Roman castles

“Varda over Rogacheva rock”

   Late antique and medieval watchtower “Varda over Rogacheva rock” has been a small building near the “Chereshov djal” neighborhood. It is located on 0, 87 km. northwest in a straight line to the neighborhood. It is situated in the west side of “Kokoshov rat”, at the beginning of the “Dolni boaz” gorge over the rocky and steep Rogacheva rock - right bank of the elena river. The area is known as "Turlata."
GPS coordinates: 42 ° 57'37 “SS confided and 25 ° 54'21” И.Д.


   The medieval castle “Gradishteto” is located on 1, 64 km. northwest to Bagalevtsi village.
The area on which the fortress was built in the shape of a peninsula is formed by the Drenska River. The height is surrounded on all sides by the river with the exception of the east and is inaccessible place that is convenient for a fortress. It is at a distance 50 m. high from the level of the River. The walls were destroyed to the ground; sometimes they are even visible in the embankment. Their thickness is over 2 meters.

GPS coordinates: 42°54’06” С.Ш. и 25°47’47” И.Д. 

“The Calais”


The Ottoman castle “The Calais” is located on 0, 25 km. south from the center of Elena town. During the “kardzhali time” there has been a stone castle, where in its higher part was a sentry. Upon occurrence of an alarm, the man who was on duty gave the signal and all the churches began ringing the church bells. This was the only signal with which the people of Elena have claimed to the fortress to defend. In the end of the “kardzhali time” “The Calais” was a barrack but later it was destroyed. In 1836 begins the building of the Church “Assumption” for its construction was used material from the destroyed fortress. After the kardzhali attack it was decided to be made a citadel. The castle was completed in 1801. It was originally a stone fort with a diameter of about 85 meters high wall and. Inside temporarily lived the people of Elena, where there was Geran and houses.


“Fortress in the Upper Boaz”


The easiest way to it is through Kapinovski Monastery and the dam. First, you have to cross the River and then you have to go to the left side of the road. It’s located on the right bank of the river Vesselina, about 180 m. altitude from the level of the river. Its shape is rectangular in east-west direction. Its walls were destroyed to the ground, and their stones are scattered quite widely. There are no traces of mortar. There was no need for a fortification wall on the south side, because it wasn’t necessary, it is bordered by steep rocky coast of the neighboring stream, high near 25 m. The distance between the castle and Harlovska fortress is 2.2 km. A road, which follows the ridges of the hills, connects them through the mountains. There are traces of an old bridge in this gorge. In 1948 was fully preserved one of its vault, which was semicircular. It’s located on the right bank of the river.

GPS coordinates: 42°57’57” С.Ш. и 25°45’37” И.Д.


The fortress in Debeli rat village


On 1, 12 km. northwest from the center of Debeli rat village is located the medieval castle “the Calais”. The fortress is situated on the right bank of Bebrovska River, where the same river makes a big turn between Razsoha village and Debeli rat village. During the construction of the road for Debeli rat in 1933 are revealed parts of the walls of the fortress. The castle is 50 m. high away from the level of the river. The shape resembles a triangle. The walls were destroyed to the ground and the stones form embankment. The width of the fortress wall is over 2 meters. It is constructed from stones cemented with mortar. There is a red mortar only in the northern part of the castle, where there may have been a tower. In the interior can be found the foundations of buildings of which the stones were probably cemented with clay. There are remains of bricks. Here were found coins from Justinian the Great (527- 565). Nowadays, there are sketchy remnants of the walls and many moats.

GPS coordinates: 43°00’37” С.Ш. и 25°58’54” И.Д.

Castle in village Drenta

   The antique fortress “the Calais” is located on 1, 54 km. southwest on a straight line from the center of village Drenta. The fortress served as protection of the ancient road passing south of it. It was built on the eponymous peak. Nowadays, there aren’t any remains. Without exploration its size cannot be established.
GPS coordinates: 42°48’43” С.Ш. и 25°46’18” И.Д.

