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Lovech

 
     Lovech has 49 270 inhabitants and is settled at about 200 m above the sea level. The town is located 170 km north-west of Sofia, 35 km south of Pleven and 86 km west of Veliko Tarnovo. Lovech is one of the oldest and most interesting Bulgarian towns and a regional centre as well.
 
     History

     Lovech is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria. Its territory and surroundings have been inhabited ever since the remote past, a prerequisite for which is the favorable geographic situation between the mountain and the plain. The ancient town has been built up on the ruins of the Thracian town Melta, which has probably been the capital of the Thracian tribe Meldi and has played the role of an exchange road station between Thracian tribes, which had inhabited today’s Romania, the Valley of Maritsa River and the Rhodopes. During the Middle Ages Lovech is an important military strategic centre. The first notice for Lovech fortress in our history is from the time of the invasions of the pechenegs in Northern Bulgaria - the middle of XI century. During the rebellion of the brothers Asen and Petar in 1185 it bravely defends the attacks towards the Bulgarian capital Tarnovo. 
     In the beginning of XII century it has already become a big commercial centre, famous all over Bulgaria. According to some authors, Lovech fortress has been one of the last fortresses to fall under Turkish rule - in 1446, but even then it has preserved significant rights - not to provide shelter to Turkish people in the town, not to give children to the janissary corpus, to collect taxes for the goods, passing through the town. Due to its possessions, the town has been named Altan (Golden) in 1520. From 1780 till 1784 Lovech develops rapidly but in 1784 it is besieged and burnt by the invaders.
     Through the years the town developed not only as a commercial, but also as an important educational and cultural centre. The people of Lovech participated actively in the struggles for an independent Bulgarian church. During the most difficult years of the Ottoman rule in Varosha the churches St. Nedelya and St.Virgin Mary have been built. During the Russian-Turkish War Lovech has been liberated twice with the assistance of the Russian armies. The final victory over the conquerors is gained on 22 August 1877. After the Liberation the Turkish people deport themselves and some of the Bulgarians as well. During the first 22 years of liberated Bulgaria Lovech is a regional centre of the following counties Lovech, Troyan and Teteven.
     Today Lovech is a beautiful and modern town, which carefully keeps the atmosphere of the previous century.
 
     Landmarks

     The museum activity in the town of Lovech leads its beginning from 28th February 1895. Then in Lovech cultural club Nauka a museum collection of 570 exponents is opened - a donation from the citizens. A landmark in Lovech is the Monument of Vasil Levski and the famous Covered Bridge. The 14-meters monument is erected on 27th May 1965 in Varosha residential area, next to Hisarya Fortress. Another landmark in the town is the Museum Vasil Levski, established on 19 of February 1954. A backbone of the exposition is the country’s richest collection of Levski’s personal belongings - fake Turkish stamps, receipts, a sword, a dagger and an original portrait from 1870. You can also visit the Ethnographic complex and its expositions:
·         Exposition Drasova House. Established in 1973. It presents the life style of a rich commercial family from the end of ХІХ - the beginning of ХХ century. The West-European influence is represented.
·         Exposition Rashova House. Established in 1983. It presents the organization of a house of an intelligent person from the town of Lovech from the 30s and the 40s of ХХ century.
     Another landmark in the town of Lovech is the Art gallery in Varosha residential area. In 1969 Varosha is declared an architectural and historic reserve. With its peculiar architecture from the Renaissance epoch it is a preferred place for recreation by the citizens and the visitors of Lovech.
 
     Surrounding Areas

     The reserve Steneto is located in the spring area of Cherni Osam River and occupies an area of 3578.8 ha. In 1983 the spring county is proclaimed a buffer zone of the reserve Steneto, one of the largest reserves in our country.