City of Silistra (Silistra)

The city of Silistra is included to the region Silistra and to the province Silistra

Presentation of the destination

Introduction to Silistra

Silistra is a city in Bulgaria with a population of 35,230 people and it is considered to be the oldest settlement in Bulgaria.  Silistra city is in Silistra Province and is an important city in its region, the Southern Dobrudzha.  The city is a port city and lies along the Danube River, which forms the border between Bulgaria and Romania.  The first people in the area were the Thracians and later the Romans who built a fort, Durostorum, in the area of Silistra in the year 29. The city changed hands over the centuries and belonged to the Bulgarians, Byzantines, and the Ottomans and finally to Bulgaria.  Majority of the inhabitants of Silistra identify themselves as ethnic Bulgarians, at 88% of the population.  High temperatures in summer in Silistra reach highs of 30°C (87°F) and winter lows drop to around -3 to -2°C (25-27°F).  Bulgaria is in the time zone UTC +2 except for during the summer months of Daylight Savings Time when it is UTC +3.  The official language in the country is Bulgarian and the currency used is the Lev.

Points of interests / things to see

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum in Silistra has a collection of a number of artifacts found in the area dating from the Thracian and Roman settlement periods.  The Thracians were an Indo-European tribe that lived in Southeastern and Central Europe before the Romans occupied that area.  The museum is laid out based on time periods and there are displays from the Prehistoric Age, Antiquity and also the Middle Ages.  The museum has about 42,000 objects and artifacts in their possession.  The highlight of the museum is the largest Roman stone sundial ever found in all of Bulgaria that was made in the 3rd century.  Some of the important pieces of the museum are bronze Thracian helmets, Roman chariot fittings, precious treasure from graves from the Roman period and the Middle Ages, a funerary chariot, a gold ring that supposedly belong to one of the very first Christians and was made at the end of the 3rd century, the seals of Byzantine and Bulgarian rulers, gold adornments that had belonged to princesses from the 14th century and a coin collection among many other artifacts.  The museum also contains a large collection of crosses from the Medieval era, spanning from the 11th to the 13th centuries.  The museum is housed in a large, old building that was constructed in 1923-24.  There are also museum displays in the gardens around the building. Email address: Address: ul Simeon Veliki 72 Phone number: +359 86 822 075 Opening hours: May-September: Tuesday through Saturday 9:30-12:00, 12:30-17:00.  October-April: Monday-Friday 9:30-12:00, 12:30-17:00 Entrance fees: BGN 2

Sveti Sveti Petâr & Pavel Church

The Sveti Sveti Petâr & Pavel Church or the Church of Saints Peter and Paul is a small church found in the city of Silistra.  The church is pink in color and is located further up the street from the Archaeological Museum.  The church was built in the 1860s and it was decorated with bright murals on the interior.  One of the important features of the church is that it is used to house the remains of the Saint Dasius, who was a local saint.  Dasius was murdered by the Romans at Durostorum, which was the Roman name for the settlement that became the city Silistra, during the time period of the Diocletian Persecution which occurred from 303-313.  Previously Dasius had been a soldier in the Roman army but he refused to play the part of a king in the month long pagan festival of Saturnalia.  He would have been sacrificed at the end of the month-long celebration to Saturn.  Since Dasius was Christian, he did not want to participate in any pagan rituals or to be sacrificed to a pagan god.  Because of his refusal, he was tortured and executed and was the first of 12 martyrs that were subsequently executed at Durostorum for their Christian beliefs.  His relics were stolen from the area during the Crusades and only were rightfully returned to Silistra in 2001 by the Pope. During years in between they had been kept in Italy. Address: ul Hristo Smirnenski 16