The castle “Borov rat”


   On 1, 82 km. west from the center of village Drenta is located the fortress “Borov rat”.

GPS coordinates: 42°49’10” С.Ш. и 25°45’48”И.Д. 

The castle in village Zelenik

   A castle near the peak “the White bear”, which guards the pass.
GPS coordinates: 42°49’09” С.Ш. и 26°02’07” И.Д. or GPS coordinates: 42°49’11”

The fortress in Kostel

   On the right side of Kosteleshka river, across from Valeto neighborhood, at 1, 85 km.south from Kostel village is located the late medieval castle “Kulata”. The hill where the castle is situated is unscalable from its southwest side, because of its vertical slopes beside the river. From the other sides it is easily-scalable. Its form is similar to a polygon. Its walls are thick over 2 m. They are built of roughly shaped stones cemented with red mortar. Its bigger part is preserved at height of two feet. It’s known that on its corners there have been towers. Inside, there were foundations of buildings. You can see also parts of bricks. The place north and directly below the castle in the lowland is named Selishteto. Here are found traces from a small village, which was near the castle. There are found silver coins from the time of Justinian the Great (1118-1143) and Manuel I Komnin (1143-1180). Obviously, the fortress guarded the Valley of Kostelska River.

GPS coordinates: 42°52’20” С.Ш. и 25°59’26” И.Д.

    There is a legend about the place Valeto:  Many, many years ago, during the Roman times Kostel village was named “The Costello” and over the place Valeto there had been a huge castle under the castle on the huge hill where crossed the Barzitsa River. One day, the courts in the castle fried fish on fire. The king came and said: “Dear courts, the Byzantines have gone this way, if the fish that you fry jump from the frying pan, fall in the river and start to swim only then they will destroy us.” Wilt thou not, the fish jumped from the frying pan and fled to the river, and unfortunately started to swim. Then, the castle and the fortresses were destroyed and occupied. To this day, there are remnants of this palace, inscriptions on tiles, most overgrown and no longer able to rely, a huge rock, which the people named the Tower. There are legends about it, but you will hear them, if you visit this wonderful village and talk with its hospitable inhabitants.

The fortress in Badevtsi village

   South from Badevtsi village is located a fortress at a distance of 2, 28 km and you will understand from which period it is and what is the function that it performed.

GPS coordinates: 42°51’48” С.Ш. и 25°45’09” И.Д.

The fortress in Bebrovo village

    Northwest from the center of Bebrovo village is located an antique castle, at a distance of 0, 65 km. It is built on the ridge of the height which is more scalable from west to south. There are no remains from north and east. There are no remains from mortar on the stones. It can be assumed that it was about 100 meters long and about 50 meters wide. There are visible remnants of foundations of a wall, built of big stones, about meter and a half wide.
It’s possible that castle has had the name Palatzium.

GPS coordinates: 42°57’17” С.Ш. и 26°00’01” И.Д.

The fortress of Buinovtsi village

   At a distance of 1, 26 km. northwest to Buinovtsi village is located the fortress “Gradishteto”. It’s situated on the southwest slopes of Ostretz hill. On the hill you can see trenches and the remains of a fortification structure. In this region Irechek mentioned about the Small and the Big guard. The road from Elena to Tvarditsa between Novachkini and Shubetsi neighborhoods crosses a place which is named Strazhki dol. This shows that may be there had been some guard station.

GPS coordinates: 42°52’42” С.Ш. и 25°53’01” И.Д.

The fortress “Makaveia”

   The Thracian and late antique fortress “Makaveia” is located on the left part of the Barzitsa river in the exit of Dolnia Boaz, on 6, 19 km. south in a straight line from the center of the town of Zlataritsa. It is located at the start of Darlevski ridge. From north the fortress is restricted by Makaveevska River. From south and east the ridge is made by vertical rocks, while in the other side it is low-pitched. The hill rises about 60 to 70 meters above the river. The plan of the castle is consistent with the configuration of the terrain. It has a longer shape in east-west direction. The length is above 120 meters and it is more than 40 meters wide. The fortress is more accessible from the west side. Presumably there was the entrance. Remains of the old road, which goes down to Makaveeva River, are visible. From east the castle ends with fortification facility, maybe a tower. There are signs that the fortress was destroyed. Ceramics discovered on the surface of the ground, date in the range of 5-7th century.

