Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Hisarlaka Fortress

On the next day after our hike on Ruen, husband and I decided to visit the ruins of the ancient fortress above Kyustendil - Hisarlaka. Kyustendil is a fairly big town at the foot of Osogovo mountain, near the border with Serbia and Northern Macedonia. Hisarlaka was the fortress, built on a hill above town. It was originally constructed by the Romans around 400 AD and was later one of the important medieval fortresses during the Bulgarian kingdom.

Wee were very pleasantly surprised by the exposition of the fortress. It was recently partially reconstructed and is now a very pleasant park, free and open for the public, with alleys, benches and gorgeous tall coniferous trees.

The partially rebuilt walls and observation towers provide a glimpse at the appearance of the place in the past, when it served as an administrative and religious center in the course of centuries, until it was destroyed by the Ottomans in the 15th century.

The walls of the fortress were build using the Roman technique of alternating stones and bricks, bound by powdered brick mortar.

The fortress has been destroyed three times - by the Huns and was rebuilt by Justinian I, then by the Avars and the Slavs, after which it was rebuilt by the Bulgarian rulers, after the region was integrated into the First Bulgarian Kingdom and finally by the Ottoman empire, after the country fell under Ottoman rule and the fortress ceased to exist.

The fortress had 14 towers, of which 3 were reconstructed. The latest reconstruction works were completed in 2014.

I was really impressed how walkable the place is and as far as I understood, there is an eco-trail, making it possible to walk from the town to the fortress. The entire fortress is within a big park with alleys and places for recreation.

 A view to the town of Kyustendil

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