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History of Vratsa

South of the town is the fantastic gorge of Leva River, coming out of the Vrachanska Mountain, which is known since a lot of time ago as Vratsata. In the 6th century there was a fortress here according to the Byzantine chronicler Prokopii. Later the medieval Bulgarian settlement Vratitsa emerged in this area. In the beginning of the Ottiman invasion Radan Voivoda successfully defended the area for quite a long time, taking advantage of the natural fortifications and the strong walls of the existing fortress. During the Turkish rule Vratsa was turned into a garrison settlement and was many times ruined and recovered. At first, the Wallachian ruler Mihai Vityaz ruined the town is 1596, while later on (in the beginning of 19th century), during the rule of Osman Pazvantooglu the town served as a battlefield for the troops of the Vidin feudal and the Sultan. At the end of the 18th and particularly during the 19th century Vratsa grew into a big craftsmanship, trade and administrative centre. Its products - aba manufacturing (a coarse homespun woollen cloth and upper mens garment made of it), leather products and goldsmith - reached Lyon, Vienna, Bucharest and Tsarigrad. At mid-19th century the town already had 2500 houses.

All these influenced the spirit of the town. Ccathedrals, schools and beautiful houses were built at that time. Sofronii Vrachanski worked and lived in the town. Other natives of Vratsa are the prominent Bulgarians Ivan Zambin, the first Bulgarian diplomat in Russia, Dimitur Hadzhitoshev, famous political leader killed by the Turks in 1827, etc.  The town was liberated from the Turkish Rule on 9th November 1877.

With the decline of the crafts after the Liberation Vratsa lost its significance. After the construction of Sofia - Mezdra - Varna railway line, the towns of Mezdra and Roman took off some of the towns trade and market functions. Later on, when the railway line Mezdra - Vratsa - Lom was completed (1913) and a continuation of the railway from Broussartsi to Vidin was finished (1923) Vratsa partially regained its position.

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