GPS coordinates: 42°59’25” С.Ш. и 25°53’17” И.Д.

Detached tower

    At 5, 98 km. south from the center of the town of Zlataritsa; and on 0, 12 km. northwest from the castle Makaveia is situated a detached tower. Maybe the tower had circular or oblong shape with a diameter of about 10 meters.

GPS coordinates: 42°59’29” С.Ш. и 25°53’19” И.Д.


5, 68 km. south from the center of the town of Zlataritsa is located the medieval fortress “Bratovanovgrad” opposite to the castle “Makaveia”. The fortress is situated on a hill, which is surrounded by a stream from north and east, coming from “Mazhletsi” neighborhood, and from the west side is located Zlatarishka river. It was unapproachable, except from the south part. It is 80 m. from the river. It is extended in south-west direction. It has wide walls over 2 m., built of stone, bonded with white mortar. There are remains from buildings, built from crushed stones and bonded with mud. In the most southern and the highest point of the castle, in the rocks is excavated a shallow trench. North from it, in southern direction, there was a tower, which was connected with the other part of the fortress with a single fortified wall, because of the narrow ridge, made in the same way probably intentionally to enhance the defense capability of the facility. On 7-10 m. above the single wall is divided into two walls; the first wall goes steeply to the western slope to the river, and the second to the northeast by going almost to the ridge. In this highest part of the fortress wall and in the walls of the buildings are visible bricks with the color of the modern brick - Four. The stones and the bricks are made by white mortar. In the middle part of the castle the looters have dug up water reservoir, built from red bricks and wide paste from the inside. On the left side are located less, and on the right side – more buildings. This maybe had been a village, made with a connection with the fortress. The teacher Ivan Petrov (later a professor of painting) with students from  Elena High School starts excavations at this place in 1939. There were found near the right side of the river foundations from a church with walls  0, 7 m wide. Its narthex and apse were well-visible. Nowadays, the whole project is excavated by treasure hunters. Apparently the two fortifications "Bratovanovgrad" and "Maccabees" were intended to guard the gorge of the river and are part of the early Byzantine fortification system of the Balkan against the invasions of the barbarian tribes from the north.

GPS coordinates: 42°59’24” С.Ш. и 25°53’48” И.Д.

The castle in Razpopovtsi neighborhood

The Thracian fortress is located north from the center of Razpopovtsi neighborhood at a distance of 0, 93 km. It is connected with the existence of a Thracian settlement, which was located on the left bank of the Zlatarishka River on an area of​ 180 acres. The fortress is located on the right bank of Zlatarishka River, on a single hill. There is no information about the year in which the fortress was built.

GPS coordinates: 42°56’52” С.Ш. и 25°54’19” И.Д.

Harvalovsko Calais

“Harvalovsko Calais” is located on the right bank of the Kutzarovska River and it is a late antique fortress in The Calais. It is 2 km. Northwest from Harvalovtsi neighborhood and  1, 2 km. from Plakovski monastery “St. Ilia”. It has a triangle shape with an acute angle to the southeast, where the southwest and north walls merge. It is located in northwest-southeast direction. It is assumed that the angle of the fortress ended with a tower. On southeast is made a deep ditch above 5-6 m. The castle is long (160 m.) and narrow, northwest wall is long 30-40 m. The walls are 2, 3 m. wide. The entrance was directed to south. On the northwestern slope of the castle was the suburb where the treasure hunters were excavating. The fortress guarded the north-south road, which passed from the right side below the fortress, and east-west route along the ridge height. It is assumed that the last connected the northern line of late antique castles in the Balkan mountain. They are made of stones and rocks with stone curbs on the steep east-west route.


“Fortress in the Upper Boaz