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This article is about a town in Bulgaria. For other meanings, see Pleven (disambiguation).
Image:Pleven-gerb.gif Image:Pleven location in Bulgaria.png
Population 138,139<ref>This number refers to the population by permanent address in the city. When the people with a permanent and present address in Pleven are counted, the population figures are 120,112. Source: Official population table as of 14 March 2006.</ref> (2006-03-14)
Altitude 116 m
Postal code 5800
Area code 064
License plate
province code
43° 25' north,
24° 37' east
Time zone EET
(UTC+2; UTC+3 in summer)
Mayor Nayden Zelenogorski (UDF)
see List of mayors of Pleven

Pleven (Bulgarian: Плевен ['plɛ.vɛn]), known as Plevna in English in some historical documents) is the seventh most populated town in Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of the country and is the capital of Pleven Province, as well as of the subordinate Pleven municipality.


[edit] Geography

Pleven is located in an agricultural region in the very heart of the Danubian Plain, the historical region of Moesia, surrounded by low limestone hills. Its central location in Northern Bulgaria defines its importance as a big administrative, economic, political, cultural and transport centre. The town is located 170 km away from the capital city of Sofia, 320 km west of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and 50 km south of the Danube.

The river Vit flows near the town and the tiny Tuchenitsa river (commonly known in Pleven as Barata, literally "The Streamlet") crosses it.

The climate is temperate continental, with cold winters (down to –15°C) and hot dry summers (up to +35-40°C).

[edit] History

[edit] Prehistory and Antiquity

The earliest traces of human settlement in the area date from the 5th millennium BC, the Neolithic.

Image:Pleven - centre.JPG
The central streets of Pleven

Numerous archeological findings, among them the largest golden treasure found in Bulgaria, evidence for the rich culture of the Thracians, who have inhabited the area for thousands of years.

In the beginning of the new era, the region became part of the Roman province of Moesia, and a road station called Storgosia arose near present-day Pleven on the road from Oescus (near modern Gigen) to Philippopolis (now Plovdiv), that later evolved into a fortress. One of the most valued archeological monuments in Bulgaria from the period is the Early Christian basilica from the 4th century found near the modern town.

[edit] Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, Pleven was a well-developed stronghold of the First and Second Bulgarian Empire. When Slavs populated the region, they gave the settlement its contemporary name (Pleven comes either from the Slavic word "plevnya" ("barn") or from "plevel", meaning "weed", that share the same root). The name is first mentioned in a charter by Magyar King Stephen V in 1270 in connection to a military campaign in Bulgarian lands.

[edit] Ottoman rule

During Ottoman rule, known as Plevne in Ottoman Turkish, Pleven preserved its Bulgarian appearance and culture. Many churches, schools and bridges were built at the time of the Bulgarian National Revival. In 1825, the first secular school in the town was opened, followed by the first girls' school in Bulgaria in 1840, as well as the first boys' school a year later. Pleven is the place where Bulgarian national hero Vasil Levski grounded the first revolutionary committee in 1869, part of his national rebel network.

[edit] Siege of Pleven

Main article: Siege of Pleven

The city was a major battle scene during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 that Russian Tsar Alexander II held for the purpose of liberation of Bulgaria. The joint Russian and Romanian army paid dearly for the victory, but it paved the path to the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in this war, and the restoration of Bulgaria as a state. It cost the Russians and Romanians 5 months and 38,000 casualties to liberate the town after four assaults in what was one of the decisive battles of the war.

Image:Pleven - panorama.JPG
Pleven Panorama, one of the town's best known sights.

The 1911 Britannica concluded its lengthy entry on Pleven (transcripted as Plevna) with the memorable dictum: "Plevna is a striking example of the futility of the purely passive defence, which is doomed to failure however tenaciously carried out. Victories which are not followed up are useless. War without strategy is mere butchery."

[edit] Modern history

The events of the Russo-Turkish War proved crucial for the development of Pleven as a key settlement of central northern Bulgaria. The town experienced significant demographic and economic growth in the following years, gradually establishing itself as a cultural centre of the region.

[edit] Demographics

Image:Pleven town hall.JPG
The town hall of Pleven

According to statistical data, Pleven has a population of about 140,000. The ethnic breakdown is 94% Bulgarians and 5% Roma, with other ethnic groups being represented by about 1%.

[edit] Religion

About 90% of Pleven's residents are Eastern Orthodox, while 5% of the population is of Muslim denomination. The Diocese of Nikopol, of which Pleven is part, is one of two Roman Catholic dioceses in Bulgaria, and another 5% of the citizens are Roman Catholic by faith, a significant number compared to other Bulgarian cities.

Pleven has three Eastern Orthodox churches, the Bulgarian National Revival St Nicholas Church (1834) that was constructed at the place of a chapel from the Second Bulgarian Empire, St Paraskeva Church (1934) and Holy Trinity Church, built at the place of a church mentioned as early as 1523 in 1870 and inaugurated by Exarch Antim I. A new Eastern Orthodox church is being built in the Strogoziya quarter.

The construction of a large Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of Fatima began in 2001. A mosque also exists in the town to serve the needs of the Muslim population, as well as a Protestant church that is situated in the building of the former local puppet theatre.

[edit] Attractions

[edit] Historical sights

Most of the sights of the town are connected to the Russo-Turkish War. Only the monuments related to the war are about 200. Some of the more popular include the mausoleum-tomb in honour of the many Russian and Romanian soldiers who lost their lives during the Siege of Pleven and the ossuary in Skobelev Park. Another popular attraction is Pleven Panorama, created after (and reputedly larger than) the Borodino Panorama in Russia on the occasion of the anniversary of the Siege of Pleven.

The Pleven Regional Historical Museum is also a popular tourist site.

[edit] Parks

Pleven is famous for its Kaylaka (where the ruins of the Storgosia fortification can be found) and Skobelev parks. The latter is home to the Pleven Panorama and is situated on the original location of the battle during the Russo-Turkish War.

[edit] Sport

Pleven is often regarded as an important centre of sports in Bulgaria, with many noted Bulgarian sportspeople having been born and/or trained in the town, including Tereza Marinova and Galabin Boevski. The sports school in Pleven is thought of as one of the most prominent in the country.

The town hosts two football clubs, Spartak Pleven and Belite Orli, which have separate stadiums. Both teams play in the second Bulgarian league and haven't had any major successes in the past, although Spartak Pleven has been the first team for a couple of former national players such as Plamen Getov.

Spartak Pleven is also a basketball team, a national championship winner in 1995 and national cup winner in 1996 (then named Plama Pleven). Other than that, the team is a regular first league participant.

[edit] Notable natives

[edit] Twin cities

[edit] Municipality

Pleven is the seat of Pleven municipality (part of Pleven Province), which includes the following 23 villages and 2 towns (in bold):

[edit] Trivia

[edit] References

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[edit] External links

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