Bulgaria: Asen’s Fortress

Asen’s fortress stands on a high ridge south of the town of Asenovgrad. A fortification has existed here since the 3rd century BC, built by Thracians. A much larger and expansive fortress was built in 1231 under the rule of a Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Aden II. This is when the beautiful Church of the Holy Mother of God was built here as well, standing to this day. The fortress was primarily meant to hold against the Crusader runs, who attacked and captured it several times. Later on in the 15th century, Ottomans invaded and destroyed it completely – just remnants of walls are left now. The church has many old frescoes and climbing further up the ridge offers awesome panoramas.