Located along the River Osam in northern Bulgarian, Lovech is one of the oldest towns in the country. It was here that the peace treaty between the Bulgarian and Byzantine Empires was signed in 1187, marking the start of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
While the city of Lovech sprawls along the western bank of the river, on the eastern side rises a 250-metre high plateau where Stratesh Park is located. It’s famed for its lilac bushes which ignite during the spring and is home to the Lovech Zoo. Adjacent is the historical district of Varosha which dates to the Bulgarian Renaissance and where the city’s iconic “Covered Bridge” and its adjacent Historical Museum can be found. It also features the Vasil Levski Monument and a museum dedicated to this Bulgarian revolutionary hero. To the south-west of the city are the hills of Bash Bunar and Hisarya, with the latter dominated by the Roman-built Lovech Fortress. The steep hill slopes and river provided natural protection from invading forces, while a solid stone wall once surrounded it. Seven churches representing different architectural styles have been uncovered here, with the oldest and largest at the top of the hill believed to date to the 5th or 6th century AD. A giant metal cross is situated inside the fortress and can be seen from across Lovech, and it was one of the last remaining Bulgarian strongholds to be conquered by the Ottomans during the 15th century. The Bash Bunar Alley follows the left bank of the River Osam and is famed for its sculpture depicting a man drinking water from a pitcher held by a woman, with a legend stating that whoever drinks water from the Bash Bunar fountain will remain in Lovech forever.
The Lovech Railway Station serves as the city’s transport hub, with train connections to the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. Public buses are the main means of getting around the city, and many of the major sights are within easy walking distance.
It is believed that Thracian tribes were the first inhabitants of the region during the 3rd or 4th centuries BC before the Roman Empire occupied the Balkans and established the military station of Praesidium. During the 12th century, Lovech emerged as an important trade centre, before being captured by the Ottomans in 1446.