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and the Danube

The town Rousse is the biggest Bulgarian city on the river Danube. The town is situated in south East Part of the Republic Bulgaria and at about 300km away from the Capital. Municipality Rousse included the following villiges: Rousse, village Marten, village Nikolovo, village Sandrovo, village Basarbovo, village Tetovo, village Thervena voda, village Novo selo, village Semerdhzievo, village Prosena, village Hotanza, village Dolno Ablanovo and village Yastrebovo.
1 City
12 villages
Population till end of 2004: 183 344 residents
Densety of population per square kilometer: 345,5

Historical Background
Rousse is an ancient Bulgarian borough and a port on the Danube River. People settled here in ancient times since the river provided a living. As seen on the prehistoric settlement hill, the people in that earliest period lived in a place with clearly distinguished residential and public buildings, streets and neighbourhoods. The clay idols worshiped as guardians of life that have been found during excavations are now kept in the museum.

The castle and the fleet station called Sexsaginta Prista were built under the Roman Emperor Vespasianus (69 - 79 A.D.)

The castle was on the main road from where Belgrade is today to the delta of the Danube River. As the milestones that were once at the exits of Sexsaginta Prista indicate, that was the starting point of roads to the towns of Nove (Svishtov), Martianopolis (Devnya), Odesos (Varna) and Nicopolis ad Istrum (near the village of Nikyup, district Veliko Tarnovo).

Written sources show three versions of the name of the castle: Sexsaginta Prista, Sexsanta Prista or just Prista. The root of the first part of the name is the Latin numeral sexsaginta, which translates as “sixty”. The second part comes from Greek (prista, pristis) and means a kind of an ancient speedy battle ship with oars. It is supposed that there were 60 berths in Prista, hence the name of the castle: the port town for sixty ships.

Felix Kaniz, an Austrian-Hungarian scholar, was the first one who identified Rousse of today with the ancient castle of Sexsaginta Prista. The Skorpil brothers were the first ones to make archaeological excavations. They described the castle, investigated some burial places, collected coins and items used in the day-to-day life and published some of the inscriptions they had found.

No systematic excavations have been made on the site where the castle used to be. However, some rescue excavations have been made on spots jeopardised by modern city development. It is through them that the northeastern battle tower, a part of the northern wall and the remains of four buildings have been investigated. The tower is rectangle, its inner sizes 4,00 x 3,80 m and its walls 2,70 m thick. 50 m of the northern wall are preserved. Its width is between 2,75 and 3,00 m.

An official inscription dated to the reign of Diocletianus (298-299) announces that the fort was restored as a praesidium (a large garrison settlement) after it was ruined by the raids of the Goths (250 A.D).

Sexsaginta Prista shared the doom of the rest of the forts on the right bank of the Lower Danube. It was destructed by Avars and Slavs in the late 6th and early 7th century. At a later time, in 9th-10th century, its ruins served as the foundations of a medieval Bulgarian borough called Rousse. In the course of time it became a fort on the Danube River and resumed its guarding functions. The archaeological finds dated to the First Bulgarian Kingdom provide evidences of the existence of that Bulgarian fort and settlement.

In the heathen period (till the mid 9th century) the settlement was called Rousse on the name of a feast called Roussalii. Researchers say that there was a cult to Maiden Roussa who was believed to protect young men in battle units.


Transport Facts

Rousse is a major centre for transport. Two of the Pan European routes have their crossing point here: Corridor 7 and Corridor 9. The Danube waterway was connected in 1992 to the Main River and the Rhine River via the Europe Canal. Thus, Corridor 7 from Rotterdam to Thessalonica is the key axis of European inland waterways. Corridor 9 links North, Middle and East Europe to the Aegean Sea via Danube Bridge at Rousse and Giurgiu. To finalize that corridor, the railway line from Rousse to Podkova needs to be extended via the border with Greece to Komotini, and the motorway needs to be extended to Porto Lago likewise. The project for a tunnel under the Shipka Pass is on that corridor.

Rousse is a strategic northern gate to Bulgaria as via the Danube River the country is open to Central and West Europe. Hence it is the biggest Bulgarian river port. In terms of cargo turnover, in better times it ranked from the sixth to the third busiest port among the principal ports of the other countries on the Danube alongside with Reni, Galati, Izmail, Budapest and Linz. Rousse Port Complex embraces port Rousse-West; port Rousse-East and the ports of Svishtov, Somovit, Tutrakan and Silistra.

The headquarters of the Bulgarian River Shipping Company are in Rousse. It was established in 1935 when the first passenger line Rousse-Vidin-Rousse was launched, with the reconstructed steamers the Iskar, the Vit and the Osam. Originally, river passenger transport was a division within the National Bulgarian Railway Company. It was only on 30 May 1940 when it became an independent shipping company. It received four cargo ships with refrigerator units built in Regensburg – the Rousse, the Vidin, the Lom and the Svishtov, plus a ferryboat, the Sofia, built in Walsum am Rhine for a railway connection between Bulgaria and Romania, and three passenger ships built in Budapest that were very sophisticated for that time: the Tsar Boris III, the Tsarina Joanna and the Prince Simeon.

A substantial number of pushers, tugboats and barges were procured after the end of World War Two. However, it turned out that those manned and unmanned barges, tankers, ferryboats, hydro buses, high speed hydro gliders were not cost-effective on the Danube River. While over 1 million passengers were transported on the river in 1956, the local passenger shipping was getting inefficient and it was finally stopped in 1992. Unlike the rest of the countries on the Danube, which procure new modern ships and Danube River shipping makes rapid progress there, Bulgaria experiences just the opposite processes. The country used to have 19 river ports, most of them on the routes of Rousse-Vidin-Rousse, Rousse-Svishtov-Rousse and Rousse-Silistra-Rousse.

Compared to the post-World War One period when Bulgaria had the smallest fleet on the Danube River, after World War Two it organised a big fleet that provides cargo traffic to any port on the Danube, from Germany to the Ukraine. Any of the four catamarans named after Bulgarian khans transported 49 lorries per run from Vidin to Linz and Passau (Germany).

The Interlighter International Shipping Company with headquarters in Budapest used to provide river-sea-river liner services from ports on the Danube River to Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore and the Mekong River in Vietnam. It is a joint venture of the shipping companies of Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and the Ukraine. A ferryboat operates between Rousse and port Reni in the Ukraine.


Industrial Park Rousse - Layout


TOTAL AREA: 63.87 ha
OWNERSHIP: 100% of Municipality of Rousse (Title Deed - 4390/11.04.05)

Gas Supply Line (Pressure 0.6 MPa, Pipes o110x6.6 mm and o250x14.8 mm)
Telecommunications (24 optic fibre cable)
Power Supply Line (110/20 kVa)
Water Supply Line (Capacity 30 L/s, Hydrants on each 100 m)
Road Network
Sewage Lines

Municipality Rousse
6, Sq. Svoboda
BG-7000 Rousse
Phone: +359 (0) 82 826 100
Fax: +359 (0) 82 83 44 13