majestic old town in northern Bulgaria. Veliko Turnovo ("Great Turnovo") occupies near-vertical slopes above the 800-foot (240-metre) meandering gorge of the Yantra (Jantra) River. The houses, built in terraces, appear to be stacked one atop the other. The river divides the town into three rocky promontories-Sveta Gora, Tsarevets (Carewec), and Trapezitsa. As the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396), Turnovo was adorned with great splendour, but most of the relics were destroyed by the Turks or by the earthquake of 1911. Ruins of the medieval town have been excavated on the Trapezitsa and Tsarevets hills; the latter, the home of the Bulgarian tsars, is surrounded by thick walls and defenses and accessible only by a drawbridge. Much of the town has been restored as a national historical and cultural monument, with maximum retention of old architecture and town layout.
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