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Battenberg Palace

Ruse (Bulgarian: Русе, also romanized as Rousse) is a city on the south bank of the Danube river, in North Bulgaria.


Present-day Ruse is the fifth largest Bulgarian city and is an important economic, financial and cultural hub.

Get in[edit]

Catholic Eparchy building

Ruse is located on the South bank of the Danube, across from the Romanian city of Giurgiu. By road, the city is about 200 km from Varna and 300 km from Sofia. From Romania, a bridge connects Ruse to Giurgiu, which until 2013, when the bridge in Vidin was completed, was serving as the westernmost land connection between the two countries. If you intend to cross the border from Giurgiu, an €3 (~6 Bulgarian Leva, 13 Romanian Lei) per car crossing tax applies each way.

The closest international airport is 75 km north, in Bucharest, in neighboring Romania - a shuttle bus connects the airport to the city once a day. Alternative airports are Sofia and Varna.

The city is well served by railroads, with multiple connections to Sofia and Varna, but also to Bucharest (2x daily, but note that the train is rather expensive - €25, and very slow, taking about 3 hours for the journey), Budapest, Kyiv, Moscow, Athens and Istanbul. The train station is at the southern end of Borisova Avenue, south of the city centre.

  • 1 Central Railway Station (Централна ЖП гара, Tsentralna Zhe-Pe gara), 1 Aleksandar Stamboliyski Sqr (2 km (1.2 mi) almost exactly south of the central square, along Borisova Str). An imposing, ornate building with a clock tower, built in 1955. As Ruse is a major transport hub, it has several railway stations, so make sure that you ask for the right one. Ruse Central railway station (Q7380655) on Wikidata Ruse Central railway station on Wikipedia

Buses also link Ruse to the rest of Bulgaria (different frequencies daily), places in Greece (daily) and to Giurgiu (twice daily) and Bucharest (twice daily at 12:30 and 15:30, takes 1 hour and 30 min and costs 20 лв, drop at Piața Unirii). The bus station is located next to the train station.

Danube cruises generally stop at Ruse harbour.

It is also possible to cross the border without paying the tax by walking the crossing.(See the DO section)

Get around[edit]


