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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

Bozhenishki Urvich

Updated: Aug 24

Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a big battle near Bozhenitsa. Not only the men were taken away for this battle, but also the women, leaving only one woman for every 40 children.

Ivan Konev

Dear friends, it is with incomparable pleasure that I would like to present to you another more than impressive Bulgarian fortress that resisted the raids of the Ottoman enslavers at the end of the Second Bulgarian State.

The ruins of the Bozhenishki Urvich fortress, located in the Lakavishki ridge
Fortress "Bozhenishki Urvich"

How do you get to "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress?

The starting point is the charming village of Bozhenitsa.

Entering the village of Bozhenitsa, turn right at the first junction. You keep going straight until you reach the town hall building, on which this cavalry of Shishman warriors will meet you.

Bozhenitsa Village Hall

Here you also turn right. In front of you is the bridge over the Bebresh River.

Bridge over the Bebresh River in the village of Bozhenitsa

You proceed carefully on it. Then you drive straight until you arrive at a wide parking lot where you can leave your vehicle.

An autumn path leading to the Municipal Recreation Center "Urvich" above the village of Bozhenitsa

From the parking lot, the road continues to the Municipal Recreation Center "Urvich".

Opposite the recreation center you will find wooden gazebos with tables and benches for resting and eating and drinking outdoors.

From here the path to the fortress "Bozhenishki Urvich" starts.

Path leading to Bozhenishki Urvich

The path itself leading to the fortress is in excellent condition!

Пътека, водеща към Боженишки Урвич

The climb is strenuous due to the unevenness, so I recommend taking it with enough breaks. In about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the number and length of breaks taken, you'll be up.

In front of you is the northern fortress wall of the medieval stone fortification "Bozhenishki Urvich" and currently an archaeological monument with the status of an object of national importance!

Information board from the Historical Museum - Botevgrad
Information board from the Historical Museum - Botevgrad

The fortress was built on the northern slope of the Lakavish hill at 750 meters above sea level as a separate unit of the Staroplanina fortification system and with the main task of deterring the raids of the barbarian tribes south of the Danube river.

This Bulgarian fortress was designed not only to control passages and roads, but in case of military danger it sheltered the surrounding population behind its strong and impregnable walls.

Fortress "Bozhenishki Urvich"

In 1918, a terrible storm arose in the area. A mighty and ancient sycamore tree cannot withstand the strong gusts of the fierce winds and falls to the ground. It turns out that the roots of the tree held a secret that remained hidden for five centuries.

The metal bars guarding the rock inscription of Sevast Ognen in Bozhenishki Urvich

Climb the wooden steps in front of you, because the small metal bars still guard today this secret, which I will now reveal to you.

"Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress is an exceptional historical monument - refuge and home of the boyar Ognen (Ognyan) - cephalon under Tsar Ivan Shishman.

The rock inscription of Sevast Ognen in Bozhenishki Urvich
The Rock Inscription of Sevast Ognen (Fiery)

Sevast Ognen (Ognyan), living the last days of the Bulgarian state and defending it from the ferocious raids of the Ottoman hordes on the Bulgarian land, in a fateful moment decided to leave his message for future generations.

Sevast Ognen and the serf Dragomir, painting in the Historical Museum - Botevgrad
Sevast Ognen and the serf Dragomir, painting in the Historical Museum - Botevgrad

The boyar called his trusted serf Dragomir and ordered to carve an inscription in the rock near the fortress:

Аз Драгомир писах.

Аз севаст Огнян бях при цар Шишмана кефалия и много зло патих.

В това време турците воюваха.

Аз поддържах вярата на Шишмана царя.

I Dragomir wrote.

I, Sevast Ognyan, was with King Shishmana Kephalia and I suffered a lot.

At that time the Turks were at war.

I maintained the faith of Shishman the king.

A copy of the rock inscription of Sevast Ognen in the Historical Museum - Botevgrad
A copy of the rock inscription of Sevast Ognen in the Historical Museum - Botevgrad

It is very likely that this inscription is the result of a deep grief on the part of the boyar, who suffered a lot, but nevertheless continued to support the last king of Tarn and remained loyal to him until the very end, unlike many others like him!

It is precisely this spontaneity and ease of speech that make this inscription, a kind of rock monument from the end of the Second Bulgarian State, unique!

