If we ask ourselves how the urban type of living developed not only on Bulgarian lands but also in Europe, we will have to look at ancient Rome. Which Roman cities are famous in Europe? Rome, Naples, Mediolanum (Milan), Lutetia (Paris), Masalia (Marseille), Londinium (London). The history of the urban type of social organization goes through the polis (city - state) in ancient Greece, the metropolises and colonies of Roman times, and to the cities of the modern type, whose appearance can be traced back to the Middle Ages.
What has it got to do with Roman civilization, understood as a type of settlement structure, and modern European civilization?
It is easy to see that the major European cities of today were famous during the Antiquity, especially in Roman times. That is why this is so. During the heyday of the Roman Empire, the heyday of Roman civilization was also on the rise. External dangers to the big country - the empire is overcome, allowing cities to be built and landscaped on flat terrain, near a water source (either near a river or the city itself is a port). This is the case with all of the above - Rome, Naples, Milan, Paris, Marseille, London. There is a topographical continuity (by location) between many of the ancient Roman cities and modern ones.
Here are some of the Bulgarian cities that existed during the Roman Empire: Augusta Trayana (Stara Zagora), Serdica (Sofia), Bononia (Vidin), Nove (Svishtov), Durostorum (Silistra), Sexaginta Prista (Ruse), Abritus ( Razgrad), Almus (Lom), Transmariska (Tutrakan) and others. They all meet the above characteristics. It is interesting to note that we, the modern Europeans, still inhabit many of the cities of the Roman Empire. Of course, their appearance has changed significantly, but not their strategic importance. An example in this respect is the cities along the Via Diagonalis important artery for the empire: Belgrade (Singidunum) - Nis (Naissos) - Sofia (Serdica) - Plovdiv (Philippopolis) - Edirne (Adrianopolis) - Constantinople (Istanbul).
However, there are also long periods of turmoil in European history, known by various names - 'dark ages', barbarian invasions, great migrations of peoples. Then it happens that the blossoming plains are partially or completely abandoned, and their population seeks protection in new, less accessible areas for invaders. There, in these new places, the settlers build homes, pave the way, erect public and cult buildings, and so on, and various signs of their organized way of life.
Which are the more famous Bulgarian cities that have established themselves in this new way?
The classic examples are with Lovech and Turnovo (Veliko Turnovo). These two cities, although they bear some testimony to them during antiquity, gained important political importance only during the period of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. We know that the beginning of The Second Kingdom begins with the rejection of Byzantine rule. It was Lovech and Turnovo that were the main centers of resistance at that time: the influence of the Bulgarian rebels there was the greatest. Let us remember that from this time is the so-called. The "second great migration" of peoples from east to west. The Byzantine lands, including Bulgaria, were attacked by oysters, Pechenegs and Kumans, and this led to the movement of the local population from the bottom up (from the plain to the hills and rocks). Thus, during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, the new and very important urban centers of Turnovgrad, Lovech and Cherven were formed.
Let's pay a little more attention to Cherven, because many are written about Turnovo and Lovech, much is known, but few are familiar with the glorious history of today's small village of Rousse, with a population of about 200.
V. Dimova and D. Ivanov believe that the first building (the first construction period) on the place where the medieval Cherven was later dates from the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age in the Bulgarian lands (1200 - 1100). BC). The earliest dated artifacts are a stone hammer of the Bronze Age, a clay cup with a handle of early iron, a bronze coin from Mesemvria (IV c. BC) and several fragments of Thracian pottery. This suggests that there was some small Thracian settlement, but it probably served only as a refuge in the event of attacks and did not reside year-round, so there are no more diverse and more Thracian finds.
