The picturesque little city of Vratsa (Враца) sits at the foothills of the Balkan Mountains in Northwest Bulgaria. On a recent road trip I was amazed when I saw the city sitting under the craggy cliffs of the “old mountain” (Стара Планина / Stara Planina in Bulgarian). What with the water and all it’s kind of like a poor man’s Cape Town!
I’ve never actually been to Vratsa, but after reading Wikipedia for a few hours I am fascinated by the history of the region.
The area would have been inhabited by loosely organized Thracian tribes during the first millennium before Christ. From around 550 BCE Thrace was subjugated by the Persian Empire until Persia’s defeat in the Greco–Persian Wars in 449 BCE. After that, there was likely a more organized Thracian kingdom for a few centuries until Rome finally turned Thrace into a province in the first century CE. Over the next millennium the Byzantines, Bulgarians, and Ottomans would all take turns dominating this region of the Balkan peninsula.
I’m excited to put more of the puzzle pieces together as I explore the country.