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Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Little Vienna

Malkata Viena  (transliteration)
Location of Ruse

Coordinates: 43°49′N 25°57′E / 43.817°N 25.950°E / 43.817; 25.950

Country Bulgaria
 • Mayor Plamen Stoilov
 • Total 127.124 km2 (49.083 sq mi)
Elevation 45 m (148 ft)
Population (Census February 2011)[1]
 • City 149 642
 • Municipality 167 585
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal Code 7000
Area code(s) +359 082
License Plate P
Website Official website

Ruse (also transliterated as Rousse or Russe; Bulgarian: Русе, pronounced [ˈrusɛ]), is the fifth largest city in Bulgaria. Ruse is located in the northeastern part of the country, on the right bank of the Danube, opposite the Romanian city of Giurgiu, 300 km (186 mi) from the capital Sofia and 200 km (124 mi) from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is the most significant Bulgarian river port, serving an important part of the international trade of the country.

Ruse is known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, which attracts many tourists. It is often called the Little Vienna.[2][3] The Ruse-Giurgiu Friendship Bridge, until 14 June 2013 the only one in the shared Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube, crosses the river here.


The legend for the city claims, that the name Ruse comes from the name of a female founder of the city, whose name was Rusa, meaning "red hair". In the 13th and 14th centuries, during the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire, a fortified settlement called Rusi, first mentioned in 1380, emerged near the ruins of the earlier Roman town. Scholars suggest that the city on the river bank derived its present name from the Cherven fortress, meaning red, through the root rous, which is present in many Slavic languages and is a cognate of French rouge and Latin rusos.[4]

Giurgiu, the Romanian city on the left bank opposite to Ruse, may have derived the name from Turkish "ghiurgiul" which may mean "the red one" or "the pink one".


Ruse is located on the right bank of the Danube, which is the high bank, having two underwater terraces and three river terraces at 15–22 m (49.21–72.18 ft), 30–66 m (98.43–216.54 ft), and 54–65 m (177.17–213.25 ft). The average altitude is 45.5 m (149.28 ft) AMSL. The urban area is an approximately 11-km ellipse running along the river. The city extends from the land-connected Matey (Матей) island and the mouth of Rusenski Lom on the west to Srabcheto (Сръбчето) hill on the east. During the 20th century, the west end of the city was significantly modified by moving the mouth of Rusenski Lom to the west, as well as by moving the bank itself with its fairway considerably to the north. Sarabair (саръбаир) hill is to the south of the city and is 159 m (521.65 ft) high. The Rousse TV Tower is built there on the remains of Leventtabia, a former Turkish fortification.


Ruse has a continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa/Dfb) with hot summers and relatively cold winters. Owing to its position on the Danubian Plain, the city's winters can get windy. Winter temperatures often dip below 0 °C (32 °F), sometimes even to −20 °C (−4 °F). In summer, the average temperature is 23 °C (73 °F) (the average for July and August) Temperatures frequently reach 35 to 35 to 40 °C (95 to 104 °F) in mid-summer in the city centre. During spring and autumn, daytime temperatures vary between 17 to 17 to 22 °C (63 to 72 °F), and precipitation during this time tends to be higher than in summer, with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.

Climate data for Ruse
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.5
Average high °C (°F) 1
Daily mean °C (°F) −2
Average low °C (°F) −5.5
Record low °C (°F) −27.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 44



The city emerged as a Neolithic settlement from the 3rd to 2nd millennium BCE, when pottery, fishing, agriculture, and hunting developed. Excavations reveal several layers, suggesting that the place was attacked by neighbouring tribes and suffered a number of natural disasters. Ancient sanctuaries were found nearby, where idols of a pregnant woman, a fertility goddess, were prevalent.

The later Thracian settlement developed into a Roman military and naval centre during the reign of Vespasian (69-70 CE) as part of the fortification system along the northern boundary of Moesia. Its name, Sexaginta Prista,[5] suggests a meaning of "a city of 60 ships" (from Latin: sexaginta — "60" and Greek: pristis — a special type of guard ship), based on the supposed 60 nearby berths.

