The Shumen fortress
The historical and archeological wildlife sanctuary ‘Shumen fortress’ is among the One hundred National Touristic objects of Bulgaria. It rises in the Eastern part of the Shumen plateu on the rocky hill Hissar, about 3 kilometres west of the town of Shumen. The researches prove that the town is one of the oldest settlements in the country dated approximately 3000 years ago.
The archeological researches prove also that at the time of the existence of the Thracian tribes (5-th – 2-nd century B.C.) here was a fortification. At the end of 1-st century A.D. the Thracian fortress felt under Roman domination. The Romans built a new fortress over its remains. In 5-th – 6-th century A.D. the Byzantines made the fortress to be an important strategic centre between the seaside and the hinterland of the Empire. In 8-th – 9-th century A.D. here came into being a Slav settlement which become a steady and important military stronghold during the First Bulgarian Kingdom (9-th – 10-th century A.D.)
The Shumen fortress passed through a significant prosperity during the Second and Third Bulgarian Kingdoms. In 12-th – 14-th century A.D. Shumen was a real feudal medieval town with an outer fortress and a keep – the biggest and the best fortified one in North-East Bulgaria. At this time it was not only a military centre but also is of big economical, production and cultural importance.
During archeological excavations have been found many objects with fortress, church and civil architecture, which are an evidence for the density of construction of the town during all historical ages but mostly during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.
In this period speedy progresses made the crafts, especially the pottery-making. The craft workshops opened in the fortress and in the inner city are an evidence for the progress of the iron-smithery and blacksmithing.
During 12-th – 14-th century A.D. judging by the significant amount of Bulgarian and foreign coins found, Shumen was an important trading centre with developed internal and foreign trade exchange. Lots of objects of life have also been found, as well as tools of production, weapons, jewelry, colour mural paintings, furnaces and water reservoirs. Remarkable are the Old-Bulgarian stone inscriptions which kept information about the bloom of the town and which have been probably made by the monks lived in the local cave monastery.
In 1388 the fortress felt into the hands of the Ottoman conquerors. It was completely destroyed in 1444 during the battle between the Ottoman garrison and the crusaders of Wladyslaw III of Poland. The life in it gradually died and the fortress lost its military importance.
Today the Shumen fortress is revived and is interesting for all tourists. The remains are easily accessible; there are alleys and indicative signs. Tourists can climb to the rebuilt fortress tower from where reveals a fabulous panorama to Shumen and the Nature park Shumensko plateu.