Belogradchik Fortress

The Belogradchik Fortress is one of the best-preserved strongholds in Bulgaria. The initial fortress was constructed during the time when the region was part of the Roman Empire. The rock formations in the area served as a natural protection, as fortified walls were practically only built from the northwest and southeast, with the yard being surrounded by rocks up to 70 m high from the other sides.
Initially, the Belogradchik Fortress served for surveillance and not strictly defense. Bulgarian tsar of Vidin, Ivan Stratsimir, extended the old fortress in the 14th century and it became one of the most important strongholds in the region. During the Ottoman conquest of Bulgaria, the fortress was captured by the Ottomans in 1396. Considerable changes to the fortress – expansion and reorganization typical for the Ottoman castle architecture of the period – were made in the early 19th century. European elements were also added to the Belogradchik Fortress owing to the French and Italian engineers that participated in the expansion.