Rumen Daskalov notes that after the Liberation only four settlements in Bulgaria have a pronounced urban appearance - Plovdiv, which is part of Eastern Rumelia, and the Danube trading ports of Ruse, Svishtov and Vidin. Svishtov is among the leading administrative centers of the Principality of Bulgaria at the very beginning of its existence. In addition, the city gives the homeland a whole galaxy of artists, public figures and politicians. Svishtov is the birthplace of Aleko Konstantinov, Ivan Shishmanov, Dragan Tsankov, Grigor Nachovich, Ivan Popov, Angelaki Savich…
Svishtov is described in great detail in the collection of letters from the participant in the Liberation War Vsevolod V. Krestovski - Twenty Months in the Army. It is known that the Russian army forced the Danube at Svishtov. Svishtov becomes the first liberated Bulgarian city. The participant in the war, Krestovsky, characterizes it as:
"This small town, beautifully clustered in the form of an amphitheater on the slopes of the coast and part of the coast around the port, is inhabited half by Turks and the other half by Bulgarians. ()
In the lower, commercial part of town, called the Agency, the houses and shops have an almost entirely European, but very clumsy and boring look, something like our ordinary cereal warehouses. They were all rebuilt after the fire of 1870. ()
In the upper town, which is called "Hammer", almost every house is surrounded by a flower and orchard, with a canopy of vines and necessarily with a reservoir, well or fountain, which gives the interior of these fenced yards very nice, cozy and even a poetic kind. There are no town squares, only small irregularly shaped playgrounds surrounded by white acacia or chestnut trees. ()
Stepping into Svishtov, you immediately feel that a "civilized" Europe has stayed behind, beyond the Danube, and that you have suddenly fallen into the whirlwind of something extraordinary, unprecedented, that Asia or "Turkey" is starting here, as the soldiers say. It is felt everywhere - in the vibrancy of life, boiling straight down the main street, in the form of clothing, buildings, homes, in these slender white minarets. "
In Travels in Bulgaria (1899), Konstantin Irechek reveals some interesting details about Svishtov's past.
"The long-standing commercial and military importance of Svishtov (Roman Novae) is explained, on the one hand, by the easy passage to the opposite Zimnic, which lies on a firm, higher terrace, on the other, with the southernmost being here. point of the whole Danube current; from here to the mouth the river turns again to the northeast. The old town of Svishtov is called Glass. The city makes a special impression from the inside, rising from the river steeply upwards onto a soil full of deep dry ditches. After its burning in the war, 1810 was completely renewed. Its division (Bulgarian neighborhood, Greek neighborhood, Vlach neighborhood) shows the ethnographic elements that took part in the formation of its present-day population; many of the local Bulgarians are from Tarnovo, and there are migrants from Arbanassi among them. Svishtov is still one of the first commercial cities in the Principality to this day: its customs is second only to Varna. In the political life of present-day Bulgaria, the Svishtov are very involved. "
Immediately after the Liberation, Svishtov began to become European.
Europeanization is visible in architectural terms, through rich homes built in the 90's of the XIX century and in the first years of the XX century. Former Cherbadzhi and wealthy merchants acquired German-style homes. These are the houses of the city chieftains Novgradlievo and Zlatanov, Todor-Bozhinov House, Kodov's Palace, Aleko Nikoliev's House, the two neighboring houses of Angel Dryankov, the Vienna House of Mayor Atanas Velev, the house of Kiro Abadzhiev, Misho Avramov's Palace. The history of these modern-day homes gives indirect information about the owners' economic status and the economic development of the city as a whole.
The first are the houses of Novogradlieva, Todor-Bozhinova and Zlatanova. They were built by entrepreneur Staffan Ivanov Zlatanov, who hired a Viennese architect to work. All three are from 1890. They are called "Viennese" because they follow this architectural model. In 1892, the so-called. Kodov's "palace". The old Dimitar Kodov is known to have accumulated his wealth from farmstead, land deals and trade. His property exceeded 4000 acres. He was among the city's great donors.
Around 1895 - 1896 was built and the house of Aleko Nikolov. It is very similar in appearance to the other already built "Viennese houses" in Svishtov, only facing the yard. Its architect is the Austrian Peter Paul Brang, a friend and partner of A. Nikolov. Aleko Nikolov made a profit as a timber trader. He builds a solid state around the import of timber from Romania, assisted by his wife's brothers who trade in timber from the Carpathian Mountains. At the same time, the two houses of the merchant Angel Dyankov were being built with the house of A. Nikolov. Djankov is among the richest people in town. His trading house maintains relationships with partners from Austria - Hungary and Romania. It trades in rock salt, grain and gas, owns the 3 retail store. Probably the architect of this house too is Peter Paul Brang.
