“Vishegrad” fortress

Very close to the town of Kardzhali is the best-preserved medieval castle in the Rhodopes.Vishegrad” fortress is located on a high peak, on the right bank of the Arda River, in the area of “Harman Kaya”. This is an ancient Thracian fortress from IV – I century. It guarded a branch of the road from Adrianople to Philippopolis to the interior of the Eastern Rhodopes along the valley of the “Varbitsa” river. The well-preserved citadel was probably the residence of the governor of the medieval region, Ahridos. Under its walls, the crusader detachment led by Marshal Geoffroy Villardouin passed. On the left bank of the Arda river, under the” Mneakos” (Moniac) fortress, was the camp where Henry was elected. He was the second emperor of the Latin Empire.

At the beginning of the 13th century, the Eastern Rhodopes became the arena of military actions with the Latin Empire. In the summer of 1206, the defeated crusaders managed to mobilize and began a campaign against the Bulgarian army led by King Kaloyan. They move along the valley of the “Arda” river and reach a rich and beautiful valley, above which rise impressive fortresses.

Brief History

The name “Vishegrad” is of Bulgarian origin and means “high city”. It was given to fortresses in other European countries as well. Traces of two rectangular two-story inner towers have been preserved. Their walls are about 2.20 m thick and plastered with mortar mixed with broken bricks. The first floor was used for a water reservoir. They clearly show stages of completion of the premises and the wall in a later period of the existence of the “Vishegrad” fortress. The entrance to the castle was from the southeast. The fortress was studied in the period 1971-74. Both whole and fragments of clay vessels with sgraffito decoration, an iron mask, arrows, spears, ornaments, etc. were discovered.

Note: The fort is easily accessible. Convenient to visit. In the area of Harman Kaya (about 1 km south of the village) there are hard-to-see ruins of a Thracian fortress. Read more…





village of Glavatartsi, №1, Kardzhali