(Ruse, sometimes also 'Russe'). Note that the 'u' is a rather long vowel. During the
Ottoman rule, the town was known as Rustshuk.
Ruse stretches along the south shore of the Danube river, which marks the border between
Bulgaria and →Romania.
To the capital of Romania, →Bucharest, it's only around
80 km. To →Sofia it's around 280 km to the south-west.
Ruse is located in the Danube plain, but the mountains in the south are not very far.
Population: around 184,000
The town is home to Bulgaria's largest Danube port - especially north of Ruse, there's a lot
of industry and harbour facilities. The centre of town around
Пл. Свобода (Pl. Svaboda, Liberty square)
is rather small and easy to orientate. There aren't any extraordinarely tall buildings, but a lot of Habsburg-style buildings and
a concrete monstrosity called city hall. Obviously, there was a construction boom after gaining independence from the Ottomans
at the end of the 19th century. The city council ordered, that every new building shall have a balcony and a
richly decorated façade. Quite a progressive decision! The Danube river is only around 300 metres away from Liberty square.
Walking along Борисова (Borisova st.) from the centre to the south brings you to the old and beautiful train station
(which was under reconstruction in 2003). Adjacent to the train station, on the left side, is the bus terminal.
From there, buses run to all bigger cities in Bulgaria and to some destinations abroad. The
river promenade is an excellent place for a stroll along the Danube. However, don't expect something like a nice
beach or so.
Ancient Romans built a first fortress near present-day Ruse in the year 70 AD and named it Sexaginta Prista.
However, this fortress was abandoned during the 6th century. As a replacement, a new town called Cherven
was built some kilometres south of Ruse. But after the occupation by the Ottomans, this town was abandoned as well.
The Ottomans themselves started to construct a new town and called it Rustshuk - this town was built
on the remainings of Sexaginta Prista. In 1866, the Ottomans connected Ruse with Varna by railway.
International trains from →Prague to
→Varna (only in summer!) and from →Bucharest to
→Sofia stop in Ruse. Six trains a day cross the border to Romania - three of them
are local trains, which only run to Giurgiu on the northern bank of the Danube.
Several buses and trains run to →Sofia, but be aware that the train needs a few hours more
than the bus to the capital. By bus, it takes around 4 ½ hours, the fare is 10 Leva (€ 5).
Of course, there are many other buses, running to →Varna, →Veliko Tarnovo
and so on.