Tutrakan is located in the western end of the Danube-bordering section of Dobruja. Its houses climb amphitheatrically the steep bank, and to the west, the Danube’s majestic spill is marvellous at sunset, when the sun dips into the river’s calm water and colours it in innumerable hues.
Tutrakan’s history extends over more than two millennia. The modern town emerged with the founding of the Bulgarian state. Its name is derived from Tarkhan, an Ancient-Bulgarian military and administrative title, with Tmutarkhan meaning “the Tarkhan’s town”.
Arabian geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi describes the fortress as a blooming economic hub in the 12th century. Because of its strategic location, Tutrakan became the arena of battles against Crusaders and Wallachians, and was of particular importance in the series of Russo-Turkish wars.
After the Liberation, it earned the status of an economic and cultural centre. Its progression was stopped by the Second Balkan War (1913), when Southern Dobruja was occupied by Romania. Within two years, Tutrakan was turned into one of the strongest military fortresses on the Danube River, defended by a Romanian army of 40 thousand men. Bulgaria’s entry into World War I led to the re-conquest of Southern Dobruja. On September 5 and 6, 1916, through epic battles, the Bulgarian troops conquered the fortress and liberated the town. Upon Bulgaria’s exit from the war, Romanian governance was re-established in Tutrakan and Southern Dobruja as a whole. On September 7, 1940, the Craiova Treaty was signed under whose terms the Kingdom of Bulgaria re-integrates Southern Dobruja into its territory. Tutrakan was the first town that became Bulgarian again.
Transmarisca Antique Castle
The fort emerges in the years 40-50 CE as a settlement of Roman colonists and veterans. In the 3rd century, Emperor Diocletian included it in a grandiose construction programme. Thus, it became one of the four most significant military centres in the Lower Moesia province.
Northern fortified wall
Open-air exhibition, in downtown Tutrakan, on the Danube’s bank
Southern fortified wall
Part of Transmarisca’s fortification system built between 294 and 298-299 CE
“Fishermen’s Quarter” Architectural Reserve
Tutrakan earned itself throughout the centuries a name as a “Kingdom of fishermen and boat builders”. The fishermen’s quarter is Bulgaria’s only naturally developed fishermen’s settlement on the Danube dating since the National Revival period.
“Danube Fishing and Boat Building” Ethnographic Museum
This is the only museum of its kind nationwide, a landmark of the town. The exhibition preserves the rich material and spiritual culture of fishermen from the settlements at the Danube’s riverbanks.
St Nicholas church
Located in the Fishermen’s Quarter, it was consecrated in 1865. The original wood carving of the Royal Portal and the iconostasis and the wall paintings are the work of masters from the Tryavna artistic school.
Museum of History
The museum retraces the development of Tutrakan’s region from the Antiquity to the liberation from Romanian occupation in 1940. The “Tutrakan Epopee” permanent exhibition is dedicated to one of the most heroic battles during World War I – the 1916 battle of Tutrakan. The museum manages a tavern and a small comfortable hotel in the Fishermen’s Quarter.
Theodore’s House
The stone building impresses with its sophisticated Viennese style. Built in late 19th century, today it houses the exhibitions of the Museum of History.
Ritual House
The building from 1897 is used today as art gallery.
“Military Mausoleum – 1916” Memorial Complex
It is located 8 km off Tutrakan. An obelisk is erected in the centre of the cemetery park bearing the dedication “Honour and glory to those who knew how to die heroically for their own homeland”.
For more information and contacts:
Museum of History
1, Suvorov Square
Tutrakan 7600
ph.: 0866/ 60 352, 60 345, 60 477
fax: 0866/61 352
“Danube Fishing and Boat Building” Ethnographic Museum
ph.: 0866/ 61 352
e-mail: tutrakanmuseu@avc.bg

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