Academician Petar Mutafchiev, who was the first to read and interpret the Bozhenishka inscription, notes that the "cutter" of the inscription "did not take care to measure the plane on which he worked in advance. He started with capital letters, but seeing that the space he had , it will not be enough for him to reduce the size of the letters and increase, where possible, the length of the lines..."

Information board "Medieval Fortress "Bozhenishki Urvich"

Dear friends, this is the information board that I shot especially for you. It was placed on the big sternya - the ancient water tank of the fortress.

I have already introduced you to point 1 of the legend - the rock inscription of Sevast Ognen.

Now we will walk together each of the points of the legend, and I will perfectly visualize through photo moments and video the place, so that you too feel its unique beauty, as I captured it on that sunny, warm autumn day.

And since this is "Photo Moments" and everything here is presented in the best possible way so that you - my magnificent audience - get the best experience, at certain points we will jump to Historical Museum - Botevgrad (my best regards thanks - you're a great team!) to back up every written word with real evidence.

We continue with point 2 of the legend - the ancient sternya-reservoir.

Sternya-reservoir of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

You will find it right by the path and opposite the wooden stairs leading to the rock inscription.

The reservoir is impressive! It is 10 meters deep and is therefore currently covered with a strong metal structure. Its walls are plastered with mortar.

The fortress wall of "Bozhenishki Urvich"

Along the entire length from the stern you will see long and perfectly preserved fortress stone walls.

The hundreds of arrowheads and spearheads, stone battle balls and skeletons of fighters found next to them confirm the legend of the battle of the boyar Sevast Ognen with the Ottoman hordes in 1395.

The fortress wall of "Bozhenishki Urvich"

These ramparts are point 3 of the legend. Three fortress belts were discovered, two of which were built at the end of the 5th century, the beginning of the 6th century, and one from the 14th century, during the time of the last king of Tarn, Ivan Shishman.

The inner fortress wall is 200 meters long and almost three meters wide in places, the outer wall is up to 6 meters high and has four buttresses.

Fortress tower of "Bozhenishki Urvich"

Continuing in this direction, we reach the fortress tower - point 4 of the legend.

The fortress tower of "Bozhenishki Urvich"

The fortress observation and defense tower is built in the most northwestern part of the fortress.

The hiding place near the fortress tower of "Bozhenishki Urvich"

The tower maintained an observation link with the surrounding fortifications - Panitsa Kale above the present-day village of Lipnitsa, Valchigrad above Litakovo, Cheshkovgrad above the Vrachesh Monastery and Bodilovgrad in front of Vitinia. From the tower led a secret exit seven and a half meters long and a hiding place for eight people, currently filled with earth.

Foundations of buildings in "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

Foundations of buildings can be seen along the inner side of the fortress wall.

During archaeological investigations, some of the first objects discovered were ceramics, fragments of glass vessels and early Byzantine coins from Justin I (reigned from 518 to 527) and Justinian I, (reigned from 527 to 565), which in turn means that it is very likely that the fortress was built much earlier - precisely during this period.

Foundations of buildings in "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

These building foundations are under item 5 in the legend.

Foundations of buildings in "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

Next is position 6 - undiscovered foundations of buildings, which you will find south of the fortress wall and at the same time overgrown with dense vegetation.

Now we will return again to the most northwestern part of the fortress - to the fortress tower.

Second rock inscription "fire" in fortress "Bozhenishki Urvich"

Next to the tower itself is a huge rock on which a second rock inscription has been deciphered!

Second rock inscription "fire" in fortress "Bozhenishki Urvich"

The events surrounding the defense and the fall of this Bulgarian fortress under Turkish slavery have prevented another inscription on the rock from being completed right here - in this place where the "cutter" managed to write only the name "fire".

Second rock inscription "fire" in fortress "Bozhenishki Urvich"

Be especially careful on the steps and hold on to the railing!

Rock massif west of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

Climbing the steps, past the huge rock, we come across a rock massif to the west - point 8 of the legend.

Panoramic views from the rock massif west of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

This is how an impenetrable fortress is built!

Panoramic views from the rock massif west of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

You find the nearest naturally impenetrable sheer cliffs and create an impregnable fortress in that place!

