Cities
Shipka
Bulgaria


Location: The town of Shipka is located on the south slopes of the Balkan Mountain. The town is located 12 km away from Kazanlak and at the middle of the road between the capital Sofia 200 km and the Black Sea - 250 km.

Population: Shipka has a population of 1700 inhabitants.

History: There are archaeological proofs that these lands were inhabited by Thracian people and some of the best preserved objects of Thracian culture have been discovered here. In 1st century A.C. these lands were conquered by the Roman Empire and after its fall they became part of Byzantium. In the 8th century, during the reign of the Bulgarian Khan Tervel (701-721) the region of todays town of Shipka was incorporated in the First Bulgarian Empire. When in 1396 Bulgaria fell under the Ottoman rule, Shipka was appointed as a settlement, whose purpose was to protect and maintain the Shipka pass in the Balkan Mountain, which was of strategic importance. During the Russo-Turkish War in 1877-1878, close to the city, on mount Shipka, one of the most glorious battles of the allied Bulgarian-Russian army took place, which contributed to the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule. In honour of the heroes that perished, a large memorial complex was erected at that place, which is honoured by all Bulgarians.

Today Shipka is the favourite place for living of many Bulgarians and foreigners (mainly Japanese and British citizens). They are attracted by the clean air and the rich history of the town. The main source of income here is tourism, but one can still discover the spirit of the old craftsmen, among which there are skilled carpenters, masters of cutlery and the typical Bulgarian instruments kaval (wooden flute) and bagpipe.

Landmarks: The mound necropolises discovered in the region of Shipka are a valuable source of information about the life of Thracians. Their tombs and different auxiliary facilities hidden below them give to us clear picture of their beliefs for life after death and other religious beliefs. The capital of king Seuthes III Seuthopolis was also located near by. Here one can see the temples of the mound: Golyama Kosmatka, Svetitsata, Ostrusha, Shushmanets, Grifonite, Helvetsia and tens of others, most of which have no analogues in the ancient construction practice, which is a proof of the artistic genius of the Thracians. Several kilometres away one can see Kazanlak Thracian Tomb, which is impressive with its mural paintings. It is the first Bulgarian monument included in UNESCOs World Heritage List.

  • During the excavation works of Koprinka Dam, located close to the town of Shipka, the Thracian city of Seuthopolis (capital of the Odrysian kingdom from the end of the 4th - 3rd century B.C.) was discovered and studied thoroughly. Found by the Thracian king Seuthes III the city covered an area of 50 decares and was well-protected with thick fortress walls. Currently it is located at the bottom of Koprinka Dam, but there are bold plans to expose Seuthopolis below a glass dome in the water and to turn it into an tourist attraction.

  • In the region around the village of Shipka one can visit many of the Thracian church complexes below the mounds. The Thracian mound Golyama Kosmatka is particularly interesting because one of the largest and richest Thracian tombs on our territory was discovered below it. More than 70 completely preserved objects made of bronze, silver and gold have been discovered in it, which were left as tomb presents. One of them is the unique work of the ancient Greek art the bronze head of a man with a beard and eyes made of semi-precious stones, golden funeral wreath, golden kilix and applications of horse harness. It is believed that this is where the Thracian king Seuthes III was buried.

  • Shipka Memorial Church or Memorial Temple of the Birth of Christ is the most visited site in the region of the town of Shipka. It was built in honour of the Russian soldiers and the Bulgarian voluntary army, who died during the Russo-Turkish Liberation war (1877-1878). The beautiful monastery The Birth of Christ has been erected in their honour in the foot of the Balkan Mountain. The monastery was built in the period 1885-1902 on land that was donated by the residents of Shipka and with the help of contributions from Russian citizens. The monastery church The Birth of Christ is very impressive. It is a real architectural masterpiece, built in the traditional Russian style like the cathedrals from the 17th century and it was pronounced for a cultural monument. In the church visitors can see 24 marble bricks with the names of 18 491 Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers, who lost their lives during the battles at mount Shipka and around the town of Kazanlak.