Medzhidi Tabiya Fortress

The Medzhidi Tabiya Fortress is just south of the town of Silistra.  The fortress was built as a Turkish defense site during the Crimean War (1853-1856) and later was used in wars between Russia and Turkey from 1877-1878.  The Crimean War was the Russians against the combined forces of the French, British, Ottomans and the Kingdom of Sardinia.  At the time of the construction of the fort, the Danube River was the border of the Ottoman Empire and the Medzhidi Tabiya Fortress was built to further strength and protect the border near the Danube cities.  The fortress was built between the years 1841to 1853 and was designed by the military engineer from Germany, Helmut Von Moltke.  The fort was built using the forced labor of 300 Bulgarians in the area.  In1847 the Ottoman Sultan went to visit the fortress and see the construction.  The sultan’s name was Abdul Medzhid and the fort was then named after him.  The fortress was key during the Crimean War as the war started with the very first battle being a battle for Silistra.  The fortress was built in the shape of a hexagon and today it is the only fortress that is preserved both on the inside and outside from the Ottoman period in Bulgaria. Email address: Phone number: +359 86 822 154 Opening hours: 8:00-20:00 Entrance fees: Adults BGN 2, Students BGN 1

The Silistra History Museum

The Silistra History Museum is comprised of various parts and is located in various different sites.  One part is archaeological history, which is housed in the Archaeological Museum.  Another portion is an ethnographical museum.  The ethnographical portion of the museum focuses on the Dodrudzha people, who were the people that lived in the Silistra region from the mid-19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.  The exhibit showcases the culture and way of life of the Dodrudzha people.  Some artifacts include costumes and masks worn during a fertility ritual as well as other costumes and tools.  Part of the History Museum also includes a Roman tomb from the 4th century.  The man who was buried there was a very well-to-do Roman as evidenced by the rich decorations and paintings in his tomb.  The Kurshumlu Mosque in Silistra also belongs to the History Museum.  The mosque was built during the Ottoman period at the beginning of the 17th century.  Its highlights include the paintings on the interior walls and ceiling as well as the colorful stones that were placed round the windows and doors.  The History Museum also manages the Durostorum-Drastar-Silistra Archaeological Reserve which is where visitors can see the ruins of a Roman urban villa that was in use from the 2nd to 4th centuries as well as a bishop’s palace and a basilica. Email address: Opening hours: May-September: Tuesday-Saturday 9:30-17:00.  October-April: Monday-Friday 9:30-17:00

-Hewn Churches

The Ivanovo Rock-Hewn Churches are found outside of Ruse, which is 120 km (74.5 mi) from Silistra.  The rock complex is found inside the Rusenski Lom Nature Park. The monastery is called the monastery of “St. Archangel Michael” and it was hewn into the rock starting in the 1220s by the monk Yoakim.  Majority of the donations necessary to carry out the construction of the churches came from the Tsars Yoan Asen II and Yoan Alexander who now have their portraits at the monastery as a way to honor and appreciate their donations.  There are various temples in the monastery, which forms a complex of different buildings and structures carved into the rocks and entire rooms in the rocks.  In six of the temples are paintings on the wall that are an excellent example of what Bulgarian church art was like from the 13th to 14th centuries.  From the 12th to 14th centuries the monastery flourished as both a spiritual center as well as an educational center.  The Church of St. Mary at the monastery made the UNESCO list as a site of global cultural inheritance for its wall paintings, which are examples of Paleologus Art.  Today the monastery is no longer active and it is operated by the Regional History Museum of Ruse. Website: Email address: Opening hours: April 1-November 30 daily 9:00-18:00.  December 1-March 31 only open with a previous appointment. Entrance fees: Adults BGN 4, Students and Seniors BGN 1

Silistra Art Gallery

The Silistra Art Gallery is an art museum housed in an impressive building that was built in 1890 and that once served as a school.  It is a large and beautiful yellow and white building that was designed in the “late secession” architectural style.  The art gallery has over 1500 works of art on display on the premises including prints, paintings, sculptures and more.  Most of the works are by Bulgarian artists from both the 19th century and contemporary Bulgarian artists as well.  The museum includes works by famous Bulgarian artists including Vladimir Dimitrov, Dechko Uzunov , Zlatyu Boyadjiev in addition to many others. Address: ul Simeon Veliki 49 Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9-11:30 and 14:00-17:30 Entrance fees: BGN 1

Ruins of the Fortress Drustar

The ruins of the Fortress Drustar or Durostorum, which was the Roman name given to the fort, are located outside of the modern city of Silistra.  Silistra is believed to be the oldest settlement in Bulgaria because it was first settled by the Thracians about 5,000 years ago.  They built the first fortress in the area and when the Romans occupied the land in the year 29 AD, they build their fortifications on top of the preexisting Thracian one and used the name to Durostorum.  The Romans than proceeded to build up a city along the Danube River and Durostorum included city baths, temples, defensive walls and other buildings.  Some of the buildings are now found on the other side of the Danube, in Romania. It was later renamed Drastar by the Slavs when they settled in the area in the 6th century.  Some of the ruins can be seen today in Silistra.