The fortress was located on the main road between Singidunum (modern Belgrade) and the Danube Delta and was destroyed in the 6th century by Avar and Slavic raids. Hungarian historian Felix Philipp Kanitz was the first to identify Sexaginta Prista with Ruse, but the Škorpil brothers demonstrated the link later through studying inscriptions, coins, graves, and objects of daily life. An inscription from the reign of Diocletian proves that the city was rebuilt as a praesidium (a large fortification) after it was destroyed by the Goths in 250 CE.

The settlement was also mentioned as Golyamo Yorgovo in the Middle Ages, whose present successor is Giurgiu in Romania.

Ottoman rule

During Ottoman rule, the invaders destroyed the town, reacting to a 1595 unsuccessful liberation attempt by a joint Vlach-Bulgarian army, led by Michael the Brave. After its rebuilding in the following years, Ruse was dubbed Rusçuk (Turkish for "little Ruse") and had again expanded into a large fortress by the 18th century. It later grew into one of the most important Ottoman towns on the Danube and an administrative centre of Tuna Vilayet, which extended from Varna and Tulcea to Sofia and Niš.

The "Dunav" newspaper appeared – it was the first printed in Bulgaria and ... in Bulgarian. Some Bulgarian schools were founded. The streets are renamed and numbered for the first time in Bulgarian lands. A post-office, hospital, home for the aged were founded. Three empires met here for trading: Austro-Hungary, Russia, British Empire, France and Italy opened consulates in Ruschuk. Imperceptibly, the modern city arose from the shades of the settlement. In 1865 the Obraztsov Chiflik was founded on the place where the English Consul's farm was and it was the first modern farm on the territory of the whole Ottoman Empire of that time.

Ruse developed into a centre of the Bulgarian National Revival and hosted the headquarters of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee.

Modern Bulgaria

After it became part of modern Bulgaria on 20 February 1878, Ruse was one of the key cultural and economic centres of the country. Intensive building during the period changed the city's architectural appearance to a typical Central European one. Ruse is famous for the many first innovations in Bulgaria, including:

  • 1864 - the first printing office in Bulgaria;[6]
  • 1867 - the first railway line linking Ruse and Varna, was launched into operation;[7]
  • 1879 - the first agronomical school "Obraztsov chiflik", today - Agricultural scientific research institute, currently profiled in agriculture and seed science;[8]
  • 1881 - the first steel ship in Bulgaria was built;[9]
  • 1881 - the first privately owned Bulgarian bank Girdap;
  • 1881 - the Machine School for the Navy, the first technical school in Bulgaria. Later it was moved to Varna;
  • 1883 - the first Weather station;[10]
  • 1884 - the first Bulgarian pharmacy association;[11][12]
  • 1885 - the first Bulgarian technical association was instituted;[13]
  • 1890 - the first Chamber of Commerce and Industry;[14]
  • 1891 - the first private insurance company "Bulgaria";[15]
  • 1896 - the first manually operated elevator;[16]
  • 1897 - the first movie projection. The second was a month later in the capital Sofia;[17]
  • 1927 - the first socks producing factory in Bulgaria - "Fazan";[18]
  • 1933 - the first oil refinery;[19]

Here manufactured the first Bulgarian factories for soda-water, lemonade and also for neckties.[20] The first aviator Simeon Petrov was born in Ruse.[21]

In the newly liberated Bulgaria of the late 19th century, Ruse was a cosmopolitan city with a multiethnic population. According to the first census conducted in 1883, ethnic Bulgarians were the majority.

"All façades on main streets of Russe shall have rich decorations with plastic stone", postulate the Regulations for Constructions of Private Buildings of 1893, issued by the Municipality of Russe.

After knyaz Alexander Battenberg's 1886 abdication, and as a reaction to the regentship's course led by prime minister Stefan Stambolov, a group of Russophile (pro-Russian) military officers revolted in Ruse. The riot was violently crushed, and 13 of the leaders were quickly sentenced to death and executed near the city, which caused a lot of public discontent. Decades later, in 1934, local citizens raised funds and built a monument at the place where the Russophile officers were executed. The monument was blown up in 1940, but rebuilt in 1966 at approximately the same spot.