Aleksandrovska Str, leaving Svoboda Sqr
  • 1 National Transport Museum, 5 Bratya Obretenovy Str (on the bank of the river, directly north of the Youth Park (Mladezhki Park), 25 min walk north-east of the central square). 9:00-17:00, closed: Sa-Su (Nov-Mar), Su-M (Apr-Oct). A railway museum in the building and rail yard of Ruse's old railway station. Exhibits include steam locomotives and luxury rail cars that were used by various history figures. National Transport Museum (Q3441843) on Wikidata National Transport Museum, Bulgaria on Wikipedia
  • 2 Regional Historical Museum (Battenberg Palace). Ruse's Regional Historical Museum is one of the 11 regional museums of Bulgaria. It acts within the Ruse, Razgrad, and Silistra regions. The museum occupies the building of the former Battenberg Palace, previously a local court, built 1879–1882 by Friedrich Grünanger. The Ruse Regional Historical Museum was established in 1904. Its basis are the archaeological collections of Karel and Hermenguild Shkorpil, as well as of the naturalist Vasil Kovachev, which were gathered in the "Knyaz Boris" men's high school of Ruse. The museum holds approximately 140,000 items, including: prehistoric pottery and idol plastic arts. The museum features seven full-time exhibitions, three of them being open-air: the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo, the Medieval city of Cherven and the Roman castle of Sexaginta Prista. Rousse Regional Historical Museum (Q3441532) on Wikidata Ruse Regional Historical Museum on Wikipedia
  • 3 EcoMuseum and Aquarium, 3 Etar Str (directly north of the History Museum). 9:00-18:00. A natural history museum that opened in 2014, which explains the modern interior. Exhibits include animal taxidermy (some can be touched), dioramas of natural habitats, several large aquariums with sweet-water fish, a terrarium with reptiles, extinct mammal fossils (and a mock-up of a woolly mammoth), and what can be only described as the "miscellaneous" section of the history museum (from musical instruments to weights and measures). Adults: 10 лв, students: 5 лв, various other discounts apply; guided tour (in English): 25 лв.. Ecomuseum with aquarium, Rousse (Q20499161) on Wikidata
  • 4 Pantheon of National Revival Heroes (Пантеон на възрожденците). A Bulgarian national monument and an ossuary. 39 famous Bulgarians are buried in it, including Lyuben Karavelov, Zahari Stoyanov, Stefan Karadzha, Panayot Hitov, Tonka Obretenova, Nikola Obretenov, Panayot Volov, Angel Kanchev, etc.; 453 more people—participants in Botev's detachment, the Chervena Voda detachment, in the April uprising, and other revolutionaries have been honoured by writing their names in the interior. An eternal fire burns in the middle under the gold-plated dome. The Pantheon is one of the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria. In order to build the Pantheon in 1977, the "All Saints" church in the old Ruse cemetery was demolished. The new building was open for visitors on 28 February 1978. After a public discussion in 2001, the Pantheon was "Christianised" by placing a cross on top of its dome. The "St Paisius of Hilendar" chapel, as well as a museum exposition, were founded then. Pantheon of National Revival Heroes (Q7131762) on Wikidata Pantheon of National Revival Heroes on Wikipedia
  • 5 Kaliopa House (Къщата на Калиопа), 39 Tzar Ferdinand St.. A popular name for the Bulgarian "Urban lifestyle of Ruse" museum (Bulgarian: Къща-музей „Градския бит на Русе“), was built in 1864. According to a legend, the house was bestowed upon the beautiful Kaliopa (born Maria Kalish), the wife of the Prussian consul Kalish, by the governor of the Danubian Vilayet, Midhat Pasha, who was in love with her. The façade's design resembles the style of houses in Plovdiv. The frescoes at the upper floor were crafted in 1896. The exposition represents the role of Ruse as a gateway towards Europe, and the influx of European urban culture into Bulgaria at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Sample interior layouts are shown, of a drawing-room, a living-room, a music hall and a bedroom, with furniture from Vienna, as well as collections of urban clothing, of jewellery and other accessories, of silver cutlery and porcelain, which mark the changes present in the daily life of Ruse citizens. The first grand piano, imported into Bulgaria from Vienna, can be seen here. Kaliopa House (Q3441858) on Wikidata Kaliopa House on Wikipedia


  • Cross the border without paying the tax by walking the crossing. The border patrol will check passports and ID on both sides and it takes approx. 15 minutes to walk. However, the bridge itself is far from both the town of Ruse and Giurgiu and this can either require a taxi or hitching. You can take buses 11 or 25 from Pantheon bus stop to arrive to the bridge.




  • PublixCafe, Dondukov-Korsakov 19 Str.. Well known cafe in Ruse.


  • 1 The English Guesthouse, 34 Rayko Daskalov St, +359 828-75577, . Twin beds for 60 лв (you can bargain down to 50 лв if stay more than 3days). The lady manager is friendly and will help you in anything. A breakfast buffet included for all the guests, and free wifi. From 35 лв for a single person per night with shared bathroom up to 80 лв for 5 people sharing one room per night.



A village 8 km (5.0 mi) south of Ruse that lies directly on Road 501, which in turn branches off E85/Road 5 close to where it exits Ruse.

  • 6 Basarbovo Monastery (St. Dimitar Basarbovski Monastery) (the road leading to the monastery branches from Road 501 in the village, just north of the bridge where 501 crosses the river). A functioning Eastern Orthodox monastery named after a local saint, Dimitar of Basarbovo. Probably the only operational "rock-hewn" (or cave) monastery in Bulgaria, although nowadays the monks' dormitory is at the base on the cliffs, and the cells carved high up in the cliff face are used as chapels and tombs. Basarbovo Monastery (Q1549352) on Wikidata Basarbovo Monastery on Wikipedia


The rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo

Ivanovo is a village of 800 people, 20 km (12 mi) south of Ruse, notable for the UNESCO World Heritage Site described below. It can be reached by train from Ruse (several times a day, 25 min travel time). By car, it requires either following Road 501 further south from Basarbovo, or taking the larger E85 and then turning east at the appropriate crossroads (marked with a pillar-like monument). The churches are within a protected area, Nature Park Rusenski Lom (lit. 'Lom of Ruse'), which encompasses several canyons formed by the river and its tributaries as they snake through low, wood-covered hills.

