Targovishte (Bulgarian: Търговище, "marketplace"; Latin: Missionis, Turkish: Eski Cuma) is a town in Bulgaria, the administrative and economic capital of Targovishte Region. It is situated at the northern foot of the mountain of Preslav on both banks of the Vrana River. The town is 335 km north-east of the capital Sofia and about 125 km west of the city of Varna and Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Targovishte is known as an old market settlement.
Archaeological studies prove that in these places there were people in the Cooper-Stone Age (Chalcolithic) - between the 5th and the 4th millennium BC. In the city's vicinity are the remains of Thracian settlements (5th-3rd century BC), a Roman settlement (2nd-4th century AD) and a fortress from the early Byzantine period (5th-6th century). A Bulgarian settlement was founded in the 10th century during the First Bulgarian Empire, however due to to its proximity to the capital Preslav, it did not develop until the 12th century. In the 12th century, due to its location on a main road from the new capital Veliko Turnovo, a fortress by the name "Сборище" (Sborishte) was built.
In the 18th and 19th centuries it became a famous market for animals and craft products called Eski Cuma ("old bazaar"). A monastical school was opened in the 18th century and a secular one, called the Slaveykov School and situated in the old Varosha Quarter was established in 1846, with Petko Slaveykov being a teacher there; a chitalishte was also built. Industrial development began after the Second World War. Factories producing car batteries and machines for the food industry were opened; later, furniture and textile industries developed. One of Bulgaria's largest wine production factories is located there. Targovishte is home to one of the largest glass factories in Europe. The investment in the factory was $380,000,000 and employs 1,500 people.
In January 2012, Targovishte was inhabited by 37 341 people within the city limits, while the Targovishte Municipality with the legally affiliated adjacent villages had 56 868 inhabitants.
If there is a place in picturesque Bulgaria which you must not omit, this is definitely Targovishte – a natural crossroad of ancient cultures and trade roads.
The lands of Targovishte municipality keep the vestiges of the material culture of different tribes and people. Up to now more than 40 archeological sites from the eras of prehistory, antiquity and the Middle Ages have been investigated.
Targovishte is recognized active cultural centre. It hosts traditional national and international events: "Celebrations of Women and Girls' Choruses", the theatrical festival "Big Theatre's Days in the Small Town", the international festival for professional performances for children "Magic Curtain", the Festival of Brass Bands, the folk fair, etc.
There are some places which must be visited.
The School ”St.St. Sedmochislenitsi” (Slavejkov school)
The building is a cultural monument of national importance. It was built in 1863 as a secular school and is unique and rare in its scale for the period of the Bulgarian National Revival. Petko R. Slavejkov has taught in the school. This is why it is known as the “Slavejkov school”.
The building is deliberately placed as an entry to the ancient quarter “Varosha”. Its monumental character has always been bearer of the historical memory of our town.
Today, the school is the building where the fund of the historical Museum (more than 30 000 museum exhibits) and the scientific library are kept.
The Historical Museum – Targovishte It keeps a rich fund of more than 27 000 museum exhibits, material and documentary monuments from the Neolith up to today. It is situated in the living quarter Varosha, built in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival. The museum is placed in five adapted ancient buildings from the 19th and 20th century.
By request the museum offers topical talks and guided sightseeing tour in the town.
Hadji Angelova house
Hadji Angelova house is an architectural monument of local importance from the 19th century, where the ethnographical exhibition of the Historical Museum of Tragovishte is placed.
It is built in 1863 by masters from Triavna and is a sample of a symmetric house from the period of the Bulgarian National Revival with wood-carved decoration and architectural details modern for that time – French style, stone stove.
Collections of various exponents testifying the style of living, the traditions, the folk beliefs, customs and handicrafts of the local population are exhibited here.
Zaharieva house is a cultural monument of local importance. Currently it functions as an administrative building of the Historical Museum, Targovishte
The School “Hadji Russi”
The archaeological exhibition of the Historical museum is placed here. It covers the chronological period from the VII-th millennium B.C. to the XIV-th century. The Neolithic, the Heliolithic, the Bronze Age, the Antiquity and the Middle Ages are presented.
The exhibits are placed in seven halls with total area of 354 m2. Amongst them there are some unique exponents with no analogue, such as the famous religious scene from the village of Ovcharovo, the gold-plated ceramic urn from the village of Kralevo (3th century B.C.), the combined silver surgery instrument from Ljublen (2th century) and others.
The Kassarova house is built by Hadji Michail Hadjirussev in the beginning of the 70-ies of the XIX century.
The house of the Architectural Union
It is a monument of local importance. It is placed in immediate proximity to the church “The Assumption”. Through “komshulutsi”, small openings in the fences walls, it is connected with the two neigbouring houses (architectural and cultural monuments) built in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival.
The church “St. Ivan Rilski”
It was built in 1937. It is situated in the central part of the town of Targovishte. It disposes of a unique wood-carved iconostasis made by prof. Petar Kushlev (1961). The New York bishop Andrey (1886-1972) is buried in the church – he was one of the biggest sponsors of the town of Targovishte.
