Ovech Fortress

Bulgarian sights
Location:  Varna Region, Provadiya

Ovech Fortress or Provadiya Fortress is a stone fort situated near the town of Provadiya, Varna Region. It is located 54 km west of Varna, 56 km east of Shumen, 90 km south-west of Dobrich and about 411 km north-east of the capital Sofia city.

Ovech is situated on a mountain plateau named "Kaleto". It is ship-shaped and its head points south. It is surrounded from each side by 20 m high rocks. A narrow isthmus connects it to another plateau - Tabiite /the fortifications/ located north of "Kaleto".


The fortress is known with several names in the historical annals. The oldest of them is Provat. Bulgarians call it Ovech and the Turks Tash hisar /translated from Turkish - stone fortress/. Archaelogical researches show that the fort was used from III century till the first decades of VII century and after thata from X-XI century till the end of XVII century.

The fort has been inhabited successively by Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Bulgarians and Turks. Its name is associated with the reign of Tsar Ivaylo (1277 - 1280), with the march of Count Amadeus VI of Savoy (1366) and the march of the Polish-Hungarian king Vladislav III Jagiello (Varnenchik) (1444). At first the fort had only defensive functions but it became a major administrative and military center very fast. Later Ovech became the primary barrier against the invading troops towards Pliska, Preslav and Veliko Tarnovo.

Ovech fort acquired strategic importance during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom when it became an important administrative, cultural, religious and military center.

In 1366 by the order of Tsar Ivan Alexander the knights of Amadeus of Savoy the Sixth, captured during the unsuccessful siege of Varna, were thrown in the fort. Ovech was conquered by the troops of Ali Pasha in 1388 and it was then when it received its Turkish name. There was another twist in the history of the castle, as it goes back into Bulgarian hands for a short time once again. In 1414 the son of Bayazid - Musa conquered Ovech again. During the crusade of Vladyslav III Jagiello of Varna in 1444 the fort was captured and destroyed.


The fortress has three entrances:

  • the eastern approach is preserved in its original version with stone stairs cut in the rock. It is convenient for visitors with private transport.
  • the west entrance is accessible from the town via an original spiral staircase with 111 steps.
  • the northern entrance is the main one. It has a 150 m long bridge in front of it that connects the fortress to the neighbouring plateau - Tabiite.

When visiting the castle in stone fort you can also see the speaking well, 79 meters deep, the metropolitan church, the knight's prison, the tower with the devil path and the monk holes.

The fort is open all-year-round. There is a guide provided by Provadiya Historical Museum. Information materials and souvenirs are sold on the spot.


The Ovech fortress is easily reachable since it is situated in the outskirts of the town of Provadiya.


Visistors can take advanatage of one family hotel complex in Provadiya as well as of one guest house in the village of Barzitsa /15 km in the south-east/.

Sources: http://bulgariatravel.orghttp://bg.wikipedia.orghttp://www.bulgariainside.com
Photos: http://bg.wikipedia.orghttp://bulgariatravel.org

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