggling to rebuild their once-thriving community.
Silistra is bordered by both Romania and the Danube. This location will appeal to any tourist wanting access to two both Bulgaria and Romania.
- Province: Silistra
- Population: 46,166(Year 2005)
- Altitude: 6 Metres
- Postcode: 7500
- Area Code: 086
- Geographic Coordinates: 44° 7′ North, 27° 16′ East
Silistra’s earliest history comes from the period in which Romans settled their town on top of an old Thracian community. Called Durostorum, the city was one of many fortresses along the Danube. In 238 A.D., Karps invaded the area and destroyed the town. Almost three centuries passed before Slavs moved into the area and slowly began rebuilding the area that they named Drustur.
Under Slavs rule, the area became a thriving port on the trade route. Furs, honey, wax, and salt were commonly traded for other necessities. As the town expanded, its ties to Christianity grew strong. During this era, many battles for the town’s possession took place. Eventually, the town gained its independence and a new millennium began.
The new millennium began with the area ruled by Byzantine rulers. In 1391, the area once again changed hands. Now under Turkish rule, the area was renamed Silistra Sandjak and houses what would eventually become nine towns.
In 1918, Bulgaria finally gained control of the northern portions of their country. Control of Silistra reverted to the Bulgarians in this agreement. The area grew and expanded, somewhat limited due to its northern and eastern borders of the Danube and Romania. Smart town planners decided to build the industrial center along the northern section of town, closest to the river, to increase water commerce, and the tourist sections of town were built to the south to keep the business and tourist areas separated.
Two area museums, the Museum of Archaeology and the Museum of Ethnography, are open to the public. Both offer artifacts and documents displaying a thorough view of the historical and present-day city of Silistra.
Every five years, a cultural display of area dances and costume is held in the city of Silistra. Every three years an international children’s puppet festival is held.
Two-thirds of the city is set up to function as an archeological park. In this area of Silistra, historic buildings, monuments, and statues are well preserved and open to tourists for viewing. Murals dating back to the Romans are well worth viewing. The Silistra Fortress is certainly worthy of your time. This 18th-century fortress is slightly eerie, as you can view soldier’s bones while touring the grounds.
The Danube River Garden is a small park located on the banks of the Danube. Here tourists can view the river from close-up and enjoy the serene sitting areas.
If you take a short drive, you can reach the Srebarna Wildlife Preserve. Here you can view a wide array of wildlife ranging from the Dalmatian Pelican to Pygmy Cormorants.
Located five kilometers from the city boundaries, Chefo Hotel and Orbita Hotel offer comfortable accommodation. The hotels are both two-star, so they do not offer a slew of amenities. If you can handle a basic room, however, the hotels should satisfy your needs. Rooms do include color television and private baths.
Located in the city, Bartimex Hotel’s rooms include a private bathroom, some with a tub and some with a shower stall. Colour television and telephones are also included in each room.
At the Zlatna Dobrudja Hotel Complex, rooms are more expensive. The hotel is also the fanciest in all of Silistra. Hotel rooms include air conditioning, televisions, and private baths. Breakfast is included free at the hotel’s restaurant.
Obviously, Silistra’s port on the Danube brings in some commerce with trading and exports. Agriculture is the area’s larger industry, however. The damp, fertile soil ensures many crops thrive. Wheat for flour grows exceptionally well, as do grapes that can then be used to produce luscious wines.
In the city, banking and financial commerce are growing in record numbers. Many banks are scattered throughout the city.
Apricots, peaches, apples, and cherries all grow well in the area. Fresh fruit tends to be served at every meal in lieu of any fattening dessert. Bulgaria is known for its creamy yogurt, and fruit and yogurt are mainstays of food in Silistra.
Fresh vegetables stewed with beef or lamb are also popular in Silistra. Most cuisine is baked in clay or porcelain pots, so it is juicy and tender.
There are bars that area residents frequent regularly. Tourists can spend some time in the local bars getting to know people, but chances are that English is not going to be readily spoken by the bar staff.
In general, nights in Silistra tend to be quiet and relaxing. Partying and loud dance clubs are not common in Silistra.
Although Silistra is not a thriving tourism center, there still are some worthy sights. You can stay in Silistra and make it your base from which you can explore both northern Bulgaria and some of Romania. It is certainly an excellent and inexpensive area from which you can travel.