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Rahovets Fortress, PushevoCod 2524

The Rahovets Fortress thracian, ancient, late ancient, medieval and Ottoman (IIIrd century-XVth after Chr.) is located above 3 km west of the Gorna Oryahovitsa city and above 10 km north of Veliko Tarnovo, 115 m above the level of the see. The fortress is one of the many forts built by the Roman emperor Aurelius the IIIrd, for road safety in the province Moezia. After the uprising of Asen and Peter and the announcement of the new metropolitan in Tarnovo, Rahovets starts to operate as a central fortress in the in the northern defensive ring, guarding the capital in the most critical diretion – the Danube limes.

The place where it was built, has been inhabited since the Iron Age of the XVth century BC without interruption. During the Iron Age, the hill is associated with Thracians. The Fortress is a part of a complete fortification system covering an area of approximately 30 km. If it becomes apparent that all densely populated areas, were used by the Thracians, then the location is unrivaled in size and complexity of the fortifications. Afer all probabilites, here was the city center of the krobizi tribe – Beripara.

During the Roman era, the life here continues to be very intense, especially in the III-IVth centuries. There are traces of the early Byzantine era and IX-X century during the First Bulgarian Kingdom. The period of Byzantine rule (XI-XIII century) is represented by a considerable amount of pottery. Definitely it is the most important fortress of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Indeed, they found traces of metal working (maybe a mint). The presence nearby of a large territory inhabited – the Dark City (starting from the walls of the fortress, in the north part nearby the Yantra River) is a reason to assume the existence of a large medieval city, with a fortress that could be the real mint of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

After conquering the city by the Ottomans, a garrison installs here untill its destruction in late September 1444 by the troops of Vladislav III Varnenchik during the march against the Ottoman Empire. Then, the fortress was finally abandoned. And the total destruction came in 1913, when an earthquake with its epicenter in Gorna Oryahovitsa demolished walls, towers, gates, described by K. Shkorpil.

The fortress has three entries – to the west, to the north and to the east and the main entry was equipped with three gates. The fortified wall has a 3 m width. It was built of stone partially bonded with white mortar and a system (of satrachna) of wooden beams, and the filling was done with smaller stones, embedded in white mortar. Traces of fortified towers, guarding the gates and vulnerable points of the walls of the fortress are observed. Hard to reach places such as the south of the hill, are left free.

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