World War II and Socialism

Between World War I and II, after Southern Dobruja was lost to Romania, the economic significance of the city decreased. So did the population, and Ruse was no longer the second-largest city in Bulgarian lands (after former East Rumelian capital Plovdiv), being quickly surpassed by Sofia and Varna. Many big companies left, and all foreign consulates were closed, except for the Russian one, which has remained functional since.

The return of Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria in September 1940 fostered good conditions for restoration of the city's leading role. It became a provincial centre, and economic activity revived. The construction of the Ruse-Giurgiu bridge in 1954 and the fast industrialization gave a new push to development. Ruse emerged again as an important economic, transport, cultural, and educational hub. Engineering, chemical, and light industries expanded; a large harbor was built; and the city became a university centre. At the 1985 census, a population of more than 186,000 was reported.

Fall of Socialism and democratic Bulgaria

In the early 1980s, Ruse entered a dark period of its history. The Verachim factory was built in Giurgiu, which polluted the air between 1980 and 1987, impacting the city's development. Population decreased, and 15,000 people moved out between 1985 and 1992. Fortunately, in 1987, the Romanian factory ceased the pollution, under pressure from environmental organizations on both Bulgarian and Romanian communist leadership. Organizations, such as Ekoglasnost, provoked nationwide demonstrations and strongly influenced the change to democracy.

During the 1990s, the economic crisis in Bulgaria affected Ruse. Most big companies suffered a decline and unemployment increased, which led to renewed emigration waves. Since 2000, the city has been continually regaining its former leading status.


Ruse is the fifth biggest city in Bulgaria by population. It was the most populated city of Bulgaria in 1880 with 26,163 people.[22] The number of the residents of the city (not the municipality) reached its peak around 1990, numbering almost 192 000. According to the 2011 census, Ruse was inhabited by 149,642 people within the city limits, while the Ruse Municipality along with the legally affiliated adjacent villages had 167,585 inhabitants.[1]

Population change for the period 1880- 2011[23][24][25][26]
Year 1880 1887 1910 1934 1946 1956 1965 1975 1985 1992 2001 2006 2008 2011
Population* 26 163 27 194 36 255 41 447 57 509 83 453 128 888 159 578 183 746 170 038 161 453 157 540 156 761 149 642
Permanent address 190 798 177 104 175 374 173 205
Current address 179 666 170 208 168 116 165 208
  • "Population" - Permanent and current address at the same place

Ethnic, linguistic and religious composition

According to the latest 2011 census data, the individuals declared their ethnic identity were distributed as follows:[1][27]

  • Bulgarians: 123,469 (90.4%)
  • Turks: 10,128 (7.4%)
  • Gypsies: 1,297 (0.9%)
  • Others: 1,132 (0.8%)
  • Indefinable: 618 (0.5%)
    • Undeclared: 12,998 (8.7%)

Total: 149 642

In Ruse Municipality 137,337 declared as Bulgarians, 12,500 as Turks, 1,721 as Gypsies and 14,832 did not declare their ethnic group.

According to the first census in 1883, the ethnic composition was as follows:[28]

Total: 26,156


Ruse is a big industrial centre. It has a duty-free zone and 2 industrial zones: East and West. Ruse Iztok Power Plant has an energy producing capacity of 400 MW and the Ruse West Power Plant has 41 MW. There are a logistics park and a business park in the city.

The city's economy is dominated by light industry — tailoring, textiles and food processing. Big manufactures are Fazan (the first factory for socks in Bulgaria), Fenix 94 (socks), Ariston S (women's fashion), Danini (lady's fashion), Top Man (men's fashion), Karina (lady's fashion) and Sirma Prista (dairy products). The petroleum industry and the chemical industry are represented by companies, producing paints and motor oils - Orgachim, Prista Oil, Lubrica, Megachim, EKON 91, Ninachim and Polysan.

