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Centralnorth Bulgaria > Nikopol > History

History of Nikopol

Independently of its small size today, Nikopol has a long and interesting past. It is the successor of the antique settlements of Sekouristka (the remains are by the road between Nikopol and Cherkovitsa) and Nikopolis (town of victories). It is thought that the town got its todays name from the Byzantine Emperor Iraklii in honour of the victory over the Persians in 639. The Roman - Byzantine fortress of Tourissa on the opposite Danubian bank, together with Nikopol, were expanded after the 7th century by the Bulgarians, Tourissa being called Little Nikopol and Holuvnik. Today it is the Romanian town of Turnu Mugurele. Nikopol was the last stronghold of the Turnovo Kingdom, defended by Tsar Ivan Shishman. He died here in an unequal battle with the Turkish invaders. The Turks called it �uchuk Stamboul (Little Tsarigrad) and preserved it as a port and an important military, administrative and trade centre on the Danube River. The town was a powerful fortress for centuries and the battle of the Polish King Vladislav Varnenchik and the Magyar King Sigismund with the Turks was held here. During the 18th century Nikopol was the biggest town and fortress along the lower Danube River. The Turkish traveller Evliya Chelebi wrote that there were 16 drinking-fountains and two kaleta  (fortresses) in the town - Tuna Kale and Pech Kale. There were barracks for 20 000 nizami (regular soldiers). The town had a completely Oriental appearance. As of 1860 Nikopol was a river station of Austrian ships as well.

After the Liberation, thanks to its natural and historical endowments, the town turned more and more into a tourist site.

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