The small Thracian settlement came to life during the early Byzantine era, and in particular during the reign of Emperor Justinian the Great (527 - 565). This emperor is known for his extensive construction activity. It is described in more detail by the renowned Procopius of Caesarea in his work "On the Structures". It is assumed that at that time, around the mid-6th century, strategically important hills around Cherven were used, building a fortress wall with towers from the east and west. Thus, Red became part of the second fortification belt of the northern defensive line of Byzantium, located near the important Danube strongholds Yatrus (Krivina village) and Appiaria (Riahovo village). During the reign of Emperor Justinian, the empire was involved in a series of hostilities, and its Balkan possessions were devastated by the Huns, Proto-Bulgarians, the Zabrigan Kutriguri, and the Slavs. The need for stronghold construction and reinforcement of protection from the north is great. The fortress at Red played its defensive role, but very soon it was destroyed by the incessant barbarian invasions, a major factor in the "Dark Ages" of Byzantium (VII-VIII c.).
Since the time of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, there is no certain evidence of life in Cherven. For the first time with this name the city is listed in the Bulgarian Apocrypha Chronicle ("Visions of the Prophet Isaiah"). We read: "And then came another king by the name of Gagan, and his name was Odelyan, very handsome. And this one accepted the Bulgarian and Greek kingdoms. And he destroyed in Kumida two cities that were beyond the sea. And he created three cities on Bulgarian land: 1. Red, 2. Nessebar, 3. A pinch. He reigned there for 28 years, and was visited by a shepherd in Ovcha Pole. ”King Gagan identified himself with King Peter Delian (1040 - 1041).
Sonia Georgieva commented: “The author of the chronicle, led probably by patriotic motives, attributed to the descendant of the Samuel family the creation of these cities located in different parts of Bulgaria in order to increase his authority. The mention of Red in a monument dating from the XI century testifies that the city was already known by this name. The Slavic character of the name shows that the city was created even before the Byzantine rule, therefore it existed under this name during the First Bulgarian State. "
Again, Red is mentioned in the Synod of Boril (circa 1211), which lists the names of three Red metropolitan areas: Neophyte, Kalinik, and Zacharias. At that time, Cherven already had an important status within the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. In the vicinity of Cherven settles St. Joachim, the future first Patriarch of Tarnovo, who occupied the patriarchal throne after the independence of the Bulgarian Patriarchate (1235) under Ivan Assen II. In his life we read:
"On Holy Mountain, he saw many holy old men and, jealous of their lives and good behavior, he prospered. After spending some time there, he went out and came to the Danube, where he cut down a cave in the rocks of Krasen (Cherven) and lived there with his three disciples Diomedes, Athanasius and Theodosius. It also cut into the rocks a small Church of the Holy Transfiguration, showing much more work than the first.
When he heard at the beginning of his reign, the Christ-loving King Ivan Assen (1218 - 1241), the son of the old King Assen, came to him and gave him much gold, about his virtue and his labors. The old man hired workers with this gold, cut down more caves and built a large monastery in the name of the great archangel Michael. "
The great Bulgarian clergyman and founder of the Tarnovo Literary School Theodosius Turnovski, teacher of Patriarch Evtimii Turnovski and the first disciple of Gregory Sinait, also linked his fate to Cherven for some time. As he writes in his life: “He went to some place called Red, and in the monastery there he sought in every way a man who could guide him in spiritual life not only with his virtue, but also with his personal piety, with his unwavering faith and observance of divine rules. "
Apparently in the period of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom Cherven was especially famous for its monasteries. As S. Georgieva notes: “Its great importance as a religious center in the past can be traced in the name of the Metropolitan of Ruse, which is called Red - Dorostolska. It has retained its name as the heir to the metropolises of the ancient Durostorum and the medieval Red. "
Violeta Dimova points out that the greatest flowering of Red was at the end of the fourteenth century, just before the Ottoman rule, when it was almost completely depopulated. In the period before its collapse, Cherven was one of the richest cities in Bulgaria, with one of the strongest strongholds and with developed crafts and trade. And as the seat of a metropolitan, "with its numerous churches and monasteries in and around the city, it is the center of a rich cultural and spiritual life."