The machinery industry and ships construction are well developed. Also, one of the world's leading companies in yacht design Vripack has an architecture and engineering studio in Ruse. Big metal-working companies are Zhiti — a leading producer of low-carbon steel wires, nails, fasteners, chain-link nettings, barbed wires; Precis Inter Holding produces electro-welded steel and aluminum tubes and profile; At Sparky welded parts, road construction machines, transportation and agricultural machines are being designed, engineered and built; Express Service LTD is the only locomotive producer in Bulgaria; Witte Automotive is a big producer of mechanical and mechatronic latches / locks for doors and hoods, hinges or door check arms, door handle modules and safety products for car seats. Keros is a major producer of ceramic floor wall tiles and porcelain tiles. Steiner Elektronik Technologie is specialized in the production of single-sided, double-sided and multi-layer PCBs; Naiden Kirov JSC manufactures low-voltage electrotechnical accessories for households. Dunarit is a big manufacturer of military and engineering products, founded in 1903. The main production of Zita is devices and appliances for control of temperature and passing of different fluids designed for automatics, pneumatics, hydraulics and everyday life technology. Woodworking and furniture production is represented by Ergodesign, Apex, Stefany Style, Gold Apolo and IRIM.

There are 65 hotels and 1,769 beds in Ruse. The income from accommodations for the fourth quarter of 2011 г. is 1,661,294 lv. [14].

There are many hypermarkets such as Metro Cash & Carry, Kaufland, Mr. Bricolage, Praktiker, and some supermarket chains such as Billa, Lidl, and Carrefour.

The first private museum in Bulgaria will soon be opened in the Old High School of Music.


Ruse is a major road and railway hub in Northern Bulgaria. Railway transportation in the city dates back to 1867 when it became a station of first railway line in Bulgaria Ruse - Varna. There are railways to Southern Bulgaria, Sofia, Varna and Bucharest. Ruse has two railway stations for passenger services (Ruse Central and Ruse Razpredelitelna) and two for freight transport services. There are intercity buses that link Ruse with cities and towns all over the country and some European countries. They are based in two bus stations: South and East.

Ruse has an extensive public transport system with around 30 Egged Ruse. There are also several suburban bus lines, operated by various private Bulgarian transport companies.

Approximately 15 kilometres (9 miles) southeast of Ruse is the village of Shtraklevo, near which is the former military Ruse Airport with an international statute but currently closed. Plans exist to redevelop and reopen the airport for internal, charter, and cargo flights. The runway is long enough for Boeing 747s (Jumbo Jets).

The Danube bridge is located east of Ruse. It was the only road and rail bridge between Bulgaria and Romania until the opening of a second bridge crossing to Romania on 14 June 2013 at Vidin.

Ruse is the biggest Bulgarian port towns on the bank of the river Danube. After the opening of the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal which covers 3,500 km (2,175 mi) and connects 13 European countries with Asia via the Black Sea, the river becomes the longest inland waterway on the planet. This key position has determined the 19-century-long co-existence of Roustchouk.

Architectural and natural landmarks

Architectural landmarks

Ruse is one of the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria. The city is famous for its preserved buildings from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. There are more than 260 monuments. Most of the sights of the city are located at the center of Ruse (museums, architectural landmarks, the theater, the opera, hotels, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops). Among all the sights the following ones are outstanding:

Site Description Photo
Monument of Liberty The Monument of Liberty was built at the beginning of the 20th century by the Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi. As time went by, it gained significance as one of the city's symbols, and now forms a part of its coat of arms.
Dohodno Zdanie ("Sava Ognianov" theater) Dohodno Zdanie is an imposing Neoclassical edifice in the city centre of Ruse, built in 1898–1902 to accommodate the local theatre performances. Along with the Monument of Liberty it is a symbol of the city.
"Aleksandrovska" street The main street of the city is "Aleksandrovska". It is an architectural ensemble of buildings in