“The Assumption” church
It was built in 1851 by the famous masters Usta Dimitar Sergiuv and Gencho Novakov from the town of Triavna. Its architecture is characterized by the Bulgarian-styled construction with dome. It is pointed as one of the most beautiful church buildings from the period of the Bulgarian National Revival on the territory of the whole country. In the church there is a collection of icons from the middle of ХІХ century, church plate, and fragments from the old iconostasis from the period of the National revival.
The house-museum “Nikola Marinov”
This is the house where the artist Nikola Marinov was born. It is situated in the old part of the town – “Varosha” close to the centre of Targovishte. Together with the restored and preserved houses from the Bulgarian National Revival period it is an undividable part of the preserved atmosphere of Eski-Jumaia, the old name of Targovishte.
The house-museum “Nikola Simov- Kuroto”
This is the house where the famous Bulgarian revolutionary Nikola Simov-Kureto was born. He was the standard-bearer of the Botev detachment. The exhibition gives evidences of his life and destiny, as well as of the struggle for national liberation of the population of the region of Targovishte during the period of the Bulgarian National revival.
The Archaeological exhibition
It is placed in the building of the ex-school “Haji Russi” (1907). It represents the region of Targovishte from the Prehistoric era until the period of the Middle Ages. Here you can find the unique religious scene from the village of Ovcharovo, a model of the prehistoric home and art patterns of the ceramic production from the Eneolith, various idol collections.
From the Antiquity pattern masterpieces of the Thracian art are presented such as the famous matrix from the village of Grancharovo, rich collections of Thracian votive tablets.
From the Middle Ages there are findings from typical early-Byzantine and old-Bulgarian mediaeval castles and necropolis; of a specific interest are the materials discovered in the “Krumovo Kale” castle (“Misionis”).
The lake “Borovo oko”
The beautiful lake “Borovo oko” is of interest to the guests of the town and could be used as a pleasant recreational site. Next to it the restaurant “Borovo oko” is placed. Nearby you could also find the Art Gallery “Nikola Marinov” and the house-museum “Stephan Kutsarov”.
“Krumovo Kale” castle is situated seven kilometers away fromTargovishte along the road to the town of Omurtag. Its ancient ruins spread over more than 150 decares. The castle was erected during the time of Ustinian І in the end of the 5th century as a part of the defensive system of Byzantium. Its purpose was to block the Slavs, Proto-Bulgarians and Gothic attacks. The castle has been ruined before the establishment of the Bulgarian state.
Natural landmark “Vodopada” and natural landmark “Koniat”
They are situated in the “Parka” area (7 km away from Targovishte), which was formed by the bed of the Vrana river, picturesquely cutting through the slopes of the Preslav mountain (a massif in the Eastern Stara Planina mountain).
“Koniat” is a rock formation, which reminds the figure of a horse, and “Vodopada” is a small waterfall, formed by a small underground feeder of the river Vrana, going out on the rock.
Natural landmark Derventska cave
It is situated on the slopes of the Preslav mountain in the Prolazki passage –village of Prolaz. The cave is one of the very few in the region and is famous besides for its size and richness of eccentric formations but also for the curves of its lakes with cave pearls inside and the massive stalagmites, covered by red-brown up to pink and white crystals.
The fauna in the cave is represented by dozens bats.
Protected area “Urumovo lale”
It is situated on a steep stony, limy slope near the village of Pajdushklo. The natural deposit of the plant Urumovo tulip spread over 12.0 hectares is under protection and there you could find all the three types of that tulip – yellow, variegated and red. The last type is represented by rare specimens. The plant, Bulgarian endemit, is threatened with extinction and is included in the “Red Book” of Bulgaria.
Idirizova grove –It is a group of seventeen century-old oaks with average age of 150 years, remains from an oak grove near the village of Dalgach, Targovishte municipality. Also there the “Four Oaks” could be found which present four century-old oaks of an approximate age of 300 years.
Recreational zone to the south of the town
The “Parka” area is situated 7 km to the south of the town, next to the entry of the Targovishte passage. Its beautiful nature, the mineral spring and the comfortable first-rate road from Sofia to Varna attract both citizens and guests of the town.
Some of the interesting landmarks in the area are as follows: “Koniat, the natural phenomena “Vodopada”, the cave “Marinina dupka”. Krumovo Kale castle is also situated here. All these sights are located in the picturesque gorge of the river Vrana. In the recreational zone the tourists could find plenty of lilac-shrub as well as the rare Urumovo tulip.
The modern hotel complexes “White horse” and “Eden” are placed in the “Parka” area. The distance between the two complexes is 100 m and they dispose of a safeguarded parking, an open-air pool, restaurants, a tennis-court, and a chapel. The hotel Panorama, the Prophylactic centre and the hut Mladost are also situated in the area.