Location: Silistra


The first written evidence of the cityis found in the order of Emperor Trajan of 106 regarding the transfer of the XI Claudius Legion from Pannonia to Duro­storum. This shows that the city had al­ready existed as a strong fortress. For nearly three centuries this legion served as a striking force against the barbaric tribes invading from the north.
Durostorum became a self-governing city, municipium, in 169, under Emperor Mar­cus Aurelius. In the 2nd century, the city reached its peak as an administrative and economic centre as well as an important customs station. Construction was under way of large and beautiful public build­ings, temples, basilicas, baths and private homes, marble statues and bas-reliefs in the squares, water pipes were built. In 238 the Carpi captured the city, robbed it, and took its inhabitants into slavery. Durostorum was ruined for the first time.
In the late 3rd – early 4th century a castle was built, which, with the existing legion­ary camp, constituted a second defensive belt. It is likely that in the mid-5th cen­tury, during the invasions of the Huns, the fortress was destroyed and in the early 6th century a new one was built, with its borders overlapping with the old one. It had a multi-angled layout.
Around 590 the Slavs settled in the area. They also gave a new name to the city- Drastar. The city was rich and prosper­ous. Caravans arrived from the roads on the north and west, and ships on the river carried hides, honey, wax, salt from the Carpathian Mountains and cattle from Wallachia intended for Pliska and Con­stantinople.
At the fortress walls 4 solid triangular and 4 pentagonal towers located 12 me­tres from each other have been revealed. The wall foundations, 3 m deep and 3.80 to 3.90 m wide, were built of small and medium-sized semi-worked stones and cyclopean blocks arranged in precise hor­izontal rows. The binding material was lime, river coarse sand and crushed build­ing ceramics. Only the northern fortress wall was built entirely of stone and had no towers.
On the southern wall an early gate from the 4th century has been discovered, flanked by two almond-shaped towers. The construction was very solid, thanks to which the castle existed and was used until the beginning of the 19th century, when it was destroyed during the Russo- Turkish war.
The city played an important role also over the coming centuries. As the old seat of a bishop, it has been recognized as the first among the episcopal cities of Bulgaria. In the 12th century it was a met­ropolitan centre.


The fortress, built at the beginning of the 6th century, is one of the most powerful military defence facilities, unparalleled in the late Antiquity and early Byzantine fortification architecture.