The first private bank "Girdap" (The town's clock) Girdap was the first privately owned Bulgarian bank. Established in Ruse in 1881, Girdap was among the six largest banks in Bulgaria, and during the wars its financial group was the most influential in the country. Today the main building houses the administration of Ruse's Chamber of Commerce and it's a favorite meeting point.
The old city centre of Ruse The old city centre is the square around the Rousse Historical Museum. The regional library "Lyuben Karavelov" is located on the square. The building is decorated with baroque ornaments- leaves, pearles and rosettes. The former bank of Ivan and Stefan Simeonov is situated at the beginning of "Aleksandrovska" street. The building is in the typical for Ruse, baroque style. 43°50′39.36″N 25°56′53.23″E / 43.8442667°N 25.9481194°E / 43.8442667; 25.9481194 ||align="center"|

The house of Elias Canetti, Nobel Prize laureate in Literature - 1981 The house is located on "Slavianska" street.

The house of Andrea Turio The house of Andrea Turio is the most beautiful house in Ruse. It was completed in 1900. The input materials for the construction were carefully chosen from all over the world. The halls of the house are decorated in Pompeii art style. 43°50′53.16″N 25°56′47.9″E / 43.8481000°N 25.946639°E / 43.8481000; 25.946639||align="center"|

Insurance company "Bulgaria" Insurance company "Bulgaria" was the first one in Bulgaria. It was created in 1891. The building is located on the main street "Aleksandrovska" and it was constructed in the neoclassicism architectural style. 43°50′51.6″N 25°57′4.74″E / 43.847667°N 25.9513167°E / 43.847667; 25.9513167||align="center"|

Old High School of Music The "Old High School of Music" is an abandoned historic building, built in 1900-1901. The architectural style is eclectic, combining neoclassical and gothic revival elements and Northern European influences. The building is currently being reconstructed to become the first private museum in Bulgaria. 43°50′40.68″N 25°57′15.44″E / 43.8446333°N 25.9542889°E / 43.8446333; 25.9542889||align="center"|

The flower vase The flower vase is located at the city's park. Its height is 3.40 metres and its width is 7 metres. 43°51′23.82″N 25°57′49.77″E / 43.8566167°N 25.9638250°E / 43.8566167; 25.9638250 ||align="center"|

"Saint Trinity" Church The orthodox church "Saint Trinity" is the oldest building in the city and dates back to 1632. Being constructed during the Ottoman yoke it had to be built underground, so visitors entering the temple now have to go down stairs four and a half meters instead of going up as it is in most churches. 43°50′51.38″N 25°57′23.86″E / 43.8476056°N 25.9566278°E / 43.8476056; 25.9566278||align="center"|

Kunt Kapu Kunt Kapu was the southern gate of the Rousse fortress built in 1820, during the Ottoman Rule of Bulgaria. It's the only thing left from the fortification.

Other landmarks are:

Natural landmarks

Site Description Photo
Rusenski lom (park) Nature Park of Rusenski Lom is one of the ten nature parks of Bulgaria. It is situated along the canyon type valley of Rusenski Lom River - the last right feeder of the Danube. The park has been announced as a protected area in 1970 and embraces a territory of 3408 hectares. The park is recognized as an interesting and precious site of high aesthetic value preserving beautiful riverside terraces, meanders, high vertical rocks, areas of rich variety of species, caves, rock formations, historical monuments of national and international significance.

Lipnik park It is situated near the village of Nikolovo, 10 km (6 mi) away from Rusе. The park's size is around 2000 hectares and the main flora consists of linden trees.
Orlova Chuka (Eagle rock) This cave is an archaeological reserve, located 8 km (5 mi) near


There is one university in Ruse - "Angel Kanchev" University of Ruse with a capacity of 15 000 students. The university's structure includes a subsidiaries in Silistra and Razgrad.

There is also a subsidiary of the College of Agriculture - Plovdiv in the city.

Religious buildings

In 1978, the "All Saints" Church was destroyed and the Pantheon of National Revival Heroes was built thereupon.

The Jewish community in Ruse built and consecrated a synagogue in 1797. It was destroyed in the 1810 fire, but two other synagogues were later built in 1826 and 1852. [29]


Theatres and opera houses

Noted for its rich culture, Ruse hosts a philharmonic orchestra, the Rousse State Opera (founded in 1949) and the "Sava Ognianov" theater.

