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Gorna Oryahovitsa

See it on the map Bulgarian properties in Veliko Tarnovo Region - Gorna oryahovica

Gorna Oryahovitsa is a town in Central Northern Bulgaria, and it is a part of Veliko Turnovo region.

This is the administrative and economic center of Gorna Oryahovitsa Municipality. It spreads along the Yantra River, near the district center.

Gorna Oryahovitsa is situated 8 kilometers northeast of the town of Veliko Tarnovo, 190 km northeast of Plovdiv, 220 km west of Varna, 230 km northeast of Sofia city.

The altitude is 218 m. The lowest point on the banks of the Yantra River is 92 m above sea level, while the highest point is the plateau above the city - "Kamuka" about 412 meters high.

Population is around 34 000 people.


The village is an important railway junction and near the town is civil airport "Gorna Oryahovitsa." The municipality has an important geostrategic position as over its territory are crossed major international and local roads. The axis of the international transport corridor № 9 passes through its territory (associated with eastern Anatolia and northern Europe in the Balkans). Hyperborean time axis also passes through the municipality (Albaniya-Makedoniya-G. Oryahovitsa-Rousse).

Bus transportation is provided by private companies. In the municipal transport system are established four bus lines and nine long-distance connections with the urban center of the municipality. The municipality has three school buses and four routes serving employees in the municipality.

History of the town

The earliest settlements in the region of Gorna Oryahovitsa date back from the middle of the third millennium BC. The geography of the two Neolithic settlements, found from that period, has been determined by the relief of the area and the proximity of river Yantra - a factor which has predestined the settling of Thracians and the Roman conquerors who arrived here later.

During the times of the Roman Empire 14km north from the present-day Gorna Oryahovitsa one of the biggest towns in the province of Dolna Miziya appeared - Nikopolis ad Istrum, built in 111 AD by the emperor Trayan to celebrate his victory against the daki tribe. From this town started the southern road to Augusta Trayana / present-day Stara Zagora/ and, passing the left bank of the river Yantra, headed to the Balkan. Numerous fortresses were built to protect this road. One of these fortresses was later called Ryahovets. It was built in the 3rd-4th century AD and is situated 3km to the west of present-day Gorna Oryahovitsa. The apogee in the development of Ryahovets is in the period from the 12th to 14th century, when it is differentiated as an important protective bulwark of the capital of the Bulgarian kingdom Tarnovo, which was only 6km away. The fortress had three gates orientated towards the cardinal points except south. According to a legend there was an underground passage to Tarnovo which darted from the north wall of the fortress under the watch tower where the gate used to be. In 1393 the fortress shared the fate of the capital and was captured by the Ottoman invaders and a Turkish garrison was left there.

After the Liberation the town grew fast. The development of Gorna Oryahovitsa as one of the major transportation centers in Bulgaria has played an important role in that. A significant factor here is the opening of the Gorna Oryahovitsa Railway Station in 1899, which is central for northern Bulgaria and still is the crossroads of the railroads from the capital to the sea and from the Danube river through the Balkan to the fertile region of Thracia. In 1925 the first airport in northern Bulgaria was built in the town

Preserving its traditions, Gorna Oryahovitsa became one of the big trade and industrial centers in the region. In the beginning of the 20th century several factories appeared here and they still exist today.

Three trade companies and about 50 private firms were registered in 1903, and in the 20s the first joint-stock companies appeared. It was not by chance that in 1922 the Gorna Oryahovitsa Sample Fair opened in town, which from 1925 to 1932 was held twice a year in spring and autumn and was international. Every year companies from all over Europe and the USA participated in the fair. The most famous from these companies /Krupp, Siemens, Philips, Ford, Fiat etc./ set up permanent booths where they showed the innovations in their produce.

Unfortunately, the world recession in the beginning of the 30s proved to be disastrous for its development.


In Gorna Oryahovitsa there are 5 functioning churches - the oldest are 'St. Atanas' and 'St. George' and the other temples are 'The Assumption', 'St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker', 'St. Trinity'.

Church 'St. Atanas'.
This is the oldest temple in town. It bears the name of Athanasius the Great, archbishop of Alexandria. It was constructed in the end of the 15th century. In 1970 it was declared a monument of culture.

Church 'St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker'. It was built in 1530 which is proved by a stone inscription. It used to serve the 4th neighborhood of the settlement which was known as the craftsmen’s one. In 1798 it was destroyed by the hordes from Kardzhali and was badly damaged by the devastating earthquake in 1913. It was rebuilt again in 1925 with donations from everyone living in the neighborhood.

Church The Assumption. Its initial building dates back from the end of the 17th century. Since 1959 the Bishop's Vicarage of the Gorna Oryahovitsa Spiritual Municipality has been seated in this temple. In 1975 the temple was declared an architectural and historical monument.

Church “St. Equal to the Apostles Peter and Pavel” (present-day 'St. Trinity'). It was built in the 16th century under the name of 'St. Apostles' and later bore the names of St. Peter and Pavel. In 1869 it became the first temple in Gorna Oryahovitsa which has taken the liberty of issuing baptismal and marriage certificates in Bulgarian. In 1970 it was declared a monument of culture.

Church 'St. George Victor'. It was built in the 16th century under the name of "St. Dimitrii Solunski" and later in the 19 th century accepted the name of the Christian saint, martyr "St. George Victor". The name stayed the same in 1927, when the present-day temple was built. An important centre of educational, cultural and revolutionary development in Gorna Oryahovitsa during the Revival.

Monastery 'St. Prophet Iliya'. The monastery, situated in the area of Gorna Oryahovitsa, is also a guardian of the Orthodox faith and Bulgarian national spirit. According to the legends in 1218 tsar Boril died there in exile. Saint Prophet Iliya is considered a guardian and patron of the town and precisely near this monastery the beginning of the colonization of the territory of present day Gorna Oryahovitsa began.

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