Ruse is called "the small Vienna" and this is for a good reason. This culturally and historically rich city takes pride in numerous magnificent buildings which were designed and built in Neoclassicism, Baroque, Modern, Secession style by architects from Italy, Austria, Germany and Bulgaria.
The city of Ruse is situated in North-Eastern Bulgaria on the riverbank of the Danube River. It is the biggest city, port, administrative, economic and cultural centre on the Bulgarian riverbank. It is also the centre for the North central economic region.
Ruse has a truly strategic location as there are two European transport corridors which cross the territory of the district – corridor N7 and N9. They connect Europe with Asia, meaning The Baltic and the North Sea and also The Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Also, the only bridge between Bulgaria and Romania is situated between Ruse and Giurgiu
During the first century AD, Ruse was established as an antique Roman fortress village named Seksaginta Prista, meaning the harbour of the sixty ships. After the fortress was ruined by different tribes, the place was renamed to Ruse. Under the Turkish yoke, the city bore the name Ruschuk and it was the centre for all new European ideas coming to Bulgaria because it was so closely interrelated with the ships and the Danube River.
The city of Ruse is often called ‘the small Vienna’ due to its unique architecture which was built in resemblance with the architecture of the Austrian capital. There are about 265 buildings in the city of Ruse and 10 more in the region of Ruse which are included in the architectural and historical heritage list of Bulgaria. Another interesting fact for visitors besides the Viennese architecture is that the city of Ruse has two landmarks included in the 100 Bulgarian Attractions list. One of them is the Pantheon of the Bulgarian national revival heroes and the other one is House-Museum of Zahari Stoyanov. This turns it into a worthwhile spot not to be missed by visitors passing by the region. Its location is what makes it more easily reachable by international visitors who arrive on passenger ships on the Danube River.
The city of Ruse has been known as one of the most culturally and musically oriented cities of Bulgaria during the last hundred years. It is said to have been the first city with a cinema projection in Bulgaria ever and it also had the first train connection in Bulgaria between Ruse and Varna. Nowadays, the whole region of Ruse offers 19 museums and regular festivals each year. There are 14 protected areas within the region of Ruse which have been appointed by the Ministry of the Environment of Bulgaria.
Ruse has true potential especially for alternative forms of tourism like rural, ecotourism, adventure and thematic tourism. There are protected cultural and natural landmarks like:
- Pantheon of the Bulgarian national revival heroes
- Statue of Liberty
- National Museum of Transport
- Regional History Museum in Ruse
- House-Museum of Zahari Stoyanov
- House-Museum Toma Kardzhiev
- The Ethnographic House of Kaliopa
- Medieval Fortress Cherven
- Roman Fortress Sexaginta Prista
- religious and cultural heritage in the archeological reserve Ivanovo rock-hewn churches which is included in the UNESCO heritage list
- archeological reserve Basarbovo rock monastery
- Nature Park “Rusenski Lom” –providing habitat for 197 bird species, 90% out of which are said to be endangered in Europe
- magnificent rock formations near the village of Nisovo
- peaceful riverbank of the Danube River
- the Cave “Orlova chuka” - the second longest cave in Bulgaria
All of these sights highlight the natural richness and cultural identity of Ruse and therefore it definitely has something to offer for the development of new alternative forms of tourism as opposed to mass tourism. With its diverse cultural and unspoilt natural sights, the region of Ruse can help visitors immerse into the local community and get closer to nature.