Rusenski Lom Nature Park

The Rusenski Lom Nature Park is found 20 km (12 mi) to the south of the city of Ruse.  The park received its name from the Rusenski Lom River which is a tributary of the Danube.  The nature park has been a protected area since 1970 and occupies a land space of 3,408 hectares (8,421 acres).  There is a wide variety of terrain in the park including high rock faces, caves, interesting rock formations, forests and rivers.  There are many different plant and animal species.  There are different routes and paths through the park that take visitors to the places where they can have a good opportunity to observe the diversity of the park.  The Ivanovo Rock-Hewn Churches lie in the bounds of the park as well as the Cherven Fortress which has the foundations of old churches, battle towers and a palace.


The city of Ruse is located 120 km (74.5 mi) from Silistra and is perched on top of the highest bank of the Danube River.  It is one of the biggest cities in the country with a population of 180,000 people.  The area was the site of a Roman military camp and fortress during the 1st century.  Ruse was a very important city of the Ottoman Empire and became the site of the first railway station in Bulgaria and the first city to have a newspaper published, among other things.  There are a number of noteworthy buildings in Ruse such as the Building of Tax Administration which is a symbol of the city and stands in the city center.  Other highlights of the city include the Regional Historical Museum and the Kaliopa House which shows what the inside of a rich Ruse home in the 19th century looked like.  The city has a number of other museums and sites for visitors to explore.

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Time in silistra

Local time

Local time and timezone in silistra

Silistra time
UTC +2:00 (Europe/Sofia)
Summer time UTC +1:00
Winter time UTC +2:00


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Surrounding towns

  • Silistra ~0 km
  • Babuk ~12 km
  • Ciocănești ~20 km
  • Kalipetrovo ~4 km
  • Modelu ~13 km
  • Aydemir ~8 km
  • Alfatar ~19 km
  • Cuza Vodă ~16 km
  • Smilets ~14 km
  • Srebarna ~16 km

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How to get there ?


Bulgaria has four international airports-Sofia, Varna, Bourgas and Plovdiv.  The Varna Airport ( is located 134 km (83 mi) from Silistra.  There are often last minute deals from Western Europe to Bulgaria and it is possible to get flights for a good price.  Some of Europe’s discount airlines, such as Wizz Air and EasyJet, have started to offer flights from Sofia to other major cities in Europe.  If coming from somewhere other than Europe you may have to make a stop somewhere in Western Europe first before catching a connection to Bulgaria.  Catching a train from other major cities in Europe to Bulgaria is another option.  There are two trains from Sofia daily to Bucharest, a journey of approximately ten hours.  There is one overnight train to Belgrade leaving Sofia at 20:00 every day.  The ticket is about €20.  There are no railway connections with either the Republic of Macedonia (under construction) or Greece (suspended). Buses also run to and from Sofia to other European destinations.  Bulgarian lines are the cheapest, but you can usually only get those tickets if you purchase them within Bulgaria. Seasonal ferries also operate between the Bulgarian cities of Bourgas and Varna on the Black Sea and Russia, Georgia and Ukraine.  Within Bulgaria, the best way to get around is by bus.  Buses go to most cities and quite often.  The bus schedules can be found in English at: and but most bus drivers will only speak Bulgarian.  Most buses leave Sofia from the Central Bus Station.  From Silistra, there are daily buses to Ruse (a two hour journey), Varna, Dobrich, Sofia, Shumen and Veliko Târnovo. Getting around by train is cheap but slow and really only a practical choice if traveling the routes between Sofia-Varna and Sofia-Bourgas.   There are trains that leave Silistra daily though, one going to Ruse and three trains going to Samuil. There are taxis throughout Bulgaria but they are notorious for ripping off tourists.  Try to find out ahead of time how much the fare should be from your hotel or a travel company before taking a taxi. Renting a car is possible but getting around is difficult if you don’t read the Cyrillic alphabet.  Many roads are also in poor shape.

Hotels in Silistra (Silistra)