Museums & exhibitions

Site Description Photo
Rousse Historical Museum The Rousse Regional Historical Museum was established in 1904. It holds approximately 140,000 items, including the Borovo treasure; the finds of excavations of the antique Danube castles Yatrus and Sexaginta Prista, and of the medieval Bulgarian city - Cherven; a collection of urban clothing, china, glass, and silver from the end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century.
Roman fortress "Sexaginta Prista" Sexaginta Prista is located at the city of Ruse. The name means "the port town of the sixty ships".
Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo are a group of monolithic churches, chapels and monasteries hewn out of solid rock, located near the village of Ivanovo, 20 km (12 mi) south of Ruse, on the high rocky banks of the park Rusenski Lom. The complex is noted for its beautiful and well-preserved medieval frescoes. The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.
National Transport Museum The National Transport Museum is situated on the bank of the Danube, in the country's first railway station, built in 1866.
"Urban lifestyle of Rousse" museum The exposition represents the role of Ruse as a gateway towards Europe, and the influx of European urban culture into Bulgaria at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Sample interior layouts are shown, of a drawing-room, a living-room, a music hall and a bedroom, with furniture from Vienna, as well as collections of urban clothing, of jewelry and other accessories, of silverware (cutlery) and china, which mark the changes present in the daily life of Ruse citizens. The first grand piano, imported into Bulgaria from Vienna, can be seen here. 250px
Pantheon of National Revival Heroes The Pantheon of National Revival Heroes is a national monument and an ossuary, located in the city of Ruse. 39 famous Bulgarians are buried in it, including Lyuben Karavelov, Zahari Stoyanov, Stefan Karadzha, Panayot Hitov, Tonka Obretenova, Nikola Obretenov, Panayot Volov, Angel Kanchev, etc.
The stronghold of Cherven The stronghold of Cherven was one of the Second Bulgarian Empire's primary military, administrative, economic and cultural centres between the 12th and the 14th century. The ruins of the fortress are located near the village of the same name 30 to 35 km (19 to 22 mi) south of Rousse, northeastern Bulgaria.
"Zahari Stoyanov" museum Zahari Stoyanov was a Bulgarian revolutionary, writer, and historian. The museum shows expositions from the Bulgarian Revival period and about the life and struggles of Zahari Stoyanov.
Tonka Obretenova“ museum Baba Tonka house museum is dedicated to the Bulgarian National Revival and the life path of Tonka Obretenova. The Revolutionary Committee of Rousse was established here in 1872 and later became central for the whole country. The building has been closed for renovation for more than 20 years.
Toma Kardzhiev House Museum The museum is dedicated to the life path of the Bulgarian revolutionary and one of the combatants for the liberation of Bulgaria - Toma Kardzhiev.


  • The Regional Library "Lyuben Karavelov"
  • The Austrian Library, located in the 2nd floor of the theater and home of the International Elias Canetti Society.

Regular events

  • The March Music Days is an international music festival for classical music.
  • St George's Day (6 May) is Ruse's holiday. A local fair is organized for a week around this date.
  • Ruse Carnival is a masquerade held around 24 June, Enyovden.
  • The Sexaginta Prista Summer Stage is an urban festival. Events are hosted at the Roman castle every Friday from May through October.
  • At the end of October are BG MediaMarket and the Bulgarian Europe Media Festival.
  • The Skate-Festival "Collision Course" is taking place in May since 2007.
  • Since 2008 the Literary Spring Parlour is organized by the International Elias Canetti Society in April or May.

Notable citizens

International relations


Twin towns — Sister cities

Ruse is twinned with:[32]


Ruse Peak (800 m) on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after the city.

See also



External links

  • Ruse municipality
  • History of Ruse
  • Ruse location on Google maps
  • Detailed map of Ruse on Bgmaps

Coordinates: 43°51′N 25°58′E / 43.850°N 25.967°E / 43.850; 25.967

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