The town of Silistra has population of 51 211 and is located at about 20 meters above the sea level. Silistra is located on the right (Bulgarian) bank of the Danube River. It is 442 km and 122 km north-east of Sofia and Ruse respectively, 113 km north of Shumen and 143 km north-west of Varna. The town is district centre. The municipality of Silistra is located in the north-eastern part of Bulgaria, on a low Danubian terrace. The municipality borders on neighbouring Romania by land and by the Danube. The town of Silistra is the nearest Bulgarian port to Reni and Izmail - Ukraine ports through which Bulgaria imports coal, timber and other raw materials.
The reserve "Srebarna" is on the territory of the municipality. The international coordination bureau of UNESCO defines it as a biosphere reserve. Only seventeen places in the world have such statuses. On an area of 700 hectares, over 200 species of birds stay temporarily, 90 of which nest and breed here, including one of the 4 known colonies of the curly-headed pelican in Europe.
The town was referred to for first time in 106 AD in a written order by the emperor Trajan about the moving of XI Claudius Legion from Panonia to Durostorum. This means that at those times the town was already a strong fortress. It served as a striking force against the Empire enemies who came from the north crossing the Danube. Durostorum became a self-governing town - municipium in 169 AD, under Marcus Aurellus - philosopher and writer, Emperor of Rome from 161-180 AD.
Being an administrative and economy centre as well as an important customs station Durostrum experienced vigorous growth. Romans undertook major building projects - large and beautiful public buildings, churches, basilicas, baths and private houses, water conduits and marble statues and bas-relieves on the squares. In 590 the Slavs settled here. They re-named the town Drastar. The town became rich and flourishing again. Drastar became an important Bulgarian stronghold and played a main role during the Conversion of Bulgaria to Christianity. In 969 Svetoslav - the Prince of Kiev was in front of the Drastar walls but this time the heavy town gates opened. In 976 Samuil liberated Drastar and the town became again a Bulgarian stronghold till the end of the millennium.
Turks knew very well the merits of the old fortress. The name Silistra was firstly mentioned during the negotiations between Tsar Ivan Shishman and Mourad. In 1391 the fortress of Drastar became Turkish. Silistra sandjak (district) included nine towns - Rousokastro, Anhialo, Mesemvria, Aytos, Karnobat, Varna, Silistra and Harsovo and two towns beyond the Danube - Akkerman and Kilia.
At the end of 1912 the Balkan Alliance pushed Turks out of Europe and Bulgaria and its neighbors negotiated for peace and distribution of the lands that used to be Turkish possession in Europe. At the same time, Romania, making use of the Bulgaria's engagements during the war claimed for the fertile south Dobrudzha as a compensation for the large parts of Macedonia, which Bulgaria would eventually gain. The conference recommended Bulgaria to cede the town of Silistra and the area westward and southward of it within radius of 3 km, with total area of 10 sq. km to Romania.
Till the Second World War Silistra was an important town with strategic location a part of the military quadrangle Varna-Silistra-Razgrad-Shumen. After 1945 the town became a sleepy border settlement, lacking in the vigour and comparative sophistication of Rousse. Economic activity in the town revolved around the port, main outlet for the grain of Dobrudzha Plain to the southeast. It was as late as 1970 when industry started developing here - wood processing, machine-building, food and wine industries, electronics.
Museum of archaeology - one of the most contemporary and modern in the country, with dozens of unique cultural memorials of the roman and mediaeval culture with national and world importance.
Museum of ethnography - represents the isolated material and spiritual culture of South Dobrudzha of XVIII and XIX centuries.
On the territory of the municipality function also: Dramatical Theatre with two departments- dramatic and puppet, Museum of History with 4 departments, Museum of Nature - village of Srebarna, Regional Library, Gallery of Arts, 2 private galleries, radio centre, municipal brass band, 12 cultural centres, professional groups of journalists, painters, architects, scientific group unto the Museum of History. No matter the objective difficulties there no terminated cultural structures, thanks to which the cultural processes in the municipality Silistra develop professionally, considering the specifics of the region for a purposeful influence.
There is a bus and railway transport in the town of Silistra, which connect the town with the rest of the country. There are regular bus lines to Ruse, Razgrad, Shumen, Dobrich, Varna and other smaller towns and villages in district. The bus station and the railway station are located next to each other in the industrial zone. The town is the final railway station on the local railway line Samuil – Silistra. There is a regular public bus transport.
The biosphere reserve Srebarna is included in the world fund of natural monuments of UNESCO in 1984. It is situated 16 km far from Silistra. This is the only place in Bulgaria where the curly-headed pelican breeds.