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Medieval City-Fortress "Hotalich"
Desislava Mincheva-Yordanova

Medieval City-Fortress "Hotalich"

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The medieval fortress "Hotalich" rises northwest of Sevlievo, in the hillside area "Krushevska Mountain”.

The “city-fortress”, built in V-VI c. as a Byzantine military fortification, was subsequently abandoned. In the 10th century, Bulgarians restored it to serve as a defense against barbarian raids. Over the centuries, the city expanded, became one of the Bulgarian medieval towns with the largest areas and existed till the end of the 17th century.

The origin of the town’s name is associated with the ancient Slavic word "Hotel", later on, with "Selvi or Servi" - the ancient name of Sevlievo. During the Ottoman invasion, the fortress was destroyed and the population settled in "Lower Hotalich", on the left bank of River Rositsa and called the town "Selvi / Servi" - modern-day Sevlievo.

Comprehensive excavations in Sevlievo started in the early 1980s. Buildings of stone and mortar were among the initial findings. The residences were half-sunken into the ground because of the significant displacement of the terrain. The excavations revealed fortified walls and defense towers, two Christian temples, a byzantine basilica, dating from the 5th century, an aristocratic (boyar) residence, etc. Many coins dating from the 12th c. were found as well - evidence of the strategic importance and development of Hotalich as a city with significant trade links with other places in the country, the Latin and Byzantine Empires. The “Hotalich” fortress is restored and open to visitors. There’s a marked and relatively accessible road to it.

... And the view from the highest parts of the fortress walls reveals the picturesque gorge of the Rositsa River.

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