  • 7 The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo (Ивановски скални църкви, Ivanovski skalni tsarkvi) (paved road starts at the northern end of the village, heading east for 4.6 km (2.9 mi); there's a parking lot at the base of the cliffs). A group of monolithic churches, chapels and monasteries hewn out of solid rock in the high rocky banks of the Rusenski Lom, 32 m above the river. The complex is notable for its well-preserved medieval frescoes, the best preserved medieval rock/cave/cliff monastery in Bulgaria. Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo (Q503387) on Wikidata Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo on Wikipedia

The caves in the region had been inhabited by monks from the 1220s, when it was founded by the future Patriarch of Bulgaria Joachim, to the 17th century, where they hewed cells, churches and chapels out of solid rock. At the peak of the monastery complex, the number of churches was about 40, while the other premises were around 300, most of which are not preserved today.

Second Bulgarian Empire rulers such as Ivan Alexander and Ivan Asen II frequently made donations to the complex, as evidenced by donor portraits in some of the churches. Other patrons included nobles from the capital Tarnovo and nearest big medieval town Cherven, with which the monastery complex had strong ties in the 13-th and 14-th century. It was a centre of hesychasm in the Bulgarian lands in the 14th century and continued to exist in the early centuries of the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria, but gradually decayed.

The monastery complex owes much of its fame to 13th- and 14th-century frescoes, preserved in 5 of the churches, which are thought of as wonderful examples of Bulgarian mediaeval art. The rock premises used by the monks include the St Archangel Michael Chapel ("The Buried Church"), the Baptistery, the Gospodev Dol Chapel, the St Theodore Church ("The Demolished Church") and the main Church, with the 14th-century murals in the latter one being arguably the most famous of all in Ivanovo and noted as some of the most representative examples of Palaeologan art. Many century-old inscriptions have also been preserved in the monastical premises, including the famous indented inscription of the monk Ivo Gramatik from 1308–1309.

The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.


A village 30 km (19 mi) south of Ruse. The name means "red" in masculine form. The village either got its name from the medieval fortress, or the other way round. Cherven can be reached by train, if you get off at Koshov (Кошов, three trains daily, 30 min from Ruse), but you'll have to walk almost 9 km (5.6 mi) to the fortress. By car, Cherven is on a single-lane road that branches off Road 501 south of Ivanovo and continues east to merge into Road 202.

  • 8 Cherven Fortress (paved road starts from the northern part of the village, branching off the main road when the latter takes a sharp turn to the east north of the bridge crossing the river). The ruins of a large medieval fortified town, on a meander of the Cherni Lom river (lit. 'Black Lom'), surrounded by cliffs on almost all sides. There's a parking lot with a ticket office and a coffee shop at the base, and a staircase leads to the ruins. Among the ruins, there's an unusually well preserved (by Bulgarian standards...) square tower, and a church with remnants of floor mosaics (protected by a modern roof). Nice panoramic views of the landscape. Try finding the well that has siege engine ammunition on its bottom (large stone balls). Cherven (Q3366992) on Wikidata Cherven (fortress) on Wikipedia

Go next[edit]

  • Leaving Bulgaria: Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is 70 km (43 mi) to the north
  • Along the Danube:
    • to the east, Tutrakan and Silistra
    • to the west, the small towns of Svishtov and Nikopol (and between them, Belene, the notorious site of a Communist-era penal labour camp on an island in the Danube that still serves as a prison)
  • To the south-east: Razgrad, Shumen and Varna
  • To the south-west: Pleven or Veliko Tarnovo
  • If you've followed Road 501 south to visit Basarbovo, Ivanovo and/or Cherven (see above), other small roads can put you back on track to either of the two options above, or further south to Popovo and Targovishte
Routes through Ruse
EuropeRomania Giurgiu Danube Bridge  W  E  ShumenVarna
Merges with (W)  N  S  Veliko TarnovoStara Zagora

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