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Provadia is a settlement with more than 15 century-old history.

The archaeological dating leads to the
oldest trays of human activity in the land of the town around the V century B.C.
It is considered, that the town is founded as a fortress and military fortification of the Byzantine
Empire against the invading warlike tribes from the north. Byzantines name it Provat (passage or
gorge, while other specialists reckon, that the name “Provat” in translation of Greek means “sheep”).
At the end of XI century Bulgarians enjoin the name “Ovech”, probably because of the well-
developed sheep-breeding in this area.
In 1388, after a long siege, Ovech is conquered by the Turks. Conquerors name it Provadia, but also
Tash Hisar. The Bulgarian liberation of Ottoman yoke finds Provadia with around 3500 citizens. For a
short period of time, Provadia is a regional center in Principality of Bulgaria. As a result of the
administrative reform from 1881, Provadia becomes district town.

Sights of the town
A place of interest includes the school for bagpipers and other instruments, as well as folk songs.
Provadia is the starting point for visiting the Ovech fortress and the Lambova Kashta ethnographical
complex, exposition devoted to the composer Svetoslav Obretenov and his family, Art gallery,
Historical museum, “Holy Annunciation” Orthodox Church. In the city center stands the 400 years-
old mosque “Usuf bei” . In the area there are also many rock monasteries: “Shashkynite”,
“Gradishte”, “St. George”, “Kara Peshtera”, which are part of routes representing Eco paths.
Provadia-Solnitsata is a prehistoric salt-producing center, which will bring many tourists in the future.
Fortress Ovech – Provadia
Fortress Ovech is a rocky stronghold, located east of Provadia, 53 km west of Varna and 410 km east
of Sofia.
In the historical annals the fortress is famous with several names. The oldest one is the Byzantine
Provat. Bulgarians call it Ovech, and the Turks Tash Hisar (translated from Turkish – rocky fortress)
Archaeological researches have revealed that the fortification is used since the III century to the first
decades of the VII century and then from X – XI till the end of XVII century.
The fortress is inhabited consecutively from Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Bulgarians, and Turks.
Its name is related to the government of tsar Ivailo (1277 - 1280), with the campaign of count Amadei
VI Savoyski (1366) and the campaign of the Polish-Hungarian king Vladislav III Qgelo (Varnenchik)
(1444).
The fortress has three entrances. The east approach is preserved in his original form with cut in the
rocks stone stairs. It is comfortable for visitors with their own transport.
The west approach is reachable from the side of the town through original spiral staircase with 111
stairs.
Significant for the fortress is the north entrance. Before him is built a bridge long 150 m, which
connects the stronghold with the neighboring plateau Tabiite. The most powerful period of Ovech is
during the XII – XIV century, when the fortress is military, religious, economical and administrative
center of the region. While visiting the fortress, in the stone defenses there can also be seen the
talking well - 79 meter deep, metropolitan’s church which is the biggest, located in the northern part
of Kaleto, carved in the rock massif, and two smaller ones, situated north and east of the citadel, the
knight’s prison, the tower with the devil’s path and the monk’s hollows.
The fortress works all year.
Historical museum Provadia
In 1959, in the house of the volunteer Stefan Bogdanov in Provadia, is created a museum collection
and exposition. For many years it is among the most abundant in the country. Since 2004 it has the
status of a museum. In the museum’s fund are collected around 15 000 articles of the cultural-
historical heritage of Provadia and the neighboring settlements. Archaeological finds of Prehistory,
Antiquity, Middle Ages, materials from the Ottoman period, the New and the Newest history of the
region are preserved.

Provadia-Solnitsata is the earliest prehistoric town in Europe
The complex archaeological monument that is Provadia-Solnitsata , a prehistoric settlement , over
which and with the part of its cultural layer, many years later is accumulated a large Thracian burial
mound. It is located in the Provadia area, Northeastern Bulgaria. The ongoing researches are led by
Vassil Nikolov.
The settlement, which had had a cultural layer with a thickness of 6m and a diameter of 105m, lies
on a huge truncated cone of the biggest and actually the only rock-salt field of the Eastern Balkans.
The “salt mirror”, located at a depth of 9 to 20 m, has been leaking salt springs with maximum
concentration of salt. The production of this raw material has begun in the time of the late neolith –
in the period ca 5400 – 5000 year B.C. The production happens through boiling the brine from the
springs in thin-walled ceramic vessels, placed in beehive ovens, which are constructed in the
buildings inside the settlement. This is the earliest registered case of this salt-producing technology
in Europe and so far Provadia-Solnitsata is the most ancient salt-producing center at the old
continent. The life in the settlement continues during the mid-chalcolithic i.e. in the time between
4600 – 4500 year B.C., and at the end of this period around the settlement spring up a producing
complex, which exists during the late chalcolithic, i.e. between 4500 and 4200 year B.C. In it, the
ovens were replaced with huge open-air equipment - 10 meter long pits, in which a new kind ceramic
vessels-deep and thick-walled bowls with large capacity are arranged clinging close to one another.
Boiling the brine was made with open fire, burning at the bottom of the pit in the space between the
touching orifices of the vessels.
Some more important results from the present discoveries may be indicated.
For the first time in Europe, remains of a two-storied building from the late neolith, serving as an
inhabitancy and also for salt-production, are explored. The floor of the first level is made of pice.
Thereon and among the burned down remains of the second floor are discovered whole and broken
pieces of the ceramic vessels, and also a huge amount of thin-walled and fragmented vessels for salt-
production. Among the discovered equipment in the building it is of interest a massive domed
appurtenance of clay. It was designed for brine boiling but it also served as a domestic oven. To this
facility, a four-sited grain-store is examined, on the bottom of which, among a thick layer of plant
ashes is discovered a unique collective find of four sickles of deer horn, with resin strengthen flinty
cutters in them. Until now, of all Neolithic objects in the Old World, such a collective find is not
known. At the second floor of the building a few facilities were built, including a massive fireplace,
grinding grain facility, four grain-stores and etc.
Production of salt in Provadia-Solnitsata continued during the mid and the late Chalcolithic. The
production and trade with salt at that time are the reason for accumulating (with the methods of
trade exchange) a great “fortune” of valuable items in Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis (4500 – 4200
year B.C.) , located 37km east of the Salt works.
The accumulated fortunes had to be protected – during the mid-Chalcolithic the settlement was
stabilized with strong fortification system, which included defence wall and a deep pit in front of it.
The defence wall is presented with a stockade of thick fixed high oak trunks, thickly plastered with
clay on both sides. In the wall there were at least two diametrically situated entrances, flanked with
two large stone bastions of huge rocks. After a powerful earthquake in ca 4550 year B.C. the
bastions were destroyed, but behind their remains, a high and thick walls of smaller rocks were built,
which are later also destroyed by an earthquake. The dug up circular pit in the clay had a diameter
around 100m., width more than 2m, and the depth was up to 3,30m. With an area of about 7 acres
Provadia-Solnitsata is the biggest fortificated Chalcolitic settlement in today’s Northeastern Bulgaria.
The finds of the prehistoric salt-producing center Provadia-Solnitsata are exposed in the National
archaeological museum in Sofia and in the Historical museum in Provadia.