Belogradchik Fortress (also known as Kaleto), is an ancient fortress near the Bulgarian city of Belogradchik. Partially built into the grand Belogradchik Rocks, this fortress is a great site-seeing destination for visiting tourists! The architectural style of this ancient fortress comprises elements of Roman design, Ottoman architecture, and some European elements, characteristic of French and Italian architecture.
It has three-walled courtyards and is open to the public as an alfresco (open-air) museum. It is one of the most unspoiled ancient structures in Bulgaria and is a cultural monument, managed by the local museum of history.
No longer a functioning fortress, it is still in pristine condition. A hike up the rocks offers a brilliant view of the fortress and the surrounding area. It’s no wonder that crowds of visitors from around the world are drawn to this famous medieval and enchanting landmark every year!
Table of Contents
- 1 Frequently Asked Questions
- 2 Early History
- 3 Current Times
- 4 Interesting Belogradchik Fortress Facts
- 5 Visiting Belogradchik Fortress – Tips and Tricks
The fortress was the second-most important stronghold in the country during its golden years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Belogradchik Fortress Located?
Belogradchik Fortress is in Bulgaria, in the province of Vidin. It is situated on the north slopes of the Balkan Mountains, near the town of Belogradchik in the northwest region of the country.
When was Belogradchik Fortress Built? Who Build It?
The fortress was originally constructed by the Romans, between the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD. Further building work was done by the Bulgarian Tzar, Ivan Stratsimir, in the 14th century. In the early 19th century, the fortress was developed even further.
When is The Best Time to Visit the Castle?
The fortress is open to visitors all year round. However, as this is an outdoor museum, the best time to visit the location is during the warmer, summer months, between mid-June to mid-September.
What Other Monuments are Located Nearby?
The History Museum of Belogradchik is only a 9-minute walk from the fortress. Venetsa Cave is 29 minutes away by car, while Magura Cave is around a 34-minute drive.
FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS
The fortress was originally constructed during the time when the region formed part of the Roman Empire (between the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD), mainly as a monitoring point for the access roads leading in and out of the region.
Further construction was done later by the Bulgarian Tsar, Ivan Stratsimir, in the 14th century. The additions included fortified garrisons, making it the second-largest stronghold in Bulgaria. More building was done to further fortify the structure after the fortress was seized by the Ottomans in 1396, making it a veritable stronghold to ward off rebellion in the region.
In the early 19th century, the fortress was restructured and developed even further. It proved extremely useful to the Ottomans when they resisted the Bulgarian Belogradchik Uprising in 1850. The fortress was used again during the Serbo-Bulgarian War in 1885. This was the last time the stronghold was used in a combat situation.
Revisit More Historic Places Below or Read Further
Today, Belogradchik Fortress is a well-liked tourist site. The site is no longer a functioning fortress and was declared a national landmark in 1965, as published in Issue 41 of the State Gazette.
The site has been well-preserved, remarkable for such an ancient fortress! People from all over the world visit this fortress to view the fantastic architectural styles of the structure. Bike tours through and around the fortress are available, another option is to hike up the Belogradchik Rocks and enjoy a breath-taking view of the fortress and the areas around it.
Interesting Belogradchik Fortress Facts
- The fortress walls are around 6.6 feet thick and 39 feet high.
- Belogradchik Fortress covers a total area of about 109,900 square feet.
- The fortress was the second-most important stronghold in the country during its golden years.
- Belogradchik translates to “white construction” in Bulgarian.
- The Belogradchik Rocks are formed in sandstone full of iron oxide, which gives them their reddish tint.
Visiting Belogradchik Fortress – Tips and Tricks
The fortress ruins have been well-maintained – so you are able to view the whole structure when visiting. Bear in mind it is an entirely open-air setting, so plan accordingly!
How to get to Belogradchik Fortress?
Travelling by bus from the capital city of Sofia will get you to the fortress in around three and a half hours at a cost of BGN 17.00 ($10 USD), with a fourteen minute walk from the bus drop-off point to the fortress entrance.
Another option is to take a train from Sofia Station to Oreshets Station in around three and a half hours at a cost of BGN 17.00 ($10 USD), followed by a thirteen minute taxi trip to the fortress at an additional cost of BGN 17.00 ($10 USD).
Alternatively, you could rent a car and spend around BGN 34.00-51.00 ($20-$30 USD) on fuel to drive from Sofia to the fortress in three hours. You could also take a taxi from Sofia and get to the fortress in three hours at a cost of between BGN 171.00-205.00 ($100-$120 USD).
Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips
The entrance fee to explore the fortress is BGN 6.00 ( $3.5 USD) for adults, while family tickets for parents and their children under 18 years of age are BGN 12.00 ($7 USD). Tickets cost BGN 3.00 ($2 USD) per person for groups of ten or more. There is parking outside the fortress for visitors who arrive by car.
Visiting hours are from 9am-6pm during the months from June through September. Temperatures are usually optimal during this period. From October to May, the opening hours are from 9am–5pm. If you choose to visit the site during these months be sure to dress warmly as these are the cold months in the region. The fortress is not closed for any holidays.
How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?
Most visitors take around one to two hours to get their sightseeing done on a quick tour. Some of the tours available make provision for a half-day tour of the fortress and the rocks.
The hike up the rocks is quite steep, if you are relatively fit the trip all the way up should take around 10 – 30 minutes.
Some words of advice and tips:
- Dress appropriately as your touring will be outdoors.
- Take refreshments and remain hydrated as you will be walking throughout your visit to the site and climbing the steep stairs of the rock formations at the fortress.
- Due to the natural rock locality, the fortress is not wheelchair accessible.
- COVID: Check for any regulations, opening hours, and restrictions on the official Egeskov Castle website, as rules have been changed and adapted several times since the pandemic started.
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