Ruse is an ancient Bulgarian borough and a port on the river Danube. People settled here in ancient times, since the river provided a living. As seen on the prehistoric settlement hill, the people in that earliest period lived in a place with clearly distinguished residential and public buildings, streets and neighbourhoods. During the time of the First Bulgarian state, 30 km to the south of the old Roman fortress, the mediaeval town of Cherven came into being and by Prista itself the settlement of Rusi appeared. From earliest times its advantageous location near the river Danube has made Ruse one of the most important cultural and economic centres of Bulgaria. During the Renaissance it was a cultural centre and the centre of the national liberation movement activists in Bulgaria. A Pantheon has been constructed where the ossa of Lyuben Karavelov, Stefan Karadzha, Angel Kanchev, Zahary Stoyanov, Panayot Hitov, Baba Tonka and other distinguished Bulgarians are kept.
Kaliopa house was built in 1865-1866 and now it is a Museum of the city's everyday life. The author of the project is unknown, but there are some documents according to which here have worked Usta Yordan (Master Yordan) and Usta Kanyo (Master Kanyo). The facade is close to the Plovdiv houses and to those on the Greek and Turkish coast. The house belonged to Maria Kalish, wife of Consular Kalish. A lot of local people called her Kaliopa. After the Liberation, the local tradesman Kamburov bought the house. In the vicinity of the town are the forest park Lipnik and Rusenski Lom Natural Reserve. The Bridge of Friendship over the Danube connects Ruse with Romanian town of Gyurgevo and is the border crossing point between Bulgaria and Romania.
In 69-79 year of the new era, on a part of the territory of the modern town an ancient settlement of Sexaginta Prista came to existence. The roman Emperor Vespasian founded it. The name means "Port of the sixty ships". In Mediaeval times the settlement is one of the most developed and prosperous regions in Bulgaria. During the Ottoman Rule it turned into an important harbor and a strong border fortress. In 16th century the town was called Rossi and in 17th – Rouschouk. In 19th century Ruse is considered the most European Bulgarian town with flourishing economy. The first Bulgarian newspaper, printed in Bulgaria was published there. In 1866 the building of the first Railway in Bulgarian lands Ruse-Varna was completed. The first navy school and the first weather service were established in the town of Ruse. It became a centre of the struggle for spiritual and national liberation. A lot of foreign and Bulgarian celebrated architects, artists and writers did their creative work there. Nowadays Ruse is a big economic, transport, cultural and tourist centre.
The History Museum preserves over 120 000 exhibits in 5 departments – Archaeology, Nature, Ethnography, Bulgarian history XIV-XIX century and New Bulgarian History. There are also the Museum of the town living standard in XIX and XX century, House-museum of Zahary Stoyanov, House-museum of Baba Tonka, Pantheon of the Enlighteners. The National Museum of Transport and Communications is housed in the building of the oldest railway station of Bulgaria. The town Art Gallery exhibits works of art of Bulgarian and foreign artists.
About 200 buildings in Ruse are on the list of the fund of the architectural historical heritage of Bulgaria, 12 of which are especially valuable: The Old Theatre, The Monument of Liberty, The High School of Music, the Catholic Church, etc. The places of interest of the town also include the Leventabia Fortress, Mahmud Column, Holy Trinity Church, the monuments to those, who perished in the Serbian-Bulgarian War (1885).
There is an Opera House in Ruse, a Philharmonic Orchestra, Theatre of Drama and a Puppet Theatre.
Some of the most significant annual festivals are being held in Ruse: International festival for symphonic music "March days of Music" (17-31 March); International Jazz Festival (November), International Theatre Festival "Danube – European River, Danube – Balkan’s River".
Bus, railway and river transport service the inner-town and international connections of the town. There are regular bus lines to Sofia, Varna, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo, Shumen and a lot of other towns and villages in the country. Ruse is the initial or the final station of 2 railway lines: Ruse – G. Oryahovitsa – St. Zagora – Podkova and Ruse – Kaspichan – Varna. It is connected through them to the national railway network. The river station is a big one. But there are cruises solely along the international route Ruse – Belgrade – Novi Sad – Budapest – Bratislava – Vienna – Linz – Pasau. Since 1993 the ferryboat line Ruse – Giurgiu has been in operation too.
The Western Park Prista is located at the distance of 6 km from Ruse along the road to the town of Byala. 12 km east of the town is Lipnik forest park. There are country houses, restaurants, dam lakes, hotels, a zoo corner, a sport base. Near the town is the Rusenski Lom River Valley. 3260 hectares of its territory were proclaimed as a National park. 25 km south of Ruse is situated the electrified cave Orlova Chuka – the second cave by length in Bulgaria.
Basarbovo Monastery is situated 15 km from the town of Ruse and it is the only active rock monastery in Bulgaria today. The Danube River provides for great possibilities for recreation, water sports, water tourism, fishing and a lot of other amusements.