Vratsa is settled in the foot of Vratsa Mountain. Vratsa is a starting point for the routes to Vratsata Gorge and Ledenika Cave. Situated in the foothills of Vratsa Mountain, with the river Leva calmly crossing the town and creepy rocks, hanging above, Vratsa is one of the most picturesque towns in Bulgaria. The nature park Vrachanski Balkan, near the town, offers wonderful opportunities for hiking. Here is the richest cave region in the country - more than 500 caves and karst precipices. Within the limits of the park lies the reserve Vrachanski Carst. It covers an area of 1,453.1 ha, situated along the northern stone cliff slopes of Vrachanska Mountain. The territory of the reserve is inhabited by rare and endangered species of Egyptian vulture, peregrine falcon, short-toed eagle, long-legged buzzard, 8 species of bats etc.
Natural landmarks and protected territories in the park worth visiting are Vratsata Gorge - the highest vertical limestone cliffs on the Balkan Peninsula, and in Europe at this altitude; Ledenika Cave - the first urbanized cave in Bulgaria with the first registered cave inhabitant; Skaklja Waterfall - the highest waterfall in Bulgaria; Lakatnishki Rocks - with the richest and most well-studied cave fauna in Bulgaria. There are remnants of numerous cultural monuments, witnesses of events and facts of the human history over the centuries on the territory of the park.
South of Vratsa is Okolchitza Peak, where Hristo Botev, one of the most heroic figures in Bulgaria's struggle for liberation, met his death. Revolutionary leader as well as a poet, known for his patriotic verses, Botev formed a cheta (band) to lend assistance to the April Uprising in 1876. Botev's men marched south to the Balkan Mountains from Kozlodui on the Danube, but were constantly harried by Ottoman forces. After days of running battles, Botev finally perished along with the remnants of his cheta on Okolchitsa on June 2.
There are several views concerning the origin of the population in our lands in the Bronze and Iron Age. The most plausible one, is that Thracians, who were one of the most numerous Indoeuropean people in ancient times, inhabited the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is still uncertain who were the oldest Thracian tribes that inhabited the territory of nowadays Vratsa and the adjoining districts since these tribes were constantly moving and fighting with each other. Some such articles were already recovered in the region of Vratsa, among which a bronze axe dug up near the village of Zgorigrad and a bronze axe, found near Leva River in 1970.
Several decades prior to the Ottoman invasion on the Balkan Peninsula, the Bulgarian State was divided into three kingdoms that easily fell victim to the Ottomans. It is known that in the years following the division of the Bulgarian State the town of Vratitsa was part of Tarnovo Kingdom and stood on its border with Vidin Kingdom. The scanty evidence testifying to the struggles of the Vratitsa people against the Ottoman oppressors is largely legendary. That makes it hard to point the exact year when the Ottomans tore down the town and subjected its population to a domination that lasted almost five centuries. The deposition of a regular Turkish army in Vratsa coincided with the arrival of a report saying that a cheta (military detachment) was being formed in Rumania and it was to make its way to Vratsa. Soon after that a letter came to Vratsa, written by the immigrants D. Todorov and M. Tsvetkov and it informed the conspirators that the cheta (band) was led by Hristo Botev and the town should rise in revolt on the day of its passing through.
On 20th May (1st June, new style) 1876 the cheta reached Vratsa Mountain and engaged in battle with the numerous enemy. At nightfall the commanding staff held a meeting under the Kamarata Highs. Just when Hristo Botev rose to speak a shot came - the voivode, who was also a poet genius and a revolutionary, was mortally wounded. The days following 20th May were days of celebration for the Turks. They drove around town the impaled heads of insurgents and members of Botev’s cheta.
The Ethnographic Revival Complex St. Sofronii Vrachanski is an interesting place you can visit. The History Museum keeps the century-old history of the town. The Holy Ascension and St. Nicholas churches are also of great interest.
The Nature Park Vrachanski Balkan, situated near town, offers great opportunities for on-foot tourism. Here is the richest cave region in the country. Vratsata rock massif - an impressive vertical wall (more than 400 m high) is a preferred place for rock climbing. Those of you who like adrenalin sports can parachute down from Okolchitsa Hut.
The picturesque villages Pavoltche and Zgorigrad will greet you with the hospitality of the village homes, the delicious traditional dishes and local wines. The wonderful nature and the fresh mountain air allow ecology camps with educational programmes for children to be organized. The complex Ledenika is located at about 16 km southwest of the town. It is settled near to the territory of Ledenika Cave. There are about 20 rest houses in the region. You must visit the place where Hristo Botev was killed, at Vola Peak (24 km southwest of the town).