For many years this largest town on the Danube River bank has had the most ‘European’ atmosphere. The first railway was started in Rouse; the first insurance company was founded, the first Bulgarian house-press and the first film show took place.
The public and social life in Rouse owes its special atmosphere to the numerous diplomatic representatives. After the Liberation, the writer Elias Canetti (born here in 1905) wrote: “With the help of Isaac Babbel I realized that Rouschouk was the first window I looked through to see all the races, to listen to all the languages, to examine all the customs, to become acquainted with all the nations which somehow made a good team in this microcosm”.
At the end of the 19th century and the early 20th, a lot of buildings were constructed, combining the elements of the Classic, Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo styles. Numbering about 200, the buildings in old Rouse are a part of the Rouse architectural and historical heritage. Twelve of them are of national significance.
Central Square in Ruse
The most impressive of all is the building of the Profit Hall with the winged Mercury on its roof (the old theatre), built after the design of architect Raul-Paul Brank, Georg Lang and Frank Scholtz. The ‘Rouse Golden Dozen’ also includes the Gymnasium of Music, the Catholic church (for a long time it hosted the only church organ in Bulgaria), the Saving Bank, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Knyaz Boris Secondary School for Boys, the Sailor’s House, the Architect’s House and others.
Rouse is a cultural and educational center. The International Festival, March Musical Days is held annually. 12 km to the east is Lipnik Park. It is a wonderful place for rest and active relaxation. The Rousenski Lom valley, a part of which is a nature park, is also an attractive recreation area.
Near the village of Cherven are the relics of a medieval town. The rock monasteries of Ivanovo with their unique frescoes are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Eagle Rock Peak Cave near the village of Pepelina is the second largest cave in Bulgaria.