From 1902 dates the appearance of another "Viennese" house - the one of the mayor of the city (in the period 1 August 1911 - 30 August 1912) Atanas Velev. The architect and the builders of this house are the same, and the timber for it is supplied by Romania. Atanas Velev is a lawyer by profession. He rises to magistrates in Svishtov, Kula and Preslav. At that time, the house of the rich merchant and manor Kiro Abadzhiev was probably built. R. Radkov and P. Donevski suggest that it is from a series of "Viennese houses" and is the work of the same team around P. Brang. The latest in the chronology of the "Viennese houses" is the "palace" of Misho Avramov (1908). The date of construction is marked on its south facade and above the front door. The host is of a kind. It riches considerably along commercial transactions with "sowat goods" (slaughter cattle).
It is no coincidence that these houses appeared exactly in the period from the last decade of the XIX and the first of the XX century. At that time, Svishtov still enjoyed the glory of a thriving economic center. Shortly thereafter, it will be finally shifted to the country's trade traffic due to the new railway lines connecting Ruse to Tarnovo and the increased traffic through the seaports.
Prior to the Liberation, Svishtov played an important role in establishing regular trade links between the lands inhabited by Bulgarians and Russia, Romania and Austria-Hungary. The goods imported from the Svishtov tradesmen stimulate the development of crafts and domestic trade. The International Almanac for 1898 notes that the Svishtov district is commercially "one of the first Danube districts".
In industry, however, the city lags far behind in the nineteenth-century 90. In the statement of the 1890 district governor of Svishtov, it is mentioned that "no almost industry exists in the city" and the crafts are also in a "perfectly deplorable position" ". However, trade is booming. Svishtov is one of the "first and foremost points in our country of export and import trade."
Four years later, the situation does not change significantly. Still, "industry is almost non-existent." Crafts are poorly developed, mainly to meet local needs:
"Most of these crafts do not seem to have any desire to perfect their works and bring them to the contemporary taste of society, and for that they fall away year after year."
In the report of the district governor of 1897 - 1898, the lack of industrial enterprises in Svishtov explained that:
“The factory industry has not acquired the right of citizenship in Bulgaria yet, it has not made any successes. It can be safely said that in the industry much later we will pursue our livelihood, since the agricultural population for many years can not yet allocate labor, and the urban will find work and livelihood in commerce, crafts and various public services. "
In 1910, a report from the county governor described the region's economic development.
"There was a time when Svishtov for the colonial (trade in colonial goods) and Tarnovo for the manufactory played the role of our main markets, with quite large trade areas. However, with the development of road communications and the change of many other conditions, they have lost their significance. Today, in these cities as well, trade has been limited almost to the size of meeting the needs of local consumption. (…) However, both in Tarnovo and in Svishtov, there are still some other wholesale trading houses. "
The city is developing exclusively as a shopping center. In the first years after the Liberation, it was a national center, gradually diminishing to a regional importance. The reasons for this negative development are mainly related to the expansion of the country's railway network to Ruse and Varna. Thus, the turnover in Svishtov decreases at the expense of these two cities.
Sl. Slavev and Hr. Monev points out as a characteristic feature of the Svishtov traders that besides trading they are also engaged in usury. This is the main reason for decades in Svishtov that there is a lack of free financial resources to encourage the industry: they are all involved in trade and money lending operations. While, for example, Turnovo traders are better suited to where the "wind of change" is coming from. They are investing their capital in the construction of industry, because it will contribute to job creation, provide livelihoods for more people in the city and ultimately lead to urban modernization.
In Gabrovo, however, the impetus for development comes from the ranks of the guild (craft guilds), whose members mainly succeed through collective initiatives. to turn their city into the Bulgarian Manchester, considering that industrial development is the key to this. While in Svishtov the individualism and conservatism of the trade and usury guild are the most lasting, which will inevitably lead the city to economic decline. In fact, recommendations are given for another type of development, which remain unappreciated. St. Ganchev advises in vain: "Of all the most important things that the Svishtov merchant has to do is his transition to other higher forms of economic life. (…) If this capital also manages to industrialize the Svishtov trade, its future is bright. "
D. Kazasov remembers Svishtov from the beginning of the XX century as follows: “The city blossoming a few years ago had fallen into disrepair. Found in 1900 n. Turnovo - G. Oryahovitsa - Ruse line had diverted imports and exports to the big city. The port was empty, the famous cellars - locked up, the rich trading houses - shut down, the people worried. "La Bulgarie's tourist guide from the 30's tells the foreigners who decided to visit Bulgaria that Svishtov to the first years of the twentieth century was a commercial center of great importance, which gradually fell behind economically.