Panoramic views from the rock massif west of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

The panoramas

Panoramic views from the rock massif west of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

There were also legends about the beauties revealed by the impenetrable rocks of "Bozhenishki Urvich"! Of course, I had to see for myself, it shouldn't, it's not right, and I don't want to mislead you! I confirm! I can honestly say that the views from this place are magnificent!

Amazing panoramas - a wonderful autumnal magnificence of colors unfolding towards the northern slopes of the Botevgrad Pre-Balkan!

Greatness of miracles! If I were a poet I wouldn't find and arrange the correct rhymes! You look and you don't look at yourself! You breathe and you can't get enough!

Bulgaria is extremely beautiful!

From the rock massif to the west, we continue to the south, where two observation posts and a battleground await us - points 9, 10 and 11, respectively.

Battlefield of Bozhenishki Urvich Fortress

I would especially like to draw your attention! The rocks are extremely high and very dangerous! Be careful and keep an eye on the children!

Panorama from the observation post of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

We are at the southernmost point of the fortress.

Voivodeship stone of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

This is the so-called "Voivode's stone" - the main observation point of the fortress.

According to historians, the burial place of Sevast Ognen (Ognyan) is located on the rock massif in front of the exposed "Voivodeship Stone".

What a hardness!

Observation post of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

From point 11 - observation post we head to point 12 - rock niche.

Rock niche of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

From the rock niche we go to the rock chapel - point 13 of the legend.

Rock chapel of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

Well-fortified wooden steps with a railing lead up to the rock chapel.

We climb slowly and carefully!

Rock chapel of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

The rock chapel itself is quite interesting – it is carved directly into the solid rock.

Rock chapel of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

In summer, the rock chapel is home to a family of swallows.

Rock chapel of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

I try to imagine with what diligence this solid rock was cut! I'm amazed!

Autumn near the fortress "Bozhenishki Urvich"

Going back down the wooden steps of the rock chapel, we head towards the rock massif to the east – point 14 of the legend.

Rock Massif East is a huge rock, which at the first moment will leave you with the impression that it cannot and should not be climbed. It is actually easy to climb and what you need is a little courage, which I am now going to pass on to you.

View from the rock massif east of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

Here's a photo moment of my shadow going down to where you can climb the rock mass east. For this purpose, from the rock chapel, continue along the narrow path leading past the unexposed ramparts to the easternmost point of the fortress. Standing on this narrow path and looking at the huge rock in front of you, look for places on it to get a firm footing as you climb it. With more courage - boldly and upwards!

Panorama of rock massif east of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

I was definitely not prepared for this greatness!

The view unfolding from the rocky massif to the east in all directions is deeply impressive!

Panorama of rock massif east of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

I advise you to stay here longer and enjoy this spectacular sublimity!

Panorama of rock massif east of "Bozhenishki Urvich" fortress

The next video will show you the easternmost point of the fortress, along the undiscovered fortress walls - point 15 of the legend, going out on a series of steep and impenetrable rocks.

Dear friends, I am grateful to you for walking around the entire fortress with me!

A copy of the rock inscription of Sevast Ognen in the Historical Museum - Botevgrad
A copy of the rock inscription of Sevast Ognen in the Historical Museum - Botevgrad

For your further information, I will share that the citadel has an area of 80 square meters and the area of the whole fortress is 1600 square meters.

The northern fortress wall of "Bozhenishki Urvich" during autumn leaves

Before I leave this place full of unreserved courage, trembling history, true loyalty, determination, steadfastness, firmness, courage and much bravery, I take one last look at the proud remains of the northern fortress wall and seal this photo moment in the autumn golden leaves.

Goodbye, Bozenishki Urvich!

Sleep peacefully, Bulgarian warriors, your last sleep! You fought valiantly, with great courage and displayed great courage, but the invader outnumbered you many times over!

We, today's Bulgarians, know about your bravery!

Sleep peacefully, because Bulgaria is alive and your sacrifice was not in vain!

Dear friends, I sincerely hope that this walk has charmed you as it deeply touched me!

I advise you to definitely visit the following link, because I have prepared for you a very special photo album overflowing with beauty!

Until new photo moments, friends!

И като за финал,

мили мои приятели,

следвайки тази връзка,

недейте пропуска

да разгледате пълния албум с фото моменти –

открити, изживени, заснети и споделени с вас!

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